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How To Install a Backsplash – A step by step guide

Want to know how to install a backsplash for your new kitchen design? if so, then you have come to the right place.

A kitchen backsplash is an area between the counter top and the end of the kitchen cabinets. A backsplash helps to shield kitchen walls from liquids and dirt, especially the area behind the cooker.  Installing a backsplash right behind a sink is also a good as it stops water penetrating walls, thus causing damp.

Backsplashes are usually up to 4 inches in height, however this means a large area of wall is unprotected from moisture between worktop and bottom of cabinet.  There is a growing trend of people installing backsplashes on the entire wall, between the counter top  and cabinet.  Whatever your goal, this how to install a backsplash guide is sure to help.

Backsplash Materials

The ceramic tile is the most obvious choice as they are easier to install as well easier to clean. However, ceramic tiles may not always suite your kitchen style, especially if you have wood finishes.

Good alternatives are metallic and stained glass backsplashes, which provide a modern look.  However both can be expensive, most of the time they need to be cut to specific sizes and installed by a specialist.  If you are unsure what backsplash material you want, here are some ideas.

Most of the contractors and designers suggest ceramic tiles.  If your on a budget then you can actually go in for specially designed tiles so that it gives the kitchen a more modern look.  The following guide describes how to install a traditional tile backsplash.  However, most of the steps apply for backsplahses made from other materials too.

how to install a backsplash

Step by step guide on how to install a backsplash

1.  Backsplash style

First you need to consider the style you want, and how much you need.  The most visually appealing tiles are those that are proportionate to the space you are to install them.  Your local tiling store will provide advice about tiling materials and styles.  There are many types of backsplash styles to choose from such as glass, ceramic, wood, stainless steel.  Once you have selected the correct backsplash tiles, it is time to mount them.

2.  Mounting backsplash tiles 

First you must calculate the total area to be covered by the backsplash.  Area is calculated by multiplying the height by the width. These dimensions are incredibly, as they ensure you buy the correct amount of material.  The project could be compromised if small miscalculations are done. The size of the backsplash relative to your kitchen is also important. It is generally a good idea to get a backsplash sample from the store.  You can then place this sample against your kitchen wall to see if it is suitable.

3.  Cutting backsplash tiles

Tiles need to be cut to fit your kitchen design.  Tile cutting equipment is the best way to cut through tiles.  However, cutting tiles to size can be difficult for a beginner.  Make sure you practice on a few tiles first.

The hardest thing about installing backsplashes is to make sure everything is level. Snapping chalk lines horizontally and vertically on the wall starting from the center is the best way to ensure everything is level.  Horizontal and vertical lines are a great guide to installing tiles.  Make sure you do not accidentally rub out your chalk lines.  Tiles should be separated using tile spacers, which ensure a consistent gap between tiles.  Stainless steel or glass backplsahes may not require cutting, as you can order them to the exact size you need.

4.  Applying Adhesive

Backsplashes are stuck to walls using tile adhesive. A trowel is used to apply the adhesive to the wall. Mix the tile adhesive to the packet instructions.  For the tiles to sit uniformly on the wall the installer should keep thickness of adhesive the same size and depth.

5.  How to install a backsplash to the wall

Place the backsplash onto the wall where adhesive has been applied. As the adhesive takes time to set and dry, the installer is able move the tile into place so that it is level.  Use the horizontal and vertical chalk lines as a guide.

6.  Wait for the tile adhesive to dry

The adhesive must be fully dry before any other steps are taken in the installation process. Please wait between 1 – 2 days for the adhesive to completely dry.

7.  Applying the grout

After the adhesive has fully dried, grout can then be applied.  Gaps between tiles must be filled in with grout, which is a coarse paste.  Grout is usually applied using a tool known as a float.  The float has a flat surface to ensure grout fills all the gaps evenly, to the same level.  After filling the spaces with grout, you could remove access using a flat plastic edge (such as an old plastic voucher).  This will make step 8 a lot easier.

8.  Removing any of the excess material

Once the backsplash spaces are grouted, excess grout can then be removed.   Use a moist cloth to remove access grout from tiles.  Be sure to remove as much as possible, as it is very difficult once grout has dried.

A backsplash is essential to any kitchen. And will help protect your kitchen walls for many years.  If they become dirty you can simply wipe them down with a cloth.

Did you enjoy this how to install a backsplash article? if so you may also enjoy the following:

Guide to grouting and sealing

How to level a floor before tiling



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