Spring is almost here, and with it a chance to transform various rooms in your house! This week the focus is on your kitchen, with a few projects that give the heart of your home a fresh new look. Now, as with any DIY project, a little work is to be expected, but it’s time to bite the bullet and just do it, because these ideas really make a difference. The first is installing a backsplash. You can be as elaborate, or as simple as you want with this. The beauty of a backsplash is that it can add color and texture to your space, all in one swoop. Keep in mind however, that the next project is painting your cabinets, so if you want to do both you should consider coordinating colors and styles prior to buying supplies for either.
First, gather your supplies.
Then, it’s time for prep work.
Before buying your materials i.e. tile, grout and tile adhesive, you must measure the dimensions of your backsplash area. You can determine the square footage by multiplying the length of the area by the width.
Once you buy all the material you need, then it is time to get your hands dirty. Lay down cardboard or plastic tarp to keep your countertops from getting dirty or damaged. Then, put on your handy safety goggles and gloves, shut off power to all outlets within the backsplash area and remove the outlet covers.
Clean the pre-backsplash surface with warm water and give it a few minutes to dry. Then, you’re ready for the fun part!
Next, precision is key when laying backsplash tile.
Apply tile adhesive with your trowel, being sure to only cover a small area at a time. This prevents it from drying out. However, be sure you do this in the very center of the area you are laying with tile. You can position the tile by using a twisting motion and then pressing down firmly to make sure it adheres properly.
Add the remaining squares of tile in a methodical pattern around your starting piece, using spacers if necessary. Also, if you need to cut a section of backsplash tile, measure the length and width required, use a tile cutter to score it and a tile saw to cut away the area that will show.
When tiling around outlets, be sure the edges will be hidden under the cover once it is screwed back in place.
Finally, complete the job with finishing touches.
Once all the tile is laid, be sure to wipe off any excess adhesive and ensure the lines between are cleaned and ready for grout. Once the adhesive sets completely, remove spacers if applicable, then prepare for grout application. Mix grout in a bucket per the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a rubber float in a 45 degree angle to the tile joints, working into the lines between the tiles in a sweeping motion.
Then, once you allow the grout several minutes to dry, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess. Repeat this until the backsplash area is visibly clean. Wait several hours before removing haze from the surface, once the grout is entirely dry and cured. Use a clean cloth, such as a cheesecloth, to wipe it clean. Over the next several days, mist the backsplash surface evenly with cool water. Replace the outlet covers once all the grout is dry.
As a final measure, you may consider using a pH neutral sealant to protect the grout from water and stains. In addition, mildew-resistant caulk applied at the base of your backsplash, where it meets the countertop, is a suggested preservation measure as well.
About the Author
Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Equipment Rental. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.