Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 19, 2016

From blah to backsplash

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

As I previously mentioned we are preparing to put our home on the market, and I could not be more excited! However, to prepare for the market we are trying to make minimum cost upgrades to tidy up the loose ends around the house.

One way to make a statement in the kitchen that is not only inexpensive but also quite functional is to add a backsplash. I am not quite sure how for the last eleven years, this project has continually slipped thru our fingers, but it has.

I have a sneaky suspicion many of you have a tiling project you would love to complete, but may have reservations about. Rest assured, I understand how intimidating it can seem to tile for the first time.

The good news is there is a great product that makes putting tile in a small space, like a backsplash, nice and easy so any first timer look like a pro!

Items needed:

– Simple mat, tile setting Mat

– Tile of choice

– Scissors

– Pre-mixed grout

– Vinegar

– Sponge

– Sealer

– Tile cutter (hand ones work great for small spaces, and are cheap!)

First, you will need to grab the scissors and cut the thin set mat to size. Once you have the mat cut, simply peel off the backing and set into place, pressing firmly.

Take your time when you are adhering the mat to the wall. This product is incredibly sticky and leaves no room for mistakes. After the mat is in place, use your fist to rub it into the wall.

Then peel off the clear plastic on top of the mat that exposes what look like strips of “honey.”

After everything is settled into the wall, you will need to start adding tile. Press each tile firmly into place as you move along. Most tile professionals actually start tiling from the middle and work out. This will help when cutting corners and making sure all of it matches.

Really take your time when placing the tiles. If you are using subway tile, you will not need spacers because they have an automatic built in 1/16th spacer. If you are using any other individual tiles, make sure you use spacers. If you are using 9x9 tile pieces, just make sure to keep the pattern going properly.

Once everything is in place all the way to the end corners, it is time to grout. Pre-mixed grout is amazing. There is no mixing required and it is easy to work with. Spread and push the grout into the grout lines. Push it into the cracks firmly, making sure to leave no space for air bubbles to form.

If you do not want to use your hands you can purchase a grout float, either way this step is very easy. After it has been covered and filled well, let it set for a few minutes and then wipe it away with a wet sponge. 

Don’t fear if you notice that the grout looks a little hazy. You can purchase a grout haze remover, but trust me when I tell you that white vinegar will clean this up for you, and make the tiles nice and shiny! At this point we can all agree that vinegar can do anything right?

Finally, yet importantly, apply the sealer according to the product directions. This will help protect your grout from become nasty and dirty!

There you have it, how to take a wall from blah to backsplash in a couple of hours!

Happy tiling!

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.