Creating a tile backsplash is an easy and fun winter project.
Step 1: Measure the area to be tiled and purchase more than enough tile to complete the job.
Step 2: Before installing the tile, measure and mark the exact center of each area to be tiled. Use a level or chalk line to create a horizontal plumb line across the surface. When installing tile, start in the middle of the wall and work out to the corners. If the counter top is tiled, make sure the backsplash grout lines lineup with the counter top grout lines.
Step 3: Prepare the walls by removing electrical cover plates and any other movable obstructions. Cover outlets and switches with blue painters tape to protect them from the tile adhesive and grout. Remove any existing wall covering such as wallpaper or Formica. Patch holes and sand the wall surface to a smooth finish. Wash the application area with TSP or Dirtex to remove any traces of dust and grease.
Step 4: Follow the tile manufacturer’s instructions to select the proper adhesive for the job. Use the flat portion of a trowel to spread a quarter-inch-thick coat of adhesive over a 2-foot square section.
Step 5: Once the adhesive has been spread, hold the towel at a 45-degree angle and use the notched portion of the trowel, as per the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendation, to comb ridges into the adhesive.
Step 6: Position the center most tile into place. Use a slight twisting motion to set it into the adhesive. Place tile spacers on each corner of the tile and set the next four tiles around the center tile perimeter.
Step 7: Continue placing tiles with a twisting motion, working down and then out along the application area. Continue checking the plumb line to assure the tiles are properly aligned.
Step 8: Remove the tile spacers and allow the adhesive to completely dry.
Step 9: Use a rubber float to spread grout across the tiles, pressing grout firmly between each tile. Wipe excess grout away with a damp sponge. Once the grout dries to a haze on the tiles, use a clean dry cloth to buff the tiles clean.
Step 10: When the grout has cured, add a smooth bead of caulk along the bottom edge of the backsplash and coat the grout lines with a good-quality tile sealant.