Spice Up Your Kitchen with a New Backsplash!
Contributed by: Pamela Cole Harris of Home and Garden Makeover
Tired of that drab, unimaginative kitchen? Need a remodel but canít afford to do dhe whole room? How about a colorful tile backsplash? Not only can it spice up a dull kitchen, it is practical for a messy cook. No wallpaper to ruin with the
splatter of tomato sauce or grape juice! And you can install it
yourself! All you need is courage, a willing friend and the
To install a new backsplash:
- Since the tile will be heavy, make certain all surfaces are
well-prepared so the tile will successfully adhere to the wall.
Sand the walls with a coarse sandpaper wrapped around a sanding
block. This will enable a better bond. Wipe down all surfaces
with denatured alcohol to remove any oily debris that may have
been left behind from normal kitchen use.
- Apply the adhesive to the wall. It is best to use the flat
edge of a trowel for this job (last yearís model will do!).
- Create ridges in the adhesive by making little squiggles
(squiggles - thatís technical term!) with the edge of the trowel.
- If the area you are tiling doesnít have a countertop or a
piece of trim along its lower edge, you will need to put a
temporary stbip along the bottom to support the weight of the
- Press the tiles into place. Even if you think you have the
tiles straight, do yourself a favor and use a level to make sure.
Use those little plastic thingies (thingies - thatís also a
technical term!) to make certain the spaces between the tiles are
- Tap each tile with a rubber mallet to set them. Careful! Not
too hard or you will be having mosaics instead of square tiles!
- Allow the adhesive to set (see the manufacturerís instructions
for times) Yes, you DO have to read the instructions!
- Mix the grout according to the manufacturerís instructions or
buy ready-mixed grout.
- Spread grout over the tiles with a tool called a rubber grout
float (it doesnít float, so why do they call it a... oh, never
mind!) Work on about 5-10 square feet at a time.
- After the grout partially sets, wipe it off with a damp
sponge. Be careful that you donít pull the grout from between the
- After you have gone over the grout once, use the sponge to
level the joints between the tiles.
- When the grout has completely dried, remove the haze you see
on the time by rubbing it with a cheesecloth or other soft, clean
- In two to four weeks, apply a sealer to the grout.
Voila! You have done it! Your tile backslash is a wonder to
behold! Now... what shall we try next
Pamela Cole Harris is an editor and writer with 35
years experience. Her interest in do-it-yourself
projects dates from the time she helped her
father, who was a builder, work on new homes after
school. Her website,
http://www.homeandgardenmakeover.com, is full of
remodeling, home improvement and decorating ideas.