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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 following instructions:

To install a new backsplash:

  1. 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.

  2. 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!).

  3. Create ridges in the adhesive by making little squiggles (squiggles - thatís technical term!) with the edge of the trowel.

  4. 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 tiles.

  5. 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 even.

  6. Tap each tile with a rubber mallet to set them. Careful! Not too hard or you will be having mosaics instead of square tiles!

  7. Allow the adhesive to set (see the manufacturerís instructions for times) Yes, you DO have to read the instructions!

  8. Mix the grout according to the manufacturerís instructions or buy ready-mixed grout.

  9. 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.

  10. After the grout partially sets, wipe it off with a damp sponge. Be careful that you donít pull the grout from between the joints.

  11. After you have gone over the grout once, use the sponge to level the joints between the tiles.

  12. When the grout has completely dried, remove the haze you see on the time by rubbing it with a cheesecloth or other soft, clean cl/th.

  13. 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,, is full of remodeling, home improvement and decorating ideas.



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