What are the Best Tips for Installing a Tile Backsplash?

J.M. Densing

Installing a tile backsplash is a relatively simple way to give a quick facelift to a kitchen or bathroom. A backsplash is the wall space between sinks or counters and the bottoms of cabinets. When installing a tile backsplash, some of the best tips include selecting tiles carefully to coordinate with the rest of the space, properly preparing the wall surface for the installation, and using high quality materials for the job. Other important tips include measuring everything carefully, installing the tiles from the center, and doing any necessary tile cutting as the work progresses. The final tip is to grout and caulk carefully for a finished look.

A tile caulk gun.
A tile caulk gun.

The backsplash area in many kitchens and bathrooms is often left plain but can be covered in decorative tiles to create a more durable and attractive surface. Installing a tile backsplash is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project that can have a big impact on the overall appearance of the room. One tip to remember is to consider the tile selection quite carefully. A colorful, well designed backsplash can easily become one of the focal points of the space, so it's a good idea to make sure the tiles chosen coordinate well with the rest of the room's decor.

Installing a tile backsplash behind the stove is relatively easy.
Installing a tile backsplash behind the stove is relatively easy.

Another of the best tips for installing a tile backsplash is to prepare the wall surface properly. If the current wall surface is painted drywall, preparation is not labor intensive. Just use sandpaper to lightly rough up the paint surface without removing it; this will make it easier for the tile adhesive to adhere. If there is already a tile backsplash in place, the best method is to completely remove the tiles and the backer behind them, then install new drywall or cement board. Another tip is to use the highest quality materials possible, such as mastic tile adhesive, which provides a stronger bond than other options.

Another vital tip when installing a tile backsplash is to measure everything carefully and twice; correct measurements are extremely important so the appropriate amounts of tile and other materials can be purchased. Once the necessary materials are gathered, another tip is to begin tiling at the center of the wall, near the base. Continue tiling outward from this point, completing one row at a time, and gradually working upwards. Cut any tiles that need it using a tile cutter as the project progresses instead of leaving all of the cutting for the end. Once all tiles are in place, grout between them and apply caulking around the outer edges of the tiled backsplash to seal the surface and give the project a finished look.

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