How to install a mosaic tile backsplash DIY

by | Jun 21, 2017 | Home & Garden | 17 comments

For 5000 years mosaics have been a popular decoration in bathhouses, palaces, and now your kitchen. Mosaics are small, glazed glass, stone, or tile pieces organized in a design or pattern. Tiling a backsplash above the counter is one of the easiest ways to upgrade an old, tired kitchen on a tight budget. In this article, i’ll show you how to install the tile sheets. If you have some boxes of broken tiles, they’ll be very useful for this project! Now lets get down and dirty (LITERALLY) with some tile adhesive compound and goopy grout! Grouting a backsplash is a messy job, but JUST KEEP GOING! The end result is well worth it!

You will need:

Wall tiles Measuring tape or ruler Sharpie Inexpensive plates Hammer Tile adhesive Grout Grout sealer notched trowel grouting sponge tile-cutting hand tools

Step 1: Cut the Tiles

Be very careful when you’re breaking up the tiles! You should always wear safety glasses, and handle the broken pieces with care so you don’t get cut.

Step 2: Apply the Mastic

Wall tile adhesive comes pre-mixed or in powder form. If you are using the powder mix it with water until it is the consistency of peanut butter. Don’t mix too much in advance, or it will begin to set up on you before you can use it. Using your grooved trowel, start spreading the mortar over a small area. Never do more than what you can cover.  Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to the wall. Tile adhesive dries rather quickly, so spread only as much adhesive as you can tile in about 15 minutes.

Step 3: Install the Tiles

Carefully pick out all of the pieces from the edges of the tiles. Starting from the corners and working outward, use the pieces of the tiles to fill in the border area. It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle! Press it onto the wall with your hand. If the sheet slides around and mortar comes through the joint lines, you’re applying it too thick (remove the sheet, scrape off some grout and retrowel).  If you start getting frustrated trying to fit the pieces together, walk away for a few minutes and focus on something else so you can come back with fresh eyes…

Step 4: Grout

Wait 24 hours after installing the tile to add the grout. Force the grout into the joints with a float. Scrape off excess grout by moving the float diagonally across the tile. Mix the grout with water until it reaches mashed potato consistency, then put some on the wall with a grout float. Work the grout into the joints by moving the float diagonally over the tiles. Grout: it’s gritty, abrasive stuff.  You only want to mix as much as you can apply in about a half hour, as it will begin to dry out.
Ten minutes after grouting, wipe the grout off the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge. Two hours after grouting, wipe the haze off the tiles with microfiber cloths. That’s it! Now every time your family and friends gather in your kitchen, they’ll be very impressed!

Before:

After:

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