Installing & Maintaining Backsplashes
Backsplashes add style and flare to any kitchen. Backsplashes can also be installed in bathrooms, mudrooms, sunrooms, and virtually any other area that you would like to add a little mosaic pop of color to. Tile backsplashes are the most common, but a new trend approaching the home improvement industry is the incorporation of tin tiles as backsplashes. Tin backsplashes will give the room a rustic or retro feel, depending on the correlating design elements.
For the classic tile backsplashes, you’ll need: tape, a ledger board, de-glosser and/or sandpaper, a level, tile adhesive, grout, a wet sponge, and a putty knife or float. Start by de-glossing the wall space where the tiles will go, or sand them down to smooth out the surface for easy attachment. Fill any groves or holes in the wall space and even the surface out. With your level, install the ledger board evenly along the bottom edge of where you want the tile to rest. You won’t need to do this step if you’re only installing the backsplash along the edge of the countertop. Tape off any electrical outlets and cabinet edges, turn off the power to the room while you’re working near the outlets, and remove anything that it on the counter.
Once you have your area prepped and ready for tile, mix the adhesive according to label instructions and apply the tile evenly, following the edge of the countertop or the ledger. Some backsplashes will come with a peel-and-stick method, so adhesive isn’t necessary for these types. Work in small sections, rather than trying to lay out one solid piece, and measure the length of what you’ll need before you start applying the tiles. Once you’ve installed the backsplash completely, allow it to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. When it’s dry, you’ll mix your grout and begin the grouting process. Using your putty knife, apply the grout generously over the tiles, taking care not to scratch the surface. You can wipe off the excess with a wet sponge and/or your fingers (use rubber gloves if possible). If there is a film over your tile once the grout is applied, you can purchase a film remover from your local hardware store. The solution will make your tiles sparkle and your backsplash will be complete!
Installing tin backsplashes requires the same process of prepping, but does not require grout. Instead, you’ll apply the adhesive to the back of the tin tiles, and install them from the bottom left of your measurements, moving upward and to the right. Tin tiles come with a bit of overlap, so follow installation instructions according to the manufacturer.
When complete, you may want to nail the tin tiles in place for added support. There are specific markings for the nail method, so read the instructions before doing so, and be cautious to not dent the tiles when using your hammer. Finish by giving your tin backsplash a clean wipe, and the room will instantly gain so much more character with the shine and embossments they feature!