Updating your kitchen backsplash can be a quick and painless project, as long as you have deep enough pockets to cover the costs. But if you’re broke and itching to get some home improvement projects out of the way, then creating your own budget backsplash is the way to go.
Removing the Old Backsplash
Once you’ve decided on renovating your old backsplash, the first step is removing the old one. Begin by prepping the work area for debris. Remove the stove by unplugging it from the wall. Use a dolly to lift it and wheel it back and away from the work area. Sweep any debris away, then place drop cloths or tape plastic around the area to prevent debris from entering the sink, hitting surrounding cabinets or counter tops and damaging tiles.
Once the area is sealed off, demolition can begin. Use a small flat bar, chisel or large standard screwdriver to remove tiles. Once the area is free from tiles, use a drywall knife to remove tile mastic from the wall. Try to create as semi-smooth surface to work from. You don’t need to work to hard to achieve this. Tile generally needs a semi-rough surface to adhere anyways.
Installing the New Backsplash
Now that the surface has been cleared and is ready to work from, a surface coat of Kilz primer may be needed to prevent any future mold or mildew. This will also contain any loose drywall or tile mastic debris that is leftover.
Using a notched trowel specific to the mastic used, apply several strokes along your predetermined lines. Follow the previously snapped chalk lines with mastic, then tile. Attaching a ledger board to the line can help hold the first row of tile in place. Simply cut a scrap 1×2 to fit between studs (16″ on center) and attach with 2″ drywall screws. When it is time to remove the ledger, unscrew the screws and patch the holes with caulk and paint.
Stack the tile on top of each other, cutting what you need with a tile saw or break, applying mastic as you continue with each row. Use tile spacers between each tile to keep a uniform distance between tiles. Once you set all the tiles, wipe away any excess mastic with a damp sponge. Allow the entire tile set to dry overnight then apply grout.
Grout should be mixed in a clean bucket to the consistency of toothpaste. Apply with a grout trowel. Let stand for 30 minutes or until stiff, then wipe away any excess grout with a wet sponge, cleaning the sponge in a bucket of fresh water every three swipes. Allow to dry 24 hours, and then wash clean.