Tile makes an ideal backsplash. You can lay one course of tile along the wall behind your countertops or cover the entire wall between the counter and cabinets. Whatever you decide to lay your tiles you will still need a few items before starting your project. You will need grout, tile, caulk, spacers, and tile adhesive. There are also a few tools you need to gather like a trowel, tile saw, sponge, rag, grout float, and a leveler.
First cover your cabinets and countertops for protection using plastic sheeting or other cloth. Lay out your tile in the pattern you wish to design your backsplash. This will help you determine if any cuts will need to be made with the tile saw. Start in the corners and line up your tiles so they are in the desired pattern. Remember that a spacer will be placed between each tile. You will also need to cut tiles to fit around any electrical outlets or windows. Safety goggles should be worn to protect your eyes when cutting tile.
Now that you have planned out your design pattern, it’s time to apply adhesive on the wall with a trowel. Spread adhesive on the wall with a trowel with pointed notches. Trowel adhesive onto wall with long strokes for an even surface. Don’t leave blobs of adhesive on the wall. The adhesive should have long streaks from the notches of the trowel. Next press each tile firmly with a twisting motion. This helps create a suction so that the tile will lie properly into the adhesive. Insert spacers between each tile and try to avoid sliding tiles into place. They should be spaced out evenly on a level surface. You may want to use your leveler to see if it is flat. Continue laying out each tile until your pattern is complete. You can remove spacers once tile is laid. Allow the adhesive to set at least 24 hours. You can test to see if a tile is set by trying to twist the tile. If it moves it has not set into place.
Clean any adhesive off of the tile with a damp sponge. Once adhesive is dry and tiles have set, it is time to apply the grout with a grout float. You will need to apply the grout in two steps. First press the grout into the joints by spreading it diagonally. This can be done by holding the grout float flat. Next, spread the grout by moving in an upward motion and scrape away any excess grout. Make sure there are no voids in the grout. Once you have filled the joints it’s time to clean the tiles.
Clean the tiled surface with a damp sponge. You will need to frequently rinse the sponge often while cleaning. You can buff away the haze on the tile with a dry rag. Allow the tiles and grout to dry again for 24 hours. The last step would be to caulk the inside corners if it is needed. Make sure all grout is dry before caulking.