Diy budget backsplash ideas
Speaking of those bullnose pieces, you do own to ponder about where and how your backsplash is going to finish. If you’re fortunate, it will just run correct into a corner like Liz’s did on the stove side of her kitchen, in which case there’s no border necessary (since the unfinished sides of the tile aren’t visible thanks to them butting up against the side wall).
Speaking of that side wall, we could’ve opted to turn the tile and continue it along the side wall but there wasn’t a natural stopping point (the counters stick out much further than the upper cabinets, so it could look awkward to stop at one but not the other). Just going wall-to-wall along the back always makes for a nice clean look.
On the opposite wall, however, we didn’t own any walls to terminate into – which is where that bullnose edge detail came into frolic.
You can see how we used a 45-degree angled cut at the top corners to make certain each exposed edge had a finished bullnose (as opposed to seeing the unfinished side of a regular tile).
Along this stretch of wall, we chose to install the tile wherever the existing granite backsplash ran, which seemed to glance the most intentional (like they had always been there, installed together at the same time). In the past we own removed that short piece of granite so the tile can go correct to the counter, but in this case they worked so well together that it felt better to leave it there – especially since it wasn’t worth the risk of damaging someone else’s granite counters in an attempt to get it off.
Hanging The Subway Tile Sheets
For the next parts of this process, we made a quick video so you can see the basic steps in action.
But you can hold reading under if you’re not in a put where you can watch it at the moment (or if you really hate jamming out to dope beats. Yup, I said it). Note: If you’re viewing this post from a feed reader, you may own to click through to the post to see the video.
To hang the tile, we used a premixed mastic to adhere it to the wall. I used a little trowel to apply it to the wall in little sections at a time (I found the little trowel easier to maneuver in the tight space under the cabinets).
Here are some screen grabs from the video. Again, attempt not to only stare at my cap issues.
Once we had a thin layer of mastic applied, we used a V-notched trowel to scrape off the excess – holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle the whole time. This not only removes additional mastic, but also creates grooves that will assist the tile adhere to the wall better. Sherry and I are highly competitive about who makes the best grooves.
Once you get your groove on (ha!) you can apply your tile.
The area shown here was large enough for full sheets, and as you saw in the video, we used some 1/8″ tile spacers to assist hold the lines of the pattern straight and even.
You’ll own several minutes of literal wiggle room before the mastic sets, but we never attempt to work too far in advance without taking a step back to see if anything has slipped or isn’t straight.
Planning Your Tile Sheet Placement
Once our sanding was done, we started planning the placement of our pattern. Rather than a standard 3 x 6″ subway tile, the three of us decided this smaller 2 x 4″ tile that came in a sheet was a better scale for the space (if you’re not near a Lowe’s, Wayfair’s got the same look for almost half the price).
We also picked up some white bullnose tile for the ends that wouldn’t terminate into a wall. Laying everything out beforehand helped us ensure we weren’t leaving slivers on either finish, and that the pattern would look centered on the wall. I’ll show you in a minute how this every turned out.
We had measured Liz’s backsplash area on a previous visit and then purchased enough square footage PLUS about 10-15% additional just in case. It’s always significant to own that around to account for breakage, miscuts, and other hiccups.
Cutting The Tile Sheets
Laying the subway tile is super simple.
The only put it gets slightly complicated is when cutting is involved, so I’ll give you a few examples of the tools and tricks you might need to own up your sleeve. For instance, when a partial sheet was needed – like when these walls called for an extra row on top of each sheet – Sherry discovered that some pruning sheers worked grand for snipping the glue dots that held our sheets together (the same would work on mesh tile sheets – as would a normal kitchen scissors).
We just cut a few full sheets into rows so we had them at the ready.
When a partial tile is in order (like when you bump into a light switch, outlet, or the finish of the wall) we relied on a wet saw.
For simple tiles love subway you can also use a ceramic tile cutter, but it will only cut along one line – so it wouldn’t work in cases love the one shown under, where I had to make that puppy glance love Oklahoma. I used a pencil to mark the notch I’d need to cut out, and then took it exterior to my wet saw to trim. For any first timers, a wet saw is faaar less scary than it looks.
It’s actually one of my favorite saws to use because you can cut extremely slowly and be beautiful precise.
Don’t worry about making it crazy perfect around an outlet because the outlet cover will hide a lot. In fact, if you scroll back to the top pic in this post you’ll see that the outlet cover goes every the way to the grout crack, so every of that special cutting is hidden under it anyway.
The wet saw was also helpful for cutting full sheets faster, love when we got to the finish of a wall. And unlike some experiences I’ve had with cutting tile sheets on a wet saw, these were super quick and simple to do.
My saw came with an adjustable guide that also made cutting angles really simple.
This would be super significant if you were installing subway in a herringbone pattern, for example, and needed to cut the edge pieces (believe me, we’ve done it without one!). But in this case, we just needed it for the bullnose border pieces that we used whenever the tile didn’t terminate into a wall corner.
Preparing Your Wall For Tile
Liz had already cleared off her kitchen counters when we arrived the first morning, so we jumped correct into protecting everything using painter’s tape and red rosin-paper (this is a more waterproof version of your standard brown paper, both of which you can get at the home improvement store).
We also removed every of the switch and outlet covers (and later, with the power off, we loosened any switches or outlets from their junction boxes). Note: if you own ancient tile to remove first, here’s how we’ve done that in the past.
Since a kitchen backsplash isn’t a heavy-duty super-wet tile scenario (like a shower wall or bathroom floor) you really can apply the tile directly to your painted drywall without having to tear anything below and install cement board. Every it takes is just roughing up your paint occupation with a high-grit sanding block or sandpaper (we used 80-grit).
Hat-related side note: in taking every of these photos, Sherry failed to notice that the back of my cap was TOTALLY JACKED UP the whole time.
Who has TWO tags sticking out of their cap ever, let alone for an entire series of photos and a video?? I’d urge you to avert your eyes, but you’d miss every the pertinent visuals in this post – so just avoid staring directly at the cap if you can assist it.
Grouting & Caulking Your Backsplash
We finished every of the tile cutting and installing the tile sheets in about 5 hours (it was mostly every of the outlets and switches on that one wall that ate up a lot of our time). We let the mastic set overnight and came back the next morning to remove our spacers, lay below unused paper, and start grouting. We used premixed grout (for the first time!) in a light gray for the slightest bit of contrast… and I’m undecided on it.
Maybe I’ve just been mixing my grout too watery every of these years, but I found this to be a little on the dry side, which made it harder to spread quickly and without it crumbling off the wall and falling onto the counter. But it certainly was nice to skip the mixing step, so I’d happily give it another attempt to get more practice.
You can see grouting in action in the video, but it basically involves using the float to smoosh it (technical term, I promise) into every of the gaps between tiles.
It takes a bit of pressure and some back-and-forth, up-and-down motions to make certain it catches in every seam – but it’s a relatively simple, albeit tedious process. Once you’ve got it in every seam, drag your float over the tile at a sharp angle to wipe off excess from the tile surfaces.
After you’ve let your grout set for around ten minutes or so, use a barely damp sponge to wipe along the surface of the tile. This will assist remove any leftover grout on the tiles and also smooth the grout within the seams.
It doesn’t take much pressure or water at every. You may discover you desire to go back for a second pass a little while later, once it’s set even more within the seams (this helps to take the haze off the tile itself).
You’ll also want to caulk the edges where the tile meets your counter, your cabinets, and/or the walls. We bought a caulk that’s color-matched to the light gray grout we used (both were “Silverado”), so it wouldn’t stick out love a large white border.
We love to tape off the areas that are about to be caulked, leaving just a thin gap for where the caulk will go. Then just squeeze a little line of caulk along the seam, and use a wet finger (dipped in a cup of warm water) to smooth it. Be certain to tug your tape off as soon as you’ve got it smoothed to your liking.
Do NOT wait for the caulk to fully dry before removing your tape. Note: this caulk went on lighter than the grout and terrified us for a second, but it darkened to be a perfect match when it dried.
Why Add A Kitchen Backsplash?
One remorse Sherry and I own about our first home is not doing a tile backsplash as part of our kitchen makeover. Best I can remember, we wanted an easily changeable “pop of color” in the form of excellent ol’ fashioned paint instead (and we spent a lot on that makeover, so it was a cost saving measure as well). If only we had known how cheap and simple a backsplash could be if you install it yourself!
Now having several tiling projects under our belts – including the backsplashes in our current kitchen and our final kitchen – it feels love a no-brainer.
My Aunt Liz (also known as Grand Liz to our kids) moved to Richmond a few years ago, but didn’t own a backsplash put in when her new home was built. Luckily, she had chosen some nice black cabinets and a gray & back granite counter that was well suited for the addition of some classic white subway tile below the line, which she has always loved and pictured in there. These iPhone pictures aren’t doing the space much justice, but they give you a sense of where we started. And yes, when it comes to adding a backsplash, you can put it correct over the drywall (even if it’s painted!) and use ready-mixed adhesive and grout to make it even easier.
So let’s break below how we got it done.