DIY Backsplash Demolition and Installation

About a year and a half ago I had my kitchen gutted and replaced all my cabinets and counters. I had a new refrigerator, gas range and microwave put in as well. I was dragging my feet on my backsplash. I could not find tiles that I liked AND could afford. For Christmas this year my mom gifted me my tiles for the backsplash and they are stunning. Since it is Christmas time I decided to do the installation myself to save money. Plus I wanted to learn how to tile and the backsplash is one of the easiest to start from. This is my first tile job.

The first obstacle was removing the old backsplash. This was not as easy as just plucking the tiles off the wall with a crow bar. I think the construction workers used liquid nails. This is part of the reason why I did not have a new back splash yet besides not finding tiles I liked that were affordable. I ended up cutting the drywall out of the wall where the old tiles were installed. I used a jigsaw and a box cutter to do so. It was more work than I thought it would be but it was faster than any other method. After removing those sections of drywall I replaced them with new drywall. Here are some pictures…

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I did not mud the seams, instead I used drywall tape. The tape provided enough of a substrate for the tiles to adhere to. Plus my seems were very thin so the tiles went over them with no problems.

The next day I began installing the tiles to the walls. If you have a glossy paint on your walls you should lightly sand over them first. I used Type 1 Mastic I bought at Lowes to adhere the tiles. I used a zigzag edged trowels to place the mastic on the wall. Because my tiles were in 12 inch by 12 inch sheets it was fairly easy to apply them. Many times tutorials wioll tell you to use a rubber grout float to press them into the wall. Instead I pressed each tile into the wall to make sure they had a tight grip. In harder to reach places, or areas where only one or two tiles were needed to be adhered, I “buttered” the tiles then applied them. “Buttering” the tiles is when you apply the mastic directly to the tile first. Behind my stove I attached a wood beam flush to the counter tops to help make sure my tiles stayed lined up.

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Once I had full sheets installed i had to go back and add tiles around light sockets and light switches. To finish the tiles on top near my cabinets I placed rows of the mirror finish glass tiles. I found that I needed some tiles cut. I do not have a tile cutter and they are expensive to buy and rent. Luckily Lowe’s offers free tile cutting. Lowe’s is also where this tile was purchased. It is called “Silver Moon.” I took multiple pieces of tile with me to Lowe’s to have them make the cuts. At first, some of the tile salesmen said that they could not cut the tiles because they were too small. Luckily a more experienced tile salesman proved them wrong by showing them. I was worried for a moment when they told me it could not be done. If you need to have tiles cut, like I did, make sure you take more than you need just in case. I had to make a second trip myself and talk a salesman into doing it since the more experienced gentleman was not there the second time.

This is what my final results look like. I still have one more step to do. The grout. I am a little worried about it because the gray tiles are natural stone they are not level. I am hoping to get the grout done within the next week or so.

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