Created on: December 16, 2011 Last Updated: October 13, 2012
Tiling a back-splash in your kitchen isn't as hard as you may suppose. A back-splash is that area of tiling which is on the wall behind the worktops. What may seem difficult or beyond the scope of the inexperienced is actually very doable, once you get over the little hurdles that stand in the way. Measuring the area across the worktop and up the wall gives you two separate figures and these are multiplied by each other to give the square footage needed. All you need to do is bear in mind your own level of expertise—and buy a little more if you think you may break some tiles in the process. You will also need adhesive that is water resistant, as in the kitchen the tiling is likely to come into contact with water or liquids. The grout purchased should also be water resistant so that staining of the grouting area is kept to a minimum.
If you have a flat bed cutter, this is usually sufficient for a small area such as a backsplash. There may be difficult cuts if you have electrical sockets, and these can be done with snips especially made for tiling. You will also need a spirit level and a rubber mallet to tap the tiles into place with a very gentle action. A paste applicator which combs the adhesive onto the wall is also essential. When tiling, always make sure that you have plenty of clean cloths. Spacers will be needed that suit the size of the tiles. These space the tiles evenly and allow an even grout line.
• Where to start
If you place a row of tiles across the worktop, this helps you to see potential trouble areas. For example, does the electrical outlet fall in the middle of a tile? If it does, this would not be the ideal place to start since you do need professional tools to make a hole in the center of a tile. It's much better if you can have the row of tiles positioned so that two tiles meet centrally over a plug socket, thus making the cuts easier. The tiles will also need to look neat at the end of the worktop. Move them around until you have an even looking layout and then mark where the first tile goes with a pencil mark.
• Working out the distance required from the worktop.
If you placed tiles directly onto the work surface, what happens is that there is no room for grout. Often a good alternative to grout where the tiled surface meets the worktop is a plastic strip which is specifically made for this join. If you like the look of these, they may be a good idea. If not, you need to use a spacer underneath the first
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