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Home Improvement  /  March 7, 2016

Installing a Kitchen Backsplash

Wondering what to do with that boring, narrow stretch of bare wall located between your kitchen countertop and the upper wall cabinets? We think it offers a perfect opportunity to add some creative flair to your Boise kitchen! Aside from being beautiful, tiled backsplashes are also functional by making it easier to clean any spills, splatters and splashes that occur during your culinary preparation. While this can be a DIY project, the pros at Handyman Connection of Boise are ready and willing to handle the job for you.

Getting Started: Choosing Tiles

From natural stone to porcelain, any moisture-resistant tile can be used for a backsplash. Choose a style that matches your countertops for a seamless look or create an instant focal point with a contrasting style. Consider tile textures as well when choosing tiles for your backsplash. A rough textured tile evokes a more casual style, while a high-gloss surface lends itself to a more modern, polished look. While making sure that the tile complements your décor is important, it’s critical to consider functional factors too, including ease of installation. Large, heavy tiles may require covering your existing wall with backer board.

The easiest tiles to install are those that come pre-arranged on 12-inch-square mesh-back sheets. Available in glass, ceramic, porcelain or natural stone, they come in every color imaginable in a range of artful patterns and designs. These mesh sheets save you from having to mount each tile individually, and they can be applied using pre-mixed adhesive and grout products, so you won’t have to mix a thinset mortar.

Tools You’ll Need for the Job

Whether you decide on a pre-mixed mastic or thinset mortar, you’ll need a notched trowel to spread the substance on the wall and a grout float to apply the grout. A variety of types of grout are available, so be sure to check the product’s label to make sure it’s compatible with your chosen tile. Pick up some latex caulk in the same color too, so you can seal the space where the backsplash meets the countertop.

The backsplash must be prepped before application, so you’ll need sponges and sandpaper as well. A tape measure, straight edge and level help ensure that that the tiles line up perfectly. Almost every backsplash tiling job requires cutting some tiles, so you’ll also need to rent or purchase a tile cutter.

Planning and Preparation

After measuring to establish the dimensions of your backsplash, lay out the pattern on a table or on the floor to ensure it will fit perfectly on the wall. After the backsplash area is thoroughly cleaned, dried and roughed up with sandpaper, measure and mark the center of the backsplash at counter level. Use your level to draw a vertical and horizontal line through the center mark.

Installation Tips

When applying the mastic or mortar, hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle and use a sweeping motion to cover a small area of the wall at a time. Work your way up and outwards from bottom center mark. Wait 24 hours or until the mortar is completely dry before applying the grout. Pack the grout deeply into the seams with the grout float, and then clean the surface with a sponge and clean water. Wait 30 minutes before you wipe the tiles clean with a dry cloth.

Unlike other kitchen improvements that require a substantial investment of time and money to complete, installing a backsplash is an affordable project you can finish over a weekend. If you’d like to skip the labor and just enjoy the results, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the craftsmen at Handyman Connection of Boise. We’re happy to help!

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