DIY Tile Backsplash

by GettingFreedom on May 3, 2012

The main part of Project Major Home Addition ended in November of 2010–waaayyyy past the projected date of August.  We were at a point where we were doing everything and our main focus was to just get it to where we could move in.  All the little details like tile backsplashes, custom closets and our built in media cabinet were put on the back burner.

We ended up just being flat out burnt out, so we just finished our tile backsplashes a few months ago–just in time for our final appraisal.  Phew!

After we were finished and we seen the transformation–we were kicking ourselves for putting it off for so long.  It was so easy, and the transformation was HUGE!

This is the sink that is located in our laundry room. I used to absolutely hate it. For under $20, though, we were able to make it gorgeous and fully functional! Before we were so afraid of doing much in that sink out of fear that we would splash water and ruin the top of the cabinet {which was plain ol’ wood} or the walls {which we just painted sheetrock}. It is an incredibly deep sink {I’ve been told that it was an RV bathtub in it’s former life} and perfect for washing the dog, soaking stained laundry, or washing off dirty shoes.

We found the tile at Lowe’s.  I had been eyeballing it for months–and just so happened to be able to score it on a clearance sale for around $3 a square foot! That is a steal!  Many 12×12 sheets of 1″-2″ tile run closer to the $12 mark.

Do It Yourself Tile Backsplash

We are definitely not tile professionals, but I’m no longer uncomfortable laying tile.  So far we’ve tiled 4 bathroom floors, walls to 2 showers, the backsplash in our kitchen, the laundry room backsplash and we’ve also built our master bath shower.  All out of tile!

Our Secret?  YouTube!  It’s a wealth of knowledge on many DIY projects, and will make you feel like a professional all the while saving big bucks!  The tile quote to tile our master bath shower was well over $500 by itself!  Ouch!

The Basics

Tiling backsplashes are completely different than laying a floor or doing shower walls.  They’re super easy, and require very little prep work.

Many may disagree with us–but for our backsplashes we opted to not install backerboard.  Instead we tiled directly onto the sheetrock, using mastic as our adhesive of choice.  You can find mastic {as well as your other tiling supplies} at most hardware stores.  We got most of our supplies from Ace Hardware since it was in our small town.

Before you begin, you need to lay out your tile to figure out the layout.  Then you will need to measure and mark off the area that you are going to tile and cut any pieces that you need to cut.  For this particular project, my husband cut all of the pieces the night before, and I laid them the next day.  Seriously–it was only a two day project, or one Saturday.  It was unbelievable how quick it went after we started!

Work in Small Areas

When I was laying the tile, I applied the mastic with a trowel in a 2 foot area.  After I had the mastic like I wanted it, I placed the first sheet of tile on.  Once it was positioned exactly how I wanted it, I firmly pressed it into place.  Then I moved onto the next sheet and continued on.

The main thing you need to watch is to make sure that your grout lines are level.  You will notice it if they aren’t, so pay close attention!


Be Patient

After you’ve laid all of your tile, leave it alone for a few hours and then go back and wash off any remaining mastic.  You will thank yourself for this later!  The mastic isn’t easy to get off the longer it’s set there.  Don’t forget to also get the excess out from in between the tiles!

Let your tile sit overnight before you grout it.  

Since we went with glass tiles, we used an unsanded grout.  Mix it up according to the directions on the box and you are good to go!  Grouting is probably the easiest part of the entire process.  The one thing you need to make sure of is that you are pressing the grout into the grout lines firmly.

After you are done grouting–wipe off the tiles, and enjoy your beautiful backsplash!  You might want to treat yourself to dinner after saving yourself so much money! ;)


Additional Resources::

How to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash Video

How to Tile a Backsplash–DIY Video



This post is part of Frugal Friday.

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