Add Value to Your Home With a Backsplash

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If you want to breathe life into your kitchen without breaking the bank, a backsplash is the way to go. Adding a decorative pattern can revamp your kitchen and make it look more attractive. The good news is you can install it yourself in about two days. Here’s how:

1. Have your tools and materials ready.

You’re going to need a number of things to get started. For tools, the main ones are a notched trowel, wet tile saw, and tile saw. Also, make sure to have these: tape measure, level, rubber grout float, latex gloves, sponge, goggles, and tile spacers.

As for materials, you’ll obviously need to have your tiles of choice ready to go. The other big materials needed are grout, flexible caulk, and tile adhesive.

2. Prepare the area

Before getting started, turn off the power in your kitchen. This will make it safe to remove the outlet covers and switchplates in the area where you’ll be working in. Be sure to tape off cabinets, outlets, and the places where your walls meet the countertops.

Now use a level to attach ledger board — a sturdy piece of wood screwed to where the bottom edges of the backlash will be. This helps keep them level and supported while the adhesive cures. After that, clean the walls with water as well some trisodium phosphate before doing a bit of sanding or de-glossing on any glossy surfaces.

3. Plan your backlash layout

When planning the tile layout keep in mind that a 1/8-inch expansion gap is needed around the perimeter where the tile meets the countertops and cabinets. To get started, locate the middle of the wall that’s best for your chosen tiles and mark a vertical line. Dry-lay (no adhesive yet) your tiles on the countertop horizontally to make sure the layout will fit well.

The next step is to check the vertical layout. It’s recommended that you hide cut tiles under cabinets. Using a level, find the lowest point of the countertop and then hold a tile at this spot— don’t forget the 1/8-inch expansion gap. Mark the wall at the top of the tile before using a level to continue the line that will serve as your guide when cutting tiles.

4. Start attaching your tiles

Begin mixing your tile adhesive or thinset based on the manufacturer’s instructions on mixing/drying times. Since they dry fast, you’ll want to spread only on small sections of the wall at a time with a drywall towel. Once done, use a notched trowel to comb over it. Note: if you want an easier time, consider peel-and-stick tile adhesive products.

Use a small twist to press the first tile into the wall, remembering once again to leave that expansion gap (1/8-inch) at the countertop. Use a rubber float to press it into the adhesive. Using spacers to maintain even spacing, repeat the process with your other pieces. If a cut is needed, mark the tile and then use a nipper or tile cutter (mesh side up) to make the appropriate cuts.

5. Add the finishing touches.

Once your adhesive/thinset has been left to dry for at least 24 hours, start mixing grout according to the manufacturer’s directions. Use a rubber float to apply it diagonally across tiles. After 10 minutes, use a sponge in a diagonal motion to wipe away any excess. Don’t worry about any haze; you can clean it later with a haze remover.

Once the grout is dry, apply grout sealer according to the product instructions. Use caulk or silicone sealant to fill the expansion gaps, then apply box extenders to outlets and switches before attaching back the covers. This will bring them level with your new backsplash.

For more DIY projects that are fun, easy, and add value to your home – check out this article: DIY Home Projects That Will Instantly up the Value of Your Home.

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