DIY Network

How To Create an Eco-Friendly Metal Backsplash

Use these instructions to customize your kitchen and help the environment by making a beautiful backsplash made of recycled aluminum.

More in Kitchen

  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Make and Place the Template

Measure the dimensions of the backsplash. Using a large sheet of paper or cardboard, transfer the measurements to the paper, then use scissors to cut a template. Set the template in place and tweak it until it fits the backsplash area perfectly. Be sure to mark the outlets.

Place the template on a flat surface and lay your tiles out to create a pattern you find appealing. We used 4" x 4" tiles with three finishes (vibrated, polished and matte) set in a random pattern.

Step 2: Backbutter the Tiles

Use a 1/2" trowel to spread the tile adhesive on a small area of the wall. "Back butter" the tiles (put a little bit of adhesive on them) then stick them to the wall according to the preset pattern. Place spacers in the corners of each tile; this will create a grout line. Work in small increments so the adhesive doesn't dry.

Step 3: Cut and Attach the Tiles

When you get as many whole tiles in place as possible, use the tile grinder to cut the remaining tiles to fit the remaining row. Follow the manufacturer's specifications and be sure to follow all safety precautions when using the tile grinder.

Once the tiles are cut, stick them to the wall with adhesive. Exercise caution when installing around outlets; make sure no exposed electrical wire touches the metal tile being installed. Even better, turn off the electricity to the area where you're working. The tiles may need to be cut to fit around the outlets.

Step 4: Grout and Clean the Tiles

Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before grouting the tiles.

Prepare the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using a cement mixer, mix the grout in the bucket until it is the consistency of pancake batter.

Use a rubber grout float to spread the grout over the tile.

Wait 15 minutes and remove excess grout with a damp sponge before it hardens completely. Allow the grout to set firmly according to the manufacturer's instructions.

After the grout is set, clean the new tiles thoroughly with mild dish soap and warm water.