How to Install a Tile Backsplash
Install new ceramic, porcelain, glass or stone tiles above a countertop to brighten a kitchen or bath.
Watch an overview video below of how to install a DIY Network Mosaic Tile Backsplash Kit.
Measure the distance between the countertop and the bottom of the cabinet to figure out the size needed to fill that space (Image 1).
Next, lay two sheets of glass mosaic tile on the counter. Measure to figure out the proper size to cut the mosaic in order to fit between the counter and the cabinet. Cut the tile (Image 2) and test the fit without peeling the backing off.
Always dry-fit the final tile placement from top and bottom plus side to side so the mosaic lines up properly (Image 3). You don't want the completed backsplash to be too short or too long. Remember, you will start from left to right the majority of the time.
Use a screwdriver to remove the outlet covers. Note: When replacing the covers, longer screws might be required to accommodate the thickness of the tile.
Clear the countertops to ensure there's enough space to move around during installation. You may even need to move the stove, microwave and/or refrigerator. Use a towel, rag or scrub brush with a chemical cleaning solution like a glass cleaner or multipurpose cleaner to remove oils, grease and any type of marks that will keep the back of the mosaic from sticking to the surface. Make sure the wall surface is completely clean and dry.
Check the dry fit of the tile again to be sure you're satisfied with where the tile pieces end up (if necessary, adjust the spacing off the counter's top edge and/or where the tile meets the bottom of the cabinets). Begin installing the mosaics from left to right, completing the bottom row first. Peel half of the back off the mosaic and line it up with the counter (Images 1 and 2). DO NOT APPLY PRESSURE when applying the mosaic to the wall until certain it's lined up correctly. The mosaic is removable up to two times for adjustment, but it's easier when pressure hasn't been applied.
After installing the first row of mosaics, begin installing the top row. Take your time and make sure to align the grout joints before applying pressure with your hands (Image 3). Once satisfied with how the grout joints are lined up, use the grout float to apply even more pressure to assure proper adhesion to the wall (Image 4).
Tip: For uneven walls, make adjustments to line up the grout joints better using this technique: Use a utility knife to cut the peel and stick backing in between the grout joints of the individual row you wish to adjust. Then, lift the end of that row and reposition. When satisfied, re-apply pressure.
Cut the corner of the grout bag and evenly squeeze some grout onto the float (Image 1). Apply the grout to the mosaic in a diagonal pattern in an upward motion with the float held at a 45-degree angle (Image 2). Add more grout to the float as needed.
Next, push grout into the joints in the opposite direction, applying more pressure using a squeegee-like motion (Image 3). Make sure the joints are completely full of grout and that all excess is removed from the mosaic. Repeat for the entire backsplash area.
Use a damp sponge and clean water to remove the grout residue (start where the grout was first applied and follow the same pattern around the room). Continue wiping the surface and rinse the sponge with clean water as needed to get the tile surface clean. Repeat, wiping the entire tile surface as needed until completely clean. Grout dries at different rates based on humidity and temperature. If the grout seems very messy and isn't cleaning because it's too watery, let it dry more, and then start the cleaning process again.
Windows and Openings:
If a window or opening is in the center or at the end of a wall, be sure to dry-fit the tile before installation so you know how it will look once it's complete. This will ensure the grout joints are lined up consistently.
Outlets and Wall Faucets:
When installing the glass around outlets and wall faucets or fixtures, make sure to remove all finish plates and install the glass and grout before replacing them. Cut the mosaic sheets as close as possible around the fixtures so the job looks perfect when the finish plates are replaced.
These are designed to help establish a unique, custom look while helping complete the backsplash. The kit comes with six different-sized liners designed to make it so that you never have to cut actual glass and to ensure a perfect finish to every job no matter how challenging the area.
If the backsplash has exact linear dimensions (whole number) like eight, nine or 10 feet, for example, use the 12-inch standard-size liners to finish the installation. To install the liners, peel the protective film from the back and stick the liner onto the wall, just like the mosaics.
If the linear measurement is not a whole number, such as 9-3/4" or 11-1/2", the multi-sized liners should be used and there are two options to choose from:
1. Use the 12-inch standard-size liners to cover the larger areas, starting from the center and working out to the corners using the smaller sizes to finish the edges.
2. Get creative and use the smaller liners in the center of the backsplash to create a decorative element in the middle and use the 12-inch standard-size liners to complete the installation toward the outer edges.
With either option, always lay out the liners on the countertop, making sure to use the correct-size liners to finish the installation properly. Don't forget to leave a space between the liners equal to the grout joints of the mosaics so they match once grouted. Use the spacers provided in the kit for consistent spacing between the liner pieces.