I thought it would be an overwhelming task. I literally had a minor panic attack after buying the $200 worth of supplies. What on earth had I gotten myself into? I dove in and finished the project working an hour or two at a time--whenever I could et the kiddos settled in for naps, of busy with something--in about a week.
While tiling a kitchen backsplash may seem daunting, I actually found it to be a fairly easy process--except for caulking the countertop. The caulk gun and I are not friends! Anyway, I thought I would give all you homemakers out there some encouragement that you can do this yourself and get beautiful results, for less money than you think and offer some tips that I learned along the way. :-)
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Unfortunately...Fortunately...I can't give you a great answer to that. The cost depends of course, on how much tile you will need, they type and material of tile you buy and whether you can find said tile for an amazing deal or not. I can however, give you tips to keep your tiling job as inexpensive as possible
1: If you have a smaller space to tile, look for discontinued or clearance tiles.
2: Use plain, more economical ceramic tiles for the bulk of your backsplash and embellish with the more-expensive custom or specialty tiles.
3: Keep it simple. Avoid fancy tile patterns. They require more skill to install and more cuts, increasing your costs for rental equipment and material.
PS: If you must rent a tile saw, plan getting all the tile up in a day or two, or set all of the whole tiles first, measure and mark the tiles that need cut, then rent the saw and cut your tiles all at once. I must admit, this option makes me nervous, but, I know you can do it!
PPS: You DO need a wet saw. Don't think you can cut all those 4" tiles with hand tools. Just trust me on that. I learned the hard way. :-(
PPPS: DONT be afraid of the tile saw. But don't be foolish and get your fingers too close to the blade cutting skinny tiles. When the tile snaps it can pull your fingers into the blade. Lucky for me tile saw blades--at least this one--was fairly blunt and did not slice my finger off, but I learned a painful and scary lesson.
Okay Enough Tips...How did I Do It
After tearing my kitchen apart-- Did I tell you tiling is going to render your kitchen virtually unusable until you are done?-- I got to work. Now many sites say to spread the mortar on the wall and then stick the tile on, but I found this very difficult and super messy. Instead, I spread the mortar on the tiles themselves using a trowel with 1/4" teeth and then stuck the tile to the dry wall. I found this method a little less messy and easier in the tight space between my counter and cabinets. I loved that I could work tile-by-tile, which gave me the freedom to take my time in the beginning to make sure I was doing everything right. More importantly, with a tube-fed toddler and preschooler at home, I needed to be able to stop on a dime and tend to the rug rats.
I started with the bottom row of tiles in the middle of the wall so that the end tile pieces would be approximately the same size and used tile spacers and a level to check my work. Lucky for me, I was able to borrow a tile saw from my neighbor and was able to cut the tiles as I needed them.
I used a tile chisel to correct any minor mistakes in my tile cutting. Speaking of cutting. you will need to cut tile to fit around outlets and light switches. I accomplished this by holding the tile in its place and marking the top/bottom/side of the tile with a pencil along the rim or back.
Error on the side of caution. I had several close calls where my cuts were a smidge off and came close to being seen around the outlet covers. Of course, I didn't realize this until I had cut and set all 4 tiles around the outlets and by that time the tiles were dry and I couldn't take them off. If this happens to you, don't fret. A super simple fix is to buy a slightly larger outlet cover. You won't even notice the size difference.
Another cutting dilemma I faced was when I discovered that I would have to cut the mosaic tiles. *Gasp!* I had no way to cut the teeny glass tiles. Instead, I cut the tiles so that the stone-looking tiles were at the end. Using a hammer and straight screwdriver I was able to break them in half.
Once all the tiles were installed and set I was ready to grout, which was super easy, but very time consuming. Take your time and wipe those tiles down a million times, until there is absolutely no cloudy film left to reappear on the tiles. Then, wipe them down again!
Lastly, I had to caulk around the corners, cabinets and counters. You can not use grout as it is not flexible and will crack. I tried to use a caulking gun, but I found that the caulk came out way to fast and I had less control. I turned that job over to Mr. Wonderful. If I were going to try to that again, I would have taken the extra time and not used the gun.
Well, that's all the advise I have for you. Good luck! and If you happen to be doing your own tile backsplash, post a pic on the comment section and lets us all see your results! :-)
The Modern Housewife