How to Tile a Splashback

Written by kevin mcdermott
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A splashback (also called a backsplash) is a space on the wall behind the sink that's covered in moistureproof material to protect the wall and to add a decorative element to the room. One classic material for a splashback is ceramic or stone tile. With a careful layout, you can avoid having to cut any of the tiles. Use wall tiles, and make sure the wall is solid and flat before you start.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Thinset mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Wall tiles
  • 1/8-inch tile spacers
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Caulk

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Draw the border of your splashback on the wall, using your level and pencil. Use your tape measure to set the dimensions so that it will encompass all full tiles, without any cuts. Add 1/8 inch for each tile to account for the grout lines. If the splashback is going to be eight tiles wide, and the tiles are 3 inches across, the length of the area should be 25 inches, not 24, because eight grout lines at 1/8 inch will total 1 inch.

  2. 2

    Spread thinset mortar onto the wall with a notched trowel, covering it completely.

  3. 3

    Hang your tiles, starting along the bottom row. Put spacers between the tiles, and below them, to separate them from the countertop.

  4. 4

    Build upward, row by row, in a grid pattern, covering the whole area with tiles. Let them set for a day.

  5. 5

    Apply grout to the tiles with a grout float, forcing the grout into the spaces between the tiles. Wipe off the excess grout with a sponge. Don't grout the space between the bottom row of tiles and the countertop. Let the grout set for 24 hours.

  6. 6

    Run a bead of caulk between the bottom row of tiles and the countertop.

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