Where to Start a Tile Backsplash

Written by sarabeth asaff
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Where to Start a Tile Backsplash
The size and shape of a backsplash varies based on kitchen design. (the kitchen. image by guiney from Fotolia.com)

The kitchen backsplash is frequently the last and most decorative component of a kitchen design. These long, straight runs of tile may continue unbroken across the entire backsplash area, or may be broken up into sections to include a focal point. No matter what style your backsplash is designed in, proper layout and the correct starting point for the tile will help give you a balanced installation.

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Typical Location

There are two rules of thumb for tiling a kitchen backsplash. The tile can run between the counters and cabinets and behind the hob, or it may be contained behind the sink and hob alone. The first variation is more decorative than functional, while the second focuses the tile in the two areas most likely to need the protection the tiles would give to the wall. Determining how much of your walls to tile is the first step is locating the starting point of the tile installation.

Number of Designs and Areas

Some kitchen backsplashes will consist of one tile design, such as glass mosaics, installed everywhere in the kitchen backsplash area with no definition between areas. Other backsplash designs have separate areas, such as one tile design between counter and cabinet, one behind the hob, one surrounding the area behind the sink and possibly one in a desk or work area.

Determining how many separate sections and designs of tile you have can help you find where to start your tiles. You need to break your kitchen into sections anyway, with each wall being its own area. After this, adding additional sections is not difficult.

The Starting Point for Wall Tile

If you plan on tiling the entire kitchen with one tile, begin your backsplash design by breaking your kitchen into sections, with each wall being its own. Find the centre point, lengthwise, along each wall. Set your first tile, or sheet of mosaic tiles, right on this point.

Begin your tile installation at the bottom, next to the counter. Move up and out from this point to bury cut tiles beneath the cabinets and on the ends of each run.

Creating Focal Areas

If you have different tile designs behind the stove, sink or desk area, treat them separately from the rest of the tile. In most cases, a border, chair rail, pencil tile or listello will be used to break the two areas apart from one another.

Tile the interior section of the focal area first, leaving the border to be fit last. Leave a gap in the tile for the border to be set into by laying out the tiles ahead of time to ensure a good fit. Lay the border tiles last throughout the installation.

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