(BPT) - As the home’s center for family gatherings and entertaining friends, it’s no surprise that kitchens are the most popular room to renovate, according to online home remodeling and design resource Houzz. However, Houzz also identifies kitchens as the most expensive room to update. This challenges homeowners to find upgrades that can be completed quickly without hiring a contractor. Installing a new backsplash with glass, ceramic or mosaic tile is one of the fastest, easiest, most affordable options. It’s so simple that it's often overlooked as a do-it-yourself project. Pairing a new backsplash with a paint job and simple cabinet hardware changes can dramatically transform the entire look of your kitchen — just in time to host an annual holiday party or an impromptu get-together.
For years, the process of installing a backsplash was intimidating and best left to a contractor with years of experience working with mortars and grouts. That’s no longer the case as high-strength installation alternatives like SimpleMat replace messy thin-set mortars and mastics for bonding tiles to a wall. In addition, ready-to-use professional-quality grouts have come a long way. Products like Fusion Pro grout provide unparalleled levels of stain resistance against common household products. They don’t need to be sealed, they don’t require mixing to ensure consistent color performance and are easy to apply. The best grouts offer a stain-proof, color perfect guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
How to Install a Kitchen Backsplash
Remember to put safety first when working on home projects. Follow manufacturer recommendations and wear eye protection and gloves as needed.
* Measure your backsplash to determine the amount of tile, setting mat and grout needed for the project.
* Ensure that your chosen tile meets the size and weight requirements of the mat.
* If necessary, remove any wallpaper, tile or other existing coverings on the wall where the backsplash will be installed. In addition, make repairs to any damage to the wall to create a flat, smooth, stable surface for the bonding mat and the tile.
* Wipe the wall clean to remove surface dust or contaminants.
* Cut the two-sided adhesive mat to size, peel off the back to expose the wall-side adhesive and apply to the wall, overlapping sheets according to the instructions.
* Lay out and cut your tile in desired sizes and shapes. Remove the release liner to expose the adhesive ridges on the front of the mat. You do not need mortar. Set the tile in place on the wall and then firmly push the tile into the mat using your hand or a flat surface like a grout float to lock the tile into position. Mosaic tiles often come on 12” x 12” sheets that are already spaced for even easier application or use grout spacers.
* Be sure to grout the tile within 24 hours after setting the tile into the adhesive. Apply the grout according to the directions, spread the grout using a grout float held at a 45-degree angle and make sure that grout fills every joint between the tiles.
* Remove excess grout and then wipe clean on a diagonal with a lightly damp sponge and microfiber towel using clean rinse water.
* Repeat the process until all of the tile has been grouted and cleaned.
* Enjoy welcoming guests to your “new” kitchen!
With the wide variety of tile materials and shapes — as well as all of the complementary grout colors on the market today — homeowners are only limited by their own creativity when installing an elegant and functional backsplash. For more information on products and systems used for installing tile and stone, visit Custom Building Products at www.custombuildingproducts.com.