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DIY Tile Backsplash

There are a lot of tutorials floating around on the blogosphere about how to install tile backsplash.

And this isn’t a whole lot different, except that I have no actual expertise.

So now that I’ve totally succeeded in gaining your confidence, and because I’m keeping my promise made to you in the laundry room reveal post, I’ll show you how we installed the backsplash in our laundry room.

I knew I wanted a sea glass-like colored subway tile, but that’s about where my plans ended. I had picked out two types of tile, one applied with your typical thin set adhesive and the other peel and stick. I ended up going with a product called Aspect Peel and Stick tiles for two reasons.

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First, because after adding up the cost of traditional tiles, adhesive, grout and sealant versus the peel and stick tiles it was a no brainer. It was such a small area that required backsplash I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $300-400 on it.

Second, because it was the color I had my heart set on and the store didn’t offer it in any other variety.

And I was not about to chase all over the greater metro looking for the perfect tile, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, peel and stick it was.

Because I was chicken and had never installed backsplash before I  enlisted the help of Rick, who was admittedly better at it than myself.

As I said, there are lots of (and probably better) ‘how-to’ tutorials on tile installation, but this is installation ~ Nellis style.

We started by finding the center of the area to be tiled and worked our way outwards so that it would be uniform throughout.We laid the first row on the bottom ensuring it was level as that would be the platform for all other rows.

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With peel and stick, the adhesive backing is very aggressive, so you want to be sure of your placement. Or you’ll pull sheetrock off trying to remove a poorly placed tile.

Don’t ask how I know this.

But once you are sure of your placement and that it’s level, its incredibly quick and easy to install.

Or at least it was, until we got to the edges and needed to cut tile. We knew this was going to happen, so we had done some reading on proper ways to cut glass tile. The two most common ways we found were either using a tile nipper or a wet tile saw with a diamond blade.

We don’t own a tile saw, didn’t want the hassle of renting one, so we bought a tile nipper for $15.

Here’s my advice: the tile nipper works great for small mosaic-type tile. Not so great for larger 3×6″ tile. Maybe it was operator error, but neither of us could get an edge even close to decent enough for use.

We looked into renting a wet tile saw, which would also require us to purchase a diamond blade (they are spendy little buggers!) and decided maybe we’d ask the experts instead. We made a trip down to The Tile Store and wouldn’t you know it? Turns out they’ll cut your tile for you for a small fee!

Done. Sign this girl up.

$20 later and all our tile was cut.  A good diamond blade cost considerably  more than that.

We laid out the tile in a 33% offset brick pattern. This means rather than the traditional brick pattern, where the staggered pieces are halved, we set our pattern off by thirds.

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(See all those cuts that needed to be made? Thank you Tile Store!)

For our size of tile, either pattern would work, however if you were using large format tile (12×12 or larger; flooring for example) you would certainly want a 33% offset to avoid lippage.

But lippage my friends is a riveting topic for a different time.

We installed all the tile we could, then measured all the areas that required a cut tile. We labeled both the tile that needed to be cut and the area it would eventually reside, so that after The Tile Store finished the cut we’d know where they would go.

We installed the remaining pieces of tile. Used white caulking around the edges…

And this is the finished product.

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It’s not perfect, but perfect is overrated.

It’s what I tell myself so I feel better.

Don’t ruin it for me.

If I were installing tile in a kitchen, I think I’d go the traditional route with thin set and grout only because you have a little more wiggle room if you don’t get the tile inserted just perfectly on the first try. You get one shot with the peel and stick. Which translates into mini panic attacks every time I put one up.

 And that is entirely too much stress in one day.

So there you have it. Measure. Level. Peel. Stick. Repeat. Feast your eyes.


About Amanda

I’m a Minnesota mama of three, wife of one, and human to our 4 legged canine friends Charlie and Jack. I’m a lover of all things DIY, coffee with cream, summer nights at the lake and good craft beer.

Comments

  1. Grace E. Chrast says:

    Looks great. You may have found a new “second” job. Congratulations on the backsplash!!

  2. Debbie Krueger says:

    I love the backsplash, especially the color. It looks great and thanks for the tip on the tile store making cuts…I will be checking with our local tile store. Great job.

  3. where did you buy those peel and dtick tiles? they’re gorgeous!

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