Tiling a Kitchen Back Splash

There are many tutorials out there for tiling a back splash. We actually learned a lot from this video and watching countless hours of HGTV and DIY Network.  Here's the rundown on how we tiled our kitchen.

Supplies we used:
1x2 mosaic tiles
1x1 mosaic tiles for filling in gaps along edges and corners
tile adhesive (we used pre-mixed)
notched trowel
rubber float
glass tile nippers
sponge and bucket
grout sealer
grout caulk to match your grout

Steo by step:
We started by making sure the wall was clean and dry.
Using the notched trowel, apply the adhesive to the wall and remove excess using the notches on the edges.
Press on one sheet of tiles at a time.  You want to use spacers between the tiles and top of countertop.  Two hard surfaces should never meet because of expansion and contraction.
Press firmly against the face of the tiles with the rubber float to make sure the tiles are adhered to the wall.
Continue to lay the tile sheets until your walls are covered.
We used 1x2 tiles so they look like bricks when put together.  There were one inch spaces along the edges and in the corners where there was no tile.  We bought an additional sheet of 1x1 tiles to fill in these spaces.  Lowes carried our tile pattern in both sizes so that saved us some cuts.  The color palette we used is Glacier.

Around the outlets, we did have to make some cuts.  For this we bought a glass tile nipper.  It easily chipped of small pieces of the tile to get the size we needed.

If you want to get the outlet covers back on, make sure to tile around the opening.  Place the ears of the socket on the tile if you can.  You may need to loosen the screws in order to do this.

After the tiles set for 24 hours, you can grout.  We bought the powdered stuff and mixed it ourselves.  According to the video, it should be the consistency of peanut butter.
Use the rubber float to apply between tiles and scrape excess grout from the tile fronts with the edge.
After it sets for 10 minutes, take a wet sponge and remove the leftover grout.  This cleans the tile and prevents the grout from hardening on your tiles.  You want to the sponge to be wet but not dripping so try to squeeze as much water out as possible.  You will have to keep cleaning your sponge so keep a bucket of water.
Allow the grout to set for 24 hours.  The tiles will have a haze on them so wipe with a wet sponge.  I used a dry cleaning cloth after cleaning with water to dry the tiles and make them shine.
After the grout is set, spray with a grout sealer.  This prevents your tiles from staining during use.  This is a kitchen you know.
Use the caulk to seal the space between the countertop and tiles.  I also used a bead of caulk around the outside edge of the tiles to give them a finished look.

This project definitely was not something we could do quickly.  You cannot move on to the next step until the previous one is done.  All the work was definitely worth it.  Our kitchen looks better with a back splash.  See here for more pics.

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