As part of our home makeover, we had granite countertops installed, which also meant we needed a new backsplash. The old dated tiles just weren’t going to do next to our brand new White Sparkle granite. To make the kitchen look modern and current, we chose a glass tile backsplash from The Home Depot. I fell in love with the Materialized Mosaic Glass Tile Backsplash, and thought it complemented the granite nicely. Now to show you how to install a glass tile backsplash.
We made a video, which quickly shows the basics of how to install the backsplash, but we have the step-by-step instructions written here as well.
What you will need for this project:
- notched trowel
- wet saw
To prepare for the installation of any backsplash, the wall needs to be completely smooth. Fill any holes or dents with mud, and allow to dry overnight. When wall is dry, it is time to sand. Because we want the wall to be smooth, we sand to knock down any dried chunks of mud that might get in the way of having a smooth backsplash.
Now that the wall is prepped and ready, protect your countertop. We use painters tape and paper, to give room to work, without worrying about ruining the counter. Now it is time to set up the wet saw and mix up some of the thinset. We recommend using (thinset) for applying a glass tile backsplash. Because tile backsplashes are made like puzzle pieces on both ends, you will need to cut one side to make it flush against your starting point. If you aren’t starting next to a door jam, but want to line the tile up with the counter you will still cut off the little puzzle piece ends, for a straight starting line. Do this with the wet saw.
Before applying the thinset, hold the starting piece of tile up on the wall where it will go. Make sure it doesn’t bump into any electrical outlets or switches. If it does, then take a sharpie and mark the tile where it hits the outlet, so you can notch the tile.
Apply a good layer of thinset to the wall, using a notched trowel. It’s okay to have it a little thick, as long as you leave enough room for grout to fit between the tiles. Now take your readied piece of tile and press it into place. Using the heel of your hand, apply enough pressure to make the tile good and stuck. If you are fitting next to an electrical outlet and find your tile doesn’t quite reach in all places, you may need to fill in the holes with a small cut piece of tile. Try saving all cut ends from the get go, and you may find the perfect spot to put those cut pieces.
Immediately take a damp sponge and wipe any thinset off the front of the tile. If the thinset pushes up between the tile pieces too much, try to clear those out enough for the grout to go in there.
Now it’s time to fit the next piece. If no electrical outlets are in the way, the next piece should fit right up against the first sheet of backsplash. Leave a very small gap, for grout, between the two pieces. If nothing needs to be notched then go ahead and apply the thinset to the wall, and stick the next tile. Repeat this process until you have reached the other end of the counter, or where you want the backsplash to end. Once again you will need to cut the ends of the tile piece, to create a straight line.
It is up to you if you want a single layer of backsplash, or if you’d like it to go all the way up to the cabinets. If you want to go all the way up, like we did, then the process is the same. Start back at the beginning and repeat the pattern. The only difference is that you likely won’t be able to use a full sheet Measure to see how much of a tile will fit between the first row, and the cabinet. The backing can easily be cut with a utility knife, or scissors. Then continue on, fitting the following pieces together like a puzzle, as we did with the first layer.
When all tiles are in place, allow the thinset to completely dry before grouting. When it’s time to grout, mix up the grout and use a trowel to spread onto the tiles, making sure it gets in between every little piece of tile. This will be messy, but it cleans right off of the tiles with a damp sponge. Try to avoid getting grout on the walls, trim, counters and cabinets. It can be tough to clean when dry.
Now you should have a beautiful tiled backsplash! Good luck, and please let us know if you have any questions!