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How to tile a splashback

ProjectPete
Trusted Contributor

Difficulty: Intermediate

 

Want to give your kitchen an inexpensive makeover? Whether you are selling your house or just want to give your kitchen a little facelift, one of the most cost-effective and simple methods is to replace the splashback.

 

In this article you’ll find everything you need to install a tiled splashback in a weekend of D.I.Y. fun that should cost you less than $100.

 

Preparation and patience will go a long way to ensuring you get the best finish possible. And bear in mind, if you’re going to lay mosaic tiles, it’s a similar process but you’ll need a special adhesive and a little more patience.

 

Steps

Step 1

Measure your wall space to be tiled. When buying your tiles, add at least five percent extra for cuts and waste.

 

Take the time to properly tape up and protect your benchtop and floors. Use some old sheets or buy some cheap (ideally reusable) plastic to tape down to the benchtop.

 

Lay out your tools and materials in a way that will help you complete the job most cleanly and efficiently.

 

1. Preparation.jpg

Step 2

Getting your first row of tiles level is key to ensuring you have the best finish. Remember to take into account any slope in your benchtop. Set a level line for the length of the wall being tiled.

 

If you have a gap between benchtops, you will need to temporarily fix a piece of wood to the wall to provide a guide to lay level tiles.

 

2. Ensure your first row is level.jpg

Step 3

Lay your first tiles by spreading adhesive on the wall with your notch trowel and pressing your tile onto it firmly. Use wedges to allow a small gap between your benchtop and the bottom of your tile. Place spacers between each tile - one near top of the tile and one near the bottom. Apply the same pressure when applying each tile to ensure a smooth finish.

 

Tip: To keep a constant flow, spread adhesive for the length of each row. And to avoid adhesive build-up in-between tiles which you have to clean out before grouting, wipe a pinky finger worth of adhesive away along adjoining edges of tiles before you lay each one.

 

Step 4

If you are laying your tiles brickbond you need to start your second row with a half length tile. Hold on to the offcut (other half) as you’ll be able to use it to finish that row or start your fourth row.

 

Stackbond is pretty self-explanatory - only requiring cuts on one end. But don’t underestimate the extra complexity of maintaining perfectly level rows and straight columns, as any discrepancies are far more noticeable compared to brickbond.

 

4. Brickbond.png  4. Stackbond.png

Step 5

Cutting around powerpoints and other obstacles doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply line up your tile, mark where the powerpoint is (accounting for enough space for the powerpoint to fit into the wall) and make your cuts with the angle grinder. Take your time especially with finer cuts - a small mistake can easily ruin the tile.

 

5. Cut around powerpoints.jpg

 

Step 6

Once you’ve laid all your tiles, give them at least 12 hours to dry before grouting.

 

Step 7

Clean the excess adhesive off your tiles with a plastic scraper and cloth.

 

7. Clean excess adhesive.jpg

Step 8

Once you’ve cleaned your tiles, mix your grout per the instructions on the packet with your drill and paint mixer. Getting the right consistency is key to an easier job and better finish.

 

8. Tiles are clean.jpg

 

Step 9

When grouting, it is important to avoid being too pedantic as the more you work each grout line, the more you risk actually ruining the final finish. Simply spread your toothpaste like grout over your tiles and into the gaps with your rubber grouting trowel. Once you’ve filled it all, run over your tiles fairly firmly with a damp jumbo sponge to remove excess grout ensuring a smooth grout line between tiles. You need to avoid a coarse/rough finish.

 

Now leave it to dry before giving it a final wipe down and clean up.

 

9. Ensure a smooth finish when grouting.jpg

Step 10

Once you’ve cleaned up and your benchtop is dust free, apply a bead of silicone evenly along the bottom to fill the gap between benchtop and tile. It’s also a good idea to seal your grout to help protect it from stains.

 

Now step back and bask in the glory of your work and put any pennies you have left over into your next project.

 

10. Finished Result.jpg

Materials

  • Protective plastic or sheet for benchtop and floors
  • Painters tape
  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile wedges
  • Wet area silicone
  • Grout sealer

Tools

  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Tape measure
  • Small spirit level
  • Pencil or sharp felt-tip pen
  • Drill
  • Mixer
  • Bucket
  • Notch trowel
  • Angle grinder with tile/ceramic disc
  • Rubber grouting trowel
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Jumbo sponge
  • Wet tile cutter (Optional)

Images

1. Preparation.jpg

2. Ensure your first row is level.jpg

4. Brickbond.png

4. Stackbond.png

5. Cut around powerpoints.jpg

7. Clean excess adhesive.jpg

8. Tiles are clean.jpg

9. Ensure a smooth finish when grouting.jpg

10. Finished Result.jpg

7 Replies
Pixelchick
Regular Browser

Hi,

Thanks for sharing this step by step process.  I have a question.  You mention using the silicon sealer at the bottom of the tiles to seal between the bench and tiles.  What is the best way to seal the top of the tiles if we are not taking the tiles to ceiling or cupboard height?  Would it be best to use the silicon sealer or is there a better method?

 

 

Jason
Community Manager
Community Manager

Many thanks for joining in the discussion @Pixelchick. I'm sure @ProjectPete will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Are you renovating your kitchen?

 

Let me extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. We're looking forward to reading more about your projects and plans and trust you'll get loads of helpful information, advice and inspiration for your projects around the house and garden from our amazing members. Feel free to post anytime you need a hand with anything or have something new to share. 

 

Jason

 

ProjectPete
Trusted Contributor

Hi @Pixelchick, glad you liked the guide 😀 You'll find that when you press your top row of tiles, the adhesive will ooze out the top. Smooth that off with your finger and that's your finish - nice and easy. You can sand off any dried bits if needed. Then just run a bit of paint to match the face colour of your tile.

 

Note - Some tiles will be white (for example) but have the red ceramic back/sides so you want to paint that too to match the face colour of your tiles.

 

Hope this helps.

Old-gal24
Super Contributor

Thank you so very much for your step to step super easy to understand instructions @ProjectPete  you have made the daunting task look so much less stressful with planning and preparation.

 

Cheers

Old gal 

Old-gal24
Super Contributor

Hi folks,

 

Sorry to be a pain but I'm of two minds of how to tile behind benches/hotplates.

 

@ProjectPete   After re-reading your post Pete, I am wondering if you have ever laid tiles over tiles? 

 

@Jason  @EricL @gippslandhome

 

I have a small but painful area to get to, behind hotplates, between low over hanging cupboards, benchtops and cupboard either end. 

And more than likely will need the gyprock replacing, IF I GO AHEAD AND REMOVE EXISTING TILES.... 

Also I've made the benchtop and measured with the existing tiles already there...     :unhappy: 

 

So if I do remove the tiles now, my bench top will be too small.  *(Live edge river red gum).

 

I'm thinking if I go over the top of existing tiles I won't have the issues,

1. Having to remove all of the tiles

2. Worrying about what condition the gyprock is in

3. Replacing the gyprock

4. My bench top being too small

 

1. Then I have to worry about other things like, what is best to adhere the tiles? 

2. The depth of cutting for power points?

 

If anyone out there had tiled over tiles before any pointers would be awesome thank you. 

 

TIA 

Old-gal24

 

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Old-gal24,

 

You can tile over existing tiles, but if it's avoidable, then starting with a fresh installation can be best. 

 

Your existing tiles need to be in reasonable condition, and you should replace any drummy or hollow-sounding tiles before tiling over the surface. Thoroughly de-greasing the existing tiles is important, and Sugar soap is suitable for this.

 

I recommend you use a tile adhesive suitable for tile-on-tile, like Davco 2 Part Rapid Adhesive. No primer is required with this product. You can order this product through your local store's Special Orders desk. Make sure to specify that you need both Part A and Part B for this 2-part product.

 

Having a double tile layer shouldn't inhibit the installation of power points. The tile layers and the plasterboard will need to be cut through so the powerpoint can be fully recessed into the wall. Let me mention @CSParnell to see if they'd be any particular issues an electrician might encounter.

 

Please let me know if you have further questions.

 

Mitchell

 

CSParnell
Junior Contributor

@MitchellMc 

There is no issue with double layer tiles with installation of power points or switches just cut the tile or material out to the same cut out size as the tile behind so that the power point or switch sits on top on the new tiles but allows for the screws to pass through. (Some new power points will come with a cut out template)

The only different item you will need is longer screws now Bunnings do sell a longer screw of 51mm as per link below but this may not be long enough but you can get a 76mm one from your local electrical wholesale.

 

The only other issue that you encounter and that is if the cables have been stripped back and cut to a very short length but since this job requires a qualified electrician they will know the legal way to resolve this in a safe manner. 

 

Carl

 

https://www.bunnings.com.au/hpm-51mm-long-screws-for-powerpoints-and-switches-10-pack_p7034597?regio...

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