Installing mosaic tiles on your kitchen backsplash on your own is not as difficult as you might think.
It is a great way to save up some money and just go DIY.
You don’t need to have much technical experience for doing this. Just follow the steps closely and you will be amazed by the results.
In this article, we will explain how to install mosaic tiles on your kitchen backsplash in detail.
Plus, we give you some extra tips and information that might be useful regarding mosaic tiles and maintenance.
Table of Content
Tools and Materials
You are going to need some tools and materials to install your mosaic tiles in the kitchen.
Here is a list of tools that are required:
- Grout float
- Rubber mallet
- Tape measure
- Non-contact voltage tester
- Utility knife
- Tile nippers - Prices range between 10 - 35 AUD
- Notched trowel
- Sandpaper (may be needed)
- Grout - 15kg package is around 21 AUD
- Tile Spacer
- Outlet Extenders
- Mastic Adhesive
- Tile Sealer
- Deglosser (may be needed)
If you consult a professional they may charge you around 120 AUD per square meter.
Of course, you need to buy the tiles separately.
The prices for tiles vary, depending on the materials used. You can have a look at our collection here to find out more about tiles.
Step by Step Guide
Now it’s time to get hands-on and install those beautiful tiles in your kitchen!
Step 1 - Prepare the surface
Before doing any tiling you need to make sure that the surface of the wall is clean and not greasy.
Grease will not allow the adhesive to adhere to the wall.
So clean up all the grease with a towel or cloth.
If the stains don’t come off, you can use a deglosser. Simply wipe it off with a cloth after applying the deglosser.
If you are laying the tiles on a painted surface, sand it first. This will ensure that the surface is flat and smooth and that the adhesive works.
After that, cover the countertops with paper or plastic so they don’t get dirty after all the work.
Then, switch off all power in your kitchen because you need to remove the cover plates of the power plugs. Make sure the power is off by using a non-contact voltage detector. Now, remove all the plates.
Then, take your measuring tape, level and a pencil.
Draw a vertical line in the centre of the area on the wall to determine the layout of the tiles.
You need to leave a ¼ inch gap between the countertop and the tile. This space will be filled with caulk later.
Using a level, draw a horizontal line to mark the centre of your surface.
One thing to keep in mind when drawing the horizontal lines is that you want to place as many tiles as possible without having to cut them. So, measure your tiles and your surface. Figure out what is the maximum number of tiles you can place on the backsplash (perhaps three to four).
Step 2 - Tiling
You need to spread the adhesive on the wall. Use a notched trowel to spread the adhesive on the surface of the backsplash.
Start from a smaller area where you feel more comfortable and don’t need to cut any tiles.
Spread a thin layer of the adhesive evenly on the surface. Then using the notched side of the trowel create grooves on the adhesive. Make sure the grooves are all in one direction.
Do this for an area of three to four feet. If the adhesive dries and hardens, dampen it with a sponge.
Once you have done this you can start laying the tiles on the adhesive.
Lay them evenly on the surface and push them against the wall so they adhere properly.
To ensure that the tile sheets do not touch the surface of the countertop you can use tile spacers.
If necessary, cut the tiles to fit using a sharp knife. Where necessary cut the mosaic tiles by using the nipping tool.
Once tiles are placed correctly you can use a rubber mallet to make sure the adhesive is really adhering to the back of the tiles.
Continue doing this for the entire surface of the backsplash.
When placing the tile sheets next to each other, use the tile spacers to make sure the space between them is equal.
The distance between each tile sheet should be the same as the tiles in one sheet.
Remove any excess adhesive from the walls, and clean the surface with a sponge. Make sure the sponge is not too wet and leave the spaces between the tiles and any other surface or object (window, countertops, plug) empty. As mentioned previously these spaces will be filled with caulk later on.
After you are done placing the tiles you need to let it sit for at least 30 minutes so the adhesive does its work.
Step 3 - Grouting
At this stage, you need to apply the grout to the tiles.
Grouts are usually white and creamy but there are other colours to choose from. Here we provide some tips on choosing the best colour for grout.
First of all, make the grout in a bucket. Mix it with water until you get it at a toothpaste consistency.
Then, make sure to remove the tile spacers.
Apply the grout to the tiles. Do not apply it to the spaces between the tile sheets and other objects and surfaces.
Using a float, apply the grout on all the surfaces of the tiles. Hold the float at a 45 degrees angle.
Step 4 - Cleaning
Make sure to clean the tiles after finishing with a minimum amount of water because you don’t want to dilute the grout.
Clean all the surfaces of the tiles, making sure there is only grout in between the tiles and the tile sheets with a damp sponge.
Afterwards, apply grout sealer to the joints between the tiles. This can be a little hasty but take your time. There is no need to rush.
Once you are done with the sealer you need to let the grout rest for 7-10 days.
Step 5 - Caulk
This is the final step.
Fill all the spaces between the tiles and other materials such as the countertop, utilities and windows with caulk.
It’s very easy. Just press the tube and drag it along.
Once you are done, wait for it to dry.
You have a brand new kitchen with an awesome backsplash
Cleaning the mosaic tiles after installing them is very important. When you apply the grout it is important to clean excess grout. Once it hardens it may be harder to remove it.
Use a knife to get rid of some of the grout in the spaces in between the tiles and other objects before applying the caulk.
Make sure to use a damp sponge to remove any grout stain from the mosaic tiles while it is still not too hard.
This will help you in keeping your tiles and your kitchen looking fantastic in the future.
Cutting Mosaic Tiles
When installing mosaic tiles to the wall you will need to cut some tiles eventually.
Cutting mosaic tiles is a fairly easy task. You can use the mosaic nippers to do it. Here we show you how to do it nice and clean, so the corners of your backsplash look neat.
For safety purposes, it’s better to have safety glasses on.
Grab a pencil and draw a line on the tile where you want to cut.
For glass tiles:
Take the tile in one hand and the nippers in the other. Slowly adjust the edge of the nipper on the tile and just press the handles firmly. You don’t need to have the whole tile in the nippers.
For corner cuts, you need to place the nippers at a 45-degree angle.
You can actually cut circles if you need to. First, you draw a circle on your glass tile, then you slowly begin biting away the tiles from the corners until you get a perfect circle.
For marble tiles:
Bring the whole tile into the centre of the blades and press the handles.
Cleaning mosaic tiles is not an issue to worry about. Here are some tips to remember:
Do not use any acidic or abrasive cleaning products such as bleach. Instead you can use a mixture of water with vinegar.
Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it over the surface of the tiles. Leave it for about 10 - 15 minutes, then rub it with a cloth or a brush. This way you can get rid of any greasy stains of grease and make your tiles shine.
You can do the same for routine cleanings or you can replace vinegar with mild detergents. Some mosaic tiles may have specefic directions that should be written on the packaging. Read that beforehand.
Maintaining mosaic tiles is not really a hassle. You just need to ensure that you clean any stains immediately. Especially with oil and grease, the more the stains remain, the harder it is to get rid of them.
So, just routinely clean your mosaic tiles with light detergent and water and remove any stains immediately, and you will have no problems in keeping your kitchen backsplash clean and neat like its first day.
What if you need assistance, who do you call?
There is a probability that might run into problems. Or you just don’t feel like doing it yourself.
In which case you need to hire a professional tiler. The cost can vary from person to person but it is somewhere around 120 AUD per square meter.
If you need assistance with installing tiles, just give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest.
Choosing the grout colour
Nowadays grouts come in different colours and you can get creative by choosing a colour that brings out the best design in your kitchen.
There is absolutely no right answer to what colour grout is the best.
You can choose whatever colour you feel most comfortable with. People usually go with white or light colours because it matches with most tiles and styles.
Here are some other ideas:
Choosing a contrasting grout colour will make your tiles look more striking and set a more eye-catching tone to your kitchen.
For example, you can choose gold grout with white tiles or grey grout with white tiles.
This is usually useful if you have chosen multi-colour tiles. You can choose a colour that compliments your existing colour palette.
For instance, you can choose a light green grout if your tile sare green and blue.
This is what most people opt for. Choosing a grout colour that does not stand out on its own. This is a recommended choice for a kitchen backsplash.
You can have the typical white grouts that match most tile colours.
Choosing the right tiles for the kitchen backsplash
If you are here, you are probably thinking about giving your old kitchen a makeover and renovate it.
Changing the kitchen backsplash with some nice mosaic tiles is a great way of doing that.
There are some things to keep in mind when choosing the tiles:
- Consider the size
You need to figure out the surfaces that you want to tile first.
Divide your backsplash area to smaller rectangles and squares and calculate the area of each separately. Then add them up together to find out the total surface that you need to cover with tiles.
Usually you will need to purchase 10% more than that.
The 10% is just to give you overage in case some of the tiles break. You can always use the excess somewhere. Don’t worry about ending up with some extra tiles. ‘
- Consider your budget
Keeping things under budget is a difficult and yet critical factor in renovating a kitchen or a house.
When it comes to backsplash you can make a huge impact on the design of your kitchen without having to spend a lot of money. This is because splashbacks don’t take up so much space but they are the focal point of a kitchen’s design.
Tiles are a great choice for splashbacks. They are cheaper, have a variety of looks and designs and they are easy to maintain and clean.
- Consider your overall design
Try visualising your overall kitchen plan and how the backsplash tiles will play out in this design.
This way you can choose tiles that will be in harmony with the rest of the kitchen and the house.
But what type of tiles are there for your to choose from?
Here is a list of categories of tiles:
- Porcelain Tiles:
Budget-friendly and easy to maintain. Although you need to clean them with more than just a simple wipe but nothing to worry about.
Porcelain is not porous and the cool thing about them is that with digital printing it can look exactly like other materials such as marble and terrazzo.
- Ceramic Tiles:
The most common type of tiles in the market, and this is for a reason.
Ceramic is durable, affordable and does not absorb moisture. It is very easy and cheap to maintain ceramics. They come in various colours and styles
- Natural Stone Tiles:
Other natural materials are also made into tiles. Marble tiles are a very common type of tiles.
Natural stone tiles cost more than ceramic and porcelain and they may be harder to maintain. Nonetheless, they bring out such an amazing look and feel to your kitchen.
- Glass Tiles
Very popular choice. They come in every colour you can imagine and look magnificent. They are a bit more pricy and you need to be careful about scratching them.
What type of tiles should I choose for a small kitchen?
If your space is not so big and you want to choose tiles that fit right in your kitchen here are some tips:
- Choose light colour
This is perhaps a very well known fact that lighter colours will reflect light better.
Choose white or creamy coloured tiles if you have a small kitchen.
- Don’t tile everywhere
You don’t have to have tiles from ceiling to floor. This will only make your kitchen look smaller. Leave some area for plain paint.