Tile Your Own Backsplash With The Right Tools
Backsplash literally has “splash” in the name because it’s there to be a wipeable surface when it gets splashed by food and dirty dishwater. It’s the unsung hero of any kitchen, really.
Even though a backsplash makes life easier for anyone preparing food in a kitchen, we’re always surprised by how many homes are without one. We’re here to tell you that if your kitchen doesn’t have a backsplash, it’s easy -- and very affordable -- to add one yourself.
Other than the boxes of tile we’ll help you choose, tiling a backsplash doesn’t require a lot of supplies.
“Thinset” is the goopy adhesive that secures each tile to your wall. You’ll also want a V-notched trowel, which will make perfect grooves in the thinset and allow the tiles to stick firmly to the wall. It’s also helpful to have tile spacers, which are tiny plastic shapes you can press between tiles so they maintain their position while the thinset is drying.
Now, you may think that’s all you need, but what about when you need to cut some of those shiny new tiles? Yes, you’re going to arrange them in straight rows -- not a crazy swirly pattern or anything wild -- but you’ll still need to make cuts.
Without cuts, you won’t be able to tile around electrical outlets, light switches, windows, or anything else in your tiling path -- not to mention cleaning up the edges of your backsplash.
Here are a few different options for cutting your tile ...
- The TASK Tile Nipping Pliers are great for nipping little bits of tile and shaping them to fit a certain area. They have tungsten carbide-tipped jaws and allow you to cut around outlets and other small spots.
- We love that the TASK Tile Cutting Pliers come with a replaceable scoring wheel made of tungsten carbide. They’re another manual way to cut tile without using a power tool.
- The TASK 14” Tile Cutting Machine is the next step up. It has an aluminum case and a replaceable tungsten carbide cutting wheel that cuts the tile by gently scoring it until you’re able to snap it neatly.
- If you plan on doing more tile jobs around the house, consider a TASK Turbo SVS Diamond Blade that’s strong enough to cut through stone, concrete and brick. It’s ideal for use with concrete saws, cut-off saws, masonry saws, powered hand saws, right angle grinders, green concrete saws, tile saws, mini grinders, and crack saws. You’ll get an ultra smooth, fast cut in a jiffy.
How much tile do I need to buy?
- Start by measuring the area to determine how many boxes of tile you’ll need to buy. If the total length of your counter is 12 feet (144”) and you want to run a backsplash up two feet (24”) you’ll be covering a total of 24 square feet (3,456”).
- Armed with those numbers on a scrap of paper, come into the Smithers Lumberyard and we’ll help you determine how many tiles you’ll need to cover that section of your wall.
- If you choose a 3x6” wall tile, for example, the total area for each tile is 18 square inches. Divide the area of the wall by the area of each tile, and you’ll see you need 192 tiles. (Or you can divide the length of the wall by the length of each tile, divide the height of the wall by the height of each tile, and multiple those two totals -- you’ll also get 192.)
We’re always here to help, so please ask one of our associates if you have questions about picking out your tile, thinset, trowels, spacers, or tile-cutting gadgets.