Bathroom & Kitchen Guide

Your complete guide to remodeling, design and new products.


Planning Your Tile Backsplash


One of the great things about choosing a tile backsplash is that you can save a lot of money on installation costs by doing it yourself. All you need are the right tools and a little know-how! And the results are breath-taking:

As you will see in our Tips For Selecting The Perfect Backsplash For Your Kitchen, it is important to plan any backsplash project – especially when you are going to be installing it yourself. Here are a couple of tips to remember:

  • Decide how much wall you would like the backsplash to cover and then measure it accurately so that you can buy tiles accordingly. 
Once you know how much space you need to fill, you can choose your tiles. Common tile choices for backsplashes range from 4 x 4, 6 x 6 or 3 x 4 subway tiles. A good tip is to make sure you have a few spare tiles in the same dye lot in case any break during installation or ever need to be replaced. Also, remember to factor in tiles that will need to be cut or notched.

  • Decide if you want to use spacers between your tiles – this can dramatically affect the number of tiles you will need and the look of the finished product.

  • Will you be using a mosaic, straight tiles, or assembling a design as a feature for the tiles? This will determine how you go about laying the tiles. Use graph paper and draw an outline of your design to scale so you have something to work with.

  • It’s a good idea to “dry-fit” your design first by laying it out on the floor or countertops so that you can easily transfer it to the wall. This is especially important if you are using tiles together to create a pattern.

Preparing the wall

The wall where you plan on installing the tiles needs to be clean, dry and free of any cracks, mould or weak spots – be sure to check this before installing any tiles! Once your wall has been given the all clear, here is what you need to prepare it for the tiles:

  • Strip it of any wallpaper and scrape away any loose paint.

If there are any cracks or holes, seal them with spackle

  • Safety first! Turn off any power outlets in the intended backsplash area and remove their cover plates.

  • Sand the entire area with a medium-grit sandpaper to remove any glossy paint finishes and make the surface more adhesive-friendly.

  • Wipe away any excess dust or dirt with a damp cloth.

NOTE - If you already have a tiled backsplash that you want to replace, you will need to remove it totally, which includes cutting away the drywall. This is a little bit of extra work, and can get messy, but still easy enough to do on your own. Once removed, you can install a new board directly onto the exposed wall studs. Then follow the steps above.

Your wall is now ready to be tiled! Our article on Installing Your Tile Backsplash is a D-I-Y great guide.

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