Do-It-Yourself Backsplash in a Weekend

The average minor kitchen renovation costs $19,226 as of 2015, according to Remodeling Magazine. A kitchen renovation at that price includes new cabinet fronts and hardware,new oven and stove-top, new counter-tops, flooring and paint.

There’s also the option of given the kitchen or a bathroom-a new look for under $200.  There won’t be any new appliances of flooring involved, but a new back-splash will provide an updated look for a very small price.

Shopping for back-splash material is part of the fun, and there are many types to consider for a do-it-yourself project.

Tin-tile back-splashes are rust-resistant, easy to clean and easy for a do-it-yourselfer to install using tile adhesive. Glass mosaic tiles come in variety of sizes and colors and will add sparkle and light to any kitchen. There are clay tiles, matchstick tiles and subway tiles, and many more in endless colors,sizes and shapes.

One of the easiest choices to install is mosaic tiles, because they are mounted on 12 x 12 sheets. There is some measuring and cutting involved, but in most cases, the bulk of the job can be completed in one day, and the tiles grouted the next. It is also a relatively inexpensive job to undertake, because mosaic sheet prices generally start under $10 per sheet.

To install the tiles, the mesh backing is cut to fit along counters and under cabinets. Many of the 12 x 12 sheets also feature smaller strips that can be placed as borders.

Mastic adhesive will be used sparingly to avoids drips and reduce drying time. The mastic is spread from the center-line outward, about two to three feet outward. If a large swatch of adhesive is spread, it might dry before the rest of the tiles are replaced.

Plastic tile spacers placed between the tile and counter top will allow a small gap that can caulked later, and keep the tiles directly off the counter top. A thin space should be left between sheets. After every two to three sheets that are hung, the sheets can be secured to the mastic with a board and rubber mallet.

Occasionally, a tile or two will fall off a sheet but they can be reinstalled with mastic. Sheets are not always perfectly square, so adjusting sheets and moving tiles around can be done to keep the joints lined up correctly. It takes about  to 20 to 30 minutes for the mastic to harden.

A waiting period of 24 hours will give the adhesive time to set and then the tile can be grouted. After a few days, grout sealer can be applied to protect the grout.

Other possibilities for  do-it-yourselfers include a sheet of colored glass as a back-splash or even clear glass placed over wallpaper. A glass back-splash is held into place using strips of molding. This method keeps the glass firmly in place without glue.Creating a seam at the bottom along the counter-top with clear silicone will keep water or debris from getting behind the glass.

Other items that can make an interesting back-splash material include smooth stones, reclaimed plastic, cork and more.

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