A New Backsplash in Six Hours

I’ve wanted to install a tile backsplash in my kitchen ever since I wrote an article about them almost two years ago. Well, I finally got around to it last weekend—and the results are spectacular.

I used a new product called Tile Mat Set that I bought at Lowe’s instead of a canned tile adhesive or thin-set. You cut the Tile Mat to fit the area, then peel off the back and stick it to the wall. When you’re ready to tile, you peel off the clear protective film and adhere the tile directly to the super-sticky Tile Mat. It’s ready for grout immediately. But at $40 per roll, the Tile Mat is expensive (I needed two rolls), so I wouldn’t have used it for a larger tile project.

I used a subway tile that had spacer nubs, so I could set the field tile very quickly. A decorative accent (I used “rope”) over the first course added interest. The time-eater was cutting tile to fit around outlets and switches—four of them in all. A tile pro provided a great tip—place the box extenders in the outlet boxes before you set the tile. That way, you won’t inadvertently cover part of the box and have to chip out tile later to insert the box extenders. (Extenders are required when the boxes are 1/4 in. or more behind the finished wall surface. Tile plus backer is often more than that.)

Altogether, the project took me six hours and cost about $160—a heck of an investment!

—Brett Martin, Associate Editor

These are my boring walls before I tiled them.

Wow! What a difference 21¢ tiles make!

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