Tiled backsplash for your bathroom counter

Protect your wall from splashes and give your bathroom a style boost by installing a mosaic tile backsplash

Materials

  • Mesh-mounted mosaic tiles
  • Peel-and-stick tile setting mats (Bondera Tile Mat Set, SimpleMat Adhesive Tile Setting Mat)
  • Pre-mixed tile grout
  • Siliconized acrylic caulk for kitchen and bath, in squeeze tube

Tools

  • Rubber gloves, bucket, and sponge
  • Household cleaner
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s masking tape, any width
  • Clean paper
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife, with additional sharp blades
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout float
  • Tile sponge
  • Clean, dry cloth
  • Caulk smoothing tool (optional)
  • Damp cloth

Steps

  1. Prep. If the mosaic sheets are dusty, wipe them with a damp sponge. Wearing gloves, wash the backsplash area and sink with water and the household cleaner. Let dry. Cover the sink and faucets with the drop cloth. Tape down the back edge.
  2. Design the layout. Place the mosaic sheets side by side on clean paper on the floor. Measure the sink width, and decide whether you need to trim the mesh-mounted mosaics to fit this width. If so, cut through the mesh with the utility knife. With the pencil and the ruler, draw the outline of the tile on the wall. Mark the centerline on the wall and on the tile.
  3. Apply the adhesive mats. With the utility knife, trim the adhesive mats to the sizes you need and press them to the part of the wall where the tiles will go, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Attach the tiles. Start with the sheet that includes the centerline you marked in step 2. Align that mark with the centerline on the wall. Use the tile spacers along the bottom edge to leave room for caulk (see step 7). Press the tiles firmly to the wall using the grout float. Apply the remaining sheets, working from the bottom up if you have more than one row.
  5. Grout the tiles. Wearing gloves, use the grout float to work the grout into the spaces around the tiles. Use your fingers in tight spots. Wipe diagonally across the tiles to remove most of the excess grout. Spread a thin film of grout along the outside edges of the mosaics. Check the grout label to see if you need to wait for the grout to stiffen before you clean the tiles (see step 6).
  6. Clean the tiles. Fill the bucket halfway with water. Dampen the tile sponge and wipe off the tiles until they look relatively clean; wash and wring out the sponge frequently as you go. Let the grout dry following the instructions on the label. Finally, remove any remaining haze by rubbing the tiles with a clean, dry cloth. 
  7. Caulk. With the utility knife, cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle. Apply a bead of caulk between the tile and the sink. Smooth it with the smoothing tool or a damp finger. Immediately wipe away the excess with a damp cloth. Remove the drop cloth. Let the caulk dry.
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