It only takes a day to complete but it will add some style to your kitchen as long as you keep it!
Looking around my kitchen, I noticed that our backsplash was a little boring; it was just a basic Formica backsplash that matches the countertop. Well, like most folks, I didn’t have it in my budget for a kitchen makeover, but I did want to add some color to the area that was lacking in color.
So I decided to do a fun tiling project that everyone can do. And I wanted to see if I could knock out the project in one day. I choose to do a section of tile behind the stove in a colorful pattern of tiny block tile. And since I only had one day, I didn’t have time for the tiling mastic to dry before I added the grout. So I found a neat product called Simple Mat which is a tile setting mat for backsplashes and countertops. It requires no mortar, and works like a peel and stick system. So I decided to give it a shot.
I also decided to mount the tile on a plywood backing so that it could be removed easily and if I wanted to place it anywhere along the kitchen counter top.
Well it worked great and from this photo you can see that it really gave this area of the kitchen a nice splash of color. Follow below the process.
- ½ inch plywood board, cut to desired size
- 12 inch square block glass tile
- Tape measure
- Circular Saw
- 120 grit sand paper
- Simple Mat/Tile Setting Mat (follow this link
- Utility Knife
- Pre-mixed tile grout color of your choice
- Tile squares
- Tile float
1. Step one was to measure the space that the tile was going to be placed. In this case directly behind the stove.
2. Cut the plywood to length and width using a circular saw. Use a guide to ensure the cut is straight. Sand the edges of the board smooth with 120 grit sandpaper.
3. Apply the Simple Mat to the board. The mat comes in 9 inch by 18 inch sheets. Peel the backing off the sheet and apply the mat to the board. If you do this on a wall, make sure that the surface is clean and dry. Be careful with the backing it will want to stick to everything, so place into position lightly until you have it where you want it.
4. Cover the entire surface with the mat; making sure to slightly overlap the edges.
5. When the entire surface has been covered, press the mat in place with a tile float to remove any creases and eliminate air-bubbles.
6. When you are ready to tile, remove the clear plastic from the front of the mat, exposing the adhesive ridges.
7. Place the tile into position working from one corner to the other. I choose this type of tile because the squares could be cut with a utility knife. When I came to the bottom and far side edge and had to remove excess tile, I simple cut the mess backing with the utility knife.
8. If you choose another type of tile it may require cutting the tile using a tile cutter. In that case this project may take you more than a day. Spacers will be required as well.
9. Press the tile into position to make sure that the tile has adhered to the Mat adhesive. Notice that this tile didn’t require spacers, the tile butted against it as I placed it across the board.
10. Grout the tile with a pre-mixed grout.
11. Spread the grout into the tile using a grout float; keep the float angled to push the grout into the grooves of the tile.
12. Remove excess grout using a damp sponge.
Continue to rinse the sponge until the grout is completely clean.
13. To finish off the edge of the board, cut small detail trim to length….
…and attach to the side of the plywood using wood glue an small finishing nails.
The entire project took me under 4 hours; in fact selecting the tile took more time then that.
I would caution you that the mat has a mind of its own; it takes patience to place and does want to stick to everything, including itself. I don’t know if I would be comfortable doing a large backsplash or countertop. I would use regular grout mastic for a larger surface and take the time required for a larger area. And remember this is not made for floor tiling!
Have fun with this project, and consider applying to tile to a board to move it around different areas of the countertop, I have fun moving it in different locations to fit my mood.