Ever since we moved in, I had been dying to replace our kitchen backsplash. It wasn’t our style to say the least.
The whole kitchen was yellow, brown, and tan, and we were on a mission to transform it to white and gray!
So when the time came to take down the backsplash and replace it, I was so excited! And although this project was pretty time and labor intensive, it was so worth it!
Here’s how we did it…
HOW I REPLACED MY KITCHEN BACKSPLASH & HOW YOU CAN TOO
First things first, make sure you cut the power to any outlets you’ll be working around throughout this entire project! Safety first!
Let’s kick this off with the materials! This list can change slightly depending on the tile you use.
I made sure to measure out what kind of square footage I needed (and accounted for 10-15% extra for the tiles I’d need to cut or ones that might break).
MATERIALS & TOOLS
Then I gathered the rest of my materials!
Here’s what you need…
- Tile of your choosing. This is what I chose!
- Thinset mortar. I didn’t use this but I wish I had! You can’t use a tile adhesive mat with this kind of tile – it just won’t stick! If you’re using glass, porcelain, or ceramic tile, go for the Simple Mat!
- Pre-mixed grout. I got this brand in the Bright White color.
- Grout float
- Painters tape
- Disposable tarps
- Tile saw. This is the one we have! You could always rent this from your local hardware store.
- Tile cutter
- *Drywall, a utility knife, drywall screws, and joint compound if you need to replace or repair your drywall from taking out an old backsplash*
STEP 1: REMOVE YOUR OLD BACKSPLASH
Removing your old backsplash can be difficult. After trying to pry it off with a crowbar and mallet for a while, I ended up using a hammer to get mine to crumble out.
Then I needed to patch and repair my drywall. For this step, you simply need to use a MultiTool or Utility Knife to cut clean lines in your current drywall.
Then purchase a new drywall sheet and cut it down to fit your holes.
Using drywall screws, secure your new sheet into your studs, trying to get it as close as possible to the existing drywall around it.
If you have gaps, use drywall tape and joint compound to fill the gaps!
I’m no expert here, but this is what I did! It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be straight and level so you can place your tile on it!
STEP 2: PUT UP YOUR TILE
Once your wall is prepped, grab your thinset, trowel, and your tile and begin at the bottom. You’ll want to lay out the entire bottom row of tile first and move upward in a left to right pattern.
I didn’t use spacers for my tile since every piece was a little different. I just wanted it stacked!
FULL DISCLOSURE – I didn’t use thinset mortar for mine but wish I had! So I don’t know the best practices for how to install tile this way. Google is your friend!! Watch a quick YouTube video or follow a tutorial like this before you start!
Continue to tile in rows moving from the bottom to the top of your feature wall.
Measure and use your tile saw or tile cutter as needed. Make sure to read all instructions that come with both tools to ensure you are being safe and using them properly, and always be sure to wear the right safety gear!
Once you’re finished laying out your tile, you can move on to the next step!
STEP 3: GROUT
Tape up around your tile wall and tarp your floors and counters. This next step will get messy!
Grab a bucket full of warm water, your sponges, your grout, your rags and your float.
Open your grout and use your float to scoop out some grout. Place it on your tile wall and move your float upward at a 45 degree angle.
Work in smaller sections, approximately 4-5 square feet at a time.
Once you have filled your spaces with grout using your float, grab a sponge and dip it in your warm water.
Ring out your sponge until it’s just barely damp! This is important. You don’t want too much water on your sponge. Then gently clean off any excess grout from your tile, rinsing and ringing your sponge in your bucket as you go.
Don’t move on to the next step until your tile is nice and clean from that extra grout! Once it dries, it’s much more difficult to remove.
Repeat this step until your tile is totally grouted, aside from any edges (you can caulk those later if you need to!).
STEP 4: CLEAN & CAULK
Once your grout has had time to dry (about 24 hours), take a slightly damp rag and clean your tile again. This will help to get all the grout haze off.
Then seal any edges with caulk (especially if your tile meets a countertop or anything that will get wet).
STEP 5: STAND BACK AND ADMIRE YOUR HARD WORK!
And that’s it! Honestly this project was definitely tough. It took time and a lot of effort, and there were a lot of messes to clean up, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!