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Installing a Kitchen Backsplash - Part II: Planning and Preparation

by Guest on Feb 8, 2011

A tile backsplash requires careful planning before the installation process can begin. Selecting the tile and grout to be used as discussed in Part I is an important phase of the planning process, since the tools needed and method of installation will be determined in part by these products. Having sufficient supply all of the necessary materials available can help a backsplash project go smoothly and prevent delays. Adhering to all manufacturer recommendations for using the tile, grout and other materials will contribute to the best results.

Before purchasing the tile and grout to be used for a backsplash project, perform some background research to ensure that you are using the appropriate materials together. For instance, if the backsplash will be installed behind a stovetop, ensure that the type of tile you are using is suitable for environments with high heat. It is also important to choose grout and mastic that is suitable for use with the tile being used. Another consideration is whether the tile needs to be sealed in order to function best in a kitchen environment. Do not hesitate to ask many questions and read all documentation when selecting and purchasing tile and the other materials you will need for a backsplash project. Purchasing more tile than you think you need is a good idea to account for broken tiles and to give you extra pieces on which to practice cutting.

In order to determine the amount of tile, grout and other supplies needed for a backsplash project, you will need to first determine what area the backsplash will cover. Often, backsplashes span from the top of a counter to the point where they touch the cabinets above. Accurate measurements are important in the planning phase and throughout the process of installing a tile backsplash.

During the planning phase, it is helpful to create a mockup of the layout of the backsplash, preferably to scale. Precise measurements and layout planning will help you achieve a quality final result and minimize surprises along the way. Laying out the tiles in the exact dimensions and design as the final backsplash is a good way to prepare for affixing them to the wall.

Some tiles will need to be cut in order to fit into the space for your backsplash. A wet tile saw, which is designed for cutting tile, can be rented for this purpose, and a scoring cutter can also come in handy. Several tools are available for cutting tile, and the type of tile you are using may determine the best tool to use. The areas of the wall, cabinets and other surfaces which need to be unaffected by the project should be masked off, and any switch and outlet covers should be removed. Power to the outlets should be cut off for safety while you are working in the area.

Part III of this series covers some tips to consider during the process of installing a tile backsplash.

Maria Polidoro is the owner of Ace Tool Online, a leading dealer and service center for hand and power tools as well as Occidental leather products. Please visit Ace Tool Online to find the right Occidental tool belt, bag belt free system for your needs.

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