For the Home

How to Install a Bathroom Backsplash

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The backsplash was the final update we needed to make to our master bath sink area. We say sink area because the entire shower/toilet situation still needs a major facelift…that is for another day…

Don’t be afraid to install backsplash on your own. If Brandon and I can do it, SO CAN YOU. We have never installed any type of tiling/backsplash on our own. This was first, and won’t be our last.  And who can argue with the cost? We did this entire project for under $200.

Here is what you will need for this project:

  • Glass backsplash of your choice. We used this one
  • Metal trowel – you pick your trowel based on your tile
  • Rubber float
  • White unsanded grout
  • White mastic (pre-mixed)
  • Wet saw with a special glass cutting blade
  • Caulk
  • Spacers (we did not use them, but you may need them)
  • Sponge
  • Grout mixer attachment

Grid of items

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Turn off your electricity and remove outlet plates. You’ll also want to tape the top of the countertop.

Step 2: Measure.

You’ll more than likely have already measured your space to figure out how much material you needed. But, you’ll want to measure again and determine where you want your backsplash to end. The nice thing about a kitchen is that you can go all the way up to the bottom of the cabinets. With a bathroom, you’ll need to determine how far you want to go up. In our case, we landed just below the outlet cover. The possibilities are endless and there is no “perfect” height you need to adhere to. 

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Step 3: Measure (again), and cut before placing.

We decided to measure and cut the three sections before placing them on the wall. After you figure out how high up you want to go, you’ll want to snip the mesh to the height you’d like and begin cutting and placing so that everything fits. NOTE: This part is not easy. The important thing to remember is that all of the pieces need to match up. Seems simple, right? It just takes a little bit of thought and a couple of good arguments before you get it right. OK, it’s not that bad, but it’s all about planning.

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You really need to use a wet saw for this project. In order to make the two ends smooth (we didn’t want to use metal ending) we figured a wet saw would do the trick, and it did! We ended up purchasing one from Home Depot for around $115. You’ll also need to purchase a glass blade.

If you’re not into buying tools, you can rent for around $50 a day. In our opinion, if you plan on doing more than one backsplash/tiling project, invest in a wet saw. We guarantee that you’ll use it again.

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Once you have your tile cut and measured, you are ready to start placing!

Step 4: Open up the mortar and spread it all the wall with your trowel.

Brandon and decided that less is more with the mortar. We went in thinking we needed to lay it on thick. You just need a nice thin coat on the wall. Cover a small area of the wall with the trowel, place your piece of backsplash against the mortar and press firmly on each small tile so you know that it has set. Continue these steps until your space is complete.

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***Once it’s all placed, you can use the sponge and wipe off any excess.

Step 5: Wait 24 hours – you’ll need the mortar to dry and set.

Step 6: 24 hours later….Mix the grout.

You’ll need to mix the grout with water (follow the directions on the back of the bag.) Let it sit for a couple of minutes before using.

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Step 7: Apply the grout.

Apply the grout with a rubber float at a 45-degree angle. Make sure that the grout gets into every crevice of the tile. Once you have applied the grout, use the edge of the rubber float to squeeze any excess off. It’s almost like what you do when you wedge water off a windshield.

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Step 8: Wipe away excess grout with a sponge.

Don’t let the sponge get extra wet, be sure to ring it out before you start wiping off the excess. I recommend changing the water in the bucket/bowl after about 5 rounds. Repeat this step until you get it all off. Let the area dry for 2 hours longer, then come back and sponge off any excessive haze. Home depot recommended the use of a cheesecloth, but sponging again worked just fine!

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Step 9: Caulk the area and you’re done!!

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PS: For those wondering, here is a side by side of our master bath before we did a little makeover. We did this ENTIRE facelift for just under $400!

Read more here.

xoxo  – Jillian and Brandon

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