Make a bold splash with your backsplash by kicking up your kitchen color scheme. In an otherwise basic kitchen, this ocean inspired wall tile is especially transformative in this outdoor space.

Steps we took to complete our project:

INSTALLING DECORATIVE WALL TILE:

  1. Prepare the surface and make sure it will adequately support the new load/weight being applied on it.
  2. If you use metal tile edging such as schluter, make your measurements and cuts before-hand so they are ready to go.
  3. Mix your thin-set mortar of choice (we used the same large natural stone polymer) to recommended instructions, or in general until you have a peanut butter consistency or just about as stiff as peanut butter.  For a floor application, mix the mortar slightly more liquid than when mixing a batch for a wall install, this way when applying to the wall it creates  more of a bed to push the tile into and you don’t have to worry about slumping as much.
  4. Ensure that you have all your measurements double checked and maybe even do a mock layout on the floor, especially for some of the more difficult areas.
  5. After mortar has set-up, apply to wall in about a 2 to 3 sq. ft area or whatever you feel comfortable with.  We used a 1/4″ notched trowel for our wall knock down texture block wall, but for applications directly on a concrete backer board, we’ve found a V notched trowel to be the better option.
  6. Make sure you put a mortar bed down for your tile edging to be pushing into. We used a piece of wood to support the edging until we had enough rows to feel comfortable that it wasn’t going anywhere.
  7. Use a large uniform piece of wood to tamp the tiles with a rubber mallet so they are installed onto the surface evenly.
  8. Place spacers where necessary to keep uniform spacing and level rows.
  9. Continue to work through the rows until your complete.
  10. Clean any mortar that seeped up through the tiles.
  11. Let sit according to manufactures specs and continue on with grouting.

Tips & Tricks:

Continually check your level of each row to make sure everything looks good.   We were lucky enough to work with a 3 axis laser level which constantly shot level and plumb on the wall.

By laying out the rows before hand you can possibly avoid the odd cuts or at least ensure a manageable cut to finish at a ceiling or wall.

APPLYING GROUT:

  1. Make sure all grout lines are clear of thinset-mortar
  2. Make sure you wait the specified amount of time
  3. Good time to mix into the grout mixture a water sealer (if not you will have to wait until it hardens)
  4. Mix your grout based on the manufacturer instructions
  5. Put grout mixture on float and Work in the same direction on the wall to avoid skipping an area
  6. Work in 2 sq ft sections and make sure to push the mortar into the joints from all directions, this will ensure an even and uniform packing of the joints (no holes or gaps)
  7. Complete wall or floor and look for air holes that may have appeared
  8. Let dry for about a half hour or manufactures suggested time before you take a sponge to start removing the haze.
  9. Wait about 2 hours and repeat the sponging process to remove more of the haze, We even did a 3rd and 4th time the next day to get back its luster.
  10. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your new completed tile project

Tips & Tricks:

With mosaic tiles there are a lot of small grout lines and depending on the tile design it may be completely overwhelming.  For this reason we felt it was easier to mix a grout sealer with the grout so you don’t have to spend hours with a brush going over each grout line.

There are so many options for grout colors so get creative and remember they almost all dry much lighter than it appears when your applying it.

We didn’t find a non-sanded grout that was able to be used for spacing larger than 1/8″, so remember that if you have larger spacing than 1/8″.

Comment below with any questions!

 

-David & Stephanie