Glass Mosaic Tile Backsplash: How You Can Easily DIY
Glass mosaic tile backsplash is a design that's never going out of style. Here's our guide on how to DIY at home - read on, and transform your home.
Tiles can totally transform a kitchen. Whether you’re using subway tiles to make your kitchen seem bigger or are just looking to spruce things up in general, tiling can be a kitchen reno’s silver bullet.
But it often scares off DIY-ers for fear it’s too hard and too specialized.
But, fear not!
Replacing or adding your own glass mosaic tile backsplash is a totally manageable DIY job.
This post will walk you through everything you need to do in a step by step guide.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather your tools
First off, you need to get together everything you’re going to need to install your new glass mosaic tile backsplash.
- Glass mosaic tiles
- Toothed or V trowel
- Tile mastic
- Clear acrylic caulk
- Tile spacers
There are also a few things that you’ll likely have around your house that you might want to keep on hand:
- Scrap wood
- Scrap cardboard/newspaper
- Painters tape
- A measuring tape
- A level
Step 2: Prepare your workstation
You’ll need to get your workstation ready before you start.
Remove as much as you can from the wall where you’re going to be working. This includes things like your range, your fridge, and any and all moveable kitchen tools or ingredients.
You want as much clear space as possible to work with, and you want to avoid getting nasty tiling mastic over all your dishes.
You also want to unplug and unscrew anything that’s attached to the wall you’re tiling. Things like hanging shelves, light fixtures, or those Ikea wall storage things.
Because this way, you will be able to tile more closely around them which will give you a cleaner, more professional finish at the end.
You’ll need to fix a ledger to the wall anywhere that doesn’t have a counter (for example, the hole where your stove recently lived).
To do this, simply get a two by four cut to size and screw it into the wall flush with the counters. That way, the tiles can rest on the ledge while the mastic cures.
Lastly, tape off and cover everything to keep it clean while you work. Now you’re ready to start!
Step 3: Measure out your tiles
Now, you need to measure your glass mosaic tiles.
Starting from a central focal point (e.g. the middle of the range or over a sink - whatever works in your kitchen) layout the tile sheets on the counter, working out.
Pro tip: Lay an old piece of plywood over the gap where your stove was so you can lay out tiles accurately.
When you get to the edges, you’ll have to start to get a little creative. Hopefully, the tile sheets fit perfectly. However, since that’s pretty unlikely to happen, you’ll probably have to do some cutting.
Try and work with whole tiles wherever you can but if you can’t, don’t cut them smaller than in half. You’ll end up with tile slivers instead of tile pieces.
Instead, shuffle your entire outline to make up the difference so you can condense any gaps so they’re big enough to fill with a complete tile.
Also, don’t worry too much about the lone or incomplete tiles looking out of place - when the whole glass tile mosaic backsplash is up, no one will even notice.
Step 4: Sand your wall
Now that your tiles are outlined and you know what’s going to go where, it's time to prepare your wall.
Essentially, what you’re aiming to do is create a surface that’s rough enough that the tile mastic has plenty to grip to.
Some surfaces,like unfinished drywall, are rough enough already. But if you’re tiling over paint, then you’ll need to rough it up yourself.
Just take some sandpaper (80 grit or so) and roughly sand the whole surface.
Remember: because you’re tiling in sheets, you to don’t need to get every single little scrap of the wall since the sheet distributes the load of the tiles over a larger surface area.
So get as much of the wall as you can, but for most kitchens, this should only take 5-10 minutes or so.
Step 5a: Apply your tile mastic
Not a lot of technique here. Simply spread the mastic on the wall with the smooth side of the trowel in a curving, arched motion. The same motion you’d make if you were waving to get someone’s attention.
Then, cut through the mastic with the toothed edge of the trowel so it looks textured.
If your mastic starts to harden to your trowel, just keep a wet sponge and a rag handy to wipe it down.
You’ll want to work in smallish batches, probably doing one sheet at a time because you want the mastic nice and pliable when the tile hits it. If you do too much, then the mastic will start to harden before the tiles go up, leading to a weaker hold and problems both right then and down the line.
If your mastic starts to harden before you’re ready, no problem - just scrape it away and reapply a fresh coat. Easy!
Step 5b: Mount your glass mosaic tile backsplash
It's time to mount up.
This needs to be done quickly after you apply your mastic so the tile hits it while it’s still wet. All you need to do is take your sheet and press it into your prepared mastic on the wall. Then, get a hammer and beat in the corners to make sure it stays attached.
You’ll need to blunt the blow with a block of wood, and don’t be tempted to use a rubber mallet. While this is gentler on tiles, it actually bounces too much and jiggles the tiles, meaning that they won’t set the way that they’re supposed to.
You’ll also need to make sure that there are tile spacers between the tiles and the ledger and the edge of the counter. This creates a gap that you’ll later seal with caulk.
Repeat steps 5a and 5b until the entire backsplash is done.
Step 6: Leave it to cure
Let the mastic cure according to the instructions. It’s usually about 24 hours. For ease, we recommend not using your kitchen for that time - take the chance to order a pizza and put your feet up!
Step 7: Apply grout
Almost there. Grout works about the same as mastic. Apply it over the tiles in 3 feet sections at a time always moving diagonally to the grout lines. Leave it to semi-dry for a few minutes then take a sponge and clean off the tiles themselves. Grout’s left in the gaps between tiles, and you’re almost good to go!
Step 8: Finish up
Finally, caulk around the perimeter of the tiles and dry according to the instructions. Again, this is anywhere from 12-24 hours. Then, remove all your newspaper, your ledger and put your stove back, and clean up the kitchen. Two weeks or so down the road, you’ll need to apply grout sealant to the tiles but other than that, you’re all done!
There you have it. How to tile your backsplash with mosaic tiles in 8 easy steps. Still got questions? We’ve got answers. Get in touch today and we’ll help you with all your tiling needs
Author : Mike Belk
Bio: A graduate of Ohio State University with an MBA in Business, Mike Belk has been in the tile and stone industry for over 20 years. Mike is the owner and founder of Belk Tile. He has become one of premier tile experts in the nation. Not only does Mike love every aspect of his job, he strives ensure your experience is the very best. He runs a successful blog and, when not immersed in the world of tile, is an avid golfer and wine maker. Mike enjoys interacting with customers and wants to hear from you today. Make sure to check out his podcast of Tile Talk by Mike Belk.