Our Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@jmarq002) know that this weekend, my fiance and I quite proudly installed a small mosaic tile backsplash in our kitchen. The lack of one has bothered my h-2-b since we moved into this house two and a half years ago.  However, an overabundance of outlets led us to decide not to tile the entire area between the top and bottom cabinets but rather just add a classic four-inch border.  This way, the kitchen looks "finished" and it draws your eyes away from all the outlets.

It was on Sunday that my fiance decided "today is the day." And, when he or I decides this regarding home improvement, that means we need to proceed immediately. By the next weekend, we will have lost our resolve. So, off to Home Depot, then Lowes, then back to Home Depot we went. With the tile, adhesive, grout, and tools needed finally in hand, we headed home to begin the project.

(Our little Breakfast Station - Before)

I cleaned the work areas and walls with a simple damp microfiber cloth and a little bit of Ms. Meyer's All-purpose Cleaning Solution (love that stuff!!).  Once it was dry, he began applying the pre-mixed mastic (AcrylPro Ceramic Tile Adhesive, 2 quarts) according to the package directions - one very thin layer followed by one grooved layer - working in small, three-foot sections, applying the tiles carefully.  Fourty-five feet later, we proudly examined his work and let it set overnight.

(Tile applied, adhesive setting)

On Monday, it was time to grout.  Starting from the same section as the day before, he applied the pre-mixed grout (SimpleGrout Bright White Pre-Mixed Grout, 2 quarts) to all the tiny (1/16") grooves.  I followed behind with a damp sponge, wiping off the excess in small, circular motions, leaving only a slight haze. Then, we had to let it set again.

When my fiance came home from work Tuesday evening, we began attempting to remove the haze using the white side of the sponges, as instructed. It did nothing! Next, we tried a green Scotch-Brite pad. This worked but left green all over the grout! Once we cleaned that off, we tried a 50/50 vinegar/water mix and a Dobie sponge. For all you DIYers, I don't care what the books say, try this first! The vinegar took the haze right off with very little elbow grease! We actually couldn't believe how quickly that part of the project went. Then, I wiped all the tiles down with a wet microfiber cloth to remove any residue and vinegar odor.

Now, I have my kitchen back and we're just waiting the recommended 48 hours before sealing.  By the weekend, it will be as though the backsplash was always there.

(Our Breakfast Station - After)

What do you think!? x

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