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Mosaic splashback – an easy weekend tiling project

I am so pleased with my tiling efforts in the kitchen that I thought I would share the know-how.

Recent renovations due to damp in the kitchen had pretty much destroyed my polished plaster splashbacks so I decided to ring the changes with tiles. After the expense of the building works it would have to be a DIY tiling project. I saw some fabulous micro-mosaic tiles in my local tile shop and realised that this would be the perfect solution – no tile cutting required because at just 5mm square the tiles are small enough to fit around sockets and fill any size spaces between walls. These tiles were, however, a staggering £500 per square metre and that was beyond my budget!

So after a bit of online research I discovered a very similar 8mm mosaic from Mosaic Trader – a blend of grey tones which come on 30cm carrier sheets and are a very affordable £8.40 each. So here we go – how to tile a mosaic splashback.

 

This is a very easy weekend project with no need for a power tool or a man’s help, except to make the tea.

 

You will need

A tub of pre-mixed tile cement, fine grout powder (I used a mid grey), tile edging strip (these come in a range of sizes and materials and provide nice finish if there’s an exposed edge to the tiles), a small hacksaw to cut steel edging strip or a Stanley knife to cut plastic, a toothed spreading tool (available from tile shops but I used an icing spreader from the kitchen), empty yoghurt pots for mixing, a pile of old rags and cloths, scissors.

Mosaic_tiled_splashback_step_by_step

Step-by-step tiling

 

  1. Keep the tiles on their carrier film which you can cut to size with scissors.
  2. Starting at one corner mark the wall to the width and height of one sheet. Then mark off where you want the height of the tiling to finish using a sheet of tiles as a guide.
  3. Smear a 3mm layer of tile cement onto the wall to cover slightly more than the width marked and right up to the full height. Using the toothed side of the spreader create a grooved pattern in the cement. Make sure the cement is the same thickness all over. The trick is to ensure there is enough cement to bed the tiles into. Too little and they will fall off when you remove the film. Too much and the white tile cement will ooze through to the front of the tile and will have to be removed before grouting.
  4. Position your first sheet of mosaic, film to the front, arrows facing upwards, and press into the cement. Smooth over with your hands to make sure every bit is flat to the wall.
  5. Cut the next sheet to size and press this into place above the first sheet leaving the same gap between sheets as there is between tiles, approx 2mm.
  6. Continue tiling along and up the wall, one sheet width at a time to prevent the cement drying out too much.
  7. When you meet a corner calculate where you need to cut the sheet down to. If you are tiling between two walls you may need to adjust the position of the sheet so that the tiles centre within the space and this may mean a slightly larger grout line. If you are turning the corner you can leave a wider gap for the side sheets to run into  (remember corners are easily hidden when you grout them).
  8. If the sides will have an exposed edge cut down and position a an edging strip before you begin. Fix the strip with a little tile cement and then start at this edge and tile inwards, ending back at the corner where it is easier to lose any additional space.
  9. If you need to tile round sockets turn off the power at the fuse box and unscrew the socket plates, gently pulling them free of the wall. Simply trim the sheets so that at least half a tile fits behind the socket plate and tile as normal.
  10. Leave overnight for the tiles to fix.
  11. The next day remove the clear carrier film using a warm wet cloth. The warmth helps to melt the plastic film enough to make it pliable. Gently sponge the plastic away. If the odd tile pops out simple replace it with a spot of tile cement.
  12. Mix the grout with water in a 500ml yoghurt pot (or similar), it should have a consistency of thick ice-cream. Using a rag smear the grout over the tiles and into every crevice using a circular motion. Make sure there are no air gaps.
  13. When you’ve grouted a section wipe off the excess, using several cloths, while still damp. Keep cleaning off in sections and discard the used rags until completed. Check for air bubbles and refill with grout any areas where they’ve appeared.
  14. Leave to dry overnight.
  15. Finally polish over the tiles with a clean cloth to remove the chalky residue and buff to a shine.

Have fun and let me know if you have a go!

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