To install a tile backsplash, prep the wall, lay out the tile, cut the tile to fit, set the tile, grout the tile, clean it and caulk the edges. The process requires time to allow the mastic and grout to dry before moving on to the next steps.
Tile needs a clean, even surface to adhere properly. All grease should be wiped away with water and mild soap. The tile needs a ledger board screwed into place in areas that don't have a counter top for support, such as behind the range.
Laying out the tile before installation allows the homeowner to finalize the design first. Visually, the tile pattern looks best when centered under the vent hood. A line drawn in the middle provides a reference for installing the tiles evenly.
The mastic should go on in a thin layer with a 3/16-inch trowel covering only about two or three tiles worth of wall area. The tiles go firmly into the mastic, using spacers to create the lines. The adhesive needs 24 hours to set before grouting.
Grout goes into the spaces by pushing a float across the tiles. The grout should fill the lines completely. The float works to scrape excess grout off the tiles. A damp sponge wiped across the tiles 10 minutes after grouting removes the remaining excess grout on tile surfaces. The final step is to seal the seams along the counter with latex caulk.