When Doron and I bought our home, we were anxious to do so much, in so little time, on a strict budget. We never compromised on aesthetics, but we often found creative ways to achieve a look because hiring someone may not have been in the cards. One of the looks I tried to achieve is an accent framed backsplash in the main bathroom. Instead of taking on the gruelling DIY tiling project, we tried vinyl stick on tiles. The reviews were generally good so we took a leap of faith. I know what you’re thinking…..but to be honest they look great and 98% of viewers thought they were real mosaic tiles.
The reality is, they don’t last. They started peeling at the edges and ultimately it was a waste of money because we had to redo the job with real tiles anyway. Turning this annoyance into a positive, it offered Doron and I an opportunity to learn something new and valuable which is doing our own tiling jobs, and we did it well!!
Heres the before with the vinyl stick on tiles.
HOW TO DO YOUR OWN TILES
Materials and tools used:
- Tiles (we used mosaic as they are easier to use for rookies)
- Tile adhesive (or you can use thin set mortar)
- Grooved Tile Trowel
- Rubber float
- Side grinder saw with diamond blade (or you can use a tile cutter or wet saw)
- Grout:we used non sanded powder
- sponge for grout
Remove all existing tiles, vinyl, and clear the wall. Patch up the walls with spackle/wall filler as needed because you cannot tile over gashes in the wall. Tiles are heavy so it needs a good wall support. Then take off plug and light switch covers.
Apply the adhesive with a trowel (or a scraper as it was easier for me), then with the grooved end of the trowel, scrape across to make trowel lines.
Apply the tiles right over the tile adhesive. It is relatively easy, and only gets difficult where you need to cut around sinks, plugs etc. Then with a rubber float, push tiles into the adhesive gently and make sure its all around levelled.
When you get to the parts where you need to cut, make sure you measure the sheet of tiles and the wall and mark where it needs cutting. Doron used a side grinder with a diamond blade to cut the individual mosaic tiles to fit in different size pieces into the empty spaces. If you are not using mosaic tiles, do not follow these steps.
Make sure you are constantly wiping down the tiles from excess adhesive (with warm water and cloth), otherwise it will be harder to clean and it dries quickly.
When done tiling the area you are doing. Make sure the tile tops are wiped down well and clean and leave to dry for 24 hours.
You can either buy ready to use grout or powder. We used the powder form and followed the instructions on how to mix with water. We applied the grout over the tiles, you can use the rubber float to do so. You don’t have to over apply the grout, just make sure all the grout lines are filled and use the float to smooth it on. You can see here that there isn’t very much excess on the tile but lines are filled.
Wait 10 mins, or so and use a big damp cloth to wipe off the grout. Don’t wipe too hard to the point you are wiping it out of the lines. Keep washing and rinsing the cloth and gently clean off the tiles until they are completely clean of grout.
Now you can caulk the edges of the tiles where it meets the counter. You may want to use white or clear depending on what your counter looks like or colour scheme. We didn’t caulk or use edging strips as we framed the tiles with mouldings as you will continue to see. Finish off the job by putting back all the plug covers.
Step 7: Design with Rev Additions
Since we used board and batten on the lower half of the bathroom walls, we added a moulding strip along the top of the backsplash to frame it. We taped it up and painted it white.
Want to see more DIY projects? Check out the DIY Projects link and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @designwithrev!