Step 4: Lay Out the Sheets for the Starting Area

man laying out the tile sheets while preparing to install a glass mosaic backsplash
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Create a work surface by placing a scrap board across the gap where the range was. Beginning at the bottom, lay out a run of sheets horizontally, adjusting them right or left of the centerline to minimize tile cuts at the ends of the starting area. When you're done with the first run, continue laying out rows of sheets above it, holding sheets up to the wall to measure fit, until you reach the top. Leave a 1/8-inch expansion gap at the perimeter, where the tile meets your cabinets. To further minimize tile cuts, slice sheets that will be installed along the perimeter into strips and "cheat" the strips close together to make room for full tiles. (You'll have to experiment to get the best fit. And don't worry that the tile joints are tighter in these spots—they'll blend in once the tile is installed.) Mark the paper facing of the sheets and strips so that you'll know exactly where to install them later.
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    Tools List

    • drill
      drill/driver
    • notched trowel
      trowel with 3/16-by-¼-inch V-notch
    • utility knife
      utility knife
    • hammer
      hammer
    • Glass Nippers
      two-wheeled glass nippers
    • rubber float
      epoxy grout float
    • drywall bucket
      5-gallon flat-bottomed mud bucket
    • bucket with sponge
      small bucket
    • grout sponge
      grout sponge
    • scrub brush
      nylon scrub brush
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun

    Shopping List

    Paper-faced translucent glass mosaic sheet tile. The facing is peeled off once the tiles are set on the wall

    Kraft paper to protect your counters

    Painter's tape

    Scrap 1x lumber for a temporary ledger

    1½-inch drywall screws

    80-grit sanding sponge for roughing painted drywallSealer-primer paint

    Thinset mortar. Choose a quality white latex-fortified portland cement thinset.

    Scrap cardboard to use as a spacer

    Grout Make sure it's a flexible grout approved by the tile maker. We chose a colorized, premixed urethane water-based grout that "gives" when the glass expands and requires no sealant

    Acrylic caulk that matches the grout