• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates a fast, no-fuss way to tile a kitchen backsplash.

    Steps:
    1. Snap a chalk line onto the backsplash wall 5½ inches above the countertop.
    2. Use a utility knife and steel-rule straightedge to cut five -inch-wide strips of tile adhesive. Notch the adhesive strips, if necessary, to fit around obstacles.
    3. Peel off the protective membrane from the back of the tile-adhesive strips and press them to the wall just below the chalk line.
    4. Cut the glass-tile sheets into 5½-inch-wide strips by slicing through the mesh on the back of the sheets with a utility knife. Repeat to cut enough tile to cover the backsplash wall.
    5. Use a wet saw to square-cut the end of the first glass-tile strip. Allow the tile strip to dry completely before proceeding.
    6. Peel off the protective membrane from the tile adhesive on the wall.
    7. Lay the steel rule on the countertop and up against the backsplash wall to create an even grout-joint space beneath the tile.
    8. Lightly set the first tile sheet into place against the tile adhesive. Once satisfied with its positioning, firmly press the tile to the wall. Repeat to install the remaining tile sheets.
    9. Next, apply 1½-inch-wide masking-tape strips along the top and bottom edges of the tile backsplash, and to the sink faucet.
    10. Use a rubber float to force premixed tile grout into the joints between the tiles on the backsplash wall. Scrape away excess grout from the countertop with a margin trowel.
    11. Allow the grout to firm up for about 10 minutes, and then wipe the tiled surface clean with a sponge and clean water. Peel off the masking tape.
    12. Wait about 5 hours for the grout to harden, then use a slightly dampened cotton cloth to buff off any hazy grout residue from the tiled surface.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      No tile-setting experience required
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      Tools List

      • chalk line
        Chalk line
      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • steel-rule straightedge
        Steel-rule straightedge
      • wet saw
        Wet saw
      • rubber float
        Rubber float
      • margin trowel
        Margin trowel
      • grout sponge
        Grout sponge and bucket
      • cotton cloth
        Cotton cloth

      Shopping List

      Glass-tile sheets

      Pressure-sensitive tile adhesive

      Canvas drop cloth

      1½-inch-wide masking tape

      Premixed tile grout