• In this video, This Old House tile contractor Joe Ferrante shows how to install a mosaic-tile backsplash.

    1. Use hammer and flat bar to pry existing tiles—one at a time—from backsplash wall.
    2. Scrape the bare wall clean with a wide-blade scraper.
    3. Mix thin-set mortar and apply to wall with trowel, fill all holes and depressions. Wait 30 minutes.
    4. Rub the thin-set perfectly smooth using a wet sponge and flat trowel.
    5. Lay out the tiles, then measure backsplash wall width and height.
    6. Cut tile to size, if necessary, using a manual tile cutter or wet saw.
    7. Apply thin-set mortar to the prepped wall with trowel.
    8. Press the first tile sheet into the mortar, repeat for subsequent sheets.
    9. Allow mortar to cure, then fill the joints with grout.
    10. Once grout is cured, protect it from staining by applying a liquid silicone sealer.

    See Products and Services from This Video
    • 6 to 8 hours in average-size kitchen
    • About $6 per square foot and up, depending on the tile
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Requires mid-level tiling skills
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • flat prybar
        Hammer and flat bar, used to remove existing tile
      • paint scraper
        Assorted scrapers, for scraping wall clean
      • flat finishing trowel
        Trowels, for applying thin-set mortar
      • score-and-snap tile cutter
        Tile cutter or wet saw, for cutting tile to fit
      • grout float
        Grout float, for applying grout
      • grout sponge
        Grout sponge, for wiping down tiles
      • silicone sealer
        Silicone sealer, for sealing grout joints

      Shopping List

      Mosaic tile

      Thin-set mortar, used to adhere tile to wall

      Grout, used to fill joints between tiles