Anchor Tile on the Wall
1. Measure the length of your wall where you’ll install the backsplash and check to make sure the vertical row of tiles that will end up in any corner between two walls can be cut wider than half the tile width. Do the same with the height of the backsplash. Lay tiles on the countertop where you’ll install them on the wall and mark the wall above each tile edge as a guide for applying tile mastic .
2. Measure from the wall edge or nearest installed tile to find the location of outlets and light switches. For the 1-in tiles shown here, it was easy to cut tiles out of the 12-in-square sheets with a utility knife to accommodate the outlets. For larger tiles, cut openings as needed using a tile saw before applying tile adhesive to the wall. Then use the wall marks as guides to apply a layer of tile mastic to the wall just on the area where you’ll install the first 3 feet of tile.
3. Apply a strip of painter’s tape to the countertop beneath where you’ll install the tile backsplash. Using a toothed trowel, spread the mastic evenly over the area where you’ll apply the first 3 feet of tile. Then lay cardboard spacers flat on the counter with their edges against the wall.
4. Press the first sheet of tiles into place, align the outside edge with the wall and rest the bottom on the cardboard spacer. Begin with the bottom tile if you’ll stack more than one row. Use the space between tiles on the mesh backing.
5. Hold a block of wood firmly against the tile and tap it with a hammer to set the individual tiles evenly against the mastic. Move and tap the wood across the entire surface until the tiles feel level to the touch. Continue applying tile along the entire backsplash and let dry.