Author Topic: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash  (Read 762 times)

oldmannickels

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Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« on: September 26, 2018, 12:23:37 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how to demo and install my kitchen backsplash. I got quoted at $1,400 blindly based on 32 sq.ft.

My issues are
  • Existing tiles are very stuck to drywall. May have to replace the entire drywall where I pull of the old tiles. Have never done anything like that.
  • Old house so not positive how level everything is across the kitchen. Worried about screwing up that design.

Just going to use 3x6 subway tiles from Lowes.

Does anyone have any tips or other ideas to talk me off a cliff before I drop $1,400.

nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 12:34:25 PM »
Tiling is not hard.  Basically you just need a good subsurface for the tile to adhere to and to take the time to line the tiles up straight.

f you are not trying to salvage the existing tile you do not need to worry about just ripping out the old tile.  You're going to want to install a new backer anyway, so just rip it all out.  It's fun!

Now that've pulled away all the tile and whatever it was stuck to (probably NOT drywall - more likely cement board or hardi board) - install Hardi Backer.  It's easy to cut, easy to install, and gives you a good surface to stick tiles to.  Next, apply modified thinset with a notched trowel and stick the tiles on. Use spacers to make sure they line up easy, but it's really as simple as sticking them in the thinset.  After that sets (~24 hours later) grout everything, seal the grout adn congratulate yourselves on not spending $1,400. 

Seriously, 32 sqft of tile is probably $200 worth of materials (~$30 worth of Hardi Backer, ~$100 worth of fancy designer tile, $10 for the trowel, $5 for the spacers, $20 for the thinset, and then $35 for a manual tile saw.)

when i first learned to tile I found this blog to be really helpful
http://diydiva.net/2010/07/tile-101-the-basics-of-diy-tiling-any-kind-anywhere/
Also, there's a TON of information on tiling over at the John Bridge forum
https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/index.php?s=330e599bddd01f61c39dd0d14ddeb533

Jon Bon

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 02:17:56 PM »
yeah tiling is a pretty awesome skill to have, and subway is a good way to start.

My advice take your time, and make sure your mud is mixed well and consistently, also take your time. Oh and dont worry about wasting tile. I would much rather have 50% scrap and clean cuts then no scrap and a few sloppy cuts. Oh and did I mention take your time?

Basically this is a finish grade project, any mistakes your are going to notice every time you walk by.

bacchi

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 02:39:22 PM »
I use a rotary tool (e.g., a Dremel) with a tile cutting wheel. It works great and it's easy. I do spray water on the wheel when it heats up during long cuts.

Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

oldmannickels

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 03:20:09 PM »
I use a rotary tool (e.g., a Dremel) with a tile cutting wheel. It works great and it's easy. I do spray water on the wheel when it heats up during long cuts.

Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

Cool I have the Ryobi all in one multi tool that has a dremel attachment. Do you think that would be good for the tile or do I need to find something else?

nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 03:29:00 PM »
I use a rotary tool (e.g., a Dremel) with a tile cutting wheel. It works great and it's easy. I do spray water on the wheel when it heats up during long cuts.

Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

Cool I have the Ryobi all in one multi tool that has a dremel attachment. Do you think that would be good for the tile or do I need to find something else?

Not saying that a dremel won't work (it will - if you can keep your lines straight/use a straight edge) - but what I used and found to work very well was a manual tile cutter like this: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/building-supplies/walls-floors-and-ceiling/flooring-tools-and-accessories/27401?x429=true&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrLjApM7Z3QIVAgRpCh2_QwBoEAQYBCABEgIWGvD_BwE

90% of the time I got the cut exactly where I wanted it, and it was dead-on straight.  The other 10%.... well that's my own inexperience, and why you always have a dozen or so extra tiles (usually returnable).

texxan1

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 03:34:04 PM »
YOUTUBE is your friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!! easy peasy

oldmannickels

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2018, 06:47:43 AM »
OK back from night one. I ripped out the tile and drywall from one section. My wife said I have to prove I can fix the hole before I make more holes. Almost got fired night one.

The insulation behind the drywall had signs of air leakage. I think that is from an old kitchen vent on the other side of the wall thats not property sealed, so I'll worry about that when I tackle the vinyl siding from the outside.

The plan is this saturday to pick up some hardiebacker and fit it into this area. I'm gonna clean up the area first, then cut the hardiebacker to shape. For the outlets I'm going to use a masonry grinder to cut out the area. Attach then tape and adhesive at the seams. If all that gets approved I'll keel going.




nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2018, 07:27:52 AM »
Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

Curious @bacchi - why do you recommend not using pre-mixed (modified) thinset?  I used it for my last tiling project and it seemed to work just fine... does mixing it yourself lead to better results?

OP - glad to see you've moved forward. Every new project has a moment where you go "can I really do this?"  Yes, yes you can. Take your time to make sure the hardibacker is completely level (no proud edges between panels.  If your subsurface is uniform your tiling will be super easy and professional.  I'd say 75% of your time is prepping/installing the subsurface, 15% is tiling/grouting, and 10% is cleaning everything up when you are done.

Papa bear

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2018, 10:05:10 AM »
Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

Curious @bacchi - why do you recommend not using pre-mixed (modified) thinset?  I used it for my last tiling project and it seemed to work just fine... does mixing it yourself lead to better results?

OP - glad to see you've moved forward. Every new project has a moment where you go "can I really do this?"  Yes, yes you can. Take your time to make sure the hardibacker is completely level (no proud edges between panels.  If your subsurface is uniform your tiling will be super easy and professional.  I'd say 75% of your time is prepping/installing the subsurface, 15% is tiling/grouting, and 10% is cleaning everything up when you are done.

Curious to hear the answer as well. In my opinion, a premixed mastic is safe to use for a backsplash and it’s incredibly easy to work with.

I use thinset mortar for wet or traffic areas, such as a bathroom floor/shower or kitchen floors. Your backsplash really shouldn’t see any water.

Also, this is not a heavy use area. You can just put in some mold resistant (MR - will be green or purple) drywall to patch your holes.  No need for a backer board here.

With subway tiles, I love using a score and snap and then a wet saw for multiple/perpendicular cuts.

As for the air and dirty insulation, not sure you’re going to do much to fix that unless you fix the entire wall. 


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bacchi

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2018, 10:24:03 AM »
Don't use pre-mixed thinset or grout.

Curious @bacchi - why do you recommend not using pre-mixed (modified) thinset?  I used it for my last tiling project and it seemed to work just fine... does mixing it yourself lead to better results?

Bags are not only cheaper but, generally, premixed takes a much longer time to dry. That's probably ok on a backsplash since, as Papa bear mentioned, it's not a high use area and you won't need to walk across it to use the toilet.

Jon Bon

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2018, 12:25:30 PM »
IMO I just dont like to used the pre-mixed stuff. Sure it has decent applications (as in here) but I like having the quality and quantity control over my adhesive.




nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2018, 12:30:13 PM »
thanks ofr the replies re: premixed vs. mix yourself.  I was starting to question whether I had made a mistake by using pre-mixed, but it seems I have not, there are just some advantages to mixing it yourself and having more control.

For me, I wind up doing tiling projects so infrequently that the convenience of the pre-mix is worth it, particularly since I don't have to worry about whether I've made it too thick or too thin and having the extra buckets and drill-mixer attachment.  If I were to do more extensive or frequent tiling projects i'd probably mix my own. 

Papa bear

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2018, 01:23:36 PM »
There is a quality difference.

Premix mastic is basically an organic glue. It can be damaged with water and potentially mold.

Thinset is mortar. Cement, sand, and water.  It’s a more permanent installation.

Thinset is harder to work with and you have a very quick working time. Mix it, trowel it, set tile, and walk away. If you mess up, you are tearing out a rock. Mastic gives you a much longer working time. It’s forgiving for beginners.  It will be much faster. But think of it as glue. 

Each has its applications. I’ve done backsplashes with each kind. 


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Adam Zapple

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2018, 06:16:07 PM »
There is nothing wrong with pre-mixed mastic for a kitchen backsplash since it is a dry area and is not walked on.  For a DIY'er I'd say it is better because it has a very long working time before it dries (basically days).  If you have not bought the hardie backer yet I would not bother and just get drywall.  Cheaper and easier to cut.  No need for hardie backer for a backsplash.  I remodeled dozens of kitchens in my day...directly over drywall with the tile and used mastic.  This is standard in my area.

oldmannickels

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2018, 06:56:28 AM »
So an update. I went with purple drywall.

My issue was that the previous drywall where I had to take off parts was 5/8" so when I found out hardiebacker was only .40 or something like that I got worried it wouldn't be flush and just went with the drywall.

The tiles were sooo stuck do the old drywall. I watched something like 15 youtube videos on how to remove tile and none of them worked. Ended up just smashing them with a hammer.

I will finish drywall patching tonight, then tape and mud or seal whatever that's called.

I think I have about 10 hours into the project. Most of which was smashing tile and getting lost around Lowes.

nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2018, 07:08:20 AM »
Ended up just smashing them with a hammer.

therapeutic, isn't it ;-)

Quote
I think I have about 10 hours into the project. Most of which was smashing tile and getting lost around Lowes.
Time well spent?

Once you have your subsurface prepped the actual tiling goes very quickly. 
One thing I've learned is to lay everything out BEFORE you apply any thinset/mastic (i.e. a 'dry run').  Make sure you have all the tiles and tools you need, a small bucket of water with a wet rag first, good lighting, etc.

neo von retorch

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2018, 07:13:24 AM »
Great to see you went with it! We literally just did this process.

We started tearing off tiles after watching videos - and the wallpaper just disintegrated in many places. The tiles were SO stuck. And behind the microwave, holes were drilled through the tiles and drywall, so all of that just fell apart. We replaced all of the drywall which was SO much better than trying to patch smaller sections. We did mud/tape. Installed the backsplash mesh grids. And just yesterday my spouse did half of the grout work. (Probably the hardest task, though my FIL says our grout was stiffer than it should have been. Apparently don't follow the instructions on how much water to put in ;)?? Ha!)

We did green mold-resistant drywall. We did make one mistake where we put a butt joint next to a taper - ended up being a bit of a fulcrum when we installed the tile. It's not so bad that we ripped it out and fixed it, and it'll be hidden by window trim. But, lesson learned!

Papa bear

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2018, 09:11:40 AM »
Great to see you went with it! We literally just did this process.

We started tearing off tiles after watching videos - and the wallpaper just disintegrated in many places. The tiles were SO stuck. And behind the microwave, holes were drilled through the tiles and drywall, so all of that just fell apart. We replaced all of the drywall which was SO much better than trying to patch smaller sections. We did mud/tape. Installed the backsplash mesh grids. And just yesterday my spouse did half of the grout work. (Probably the hardest task, though my FIL says our grout was stiffer than it should have been. Apparently don't follow the instructions on how much water to put in ;)?? Ha!)

We did green mold-resistant drywall. We did make one mistake where we put a butt joint next to a taper - ended up being a bit of a fulcrum when we installed the tile. It's not so bad that we ripped it out and fixed it, and it'll be hidden by window trim. But, lesson learned!
Tape and feather in your seems first.  Should true up that issue next time.




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neo von retorch

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2018, 09:15:36 AM »
We did tape the seam and I started feathering it in, though spouse took over that joint and I think too much mud got on the thick end of the seam. (No blame, just learning!)

oldmannickels

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2018, 07:50:50 AM »
So I'm just about finished. Just need to put a line of silicone (or whatever) where it meets the quartz and cabinet wall and I'll be done.

Some things I learned:
  • If you need to make precise cuts, rent a wet tile saw. I think it cost me $38 dollars. Saved me a ton of time and the cuts looked really good. Really not sure how I would've finished if I didn't have this
  • If you are unsure of your abilities. Use white grout. The white hides pretty much all of my mistakes. You'd have to look really hard and up close to see where I messed up.

I tried to track total hours it was a lot. The tile day I think took 15 hours for 32 sq feet. I have a weird window will a sill that goes out into the wall. Cutting the one tile that needed to slide into both the sill and fit around an outlet took 45 minutes.

Some pics:

neo von retorch

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2018, 07:56:44 AM »
Whoa, I love how most kitchens have the exact same layout! Ha! Laughed when I saw where your stove was. Boy does that look familiar. A little jealous of your newer appliances, not to mention gas. We have no gas service in our neighborhood, so we'd have to have propane tanks installed. Nice job!

It took us almost 2 months thanks to our leisurely pace. And we have yet to caulk or replace the window frame...

nereo

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Re: Convince me I can demo an install my kitchen backsplash
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2018, 08:21:53 AM »
identical layouts.  That's awesome.

Too late now but something I'm adding for anyone reading this thread and considering a similar project:
Consider running new electrical when demo-ing the tile, including for under-cabinet lighting. 

This is the single biggest regret I have about my tilling job a few years back (don't have a photo handy, but will try to dig one up).  We had under-cabinet lights installed on the rigth-half of the kitchen but failed to plan ahead; could have easily illuminated the left-half as well. 

Live and learn.  Glad to see some great DIY project to completion @oldmannickles