Installing a mesh mounted tile backsplash can add style and functionality to your kitchen. With the right tools and preparation, this project can be accomplished by DIYers in a weekend. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a mesh mounted tile backsplash.
A backsplash protects the wall behind a countertop from water damage and stains. Tiles add an attractive, easy-to-clean surface. Mesh mounted tiles are installed on a polymer-coated fiberglass mesh sheet, making installation quicker and easier than traditional backsplashes. The mesh mounts directly to the wall, providing a smooth surface for the tiles to adhere to.
Mesh mounted tile backsplashes are a great option for DIY installations. They are lighter weight than traditional backsplash materials and do not require specialized tools. The tiles come pre-spaced on the mesh backing, eliminating the need to measure and space each tile. This guide will walk through the entire process, from preparing your work area to grouting the finished project. With proper planning and care, you can achieve a high-end backsplash look with a mesh mounted tile system.
Benefits of a Mesh Mounted Tile Backsplash
There are several advantages to choosing a mesh mounted tile for your backsplash project:
- Easier installation than traditional backsplashes. The mesh backing eliminates the need to set each tile individually.
- Lightweight material is easy to cut and work with.
- Pre-spaced tiles create a uniform look without precise tile measurements.
- Allows for dramatic patterns or designs since tiles are interchangeable.
- Provides smooth surface for tiles to adhere to, preventing cracks.
- Moisture resistant mesh prevents water damage to the wall.
- Can be installed over existing backsplash for quick update.
For DIYers, the simplicity of installation and the ability to achieve beautiful results make mesh mounted tile an ideal backsplash option.
Preparing for Installation
Proper planning and preparation are key steps for achieving a successful installation. Here is an overview of what you need to do before starting:
You will need the following supplies for your project:
- Mesh mounted tile sheets
- Tile adhesive or thinset mortar
- Notched trowel
- Grout sealer
- Caulk/silicone sealant
- Tile spacers (for grout lines)
- Tile cutter or wet saw
- Grout float
- Grout sponge
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Protective gear like gloves and goggles
Make sure to get high quality tile adhesive suitable for the wall surface. Have all materials on hand before starting.
Prepare the Surface
The wall surface must be smooth, clean, and dry for the tiles to properly adhere.
- Remove existing backsplash if there is one. Scraping tools can help remove stubborn old adhesive.
- Fill any holes or uneven spots with spackle. Allow to dry completely.
- Thoroughly clean the wall surface with a degreasing cleaner. Rinse well.
- Allow the wall to dry completely before installing.
Proper surface prep prevents tiles from loosening over time.
Plan the Layout
Map out your tile layout using a pencil and tape measure. Most backsplashes start at the counter’s edge and go up the wall behind the stove or sink. Plan the tile layout to avoid narrow cut pieces around edges and openings. Cutting mesh sheets is easier if you maintain whole tile rows. Leave room for grout lines when measuring.
Cut Tile Sheets
Use a utility knife and straight edge to cut mesh tile sheets to fit your layout. Make sure to cut so that complete tiles remain on the sheet; do not cut through tiles. Tile sheets can be tricky to work with, so take it slow and make precise cuts. Use eye and hand protection when cutting.
Now you are ready to install the mesh mounted tiles!
How to Install Mesh Mounted Tile Backsplash
Follow these steps for proper installation:
Step 1: Prepare Adhesive
Prepare the tile adhesive according to package directions. Use a notched trowel to comb adhesive onto the wall surface area, using broad, even strokes. Work in small sections so the adhesive does not dry out before setting the tile.
Step 2: Mount the First Sheet
Start in an upper corner and mount the first sheet of mesh tile. Press firmly across the entire sheet so the mesh adheres flat to the wall. Use a grout float or tile leveling tool to apply consistent pressure and smooth the surface.
Step 3: Continue Setting Tile Sheets
Continue applying adhesive and mounting tile sheets row by row. Work methodically to avoid gaps or overlaps in the mesh. Use tile spacers between sheets to maintain even grout line spacing. Immediately wipe away any excess adhesive.
Step 4: Cut Around Obstructions
Measure and cut border and around outlet or other obstructions tiles using a utility knife. Press cut edges firmly into the adhesive.
Step 5: Let Adhesive Cure
Allow adhesive to fully cure following manufacturer recommendations. This is essential to prevent tiles shifting. Avoid working on the tiles during this time.
Step 6: Apply Grout
Prepare grout following package directions. Use a rubber grout float to spread grout over the tiles, pressing into joints. Hold the float at a 45° angle and wipe diagonally across tiles to remove excess.
Step 7: Clean Grout Haze
Once grout dries, use a damp sponge to wipe any residual grout haze off the tile surface. Buff surface with a cloth until tiles shine.
Step 8: Seal Grout
After grout has fully cured, apply grout sealer according to product specifications. This prevents grout from absorbing stains and makes cleaning easier.
With the tile set and grouted, your mesh mounted backsplash is complete! Proper installation will keep your new backsplash looking beautiful for years.
Maintaining and Cleaning Your Backsplash
Follow these tips for keeping your backsplash looking its best:
- Use a gentle cleaner designed for tile and grout. Harsh cleaners can damage grout or tile sealant.
- Re-apply grout sealer annually to protect from stains.
- Immediately wipe up any food, grease or water spills to prevent staining.
- Do not use abrasive scrubbing pads or brushes which can dull the tile surface.
- Avoid hanging objects with adhesives or screws/nails which can damage the underlying mesh. Use hangers that attach with removable clips instead.
- Re-caulk perimeter joints if cracks appear between the tile and wall or countertops. This prevents moisture from seeping behind tiles.
With proper care, your mesh mounted tile backsplash will stay beautiful and functional for many years. The ease of installation makes it a great weekend upgrade for DIYers. Follow this guide closely during your project, and you will have a stunning new backsplash to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools do I need to install a mesh mounted tile backsplash?
You will need basic tools like a notched trowel, grout float, sponges, utility knife, tape measure, and level. A wet saw or tile cutter is needed for precise cuts. Safety gear like goggles and gloves is also recommended.
What type of adhesive do I use for mesh mounted tiles?
Use a quality thinset mortar designed for tiles and wet areas. Make sure it is suitable for the wall surface material. Consult manufacturer specifications.
Should I use tile spacers with mesh mounted tile?
Yes, tile spacers are recommended to create consistent grout line thickness between the mesh sheets. The spacers get removed before grouting.
How soon can I grout after installing mesh tiles?
Wait at least 24 hours after installation to allow adhesive to fully cure. This prevents tiles from shifting when applying grout.
Can I cut mesh sheets with regular scissors or shears?
It is not recommended. The mesh is too thick for regular scissors. Use a sharp utility knife and straightedge to score and snap cuts.
How are mesh tile backsplashes different than traditional tile?
Mesh mounted tiles adhere to the backing, so you avoid setting each individual tile. The tiles are also lightweight and come in pre-spaced sheets for quicker installation.
Can I install a mesh backsplash over an existing backsplash?
In some cases, yes. Ensure the old backsplash is solidly adhered, clean, and smooth before mounting mesh over it. Any texture inconsistencies will show through the new tile.
Installing a DIY mesh mounted tile backsplash can make a dramatic improvement to your kitchen’s style and function. With the right planning and materials, this project can be manageable for DIYers looking to upgrade their space. Following the techniques outlined above will result in a stunning, modern backsplash you will enjoy for years to come. What are you waiting for? Get started on your mesh mounted tile project today!