Monday, May 7, 2012

DIY Tile Wall

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I've wanted to do this wall forever, so when I found the "SimpleMat" product in Home Depot  I couldn't pass up a chance to try it! If you already know how to tile, this will change your world. If you are new and have been wanting to try it, this is you chance. No mess, easy to apply, and best yet, NO CLEAN UP! I tiled this wall with a friend while my father sat on the couch and watched television. As a retired builder, he was absolutely amazed.


The sticky dots are actually high-tack mastic with plastic sheeting protecting both sides. You just peel one side, adhere it to the wall and go. I started in the top left corner and worked across and down, leaving the other sheet of protective plastic on, cut with scissors as you go. When you apply the next sheet, work to keep the pattern consistent so there are no gaps where tile won't be able to stick.

Once the wall is completely covered, take your tile and do some dry runs to see how the pattern will fall. I always start at the very top at the center and work out. My superpower is that I can level anything by eyeball, but if you can't do this you'll want to use a level and measuring tape!

Word of CAUTION: This adhesive is formulated specifically to hold this tile on your wall FOREVER. You will not be able to reposition once you stick the tile to it so work carefully!

Position (stick) all of the tile on the wall starting top/center, completing one full row at a time, working down. Work your way out to sides where you will have space left over. Don't work over the edge, you can't cut adhered tile! After the wall is 90% done, you will go back to cut the rest of the pieces to fill in. Also take care not to touch the adhesive that is exposed or you will reduce its tackiness. I used spare plastic sheeting scraps to cover them until I was ready with the cut tiles.

About tile cutting: If you can use a table saw, you can use a tile saw.  If you haven't tried this, enlist a spouse, neighbor, parent to pitch in for moral support. Worst case, you break some tile. You won't learn unless you are willing to try!
Measure the tile, mark on the back with a wax pencil or perm marker and go. Be sure to wear goggles or sunglasses as small tiles send small glass chips flying. Oh, and do this OUTSIDE. If it's cold out, I often cut my tile in the shower for easy clean up.

Once all the tile is in place you are ready to grout. For a wall you'll use non-sanded grout and a small grout float- I'm partial to premixed as grout is heavy and mixing it is labor intensive, not to mention messy which is what I was trying to avoid.

Good luck!! 



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