Kitchen backsplash 101: How to master a simple DIY project

(BPT) – Looking for an easy weekend project to help transform the look of your kitchen, bathroom or bar? Swap out your old, tired backsplash for new tiles or a stylish mosaic pattern. The first step is to find tiles you like, as your choice will determine the products required to help set your tiles like a pro — even if it’s your first time.

Here are the basics to get you started.

Using mosaic sheet tiles

If you prefer smaller tiles, you can choose a mosaic sheet for quick and easy installation of your new backsplash

To apply mosaic sheet tiles without messy mortar or mixing, SimpleMat® Tile Setting Mat lets you complete your project in a day because there’s no waiting between setting and grouting. If you prefer, you can install for an hour at a time, or over several days. Regardless of your pace, you must grout within 24 hours of setting your tile. SimpleMat is suitable for walls or countertops, and can be used with ceramic, porcelain, stone or glass tile measuring 1×1 inches or larger. SimpleMat can also be used with mosaic tile with open mesh backing, as long as the skinny side of the tile is at least 5/8 of an inch. Tiles should not be heavier than 7 pounds or larger than 8×8 inches.

Beyond backsplashes, SimpleMat is also suitable for kitchen or bath counters, shower walls and tub surrounds. SimpleMat grips tightly from the start, so it’s great for mosaic sheets and perfect for first-time DIYers. Just ensure your surface is sound, clean and dry before starting, then follow the easy step-by step instructions at

SimpleMat is available exclusively at The Home Depot.

Installing individual tiles

If your plan is for larger, single tiles, like subway tiles for your backsplash, it’s still an easy project with the right products. For example, SimpleSet® Pre-Mixed Thin-Set Mortar provides a ready-to-use, no-mix, no-mess alternative to traditional thin-set mortar that’s recommended for ceramic, porcelain and stone tile up to 8×8 inches. Additionally, it’s ideal for smaller tiles if you wish to create your own pattern instead of using mosaic sheets designed by others. It’s easy to use — just spread the mortar and set your tiles. Importantly, SimpleSet allows you to move and adjust tiles after placement in case a bit of adjustment is needed to get them right.

Instructions for SimpleSet application:

1. Make sure your tiling surface is sound, clean and dry.

2. Use a properly-sized notch trowel to ensure proper coverage. Using the flat side of trowel, apply a skim coat of SimpleSet to the surface where you are applying the tile.

3. Apply additional SimpleSet with the notch side of the trowel held at a 45-degree angle to the surface, combing in one direction.

4. Press tile firmly into place in a perpendicular motion across the ridges, moving back and forth. With larger tiles, back-buttering (spreading a thin layer to the tile itself just before placing) is advised.

5. Adjust tile promptly and beat in with a beating block and rubber mallet. Periodically pull up a tile and check the back to ensure complete coverage with SimpleSet.

6. Do not apply more SimpleSet than can be covered by tile in 30 minutes. If SimpleSet starts to skin over (is not sticky), re-trowel before setting tile.

7. Do not apply more SimpleSet than necessary to achieve a sufficient bond — the thickness should not exceed 3/16 inches.

8. Unlike SimpleMat, SimpleSet needs to cure at least 24-72 hours before grouting. Dry time will vary depending on tile size, porosity of the surface you are tiling and ambient conditions.

SimpleSet is available at The Home Depot and other home improvement retailers.

Applying grout

After setting your tiles or mosaic tile sheet, you’ll need to grout. Fortunately, SimpleGrout® Pre-Mixed Grout is an easy-to-use, no-mix, no-mess alternative to traditional grout. It uses a sanded, shrink- and crack-resistant formula that resists common household stains.

With these ready-to-use products, you can tackle a variety of projects to enhance your home environment, even if you’re a DIY novice.

Learn more about easy DIY home projects at