How to tile a laundry splashback
Gather your supplies
- White matt ceramic subway tiles
- Acrylic surface primer
- Multipurpose tile adhesive
- Tile cutter
- Tile cross spacers
- 6mm notch adhesive spreader
- White angle L-shape tile trim
- White grout
- Waterproof silicone sealant in white
You’ll also need
- Hard surface protector
- Packaging tape
- Painter’s tape
- Utility knife
- Spirit level
- Underlay scoring knife
- Tape measure
- Paint trays and rollers
- Carpenter’s pencil
- Small and large buckets
- Grout float
- Flat wooden stirrer
- Soft lint-free cloth
- Caulking gun
- Spray bottle of soapy water
- Popsicle stick
For you to note
- Measure the area to be tiled before you start, to calculate how many tiles are needed and how many will need cutting.
- When buying more than one box of tiles of the same design and colour, ensure the batch numbers match.
- Buy at least 10% more tiles than you need for overcuts.
- This splashback is tiled in a 70-30 brick pattern using 76 x 306 x 8mm tiles.
Clear area to be tiled and lay a hard surface protector on benchtop.
If wall is painted, as here, apply several 100mm strips of packaging tape to wall. Leave for 10 minutes, then quickly pull off. If paint stays on, the wall is okay to tile. If paint peels off, scrape off all loose paint then sand.
Apply a vertical strip of painter’s tape where splashback tiling will end. Check strip is plumb.
Use an underlay scoring knife to score lines in different directions across the tile work area. This will help the adhesive adhere to the wall.
Using a roller, apply surface primer to scored wall; leave to dry. This allows for a strong bond between adhesive and tiles.
Mark the tiles to be cut. Place a tile face up with long edge flush against the back wall of the tile cutter. Scribe cutter disc along face of the tile and sit the breaker on the edge. Slowly push down on handle to break the tile. Repeat to cut remaining tiles.
Lay the first 2 rows of tiles, including cross spacers, in front of the wall to be tiled. This allows you to double check cut tiles are correct length. If the wall the tiles are butting up against is uneven, adjustments can be made to tiles before tiling begins.
Using a notched trowel, spread tile adhesive across first part of wall to be tiled – don’t cover the whole area, as adhesive will dry out before all tiles are laid.
Cut tile trim with hacksaw to required length, push it into the tile adhesive before any tiles are added. Check during tiling that it remains straight.
Place first tile in the right-hand bottom corner, butting edge into trim. (Butt any cut tiles with cut edge facing trim or wall.) Complete 5 tiles of the bottom row before starting the second row. Insert cross spacers between each tile to keep gaps even, adjusting tiles to keep square. Also place spacers between benchtop and first row of tiles to keep tiles off bench and level.
Add more tile adhesive with the trowel and continue with the next rows while adding spacers. Adjust tiles if needed so they are level and square with each other before adhesive dries. When finished, wipe any excess adhesive off tiles with a damp sponge and leave adhesive to set.
Remove all tile spacers. Use a utility knife to remove excess tile adhesive between the tiles. Give tiled area a wipe down with a damp sponge to remove all loose adhesive.
Add water to grout powder in a small bucket, and mix to a smooth toothpaste consistency using a flat stirrer. Don’t make a full bucket, as grout can cure quickly and may go hard before grouting is finished.
Use a grout float to apply grout generously across the surface of the tiles, working it in to the gaps between tiles. Continue until area is completely covered. Don’t apply grout to gap between bench and tiles. Leave to dry for 10-15 minutes.
Wash off excess grout with a sponge and clean water, rinsing sponge repeatedly. When wiping off excess grout, go across the joins, not with them, as this will remove grout from joins. Allow 24 hours for grout to dry, then wipe grout haze off tiles with a lint-free cloth.
Use a caulking gun to apply a generous bead of silicone sealant to gap between bench and tiles.
Spray freshly applied silicone with soapy water. Run the end of a popsicle stick over silicone joint to smooth it.
Laundry styling tricks
- An all-white laundry is clean and fresh but can feel a little sterile. Inject warmth and texture with timber and natural fibres, here with a three-legged stool, dust-pan set and woven washing baskets. Subtle colour can be introduced with towels and a floor mat.
- Your laundry accessories can be decorative as well as functional.
- A wall-mounted coat rack is a handy way to keep your laundry odds and ends easily accessible.
- Two of the easiest laundry styling tricks are to use glass canisters for powders and detergents, and put fresh flowers on display.
Although a splashback is vital in a kitchen or bathroom, it's more of a style preference and not made necessarily for practical reasons. However, many Australians do choose to install a splashback as it does make cleaning their laundry rooms easier.
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