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bigboyjoel 05-21-2007 10:25 AM

Backsplash advice
Hello all-
My wife and I want to install a backsplash on the wall of our sink and behind the stove. My questions are with prepration of the mounting surface. The floor cabinet that houses the sink will be coming out as well. The old tile backsplash has been removed and all that remains is a rough plaster looking wall. The substrate that remains is not drywall, for the house was built in 1942. There appears to be an inch thick material that comes out in chuncks when we removed the old backsplash. Would you recommened removing the remaining wall that would result in exposing the 2x4's or place a thin layer of 1/4" backerboard on top of the remaining surface, only in the areas where tile would be placed and leave the rest alone? I'm much more apt to not want to tear into things too much. There are no signs of water leakage or anything of the sort. The area to be tiled is about 15 sq feet.

The area behind the stove has a plaster wall and someone has applied a rough texture on the wall. When you run your hand over it, it's rough with smoothed out, raised areas only about 2-4mm thick. It peels off but only in small 0.5" chunks. The surface behind that is a nice smooth plaster that is not damaged in any way. Do you all recommend putting backboard on this wall to prep it for tile? This area is about 10 sq feet.


Brik 05-21-2007 01:03 PM

I would say no for the backer for just a back splash as long as this isn't a wet area. Just get all your walls fixed, smooth and flat first, then your cabinets and counter top in place then install your tile back splash.

DIY4EVER 05-21-2007 01:43 PM


I recently installed a tile backsplash in my own kitchen. I have a newer home so I was dealing with nice smooth walls. You could probably patch any rough spots on your walls with some plaster patch or maybe some joint compound...??? I don't think it is really crucial to have them perfect since you want your mastik to adhere well to the walls.

First, I took my square notched trowel and scraped it, notch side against the wall, back and forth over the entire area to be tiled. I did this to provide a rough surface for the mastik to stick to. Next, spread your mastik in a small area that you can tile in about 15 minutes. Then set your tile. Follow all the directions on the mastik and the grout. Its not that difficult and I never worked with tile before.

I got all the supplies at HD for about $60:

spacers (to evenly space your tile)
sanded grout (make sure it will work for your size spacer)
grout float
tiles (I was working with 4" stone tile)
tile/grout sealer (important for porous materials so they don't stain)


Ron6519 05-21-2007 02:32 PM

Sounds like the old tile job was what they call a mud job. It will be about 1 1/2"-2" thick. Metal lath covered with a concrete base. Then these concrete english muffin shaped globs that the tile was set into.
You might have clearance issues to deal with . The new wall might need to be built out if the countertop is staying.

bigboyjoel 05-21-2007 03:55 PM

So, let me get this straight, I just need to make sure the mastik has something to adhere to? Is there a compound that I can use to patch these areas that will be strong and able to be made staright enough for the 6" subway tile to attach to? I thought about roughing up the surface of the wall behind the stove a bit, it appears to be almost like paint that is flaking off with a bit of manipulation. Now, if I rough this up and get as much of that crap off as I can, will that be enough for the bonding agent to adhere to?

Now for the sink wall, this is an area that may get wet from time to time but nothing like a shower. I can still use some sort of "filler" to fill in the small holes that were opened when we removed the original backsplash? I need to attach a pic...please respond of you can.

Dusty 05-24-2007 02:22 AM

For what it's worth coming from someone who has been reading about tiling for the past couple of months or more (doing my bathroom and then my backsplash) it seems to me the key to do this is to get those walls smooth. The easiest way (to me) to do that is to get a hammer and smack out the old morter/plaster down to lath ( or stud if you don't have lath). That way you are starting from a basically even, clean base. Trying to fill and smooth could be a real pain if your walls are anything like mine, nevermind dealing with a variety of surface materials that may or may not stick to each other.

In my kitchen (1930) the tile came off without any effort as someone had put up plywood to even it out in spots (note: tile does not stick well to plywood and the only thing holding that backsplash together was the grout). In other spots they adhered it right to the plaster and that's left it really unneven between old wallpaper, old plaster, new fller. So I am hitting it back to lath. It's a bit of a mess, but it's easy and fast.

The next part is just buying some cement board or fiber rock (I think that's what it's called, made of some sort of ceramic, more water resistant than cement board.. a few dollars more. The contractor I had prep my shower area used it in there and said it's much better than other products.). Anyway, cement board can be had for under $20, comes in .25" - .5" (I think and size might be determined by how close your bottom cupboards are to the wall) and is pretty easy to score and snap to size. Screw it on, tape and fill the screw holes and joints, and tile. I suppose you could also use drywall or aqua board but for the difference in price it's probably worth it to go with the more water resistant materials.

ImFlippinCrazy 05-24-2007 06:30 AM

Hey guys, I'm working on the same project, for my old lady. THis is over my sink also. I am putting up 12"*12" tile.. Would it be OK to just clean this surface, and liquid nail it up? Also, would you put the tile ontop of the counter ridge or behind it.. O, yeah, one more thing, I have to cut out the light and GAF switch, what is the easiest way to cut these out?

Good luck Joel,

bigboyjoel 05-24-2007 08:43 AM

Thanks all, you have been so helpful. I believe I will do as Dusty suggested. I knew all along that it would come down to this, oh well, here we go.

How do you guys load pics? I try and it says that the file is too big even after I decrease the file size...WTF??

ImFlippinCrazy 05-24-2007 10:20 AM

are you using photobucket?

bigboyjoel 05-24-2007 10:25 AM

I think I figured it out...I loaded them from myspace account. I will place them DIY when I get home today, tell me what you think.

ImFlippinCrazy 05-28-2007 06:08 PM

Hey guys, I'm back, after a little work, and arguing with Lowes, TADA, almost done..

Need to finish painting, shoe moulding, mirror above sink (under shelf ), and a little grouting work by the switchs.

Other then that, nice week of work, but it looks awesome,..

yummy mummy 05-29-2007 08:54 AM

That was one nasty looking sink.

Looks great!

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