As the backsplash area is very small, the effort required to complete the project will be much less as compared to total remodeling of the kitchen. At the same time, you can save a lot of money too.
Instructions for Installation
Once you have decided to install slate tile on the kitchen backsplash, equip yourself with the tools and materials that are essential to carry out the task. They are: slate tiles, tile cutter, tile spacers, tile adhesive, ready mixed tile grout, adhesive spreader, a piece of damp cloth and one dry piece of cloth.
First of all, prepare the surface of the wall. Check out whether the condition of the drywall is strong enough to hold the slate tiles. Any repair work should be finished before you place the tiles. Do not forget to clean up the wall and make them free from dirt and dust.
If the size of the slate tile is 12 inches by 12 inches, then a cement backer board has to be fixed on the wall. Cut the backer board as per the size of the backsplash and then fix it on the wall using screws spaced with gaps of 6 inches.
The next step is to prepare the tiles. It involves application of a good quality penetrating sealer on the surface of the tile. This is done because the surface of the slate tile is porous. Keep the tiles untouched until the sealer dries thoroughly. Apply the sealer one day before installing the tiles. Thus you can ensure that sealer has dried up properly.
Select a mastic of maximum strength so that it can hold the tiles properly. If you are using thinset, then read the instructions given on the label. Divide the wall into small sections and apply the adhesive on each one of them at a time. This will make the task easier for you.
Take a generous amount of the adhesive on a spreader and spread it on the wall in such a way that it forms a uniform thin layer. Just make sure that you do not apply excess of adhesive on the wall.
Arrange the tiles on the floor as per the design you want on the backsplash. Locate the center of the wall and install the first slate tile there. Place the tile and press it well into the adhesive. The next tile should be placed either on its left or right. Similarly, keep placing the tiles to complete the row and then move on to the next row.
Use the tile spacer to ensure that there is enough gap between two adjacent tiles. There should also be some space in between the kitchen countertop and backsplash. You may have to cut the tiles to be installed in the last row in order to fit them into the available space.
Apply grout to the newly installed slate tile only after the tiles have dried completely. Ideally, this drying time should be 24 hours. Prepare the grouting mixture by adding the right amount of water into it as per the manufacturer's instructions. Spread it with a grout float into the space that lies in between the slate tiles.
Force it well into the grout lines. Wait for about half an hour so that it sets well into the lines. Then wipe off the excess of grout from the tile surface using a damp cloth but do not touch the grout line. Let it cure thoroughly for the next 3 days. Finally, apply two coats of penetrating sealer for better protection of the grout and the slate tiles.
Finally, two simple tips. If you choose smaller sized slate tiles instead of the larger ones, then it would be beneficial in the long run. Secondly, try to use acrylic mastic as it will help you to save a lot of time. All the best!