How to Install a Marble Tile Backsplash

Boost your kitchen's wow factor in a three-day weekend by installing a timeless Carrara marble backsplash in an updated subway tile pattern.

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Begin Spreading Mortar and Applying Tile

First, lay a spirit level on the existing countertop area to ensure it is level. If not, note where it dips or rises so you can accommodate with a wider caulk line where needed between the tile and countertop. Dip notched trowel into mortar, then spread an even layer onto a small section of wall (Image 1). If you're starting at an outside edge that will border drywall, attach tile "pencil" trim first to create a border between the tiled and untiled areas (Image 2).

Add Sheets of Tile

Begin applying full tiles where the backsplash meets the countertop. Most likely, the tiles that border the bottom of the cabinets will need to be cut, which won't be a problem because cut tiles here will be less visible. As you apply sheets of tile, slide spacers under the bottom row of tile to create a gap that later will be filled with caulk.

Tip: It's better to caulk, rather than grout, this bottom line to allow for cabinets shifting with normal floorboard movement.

Prep Outlets for Tiling

Turn off electrical power where you're working. Using a screwdriver, loosen up screws holding outlets in electrical boxes. Grasp the clips at the top and bottom, and gently pull the box out far enough that tile can fit under the clips. Tile slid under the clips will bring the boxes flush with the surrounding tile, eliminating the need for box extenders.

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