How To: Creating An Eco-Friendly Metal Backsplash
Materials and Tools:
large sheets of paper or cardboard to use as a template
recycled aluminum tiles (available through eco-friendly flooring companies)
tile grinder fitted with a metal cutting blade (for purchase or rent at home improvement stores)
1. Measure the dimensions of your backsplash. Using a large sheet of paper or cardboard, transfer the measurements to the paper, then use scissors to cut a template. Set the template in place and tweak it until it fits the backsplash area perfectly. Be sure to mark the outlets.
2. Place the template on a flat surface and lay your tiles out to create a pattern you find appealing. We used 4" x 4" tiles with three different finishes (vibrated, polished and matte) set in a random pattern.
3. Use your 1/2-inch trowel to spread the tile adhesive on a small area of the wall. "Back butter" the tiles (put a little bit of adhesive on them) then stick them to the wall according to your preset pattern. Place spacers in the corners of each tile; this will create your grout line. Work in small increments so the adhesive doesn't dry.
4. When you get as many whole tiles in place as you can, use the tile grinder to cut the remaining tiles to fit the remaining row. Follow the manufacturer's specifications and be sure to follow all safety precautions when using the tile grinder.
5. Once the tiles are cut, stick them to the wall with adhesive. Exercise caution when installing around outlets; make sure no exposed electrical wire touches the metal tile you are installing. Even better, turn off the electricity to the area where you're working. You may have to cut the tiles to fit them around the outlets.
6. Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before you grout the tiles.
7. Prepare the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using your cement mixer, mix the grout in the bucket until it is the consistency of pancake batter.
8. Use a rubber grout float to spread the grout over the tile.
9. Wait 15 minutes and remove excess grout with a damp sponge before it hardens completely. Allow the grout to set firmly according to the manufacturer's instructions.
10. After the grout is set, clean your new tiles thoroughly with mild dish soap and warm water.