Several months ago my husband and I took on the DIY project of installing a backsplash in our kitchen. There was a magical product we used that made the job so simple, and I would love to share it with you today.
We discovered a product called SimpleMat. It claimed to replace the step of using thinset to adhere tiles to the wall, and since thinset can be a messy job I was all for giving this product a try.
SimpleMat is sold at Home Depot. It is a peel and stick mat that cuts easily. It comes in sheets that have non-stick backing on both sides or on a roll for larger jobs that has the non-stick backing only on one side (we used the roll). It kind of works like double sided tape but way, way, way stronger.
How To Tile a Backsplash Using Simple Mat
We created a cutting station using a scrap piece of board, a utility knife, a carpenter’s square, and a yardstick. We also had a tape measure handy for longer measurements. The board we used for cutting had a rough surface, which made it easier to peel off the sticky SimpleMat after cutting. This stuff is really, really sticky! Don’t press down hard on your cutting surface.
For ease of handling, we applied the SimpleMat
to the wall in sections no longer than 6 feet.
Measure your wall. Cut a piece of SimpleMat to length. Start in a corner and stick it to the wall. You can reposition the product as long as you don’t press too hard at first. Once it’s positioned correctly, go ahead and press firmly. Do not peel off the top layer to expose the sticky part until you are ready to start tiling.
It’s very easy to get around obstacles such as outlets. Simply cut smaller pieces to place around them as shown.
Here’s my husband applying the last piece of SimpleMat. We used a grout float to firmly press the entire surface and make sure it was completely stuck to the wall. Then we took a break for the evening and started tiling the next morning.
We chose a Mother of Pearl Mini Brick Pattern Mosaic Tile we purchased online from HomeDepot.com. You can see it HERE. The tile was not available in-store, so we ordered more than we thought we would need. We didn’t want to get in the middle of a project and have to wait for an order to be shipped. When the backsplash was done, we returned the unused tiles to our local Home Depot store for a full refund.
The Mother of Pearl Mosaic tiles we used were very thin. We used tile snippers to cut the tiles, but I would recommend using a tile saw if you have a big job. It took quite a bit of strength to snip some of these pieces, and by the end of the project my husband’s hands were sore. (I could not cut them at all!)
We used scrap pieces as shown above to fill in around outlets, in corners, and on the ends.
To finish the ends we added two vertical rows of tiles.
I love DIY projects, but I hate messes. I was able to talk my husband into cheating a little on the grout by purchasing pre-mixed white grout. We never regretted it! The grout was applied per package instructions using a rubber grout float at a 45 degree angle being sure to get the grout between every tile. We let the grout set about 20 minutes then began wiping it down with a damp tile sponge.
I honestly do not remember how many times I wiped down the backsplash after grouting. It was a lot! The haze was difficult to remove from these tiny tiles, and I wanted every bit of shine I could get! A couple of days after I was sure the tile was completely set I even used a Magic Eraser to shine it up a bit more.
We are thrilled with the results! The SimpleMat was easy to work with, the pre-mixed grout saved us a lot of mess and time, and the Mother of Pearl Mosaic tiles are stunning and oh so shimmery! We get compliments on it all the time.
If you have any questions about the installation or the products we used, please leave a comment below. This two day project made a huge difference in our kitchen, and I would encourage you to give it a try!
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