Stainless Steel Backsplash Shop Blog
How-To Maintain... March 04 2016
Metal tiles are fast becoming a popular choice for accent tile in many rooms today. They are easy to put up and can be put up by anyone with DIY skills. Metal tiles are also easy to maintain. This doesn’t mean that they are completely maintenance free. Just like many other things in your home metal tiles will eventually need to be cleaned to keep looking as good as they did the first day you installed them. The method of care and maintenance your tile requires depends on the type of metal tiles you have.
Copper for example will change its patina when it is exposed to air and moisture. Some people prefer the aging look that copper will develop over time. Other types of metal tiles will develop rust in the aging process when it is exposed to moisture. Some people prefer this method of aging metal tiles. Others prefer for their tile to stay looking as bright and shiny as the day they were installed. The only way to prevent the aging process of metal is to clean and seal the metal tiles. We will take a short look at how metal tiles can be cleaned and sealed.
Sealing the Tile.
Only two types of metal tiles need to be sealed. It is not mandatory that these types of tiles need to be sealed. This is strictly dependent on the type of look you want the tile to develop over time. Sealing helps to protect the original finish keeping it from oxidizing. This will happen overtime when the surface interacts with the moisture in the air. In the case of copper tiles this would mean that it would turn darker developing a patina. In an iron type of tile this reaction of aging would develop rust. A good solvent-based sealer will stop this from happening. It can be sprayed or brushed on over the tiles to form a barrier to stop moisture from penetrating into the tile. Be sure to treat the entire tile. If any spot on the tile is not sealed it will continue to develop a patina at that particular spot.
Cleaning the Tiles.
Most of the metal tiles can be cleaned by using warm water and either soap or a dishwashing detergent. Use a micro fiber cloth to wash down the tile and then rinse thoroughly. Keep in mind if you are using a stainless steel tile that you also have the option to use a cleaner that is designed to be used on stainless steel. Stainless tile will also scratch easily so you want to use a cloth and cleaner that does not have any abrasive. With a cooper finish there are a couple of choices. Soap and water are the most used combination when cleaning copper. A copper cleaner is also available to brighten up the copper tiles.
The most common way to clean any type of metal tile is using warm water, a non-abrasive soap solution and micro fiber cloths. Be sure to clean and dry the tiles completely to prevent streaking in the tiles.
How-To Measure... February 22 2014
How-To Measure The Backsplash Area For Your Tile Project
A modern kitchen isn't complete without a metal backsplash, be it a stainless steel, aluminum or copper backsplash. However, you don't have to settle for a plain sheet of stainless steel like you would find in a restaurant kitchen. Today you have a nearly unlimited amount of choices to choose from thanks to the availability of affordable metal mosaic tile.
Stainless steel backsplashes are available in two different formats. The most common and the most cost effective is a single stainless steel sheet that is precut to the width of your stove, often 30". This is not overly aesthetically pleasing and its main purpose is to catch spray and grease from the stovetop. In addition these sheets only cover the area behind the stove, not the rest of the kitchen backsplash area leaving it up to you to try and find a material to match. The stainless steel, aluminum and copper backsplash products we offer consist of metal mosaic sheets roughly one square foot in size that allow you to cover your entire backsplash area above your countertops as well as your stove or range. The mosaic sheets install just like regular wall tile or mosaic tile, using light weight wall adhesive and grout. You can choose from over 35 designs and patterns to best suit your taste, all of which are more visually appealing than a flat single sheet of stainless steel.
Measuring Your Backsplash
So how do you go about measuring for your new backsplash? The process isn't complicated at all as the diagram below illustrates:
The first thing you need to do is break up your backsplash into separate areas for measuring. In the diagram below you can see there are two areas between the countertop and cabinets, plus an additional area behind the sink (or range/stove). Its easiest to break these up into rectangular sections so calculations are simplified.
You will need any standard measuring tape that can measure in inches. To calculate the area simply multiply the width times the height. So if Section "A" is 32" wide and 16" high then the total area is 32x16 = 512 square inches.
Once you have measured all the sections and calculated the area of each in square inches, simply add all of those numbers together to get a total area. That will give you the area in square inches. To convert that number to square feet simply divide by 144. So if your total kitchen backsplash area is 2554 square inches it works out to 2544/144 = 17.75 sq ft.
Now, lets discuss overages. When installing a stainless steel backsplash using mosaic tile you need to consider there will be wasted material during the cutting and installation process. So we always recommend 10-15% more material than you have measured for. So if your project measures out to 17.75 sq ft simply multiply that number by 1.1 to add 10%. This works out to 17.75 x 1.1 = 19.525 sq ft. Always round up to the nearest square foot, in this example it would be 20 sq ft even.
Choosing The Metal Wall Tile
The next step in the process is to choose the style of your backsplash. Simply visit this page to see all of the metal mosaic tiles that we offer. Once you have selected the mosaic tile you wish to use, simply order the corresponding amount of square feet of that tile.
Other Required Materials
In addition to the stainless steel backsplash sheets you will also need a wall adhesive to affix the sheets to your kitchen backsplash. We recommend a light weight wall mortar for drywall (assuming you are installing over drywall). This is available at any big box hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowes, as well as any ceramic tile retailer. Simply tell the store associate what you are affixing the tile you and they will recommend the best adhesive for your application.
In addition to the adhesive for attaching the tile to the wall you will likely need grout to fill in the joints between each of the tiles. We recommend a non-sanded grout or epoxy grout. Using a regular sanded grout on a metal backsplash will cause scratching and pitting, ruining the tile installation. However, it is also important to note that some metal mosaic tiles do not have gaps between the tiles and thus do not require grout. Please see our FAQs page for a list of tiles that do not require grouting.
If you are planning on completing the installation yourself you will also need common tile installation materials such as a tile adhesive applicator, grout float, mixing bucket (or two) and plenty of sponges for wiping away excess grout. In some cases you may require a diamond tipped wet tile saw to cut the individual tiles. If you are hiring a tile installer or contractor to do the backsplash installation then they will likely already have all the required tools. For more information on how to install metal mosaic tiles, please check out our installation section and our 9-min video.
Caring For And Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Backsplash
Once you have successfully installed your stainless steel or aluminum tile backsplash you will want to make sure it stays in the best shape possible. We always recommend that if your backsplash requires cleaning that you use a soap and water solution or a purpose made spray on stainless steel cleaner, similar to what you would use to clean stainless steel appliances. If you use any heavy cleaners, acidic solutions or abrasives on your backsplash you run the risk of scratching or tarnishing the finish.
Check Out Our Customer Installations Page To Get Inspired
Need some inspiration? Check out our customer installation gallery on Pinterest to see what some of our customers have done with our unique metal mosaic tiles.
How-To Install.. February 03 2014
How-to Install Metal Tile on a Kitchen Backsplash or on Other Wall Applications
Installing metal mosaic tile, including stainless steel mosaic tile, aluminum mosaic tile and copper mosaic tile, is nearly identical to the process of installing ceramic or glass tile. You can check out our 9-minute Tile Installation Video, and/or review the installation photos on this page that show mosaic tiles being installed onto a wall. Please note the same process also applies to installing mosaic tiles on a floor. The only difference is that the type of adhesive used to install metal mosaic tile on a wall or backsplash is different than the adhesive made for floor tile installation. This is merely a how-to guide and should only be considered an informational resource. The writer and publisher of this article is not responsible for any mis-installation, misuse, errors or damaged caused by the direct or indirect use of the content in this article.
NOTE: Because of the metallic nature of stainless steel tile you should ensure a qualified electrician carries out electrical work around metal tile.
REQUIRED INSTALLATION TOOLS AND MATERIALS FOR METAL MOSAIC INSTALLATION
- Enough metal mosaic tile to cover the area that you require, we recommend ordering 10-15% more than you measure, to account for overages.
- Enough wall or floor tile mortar / adhesive to cover the area you are going to be tiling. Mortar for standard ceramic porcelain tile is 100% compatible with our products.
- Enough grout to cover the area you are going to be tiling (if the tile has grout lines). Use non-sanded grout to avoid scratching the finish of the tile. You can also use epoxy grout.
- 5/32" V-notch trowel for applying mortar (other similar V-notch trowel sizes will also work).
- A rubber grout float.
- A couple of clean sponges and/or cheesecloth towels.
- Two or three buckets, for water mixing the mortar and grout.
- A wet tile saw / motorized tile cutter if there are any cuts to be made around certain obstacles. Most stainless steel is a ceramic base with a metal cap, not solid steel.
- OPTIONAL - A flat wood block (a 2x4 around 6" to 12" long works well) and a hammer or mallet.
INSTALLING METAL MOSAIC MOSAIC TILE STEP BY STEP
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5|
|Mix the adhesive as instructed on the package, then sing the flat side of a V-notch trowel apply the adhesive onto the surface.||Using the V-notched side of the trowel apply adhesive to created a uniform level and give the tile something to grip to.||Place the tile sheets onto the wall or floor, lightly pressing down into the adhesive. Your tile sheet may or may not have a paper cover.||Continue to apply other sheets of tile next to each other, lining up the grout lines accordingly. You may also need to cut individual tiles to fit.||To ensure each sheet is at the same level as the next, you can lightly tap a wood block on top of the sheets of tile near the edges.|
|Step 6||Step 7||Step 8||Step 9||Step 10|
|If your tile is covered in a protective paper covering, wet it and then peel it off. If your tile is covered in protective plastic, simply peel the plastic off.||Make final adjustments to each sheet to ensure the joints line up correctly. This needs to be done before the adhesive dries.||After 12-24 hours, use a non abrasive brush or sponge to remove excess adhesive or paper that is still on the tile. Then wipe with a damp sponge.||Prepare your non sanded grout or epoxy grout as instructed on the package. Then apply with a rubber grout float, forcing grout into the joints until they are full.||After 15 min to 1 hour, use a cheese cloth towel or moist sponge to remove excess grout from the top of the tile (10 min in the case of the EMT_262-MIX-SM stainless steel tile, paying particular attention to the cleaning of the pewter accents), avoid applying to much pressure. This may have to be done 3 or 4 times to remove the residue.|
|Post Installation Cleaning Information / Grout Residue Cleanup|
After the grout has cured (typically 12-24 hours; see non-sanded grout manufacturer's instructions), use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe the excess grout haze off the tile. Use an industrial alcohol cleaner to remove any excess glue from the surface of the steel mosaic tile. After the 24 hour period if you still have residue, use clean warm water and neutral PH cleaner designed for removing tile grout. If some of the tiles have black marks, you can use acetone or an adhesive thinner/solvent to wipe the marks away - Use with caution and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
CUTTING METAL MOSAIC TILE
Due to the small size of the individual pieces on the mosaic tile sheet, you can normally just cut through the joints between the individual tiles and the mesh backingand simple remove them to fit your tile sheet around an obstacle or at the end of a row. However in the case that simply removing individual tiles from the sheet will leave a large gap you will have to cut the tiles to fit. Although it sounds difficult, cutting metal tile isn't really that challenging. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of metal mosaics are actually porcelain / ceramic tiles covered with a 1-2mm stainless steel cap. The image below shows the typical structure of a metal mosaic tile, using either a flat metal piece or a cap cover made of metal.
The best method is to use a motorized wet tile saw. Because the tiles are so thin, you can often get by with a low grade, low cost tile saw available at most big box stores. These saws typically retail between $80-$100 for low use DIY versions, to close to $1000 for professional versions. Many big box stores and tool rental company's also rent tile saws. We must stress that tile saws can be dangerous, their diamond tipped blades are sharp, and the size of a piece of metal mosaic tile is often quite small, and thus it requires enough comfort and skill to cut the piece of tile while not cutting yourself. There is one tool that will NOT work for cutting metal tile, and that is a manual scoring tool that is typically used for cutting porcelain, stone and ceramic. This tool works on the basis of scoring the relatively soft surface of porcelain or ceramic, however metal capped tiles don't take well to scoring, so this method will not work. If you do not feel comfortable with these sharp, potentially harmfully tools its likely best to call a professional in to make the final cuts required to finish your tile job.
FINISHING THE EDGES OF A METAL TILE INSTALLATION
A commonly asked question is "How do I finish the edges in my metal mosaic tile installation?".
We actually offer two types of stainless steel border edge tiles that should work for your project.
For the flat stainless steel border liner, please click here.
For the stainless steel bullnose border liner (also called pencil edge), please click here.
-- You can also click on the border edge liner photos below to be directly taken to the corresponding product page. --
Otherwise, you could use a common tile edging strip. These strips, which are shaped like an "L" provide an ideal way to terminate the tile installation at the edge. These tile edging strips can be purchased at any local big box store such as The Home Depot or Lowes, and are also available at most stores that sell tile. Simply install the strip at the edge of your installation using the same tile mortar / adhesive that you are using for your tiles. These edging strips often are perforated on one side, this is the side that you set into the mortar, against the wall. The finished edge will be left exposed, and you will tile up to it, and then, grout up to this edge.
How-To Install (9-min Video) January 16 2014
We put together a quick 9 minute video demonstrating how to install metal mosaic tile as a fireplace covering. The same installation method applies to kitchen backsplashes or bathroom walls as well.
- Choose The Tile : The most obvious first step is to choose your metal tile, we have a complete selection that can be viewed here.
- Apply The Adhesive : In this installation we chose to use a product called "Simple Mat". This unique product is used in place of wall mortar / tile adhesive and is much less messy. You simply cut it and apply it to your wall or substrate.
- Start Applying The Tiles - Cutting If Required : Once you have the "Simple Mat" product installed (or adhesive applied and spread evenly) you can start applying the mosaic tile. The most important part here is to ensure a good contact with the "Simple Mat" or the tile adhesive.
- De-burring Cut Tiles : If cutting the tile creates a sharp or rough metal edge use a metal file, applying pressure on an angle with the file to the rough or sharp edge of the cut tile.
- Continue To Cut, Fit And Apply The Rest Of The Tiles : This could be a quick job, or a lengthy one depending on the tile chosen, some tile may require more cutting than others. Once you have applied all the tile to the wall or substrate you are ready to start grouting.
- Grouting : The good thing about the "Simple Mat" product is that you can grout right away. However if you are using a typical tile adhesive or light weight wall mortar you are going to want to wait at least 24 hours for the adhesive to fully cure. Be sure to select a NON SANDED grout, or epoxy grout that doesn't contain any sand. Using a sanded grout will result in scratches to the surface of the tile. Mix the grout according to the instructions on the product. Start applying with a grout float, ensuring good coverage in all the grout lines of the tile.
- Wiping Down : You would have to wait 15-60 minutes after applying the grout to do your initial wipe (follow specific non-sanded grout manufacturer's instructions). This will require a lot of water and regularly rinsed sponges or soft towels. Let the surface dry between wipes, you will notice with every consecutive wipe down it gets a little less hazy. Typically 4-6 wipe downs are required to fully remove all the grout residue.
- Your job is complete! Remember, if you don't feel confident installing our stainless steel back splash products you can find a local tile installer by consulting the Yellow Pages, Craigslist, Angi, and other local ads. You could even call your local tile store to see if they offer installation of tiles not purchased from them.