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Installing a Kitchen Tile Backsplash

Installing a kitchen tile backsplash can really transform the look of the entire room. This is an upgrade that can increase the value of your home 5-6 times what it will cost to complete the job. It’s a fairly straight forward project that anyone can tackle (with patience) over a weekend. Expect to spend somewhere between $200-$400 in material on average, but there are ways to do this much cheaper and of course many ways to spend a lot more.

I’m going to show you step by step as I complete this project. I installed this backsplash recently for clients as we prepared the home for sale. The finished product really turned out well and I know it is going to help sell the home a little faster and for more money.


Step 1:

Prepping the work area

– Turn of the applicable breakers at your electrical panel and check that there is no power to the outlets before doing any work on them

– Take off the cover plates and unscrew the outlet from the electrical box and pull the outlet off the wall to create some space


Remove outlet covers and unscrew outlets












– With a new blade in your exacto knife, cut away any silicone caulking from the space between the wall and the countertop

– This will make sure you have a level surface to install the tile on


Remove any caulking












After that’s finished make sure to clean the area where you will be installing tile with a damp cloth. Installing the tile on a clean surface will make a big difference in making sure the tile adheres properly


Step 2:

Applying The Adhesive

– Use your trowel to spread adhesive evenly over a small area. The adhesive dries out quickly and once its dry the tile won’t stick very well. Make sure you aren’t leaving the adhesive exposed without applying tile for a maximum of 15 minutes or so. If it stays on the wall longer than that I would scrape it off and re-apply again.


Applying adhesive











Step 3:

Installing The Tile

– Press the tile or sheet of tiles onto the adhesive with enough pressure to ensure the tile is planted firmly in place. Don’t use too much force otherwise the adhesive will be forced out into the spaces between the tile and create a lot more cleanup work for you.

Cutting Around Outlets

– For cutting the tile there are a few different options. I bought a Dremel Saw Max last year and it came with a saw bit to cut tile. It works perfectly for this type of job.

– First measure the outside dimensions of the opening you’ll be cutting out:

– Then measure the distance from the bottom of the cut


photo 5












– And then take the second measurement to find the distance at the side


photo 4












– Add the size of the outlet to the marks you have already made and then trace out the shape you need to cut

– I always mark out the entire shape with a black sharpie before starting any cuts

– Then with the Dremel saw I score the outline of the shape before making the final cut right through the entire tile


photo 3-1

photo 2-1


– If you measured correctly, the tile should be ready to install onto the wall and fit right into place


Cutting around outlets












– Keep working away and repeat this process until you get the backsplash area covered


photo 2-2          photo 1-3



Step 4:


– Applying grout is similar to putting on the wall adhesive

– Instead of using a trowel you’ll need to use a rubber float.


photo 3-3



– In a plastic bucket pour in the dry grout mix and add water while mixing quickly until the grout get to be the consistency of peanut butter

– Let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes and then you’re ready to start putting it on

– Keep the float at a 45 degree angle and work your way across the tile making sure to work the grout reallly well into the grout lines.

– Don’t worry about covering the tile entirely with the grout when you’re doing this


photo 4-3


– Once you have finished applying the grout across the entire area of the tile, go back over your work and make sure there aren’t any empty spaces between the tile where the grout didn’t get in the first time.

– Let that stand for a few minutes and then you’re ready to wipe it down with a sponge


photo 5-3


– You’ll likely need to wipe the tile surface down several times while cleaning the sponge after every single pass.

– You’ll notice a haze will develop on the tile as it dries, continue to wipe down the tile until the haze no longer shows up


Finished Product






DIY Home Theatre – A/V Cabinet

The DIY home theatre build was alot of fun and a lot more planning. First off let me say that I can’t take credit for the design of the cabinet. I found a post in an online home theatre forum where a DIY’er came up with this approach and posted some photos. I took the general idea that he had, and changed it a little to fit my setup. The picture above is my finished cabinet. Behind the cabinet is the furnace room where I have access to all the wires etc.

Step 1: Framing

I framed in the structure of the cabinet using 2×4’s just like any other wall in my basement.  I built in the rectangle frame to create the desired shape of the cabinet. The width of my cabinet frame is 20.5 inches wide. I wanted to make sure the cabinet was just wide enough for the equipment to fit in, and after the cabinet is finished with trim, I was left with a 19 inch opening. Perfect size for most of the equipment to sit snugly inside there. Notice in the picture above there is only about an inch of room on either side of the receiver. This leaves you with a nice clean look.

AV cabinet framing

Step 2: Inside Trim

Once the frame of the cabinet is finished it’s time to attach the inside trim. For the inside trim and also the shelving I used 3/4 inch MDF (medium density fibreboard). MDF is great for this type of project because it’s really easy to paint and it doesn’t warp. The only thing to keep in mind is that it’s CRAZY messy when you cut it with a saw. WEAR A MASK! I bought a 4×8 ft. sheet from Home Depot for about $30 and that was enough to do the entire cabinet.

AV cabinet inside trim and shelving

The inside trim is 6 inches wide, this size allows enough space to hide the 2×4 frame of the cabinet and the width of the drywall. I cut it to fit tightly inside the frame and nailed it in.

Step 3: Adjustable Shelving

To hold the shelves in place I used a closet organizer system from Home Depot and spray painted it black to match the cabinet.

bracket uprights

The uprights are attached with screws directly to the frame of the cabinet. Make sure to check that the uprights are installed at exactly the same height otherwise you’ll end up with uneven shelves.

Here’s a picture of the brackets I used (sorry for the blurry iPhone pic):

bracket for av cabinet

Here’s a picture of the uprights and brackets installed from the back of the cabinet:

back of cabinet showing upright and brackets

Step 4: Shelves

For the shelves there are 2 measurements to keep in mind. The front part of the shelf is the width of the finished cabinet (what you see when you’re looking at the cabinet from the theatre room). It’s really important to cut the front part of the shelf really tight to the trim in order to leave a nice finished look. I actually made each shelf an 1/8 of an inch too wide and forced them into place. The back part of the shelf just has to be wide enough to sit on top of the brackets. No one will ever see it so really not so important how it looks. Here’s one of my shelves finished and ready to be installed:

av cabinet shelves


Step 5: Face trim

The face trim is the trim that sits against the wall and covers the ugly space that you would otherwise see between the drywall, frame and inside trim. I had baseboard trim leftover from the basement reno and just used that to finish this job. Painted it black to match the cabinet and nailed it on.

The whole cabinet cost me about $100 and it looks awesome. As you can see from some of the pics, the only drawback is that you can see every particle of dust on the black paint. Impossible to keep perfectly clean.

av cabinet


DIY Home Theatre – A/V Cabinet. Tyler Andress Brockville Real Estate

My DIY Home Theatre Setup – Tyler Andress

For years I’ve always wanted some type of “movie theatre” style setup in my basement. I was able to build this area on my own with a little bit of research and a lot of time and hard work. This was pretty labour intensive but I couldn’t be happier with the end result; and watching movies with my two girls or taking in a big game with some of my buddies has really made this worthwhile.

Movie Theatre

I’ll break the entire process up into several stages and show you what order I did things in. I’m hoping to help you avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way. Live and Learn!!

My DIY Home Theatre Setup – Tyler Andress Brockville Real Estate