A guide to the different methods you can use when tiling a splashback. A tiled splashback usually consists of one or two rows of tiles on the wall directly behind the sink or washbasin and is designed to stop splashed water soaking the plaster and ruining the wall. The easiest way to create a splashback is to use only full tiles, extending them slightly past the edge of the fixture. This way, no cutting is needed and the job can be completed quickly and without fuss.
Tiling Tools – You can read more about the types of tools you might need for different tiling jobs here. You probably won’t need them all for a small tiling job like tiling a splashback.
Tiling a Splashback – Method 1
Measure the sink or washbasin and make a mark in the exact centre. Place a whole tile on either side of this mark and work outwards, using spacers between tiles as you normally would, until you reach the edge of the sink or just past the edge. You can then repeat the process for the second and third row of tiles if required. Lay the tiles out dry (without adhesive) first to see if the final tile sits where you want it to. You can then apply adhesive to the wall and start to attach the tiles.
Tiling a Splashback – Method 2
If the first method results in the tile falling short of the end of the sink, or if the last tile projects further past the edge of the sink than you want it to, move the middle tiles. Instead of starting either side of the middle line, place the first tile with the line at its centre. Now work outwards from this middle tile and see where the end tiles reach. This may result in a better looking finish, so it is worth experimenting.
Types of Tiles for a Splashback
Splashbacks are normally made using porcelain or ceramic tiles, sometimes mosaic tiles. The most important thing to consider is how easy they are to wipe clean. Splashbacks, by their very nature, are designed to protect the wall from splashed water, soap and other fluids, so being able to keep the tiles clean is important.
A very popular choice right now are subway/metro-style tiles. These are usually rectangular in shape, and have a high gloss finish. For a very modern finish, consider using glass tiles, made from new or recycled glass, this type of tile can be bought in a huge range of colours and sizes, and create a perfect surface to keep clean.
If you decide to go for something different, such as natural stone tiles, be aware that most natural stone products will require sealing once installed in order to make them fully water-resistant and to increase longevity. The finish of the natural stone will determine what product is required for sealing.
You should also consider the type of grout you use for a splashback (or any area likely to get dirty and wet very regularly). Go for a waterproof grout, ideally with anti-mould properties, such as UniBond Triple Protect Anti-Mould Wall Tile Grout.