Today we’re installing a glass kitchen backsplash tile without a wet saw. Like real glass tile. Not the vinyl peel and stick tile stuff. I’m not showing you how to do it. I’m just giving you all the details you need to know before you attempt it.
I gave you a glimpse of what my kitchen looked like before here.
Not pretty. A big old beige box with mismatch appliances and horrid lighting.
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As always, I researched, researched, researched. I wanted an easy, affordable, yet glam solution.
I know you’re thinking, “well subway tile is cheap. Duh.”
I have to duck and run for cover when I let the world know that I’m not a huge fan of subway tile.
I know, what’s wrong with me. Every designer in America loves it from my fave girl Emily Henderson to the Property Brothers. But err…while I think it looks okay, I can’t shake the feeling that someday it will look dated.
I have zero tiling experience and didn’t have money to invest in big tools like a wet saw or tile cutter. Renting a wet saw at a local hardware store was an option, but with no experience, I didn’t want to risk adding to the bottom line and not getting it done in time.
A friend of mine installed these Smart Tile vinyl peel and stick tiles in her kitchen and they looked awesome. Unless you touched it, you couldn’t tell it was vinyl.
She was in a rental and couldn’t install a permanent backsplash so it worked out beautifully. But the price tag was $9.98 PER TILE…geesh. Honestly, if I was going to pay that much for tile, I wanted the real thing. Here’s a better-priced version.
I also stumbled across these awesome looking Aspect Tile Peel and Stick Tiles. But that price. Uh-uh. No way.
So, after a bit of research, I found this glass peel and stick tile. Real stuff that I could install myself AND not necessarily need a wet tile saw. More on that later.
This tile looked beautiful in photos and umm look at it on this sales page: Lovely right?
It also comes in a few color blocked patterns. but it looked a little less sophisticated in my opinion. Check them out here.
I will say, it was not necessarily cheap. But was well worth it. (The price has gone up over $1 a square foot since I purchased it…sorry)
Supplies for installing peel and stick glass tile without using a wet saw
- Peel and stick glass tile (I actually bought mine from Lowe’s but they no longer carry it…it was a little less expensive)
- Tile adhesive (I used 1.25 tubs of this)
- Grout (I purchased one-gallon tub of this)
- Utility knife
- Grout float
- Sponge (get a few of them)
- Large Bucket (for grouting cleaning the sponge from the grouting process)
- Patience (taking your time will ensure you get the best results)
Tips for installing Peel and Stick Glass tile without using a wet tile saw.
Don’t use the peel and stick backing on the peel and stick glass tile.
Yes, you read that right. I’m contact paper-challenged. Think of peel and stick glass tile as contact paper on steroids. It was a nightmare to adhere the tile while keeping it straight and level. I even followed the directions, peeling off half the backing paper, applying it to the wall very slowly and working my way up.
The stick part of the peel and stick works AWESOME. Translate: once it’s on there, that sucker is not budging. Zero room for error. And well, I’m prone to error. So, the first few tiles didn’t line up like I want them.
After I realized that wasn’t going to work out, I just bought a tub of premixed tile adhesive from the hardware store. You can find it here. It was super cheap and worked like a charm.
But even with having to use the mud, this by far was the best option to install the glass peel and stick tile without having to use a wet saw. Just be sure to use a grout float to press the tile flat onto the wall.
Start in a less obvious place in your kitchen.
If you’re new to installing tile, you may want to begin at the most inconspicuous place so that once you get to the most seen spot, you already have the hang of things. I began in the dark corner of my kitchen usually hidden by a cutting board or appliance.
Buy a few extra pieces of tile
This peel and stick glass tile is comprised of squares and rectangles that make a full 12 x12 square. It’s a genius little system that helped me skip the wet tile saw.
The tile separated in straight lines without having to cut through the actual glass in three different 4-inch panels, then each square or rectangle can be cut out individually. When I got to areas like light sockets and window trim, I simply used a utility knife to cut out squares to piece together the correct amount of tile. It was kinda like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
Choose your grout wisely
This tile has A LOT of grout lines. Your grout lines will be very prominent in the design.
I used a premixed grout called Simple Grout. It was very easy to work with. It cost a little more but was less headache to worry about mixing properly for a newbie. It also didn’t require a sealer. So far it has held up great and cleans up easily.
I seriously went gaga over the tile before I grouted it. Here’s a photo.
Adding the grout changed the entire look of the glass. I chose a bright white grout so that I could have a little shine, but more so textural interest. Choosing a colored grout was a no-go for me because it would have highlighted my errors on the first few tiles.
I don’t hate it, but it kinda lost a little luster for me after grouting. I will say everyone that sees it in person thinks I’m nuts. So there’s that. I have been known to be hard to please.
Use Tiling Edge Trim
To get pretty, square corners I highly suggest you use Tiling Edge Trim. I totally forgot about them when it was time to install my tile and I really regret not using them near the window corners.
Overall the glass peel and stick tile cost me $194. I bout 28 square feet (exactly 28 tiles) I had a few leftover. I’m contemplating taking it all the way up the ceiling near my window, but we’ll see. Supplies were an additional $50. Not too shabby for a high-end look.
It took me a few days to complete the project, 2-3 hours to lay the tile. The adhesive needed 24 hours to dry before grouting. Grouting was messy and was the hardest part because you need to make sure you fill every nook and cranny…and there are a LOT of nooks and crannies in this tile.
I’d do it over in a heartbeat.
Make sure you pin it for later!