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I was told it would cost $7,000 to replace my kitchen backsplash. I tiled over the tile myself for $600.

tiling over tile before and after
Our backsplash then (left) versus now (right).Megan Willett-Wei/Insider
  • I was quoted thousands of dollars to demo my kitchen backsplash.

  • I decided to tile over the tile myself for around $600.

  • The key to my success was an adhesive tile mat, and it's very simple to do.

When we moved into our home, the first thing I wanted to do was replace the kitchen backsplash.

The builder-grade mosaic design didn't have any discernible pattern and it felt busy, especially because our kitchen is open to our living room and it's the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.

But I was always told that replacing the backsplash would be difficult: You needed to demo the whole area, replace the drywall, use mortar to affix the new tile, and then grout over the whole thing. Different contractors all told me it would cost thousands of dollars, with one even estimating that it could cost as much as $7,000 for the job given the size of our kitchen.

Yet I did it all by myself for $600 by tiling over my tile.

 

Here's how I did it.

My first step, like with all DIY projects, was researching everything I could about it. I knew I didn't want peel-and-stick tile, but I kept seeing that it wasn't recommended to mortar over your existing tile.

Enter the adhesive tile mat.

While I used the brand Bondera, which retails for about $20 a roll, you could also find similar products like MusselBound, both of which are sold at most hardware stores. For reference, the square footage of our kitchen backsplash required roughly four rolls of Bondera and we still had half a roll leftover.

Whatever you use, what I liked about this product is it's essentially peel-and-stick tape, but for tile.

After cutting it down to size, you peel off the layer of film on the back and apply it to your tile. When you're ready to start tiling, peel back the top layer of film and press your tile into the product — it's so sticky that it'll stay put. You can watch me do it below:

 

Bondera says on its packaging that you'll want to grout immediately after applying the tile, but since the tile I chose was fairly thin and lightweight, I actually ended up waiting a day and everything turned out fine (motherhood and a full-time job will do that to you).

I used a standard pre-mixed white grout since I knew it would be the most forgiving against the white tiles I chose.

 

After allowing it to dry overnight, I cleaned up the remaining tile haze with a vinegar solution, caulked my seams, and sealed the tile.

 

Ultimately, I spent a total of $600 on the tile, Bondera, and grout, and the difference was staggering.

 

So — do I recommend tiling over tile? 100%.

tiling over tile before and after
The kitchen staged to sell (top) and our kitchen today (bottom).Megan Willett-Wei/Insider

We've now lived with this backsplash through the summer with no issues. While I did make a few minor mistakes — chief among them being my resistance to renting a wet saw and not getting perfectly straight tile cuts — the tile itself is in great shape and the difference to my kitchen design is night and day.

Read the original article on Insider