Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A $20 Tacky Kitchen Backsplash

Tacky: somewhat sticky to the touch, characterized by lack of good breeding, not having or exhibiting good taste, and marked by a lack of style.

I have may hit all the definitions of tacky with my most recent frugal/cheap escapade.
Adhesive Vinyl Floor Tiles as a Backsplash?  Done.

I gave a preview of the kitchen backsplash in our old/rental home here.

See the difference:

Here’s the really short version: Bought house in good market. Lived in it for a year until we found “the one.” Market dropped and couldn’t sell house. Rented it for 2 years. Selling it at a loss now.  Yep. Lesson learned.

The kitchen in the rental home was always kind of sad. It’s an ugly duckling. It has the potential to be good, but we didn’t want to spend the money to find that potential.

To help increase the beauty and make it appeal to buyers, I told Biker Boy I wanted to do a backsplash. I told him I could do it for less than $20. He was doubtful, but gave me full option to do what I wanted.

With adhesive vinyl tile, I was able to do it for more than $18, but less than $19 (Enter a soft round of applause and a few woot, woots!)

It’s too bad potential buyers can’t see how far this backsplash has come. It was gross. Yucky, stained, cracked, and completely BAD!

Here’s how I did it:

1) Measure. Measure again. Measure once again.
2) Buy a couple of tiles to try. (Thankfully my backsplash is 18 inches tall and the tiles I chose were 18x18.  Plus there was some metal cap on the old backsplash that the tiles butted up next to nicely.) I ended up using the tile that looked like....uh...tiles. It just looked better, but really it was just the cheapest.

3) Wash that yucky backsplash with TSP. Rinse.

4) I laid out my pattern on the floor to test it. There’s only so much you can do with it. Alternating the tiles left me with more to use under the window. So smart of me (did you get the sarcasm?).

5) I slapped the first tile on according to the directions (that I apparently didn’t fully read.)

6) I used a level to make sure the tiles were going on straight. (High-fiving myself!)

7) I used a straight edged utility knife to score the tiles and make cuts when I had to. (I didn’t have my camera on that day.) The tiles are really easy to cut. Biker Boy said he was proud of how I cut out around the outlets.  *smile*
8) I pushed those tiles on as hard as I could. And if you know me, I Happy Danced when I was done.
9) Then I came to the house the next day and cried because some of the tiles were falling off.
10) Biker Boy informed me I hadn’t fully read the directions and needed to apply 100 pounds of pressure to get those babies to stick. Plus it needed to be warm and the house was at a balmy 50 degrees because the heat was turned off. Great.
11) I used a huge socket thing to roll over the tiles with all my might like a rolling pin. I also aimed a really warm work light at them as I was doing it. I had husband help. Biker Boy went over them for me again. I’ll admit it….he’s stronger than me!
12) Success! And I should mention Biker Boy applied double stick tape to one area for me. Gotta love my man!

Let’s take a few looks at the before:

A few looks at the after:

The final result: I would never ever do this in my own home as a permanent fix. I would only do it as a temporary fix until something more permanent. It’s hard to get the large tiles to stick (small might be better). Okay, I won’t ever do this in “the one” home we have now, but I wouldn't recommend against it if someone else wanted to do it in their home.  It looks nice and it doesn't cost much. I do have to say…..whoa….it looks so much better in this house in person than it use to!

Any frugal backsplash stories? Tackiness to share? Adhesive vinyl tips and tricks? Stick it to me! (Did you stick with me to the end of this? Thanks so much for stopping by!)

Enjoy Your Day!

Check out all the projects at:



  1. Great redo! I love that it only cost $20 too!

  2. Sorry you had to take the house at a loss, but I tell you what, that re-do looks fantastic!!!

  3. Who knew that so little money could stretch so far? I gotta give it to for accomplishing this with under $20. Great job :)

  4. I love the back splash. I probably enjoyed your sense of humor the most though. You were cracking me up!

    I cam over from Today's Creative Blog

  5. I did the same thing in our last home! We had granite countertops, but no backsplash. We really wanted subway tiles but were a little scared to tackle that yet, so we were looking for a quick fix! We used those same tiles, too! We also had a hard time with some peeling up in places that got warm. People always thought it was real tile! Here's the link that has a pic of my kitchen. You'll have to scroll down and it's not a close up, but you get the idea! http://vanessadolberry.blogspot.com/2009/01/before-and-after-our-progress-so-far-on.html

  6. I think it turned out GREAT! It looks nice, and pricey without BEING pricey! We have horrible backsplash. I want to paint my kitchen soon, so I think we may just have to try this out!

    Thanks for posting to Talented Tuesday!

  7. wow! really great idea, looks wonderful!

  8. Your all tips are really very useful and anyone get here an idea for having a better look of kitchen.


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