Material & Supply Calculator Backsplashes

Related Glossary Terms

(Also see Substrates)

Cement board is a good choice for most installations of tile and stone on shower walls, tub walls and floors. It is important to install cement board in strict accordance to the cement board manufacturer’s written instructions.

Floors: Installation instructions for cement board on floors typically include applying cement-based thin-set between the exterior-grade plywood and cement board. The cement board is then screwed into the plywood while the thin-set is fresh/wet. MAPEI recommends the use of MAPEI Porcelain Tile Mortar, MAPEI Large-Format Floor & Wall Tile Mortar or MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar as thin-set under the cement board. If leveling is needed on interior cement board floors, MAPEI recommends the use of a pourable leveler such as MAPEI Self-Leveler Plus over the cement board. MAPEI Primer T should be used to prime the cement board before the use of a pourable leveler.

Walls: Installation instructions to treat corners and seams on cement board on walls typically include using a self-adhesive mesh tape and thin-set. MAPEI recommends the use of MAPEI Porcelain Tile Mortar, MAPEI Large-Format Floor & Wall Tile Mortar or MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar in conjunction with mesh tape recommended by the cement board manufacturer.

(Also see Substrates)

Drywall has a paper or water-resistant covering over a core that is made of gypsum. It is a common building material used to construct interior walls in dry areas. Drywall should be installed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. It is best suited for interior dry areas only, as some building codes restrict the use of drywall and do not permit it to be used for shower walls or tub walls.

Drywall seams are patched and filled with a gypsum-based patching compound commonly known as “wall mud.” Because gypsum and cement are not compatible, it is important to prime all drywall surfaces with a primer such as MAPEI Primer T prior to installing tile.

If drywall has been painted, it is best to cover it with cement board or remove and replace it with new drywall or new cement board.

(Also see Substrates)

In order to tile over existing ceramic tile, the tile should be lightly sanded and then cleaned. New ceramic porcelain tile or natural stone can then be installed with a polymer-modified cement-based mortar such as MAPEI Porcelain Tile Mortar, MAPEI Large-Format Floor & Wall Tile Mortar, MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar or a two-part cement-based mortar and liquid additive such as MAPEI Large-Format Floor Tile Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive or MAPEI Uncoupling Membrane Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive. Always use a white mortar for installations of new natural stone and clean the grout joints while the mortar is still soft in preparation for grouting.

(Also see Substrates)

Existing laminate material on countertops and backsplashes should be lightly sanded and cleaned. Ceramic or porcelain tile can then be installed using MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar or a two-part cement-based mortar and liquid additive such as MAPEI Large-Format Floor Tile Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive or MAPEI Uncoupling Membrane Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive. Natural stone can be installed using MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar (white) or a two-part mortar such as MAPEI Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive.

(Also see Substrates)

There are many different materials used in home construction today. However, only a handful of these materials are suitable as substrates for tile installations.

The most commonly recommended substrates for interior tile installations are: cement board, exterior-grade plywood (floors only), masonry (walls), drywall and concrete. Existing finishes such as ceramic tile, porcelain tile, natural stone, laminate (countertops), VCT or well-adhered non-cushioned residential sheet vinyl can also sometimes serve as suitable interior substrates.

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Related Glossary Terms

Properly calculating your project’s total area helps ensure an accurate estimate of the materials needed. The shape of your project space may require combining multiple measurements. Follow the simple directions on our Calculating Total Area page to guide you through the process.

Grout joint widths are also an important factor in a successful tile installation. When choosing spacer size, consider the aesthetics of the installation, the type and size of tile, the edge style of the tile and the type of grout.

3/16" is a standard-size joint width. Wider joints may be needed with installations of very large tiles. Even installations of small tile require a minimum of 1/16" grout joint. Note: Installations with tiles tightly butted together (zero grout) are not recommended and will likely develop serious issues over time.

Many factors should be considered when selecting the right trowel size for a tile installation, but the most important factor is the tile size. As a general rule, after tile is pressed into mortar, mortar should cover the entire back surface of the tile without voids or trowel lines. So, take time to check for proper mortar coverage by periodically lifting a couple of tiles and inspecting them for coverage. If there are voids or trowel lines showing, a larger-sized trowel may be required for the installation. Back-buttering is generally recommended for tiles with any side 15" or greater. Installations of tiles larger than 24" x 24" typically require the skill of a knowledgeable and experienced tile installer. The Technical Data Sheet and product packaging will provide mortar coverage for common trowel sizes.

Note: When using premixed products such as MAPEI Type 1 or MAPEI Premium Mortar for tile and stone, using a larger trowel can greatly extend the drying time of the mortar or adhesive.

Backsplashes Supply List

Congrats, your Backsplashes Project has been successfully calculated. Below you’ll find a list of all the MAPEI products you’ll need to complete your project.

These calculations are only estimates. To ensure getting the right amount of product for your project, check the packaging information or consult your retail associate.
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