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Old 07-28-2011, 09:37 PM   #1
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Kitchen Backsplash - OK to tile on drywall?

Hi -
Firstly, let me say that I'm a homeowner with basic DIY skills (perhaps above average), but I'm certainly not an expert - especially when it comes to tiling. I'm also new to the forum...

Here's my situation:
We've been remodeling the kitchen in our 1925 house --- removed old cabinets, ripped out lathe & plaster, ran new electric, new drywall, new cabinets + counter. The last thing to do is the backsplash, which we plan to tile.

Because it's such a small area (16.5" x 15 lineal feet), we splurged and got some tile my wife fell in love with. 1"x3" Heath Ceramics tiles in a stacked grid pattern. The tiles are "surface mounted" (new to me! basically a 12" piece of tape on the front instead of mesh on the back). They look great and we're excited to get them in!

Here's my question:
Is it OK to install the tile directly on the drywall? It has been taped (paper) and mudded (smooth) and primed. I have heard conflicting opinions and general internet searching doesn't make it any clearer. After looking around this forum a bit, it looks like there is a lot of experience and good advice here and I hope to benefit from it!

If so, what thinset/mastic to you recommend? A friend recommended VersaBond. But again, I don't have much tiling experience and am not familiar with all that is out there. Perhaps there is something better if tiling on drywall? Or some sort of special surface prep?

There are a couple of holes to patch where outlets were relocated -- is there a special way to patch them if I'm tiling over them?

For all the tiling I've done in the past I've used a backer board. However, I'm afraid the finished depth will be too thick, particularly where it abuts window trim. So I'm looking for alternatives.

Any advice, instructions, or suggestions (both for installing "surface mount" tiles and for tiling on drywall) will be appreciated. Thanks!

Pacific NW
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:30 PM   #2
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I think Versabond would work just fine for that application. I would probably use white thinset in case a lighter color grout was used. The grey in regular thinset might bleed through a white or light color grout.

I'm certainly not a drywall finisher, but I've patched enough places. If it's relatively small, like less than 6" square, I've used a 1x4 cut three or four inches longer than the hole. Hold it in place behind the drywall and put a screw through the drywall into each end of the 1x. Then put your patch in and secure it with a couple of screws. You could put a little mesh tape and thinset around the seams if you want to strengthen it up. It doesn't have to be rock-solid, but you don't want someone getting aggressive with their cleaning and punching a hole through the wall.

For a larger hole, I'd do the same thing, but use four pieces of 1x, one on each seam. If the hole is more than 10-12", I'd cut it back to the studs and use 1x on top and bottom.

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