Arabesque Blue Tile Backsplash Using an Adhesive Mat


My husband and I tiled our kitchen backsplash recently -- our first tiling job ever! We used Mussel Bound Adhesive Tile Mat instead of thin set. With the mat, you grout within 24 hours instead of waiting 24-72 hours as you would with thin set.

Originally posted in 2015. In 2017 I've added more photos and information since I've taken down the blog that I referred you to for more information in 2015.
The adhesive mat made it fairly easy to position the tiles. Mussel Bound is sold at Lowe's, but Home Depot has their own brand of a similar product. I'm not sure we could have done this without the mat!

Mussel Bound is a Lowes product. See MusselBound.com for any questions you have about the product. Their site even has a video showing how to use the tile mat.

The tile (Casablanca Orion porcelain tile) was purchased from Overstock.com, and was still available as of April 2017. For other sources, do a Google search for the specific name or search Arabesque Blue Tile to find similar tile.

We had to tear off the old backsplash first and prepare the walls. The sheet rock was damaged in a few places when we removed the old tiles, so it had to be patched and dry a day before we could start tiling.


We used an aluminum border piece (schluter tile edging) as it would look good with our stainless steel appliances and with the silver grout (grout info later in post)

FYI URL https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us/en_US/Profiles/For-Walls/c/P-FW
Mussel Bound looks like a big roll of paper towels. It consists of a double-sided sticky "paper" with a peel off paper on both sides.
Cut the adhesive mat to whatever size you want, remove the backing and stick it on the wall. Remove the front "backing" when you have your tile ready to apply.
Then position and press the tile onto the wall. Press lightly to begin with in case to need to move it a bit, then press it firmly in place. You can grout immediately. You do not have to wait. When Craig finished a section, I came behind him with the pre-mixed grout (product info follows).
This photo shows how we finished the wall behind the stove and added the Schluter tile edging. We had to buy a wet saw to cut the tiles. Craig was able to cut the tile to fit around the outlets and under the window. We could not have done that without a wet saw.
We used premixed, unsanded grout -- Design FX® grout in silver. It is stain proof, so no sealer is needed. It's difficult to see in the photo, but it has a bit of a sparkle to it. http://www.tecspecialty.com/products/grouts/advance-performance-grout/Design-FX-grout.html?lang=English#.WPfAmKK1u70

I think we purchased it at Lowe's as well. As I mentioned above, I was able to come right behind my husband and grout right after he finished a section of the wall. The products we used did not require us to wait until the next day to grout.
Before...
and After. We later painted the window facing (see photo below). Craig also installed under-counter LED lights and replaced the florescent light over the sink with a LED.
This is a view up under the upper cabinets showing one of the LED lights.
This is the view of the light above the sink. Originally there was a florescent light above the sink but no under-cabinet lights. We bought three - 24" LED low profile light fixtures from a big box store -- one for over the sink and the other two for under the cabinets.
Craig ran power from the over-sink light to the other two lights and they are all on the one wall switch there by the sink. The LED lights won't burn out and don't generate any heat, so are perfect for this location.
Above you see the aluminum schluter tile edging we added at the end of the counter. We also used aluminum outlet covers to match the edging.
We repainted the cabinets a couple of weeks later and painted the window facing as well -- as many of you suggested. I even bought a blue Kitchen Aid mixer.  My little accent valance/curtain is made from a vintage blue and white table cloth.
We repainted the cabinets a couple of weeks later and painted the window facing as well -- as many of you suggested. I even bought a blue Kitchen Aid mixer.  My little accent valance/curtain is made from a vintage blue and white table cloth.

We use gray comfort mats in front of the sink and stove and have stainless appliances, so the colors and finishes all look nice together. We get many compliments on it -- mainly because they can't believe we did it ourselves!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 30 questions
  • Rhonda Freshwater
    on Jul 19, 2018

    Hi I realize I am a little late to the party but I was researching using the Schluter tile edging along with the MusselBound mat and came upon your post. Your backsplash looks great!!! How did you adhere the metal edging to the wall, though (before you put the mat edge on top of it)? Sorry if this has already been asked / answered.

    • Rhonda Freshwater
      on Sep 4, 2018

      Thanks Vivian. That is what I did and it looks really nice. I will have to upload a photo. Turned out great!

  • Xiomi954
    on Oct 9, 2018

    Can it be used on floor to tile,and outside?

    • Sue P.
      on Oct 9, 2018

      This statement is on their web site: "MusselBound should not be applied in an outdoor application. MusselBound is not recommended for floors, ceilings, fireplaces, steam rooms, shower floors and submerged projects."

  • Terria Aleo
    on Dec 2, 2018

    Will the wall Matt adhere to laminated wall board.

    • Deborah
      on Dec 24, 2018

      Thank you for your carefully sought and conveyed answer!

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