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Adhesive tile mats have made a big splash over the last few months, particularly in the DIY community. Watch any viral TikTok about them, and you’ll think tiling is a piece of cake! The reality of the matter is a little more complicated. Check out these pros and cons to figure out if adhesive tile mats are good for kitchen backsplashes.
What Are Adhesive Tile Mats?
Adhesive tile mats are essentially large sheets of heavy-duty double-sided tape. They stick firmly on the wall, and the opposite side adheres to the back of the tile. The tile can immediately be grouted after it goes on the wall, making for a faster application process than traditional tiling. This perk comes with an array of drawbacks, so please, proceed with caution.
Pros of Using Adhesive Mats to Hang Tile
Adhesive tile mats are very user-friendly. If you’ve never tiled before and want to give it a shot, this could bridge the learning curve. The tiles won’t slide around once you press them in, so you don’t have to worry about shifting during installation. With traditional tile adhesive, the tiles are still moveable until the adhesive starts to cure.
Another benefit to using adhesive mats is that you don’t have to wait for curing time before you grout. Once the tiles are on the wall, you can immediately start grouting. If you’re on a time constraint, this can speed up the process by a full day so you can move on to another project.
If you need to take breaks during the installation time, you can with double-sided tile mats. Stick half of them up, take a break, and finish the rest whenever you want. This is another reason why these mats have become popular among DIY-ers.
Cons of Adhesive Mats for Backsplashes (Not Ideal for Kitchens)
Adhesive tile mats are not good for kitchen backsplashes. In fact, they aren’t ideal for any surface that may be exposed to moisture. If you want to tile a dry bar or accent wall in a room, that’s fine. If you want a sturdy backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom though, you’ll want to avoid the mats.
Adhesive mats don’t adhere to all surfaces. If your current backsplash area is a textured wall, the mat may not sit/stick evenly because of the texture. Standard tile adhesive will fill in the variations in the texture to create a smooth surface for the tile. The mats don’t have the same flexibility.
With the adhesive mats, you pay an upcharge for convenience. Sure, you’ll save a bit of time tiling, but you’ll pay more for the mats than you would for tile mortar. The mats also have weight limits, so they only work with lightweight tile. If you have a high-end tile with a bit of heft, it will likely fall off over time.
Furthermore, the stickiness of the tile mats can be a drawback when you’re trying to perfect your backsplash placement. With tile setting, you can maneuver the tile when it goes on the wall, or you can pull it off and try again. This adjustability is incredibly helpful in older homes because the walls are never square. Small adjustments can make the wall look square even if it isn’t.
Conclusion: Are Adhesive Mats Good for Kitchen Backsplashes?
Overall, tile adhesive mats are too good to be true for most home renovation projects. You’re much better off using traditional tile installation if you want long-lasting, professional results. And if tiling intimidates you or you lack the tools to do the job, don’t be afraid to hire the pros! O’Hanlon Kitchens offers kitchen backsplash installations as part of our kitchen remodeling services. Give us a call at 443-285-0558 to schedule a design consultation.