Prepping the Wall for Glass Tile Back Splash

Flatness is essential to good tile work. When it comes to glass tile, flatness cannot be overstated. So how do you reconcile flat in a warped situation?

Prep.

Glass tile is shiny and reflective. Flat work will reflect like a mirror. Well sort of, but it does and you know it when you see it. Not flat looks like a disco ball. Cool at the club; not so for your kitchen.

Problem is: most kitchen walls are not flat. Framing is not flat. Drywall seams, corner beads and outlet boxes (lots of those) all conspire with the dry wall finisher to leave the tile guy with an unflat situation. What to do?

Prep.

Below are some photos of of some prep we did on a semi flat wall in preparation for glass tile tomorrow.

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Ditch the wire. Abandoned mud ring at cable box was too high. We pounded it back and scraped the mud down a bit.
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Here John keys the mud onto the wall in a particularly deep spot. Keying is troweling on with focus on pressing the mortar into the wall. Best practice for bonding preps to wall.
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Laoding up the darby with mud. Mud in this case is modified glass tile mortar. Pros know most any mud will do. Latex modified sticks to painted wall better.
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A darby is a metal straight edge. Could be wood. Good tile guys have these in many lengths.
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Floating the darby up
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Floating darby down
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Now with a sharper angle and more pressure, John strikes it flat.
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That is tile flat. Not good for paint, but the tile will lay on it properly after a little scraping tomorrow when it is cured.
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Flat over the abandoned outlet. Here we removed the device so it would not conflict with the darby.
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This job has three areas prepped flat. Mostly due to the way drywall mud builds up in the corner. And one high mud ring at an abandoned cable box.
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Here we left this high ridge, and a gap at the bottom. This so we could show you its still tile flat. After scraping tomorrow, The notch trowel will ride the flat preps right where we want the tile to land. And that is what matters.

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