When we bought our motorhome Pearl a year ago, we knew that one improvement we'd really like to make is adding a kitchen backsplash. Here's how she looked when we took possession.
I don't even remember where I first heard of self-adhesive Smart Tiles, but once I did, I knew they would be perfect in Pearl. They look like glass tiles but are made out of a lightweight gel and apply easily in sheets with peel-off backing. Sounded like a very doable project for the home DIYer.
I ordered my Smart Tiles last winter because the pattern I wanted, Idaho, was on half price (still is, but I didn't know that!) Little did I know how long it would take before I could actually even think of installing them.
Getting from the above situation to the point where I could install the Smart Tiles took quite a bit of preparation; in fact, we worked off and on for months. Here's what we (mostly Barry!) did beforehand:
And of course, we were working on other projects concurrently as well as traveling, hiking, cycling, and doing other things! But we finally got all the preliminary work done, and I could actually do the final wall prep for the Smart Tile installation. After all the above, the rest of the project only took a day!
In the morning I began by removing all the electrical faceplates and the rusty, grungy mini-blinds, which went right into the trash. Good riddance! Barry unscrewed and removed the window frame, which I highly recommend, as you can cut the "tiles" and cover the cut edges when you reinstall the frame; gives a professional look since the raw edges are completely covered.
I wanted to make sure the adhesive tiles would really stick, so I lightly sanded the walls, then washed them with TSP, which I rinsed and let dry.
After lunch the real fun began! I was kind of terrified, but after watching several helpful installation videos online, I felt more confident. Smart Tiles cut easily with a sharp utility knife or pair of scissors (I used the latter more), so you can fit them into all those oddball spaces.
I started placing the adhesive tile in the corner behind the cooktop and worked in either direction away from it, keeping the lines as level as possible. Overlapping the "grout" lines kept things lined up for the next tiles. It really wasn't bad, except for a few tight spots around the electrical boxes, where careful cutting was required.
Here are some action shots Barry took of me working away. In this first one, you can see what a mess the walls I was covering were.
And here is the finished product! We just love the look. It really does look like glass tile, and at night it is especially sparkly.
Barry installed a new vinyl roller shade to replace the old mini-blinds. He is building a box for me to paint to cover up the workings.
Here it is with all our usual "stuff" back in place.
We just couldn't be happier with our Smart Tile backsplash. The best thing about it for an RV application is that it adds no weight, compared with real tiles. Weight is always an issue in an RV, especially for we full-timers, as we're typically carrying more clothing, food, tools, and other gear.
I like the Smart Tiles so much, I've already ordered some to do our bathroom next!
Note: Smart Tiles are available through various sticks & bricks and online outlets, including Home Depot, Wayfair, and Amazon. Not all patterns are available everywhere, and I actually found that ordering direct from the manufacturer in Canada is where you'll find the best sales on at least some of the patterns, I got both of my patterns for 50% off there! The website is: https://www.thesmarttiles.com/. There are also competing brands, but I've heard that some of them are not as high quality as the originals.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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