Subway Tile Backsplash

Happy New Year! I’m back after a nice long break. Well, a break from blogging anyway. It wasn’t really a “break”, because I was working my butt off on a bunch of projects! Exhibit A, I installed a subway tile backsplash in my kitchen.

I’ve wanted to put subway tile in my kitchen for ages, but our backsplash was painted wallpaper on top of wood paneling. You’re not supposed to hang tile on wood paneling since it expands and contracts with the weather, which can make the grout crack and the tiles pop off. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of doing it the right way—installing cement backer board before tiling. After a lot of research I found this wonderful stuff called Tavy Thin-Skin, an adhesive and fiberglass paper combo that makes any hard surface tile-able (wood, cement, laminate, existing tile, etc…). Here’s a little video if you want to see it in action. Once I peeled off the wall paper, the thin-skin worked really well to prep our paneling for tile.

Once the walls were ready, my amazing dad and mom came over with their tile saw to help me cut and hang the tile. Using a tile saw is hard. I couldn’t even cut one in half properly! Props to my dad for his cutting skills and to my mom for her mortaring skills. I could not have taken on this project without them. (By the way, this is the tile I used. Each tile has little nubs on the sides that made it easy to space the grout lines evenly.)

subway tile kitchen backplash

(Removing the granite backsplash made all the difference in the world!)

subway tile kitchen backplash

subway tile kitchen backplash

subway tile kitchen backplash

What did you do over the holidays? Did you take it easy, or are you a glutton for punishment like me?


  1. Dawn

    The tile looks great! Nice job! For the first half of my Christmas break I worked my tail off but for the second half of my break I relaxed, cleaned, organized and read.

  2. Sharon

    I love it! The subway tile looks perfect with the counter and cabinets! I worked a lot over the holidays but I’m about to tackle painting all my kitchen cabinets and replacing the knobs and bin pulls, for the second time in 13 years. Ugh!!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks Sharon! I feel your pain. My cabinets need repainted too, and I’m dreading it. Good luck!

  3. Mnêmosunê

    It looks great ! During the holidays, I spent time with friends in Montreal, I was missing them as I left the city 6 years ago ! Right now I have to relax, as I felt in the stairs and broke one of my toes…
    I’ll get back to work later !
    Happy new year Amanda :-)

  4. anna

    Looks amazing Amanda! I’m hoping to get my backsplash put in this spring! Tile is so much more durable than anything else. Makes your granite really pop too!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It really is! I immediately splattered tomato sauce all over it and it just wiped right off.

  5. Amanda

    I love the backsplash! That is exactly what I would have if I weren’t renting. Lovely job with the photos too.

    I had a minor accident on Christmas Eve that kept me with my family longer than I planned. I took it as a sign that I needed to spend time with them instead of getting back to all my many projects.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I’m sorry about the accident but glad there was a silver lining. It’s so hard to prioritize properly sometimes unless you’re forced into it—at least that’s how it is for me!

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