The malfunctioning of an old over-the-stove microwave prompted me to focus on removing the eyesore. I'm a single parent raising two teens on a limited budget and with very little free time. The question remaining was how to make the space look more appealing while sticking to my DIY skills and budget for the home improvement project. There was an added incentive to get the job done over the course of a weekend—rather than an hour or two here and there after work and whenever I could fit it in. An approaching family event slated to be held at my home required my kitchen to look warm, welcoming, and presentable.
Before the Project Began
For nearly 20 years, the over-the-stove microwave provided an added convenience to the functioning of the kitchen. Once it no longer worked, though, I decided to opt for a smaller countertop model for microwaving tasks. This left me with the question of what to do with an appliance—and the space it occupied—that had quickly become an eyesore. Like many other people, typical family and work responsibilities swallowed up most of my days and nights, so extensive projects were probably doomed to fail due to my lack of time. I knew a quick project that would take only a weekend to accomplish would work well. The home improvement project also needed to require only basic tools because this DIYer is still working on acquiring a more extensive collection, though I have some beyond the basics, such as an electric screwdriver and tin snips that were very handy for this project.
After some research and deliberation, I decided designing a backsplash of peel-and-stick mosaic tiles would be the perfect solution. Not only would the peel-and-stick design of the tiles make the project a cinch for a DIYer like myself to complete in just one weekend, the mosaic pattern would add necessary style and texture to a kitchen that could use an update.
Preparing the Area
First, I needed to remove the existing microwave. Though large, the appliance wasn't as heavy as it looked, and this was accomplished fairly easily by using an electric screwdriver to remove long screws located in the cabinet above the microwave. Once it was removed, only the brackets and supporting blocks of wood were left behind. These also quickly came down with the assistance of an electric screwdriver.
The venting ductwork that remained after the homeowner removed the microwave presented a problem that wasn't fully resolved, though it was partially removed using a pair of tin snips. I determined its effect on the overall visual aesthetics of the project was minimal. The entire wall behind the stove, as well as where the microwave had been located, was washed with a simple solution of vinegar and water. The surface was allowed to dry completely before the application of tiles.
The Actual Process
Purchasing the peel-and-stick mosaic tiles was a fairly straightforward process as the space was a square of about five feet along all sides. A particular appeal of using peel-and-stick tiles was that I knew my design would make it easy to provide a level and professional-looking result with little effort. This was accomplished using the tiles somewhat like puzzle pieces to fit them together during installation.
When it came to fitting tiles too big for the remaining space, I simply measured the space that still needed coverage and used tin snips to cut the straight side of tiles square. In this way, the notched ends could still be used to fit into the tiles already applied to the wall for a seamless and professional look.
To say that I am thrilled with the finished project is a vast understatement! Not only did the entire DIY project take just a few hours on a Saturday and Sunday, the transformation of my kitchen was immediate and simply stunning! The vivid boldness of the peel-and-stick mosaic tiles opens the space, making it look larger and fresher. These tiles also make the kitchen look more modern—especially impressive for a project that took minimal time, tools, and skills.
I'm so excited about the results, success, and ease of this project, there are plans underway to replace the backsplash behind the kitchen faucet and continuing along the wall. Eventually, I hope to replace all the wooden particle board running along the wall at the countertop level with the same gorgeous and easy-to-use peel-and-stick mosaic tile.
Katie S. has written a number of blog posts and articles highlighting different aspects of the construction industry. She enjoys writing for this audience, as well as finding new and interesting topics to write about in this ever-changing field.