Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts on The Tile Mat

On Monday I shared with your our backsplash reveal.


I also mentioned on Monday that I would share with you our thoughts on The Tile Setting Mat from Simple Mat.  I said on Monday that I would share that tomorrow.  Tomorrow actually means Thursday.  A virus has been eating my brain this week.  P.S. I need to start eating vegetables.

Anywho…tile setting mat. 


Nate and I had seen this product on some HGTV shows and HomeTime.  I also read a review by Maury the week before we started. If Dean and Maury says it’s cool, then we’re in.  Off we went to the Home Depot to pick up 3 boxes.  (We ended up using 2.5 boxes to cover the 25 square feet in our kitchen.)

As the box suggests, it is a quick and easy way to install tile. It removes that messy mortar step.  The mat is a sheet of plastic with raised adhesive.  There is a protective cover on the side that sticks to the wall and also on the front adhesive side. 

The tile mat was easy to install. Easy as in Michelle could actually help and not be a nuisance easy. We each worked on a section and covered our entire kitchen in one hour.



We placed the mat on Friday and left it until that Sunday afternoon.  We made sure to keep the front cover on all of the adhesive so it didn’t dry out.


We placed the tiles on the mat using spacers.  Tile placement was fairly easy.  The adhesive did like to pull the tiles up or down a little.  The spacers helped keep it in place.  We’re both Type A so this was a little bothersome to us at first but it ended up being okay.



We had a little trouble with tiles sticking if we applied the tile to the mat and then had to remove it for whatever reason (wrong cut, not level, etc.) We ended applying Loctite Powergrab to adhere those tiles to the wall. This was really only an issue up next to the cabinets where we had some cutting issues.

We then grouted and cleaned the tiles…as you would in a normal tile installation.


Look! I do work.  I should go into professional tile installation because I’d have some killer arms.  Just saying.  Especially if all of my clients choose white tile with dark grout.  Kim warned me that cleaning the dark grout would be a giant pain but totally worth it.  She was right.  (As always.)


So what did we really think? I’m glad you asked.


  • Great for beginners.  We have little tiling experience.  Nate tiled our front steps but anything inside our house we hired out.  (It was hire it done and have it completed in 3 days or not move into our house for another month.)  Based off of Nate’s little experience, he thinks the mat allowed us to do a better job.
  • You don’t have to be quick.  The tile mat allowed us to take the extra time needed to cut the tiles correctly and apply them evenly.
  • Set up.  Set up only took us 1 hour.  You can leave the mat for as long as you need.  You can also grout immediately after applying the tiles…if your work and social life don’t interfere. 


  • Cost. The tile mat boxes were $20 per box.  We used 2.5.  The cost is definitely more than mortar….but was totally worth it for us.
  • Not all of the tiles stuck.  I’m not going to lie.  We were pretty nervous to grout because we did have a handful of tiles that wouldn’t stick to the mat.  These were the tiles that we have applied and then removed and applied again.  We used the Loctite Powergrab on the tiles that we knew were loose but we were nervous as to how many tiles were loose that we didn’t know about.  This turned out to not be a problem.  We grouted and scrubbed and all of the tiles are still happily living on the wall.


  • Clean the back of your tiles.  As commonsense would suggest, you will have a harder time adhering tiles that are dirty.
  • Make sure your tiles are in the proper position.  There was some wiggle room when adhering the tile to the wall but not a lot.  It took a little getting used to be we eventually found a happy place were we could lightly stick the tile to the wall, adjust, then adhere.
  • Only apply the mat where you want tiles.  Yep, commonsense right?  Yeah, we’re smart kids.  The mat sticks out a tiny bit above the tile under the hood.  It’s really not noticeable but we know it’s there and it’s annoying.  We cleaned most of it up without destroying the wall.  We just wished we were more careful.

Would we use The Tile Mat again?  Most definitely!

I’m off to splatter spaghetti sauce all over my kitchen because I can now that I have a protected wall.  Not that it stopped me before.

Had you heard about The Tile Mat?  Any tiling plans in your future?  Any tiling horror stories?

***We were in no way compensated for this post.  That would have been cool but not the case.***

Linking up to: Home Stories A to Z


  1. It looks superb! Could you pop some sort of transition thing over the bit of mat that sticks up under the tile?

  2. It looks great! And thanks for the review....I've never even heard of this stuff before.

  3. The backsplash looks great! We have the exact kind and colour in our kitchen, right down to the grout! We didn't use the mat though. I guess there are different ways of installing tile!

  4. I'd never even heard of this before but it definitely makes me much less hesitant to install a backsplash day. Seems to be great for the first time DIYer. Yours looks great!

  5. Thanks for mentioning my review and I completely agree with everything you said. I do wish we'd have known about the Loctite because I had a couple of sections that I had to brace with some books to make sure that they would stick until the grout dried.

    Also... you can't use this anywhere the tile will be submerged in water, so shower walls are ok but NOT shower floors!

  6. i have never heard of this. interesting! thanks for the review!

  7. I'm pretty angry that I didn't know about this stuff before we tiled our backsplash.

  8. We bought the tile mat to use on our bathroom backsplash but it was a mosaic glass tile and the individual pieces were too small. Luckily, we were able to return the mat. So, it also doesn't work with small tiles. I believe the smallest size tiles recommended was in the instructions.

  9. thanks for the great info, I want to tile my kitchen this winter and I have NO experience so this will come in handy for me.

  10. We still have to tile the backsplash in the laundry room. I think we are secretly hoping the tile fairy comes and finishes it for us. If that doesn't happen we'll stick to the old school mortar way. H is an old pro at it now. I love how clean the tile mat is though! No clumps of thinset everywhere.

  11. This looks like a great project for a backsplash! I have never heard of it before but it's good to know seeing as how we are going to be tiling our ensuite shower in the future!

    1. Just a FYI: The mat isn't recommended for shower floors. The box does a nice job of explaining where you can and can't use it so I'd double check that before starting!

  12. That's awesome. Do you know if this mat can be applied directly on top of tile? We have a hideous backsplash and I'm not really into paying tons of cash to have it ripped out and reinstalled. I would love if I could tile right on top of that. Awesome job!

    1. My only concern would be if it would be too bulky to have tile on top of tile. I think it would adhere just fine though!

  13. Basically the very first thing I want to do after buying a house some day is tile a backsplash. And those matts make it look SO EASY! Thanks for sharing! LOOOOOOVE the subway!

  14. ALSO! Forgot to mention before - diggin' the new chalkboard header! Ike really pops on it!

  15. This is going to be super helpful if I decide to try and tackle any tiling in our house...thanks for the tips! :)

  16. I'll definitely have too keep the tile mat in mind whenever we get around to redoing our kitchen backsplash. Yours looks absolutely gorgeous!

  17. Good to know. When I ambush our kitchen when Anthony is at work, maybe I can start our back splash!

  18. I think the tile mat looks like the way to go. And I'm glad we aren't the only ones who have trouble with dark grout on white tile. It turned out really awesome.

  19. we might need to try this next time...when we did the backsplash in our old kitchen, the tile set was a messy and so annoying.

  20. That looks great! I didn't know about this product. That is awesome to know. If I ever do a backsplash, I'm checking into that for sure. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad the dark grout went well - I've seen some disasters.

  21. I think the stools look perfect here! I read this post before the stool post and they fit right in....nice job!

  22. It is true that products like that can be handy when installing tiles, especially for DIYers and people who don’t know a lot about tiling. In addition to the tips, it would be a good idea to use a grout that would strongly hold the tiles together. That way, you would keep the tiles from falling when the adhesive wears off.

    @Alana Geikie

    1. We definitely used grout. There's that photo of me scrubbing it off!

  23. I looks so great. I love your style.

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  25. That pool sure does look cloudy! Call the pool boy.
    glass backsplash tile

  26. We just used this product and have had pretty much the same experience as you did. HOWEVER....when my wife used the self cleaning oven cycle, the tile around the stove fell off in sheets as the heat from the oven was too much. Now I am removing the tile and scraping the mat off (a VERY difficult and time consuming task)so we can use conventional methods.

  27. I'm gone to say to my little brother, that he should also go to see this website on regular basis to take updated from latest news update.

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  28. Beautiful kitchen! Can you tell me what size grout spacers you used?

  29. Thanks for this the product, and am using it for the second time. I had no problems with the adhesive the first time, but this time I need a little reinforcement in two spots. Thanks so much for the info on the Loctite PowerGrab. I will keep my fingers crossed!!


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