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I’ve said it several times and I will say it again, the kitchen is the heart of any home and it’s especially true in our camper van. When you have a beautiful kitchen in your camper van it makes your space feel like a true home and allows your space to really shine. That is why small things in a camper van can really go a long way such as having an oven, running water, nice hardwood countertops, and beautiful kitchen tile in a campervan.
In our Sprinter van, we opted for sticker tile and although we loved it, we knew in our Transit we wanted to try out ceramic tile to see how it would work in a campervan. Using our tips you will be able to successfully pick out a beautiful tile for your campervan and install it with these easy steps!
Options for Kitchen Tile in a Campervan
When decorating your kitchen nothing quite replaces a decorative backsplash. That’s why in both of our vans, we opted to have a backsplash instead of wood for the kitchen wall. Having a decorative kitchen can help to divide the kitchen and bedroom area, making the spaces more pronounced. There are a few popular options when it comes to tile in a campervan including more traditional options like ceramic and then more creative lightweight styles.
In our first van, we were so overwhelmed by getting the build done that we couldn’t even fathom learning how to install tile on top of all of it. Instead, we found sticky tile at Hobby Lobby for only $12 a sheet. The sheets are sticky and have dimensions to them, unlike wallpaper. They are not like the ceramic tile that is sticky but is more akin to a sticker.
Peel and Stick Tile
There is a second kind of peel and stick tile that feels more like actual tile but still offers the easy solution of being able to simply stick the tile to the wall. It can be pricier than the sticker tile mentioned above but it’s heavier duty and looks like actual tile. The downside is at Home Depot and Lowe’s I’ve never seen that many options if you are wanting a different or unique look.
If you are on a budget or don’t have the skill to install tile then using wallpaper is another option for tiling your camper van. You can choose from many different options and you simply have to follow the instructions to install. Another pro is that you can easily change it out if you needed a refresh or change of decor.
Ceramic tile is what you will find in most traditional homes and will have the most options available when it comes to variety in style. It is heavier than the other options and definitely takes more effort when you need to install it. If you are looking to use ceramic tile below you will find the instructions on how to properly install it in a van.
How to Install Kitchen Tile In A Campervan
- Tile Cutter
Step 1: Prep area with clean wood
To adhere tile to your camper van you need a smooth clean surface, preferably wood. Make sure your surface is completely clean and free of wood dust before beginning to glue your tile on. When creating a flat space for your tile, you also want to make sure that the area is as stable as possible. Since you are in a moving van the less that the wood shakes, the less likely that your tile will crack or break.
Step 2: Install Tile With Glue
Once your surface is clean, you can begin to layout your tile and get it ready to glue. We used PL Maximum because it is a fast grab and has an EXTREME hold. Depending on the dimensions of your space and your tile, you will want to measure up and down to see if you will need to cut the tile in half. If so then traditionally people start tiling at the top and then skinnier pieces will be on the bottom. We started ours on the bottom but you can do either.
When you are ready to start tiling you start with one tile and put an X on the back of the piece of tile and then place it on the wall. When placing your first piece, you want to make sure and leave a gap around it of either 1/16, 1/8, or 1/4, depending on how you want your tile and grout to look. The larger the gap, the more grout will be shown.
When you place your second piece of tile, you can use the spacers to properly see the space.
Step 3: Cut Tile
Likely your tile is going to need to be cut to fit at some point. To cut the tile you will need a tile cutter. It’s pretty easy to use and it uses water and a blade to cut the tile. The blade itself is not actually sharp though and using the tool is pretty simple. If you don’t have a tile cutter I recommend renting one from Home Depot.
Step 4: Grout
Once your tile is all set up, now it is time to fill the gaps with grout. We personally used MAPEI because it is an all-in-one grout that has a sealer mixed into it. That way, in theory, you do not have to add a sealer on top of it to keep it from cracking. Make sure and buy the correct color of grout that will make your tile stand out and look the best.
Follow the instructions for mixing your tile based on the back of the container. Then all you have to do is use a tile grouting tool and generously push the grout into the gaps, one area at a time. It’s ok if it is a little messy as you will wipe it off your tile later. Make sure and fill each area completely full and push it fully into the gaps.
The only place you do not want to put grout is on top of the tile where your tile meets your cabinet or ends and on the bottom where it meets the countertop. You will want to use silicone there instead.
Next using a sponge and water, in small circles, begin wiping off the grout from the tiles. You will want to continue to do this until your tiles are completely clean and are no longer cloudy looking.
Step 5: Silicone
24 hours later you can use silicone on the top and bottom of the tile. We used silicone since it is more flexible which is important in a van that is constantly moving. Using silicone on the tile was probably the most annoying part and it gets everywhere. You will want to have plenty of paper towels and a cup of water handy.
Using a caulking gun run the tip along the edge of your tile very slowly following behind it with a wet paper towel and the edge of your fingertip to give it a smooth look. If it gets on other parts of the tile or countertop, simply use the towel to quickly and thoroughly wipe it off. It takes a bit of patience and time but once it is finished your tiling will be complete!
After this, you are done! Let your tile set up for another 24 hours and you will have a beautiful backsplash for your campervan kitchen!