LOML wants tile on the walls above the stove and sink as backsplashes. She has decided she likes the 4" x 4" "Venetian Stone" tiles at Lowes,(It is a baked tile with a clear glaze on the front, 1/4" thick at the edges and about 3/8" in the middle). She wants them on the diagonal (45 degree runs). I have calculated it will take probably 200+ cuts to do what she wants, and cut in around the light switches,outlets, etc.
The surface I am applying these to is 1/2" drywall coated with contractor grade flat latex paint that was installed when the house was constructed about 2 years ago. It is in very sound condition and not grease/water saturated. Based on research so far, I am planning on using sanded grout with a 1/8" spacing.
Your advice on the following questions would be appreciated:
1. Is it okay to use mastic adhesive and apply directly to the existing wall, or would 1/4" hardi-backer board be a better option?
1a. If I use the backer board, is thinset better than mastic adhesive?
2. What grade tile saw will work? Of the ones I have seen so far, the 4" blade type do not seem worth even the relatively cheap price (under $100). The 7" blade ones (table-top type) vary in quality and price from $80 to $200. I will be making the 40 mi trip to the nearest HD next week to check out a 7" one they have on the website for about $80. Even though I foresee some more work in the future, (countertops, etc, not floors) I do not wish to spend $300 for an overhead slide type that will not be used often.
Any additional pointers or advice will be appreciated as I have never installed ceramic tile, altho I have watched the videos put out by Randy Davis (a tile setter from Mississippi) which gives me the basics of applying the thinset/mastic, layout, grouting, etc.
In summary: I don't know enough to be scared off, but do know that there is a lot I don't know!!
Practicing at practical wood working