Tips on how to Set up Kitchen Backsplash Tile: A DIY Information for Learners

Learn to set up kitchen backsplash tile step-by-step. We’re telling you all the things it is advisable know plus nice suggestions and clarifications earlier than you begin!

Get impressed with 19 Earlier than and After Kitchen Makeovers and these 40 Stunning Kitchens with Grey Cupboards.

Do you need to replace your kitchen quick?  Attempt a trendy and practical backsplash.  We’ll present you ways.   On this information, we’ll break down the steps to make them straightforward to comply with and stroll you thru the right way to set up the kitchen backsplash of your desires! 

Additionally, you will see some priceless suggestions that will help you simply handle the duty by yourself, irrespective of of the dimensions of your kitchen. 

And relaxation assured you CAN do that, even in the event you’re a newbie who has by no means tiled earlier than.  We have now tiled backsplashes in a number of kitchens (and bogs + showers)  and truthfully, IMHO I can do a greater job than knowledgeable AND I’ll educate you the right way to tile like a professional (and higher!)

(How do I do know I can do higher than a professional? It’s a delicate topic nonetheless… We had our present kitchen professionally tiled to avoid wasting time, and I’m saddened by the tile spacing mess-ups EVERY DAY.  I’d by no means have allowed issues to get so off, if I have been doing it myself, as a result of having a little bit little bit of perfectionism is basically useful right here.)

Table of Contents

Tips on how to Set up Kitchen Backsplash Tile DIY

Instruments and Supplies You’ll Want

Right here is the entire record of instruments and supplies you will want to put in the kitchen backsplash. 

Non-compulsory further helps:

  • drill with ceramic drill bit
  • Straight ledge wooden -if your flooring or counter and many others is uneven, OR even behind the oven think about using a straight edge ledge (like an MDF 1×4, screwed quickly to the wall as help for putting in the primary row of tile). Take away as soon as dry.

For the challenge to go easily, it’s greatest that you’ve got all of those earlier than you begin the duty to keep away from any obstacles.  Cuz everyone knows the curse of getting to run again to Residence Depot 39 occasions. 

The fundamentals of DIY tiling I’m exhibiting right here may even assist in the event you’re tiling a toilet backsplash, a tile bathe (with the suitable bathe board), or a tile flooring. Since every of those tile functions wants barely totally different floor preparation, although, listed below are some hyperlinks with extra information:

Step #1: Wall Preparation

First, you need to put together the wall earlier than you begin the backsplash tile set up course of. Comply with these steps to arrange the wall for tile:

Clear The Wall

If it is a kitchen and in the event you bake or prepare dinner typically, naturally the partitions can get greasy and or splattered with meals.  To make sure that the tile backsplash correctly adheres to the wall, it is advisable completely clear it. 

Rigorously take away any grime, grease, meals and/or mud from the realm the place you need to set up the backsplash.  Take into account a degreaser like TSP or Krud Kutter, however make certain to not go away cleaning soap residue both, so rinse with water and permit to dry completely.

Clean The Floor

Fill any holes or gouges or heavy texture on the drywall. Relying on what you’re utilizing to connect the tile (see step 3), the wall could must be primed, as a result of the powdery substance of plaster is just not going to bond nicely to the double sided sticky tile mat for instance.

Mark and Measure

Measuring and marking the realm is necessary to make sure the alignment of the tiles. So, measure the peak and width of the backsplash space and mark the middle or extremely seen spots that you simply need to make sure that are right to your reference.

Defend the Countertop

Earlier than you start putting in tile, lay a protecting barrier in your counter tops (and the ground!), akin to plastic or cardboard. You don’t need to have to wash up thin-set mortar or grout from the flooring or counter after.

Step #2: Plan Tile Structure

That is crucial step. Please don’t skip it.  You possibly can inform an excellent tile job from a nasty tile job primarily from the format and the way the cuts sit on the wall.  It’s the tiny particulars, so take your time.

Visualize the format earlier than you begin becoming the tiles. This helps in clean execution. A laser level is very really helpful to make sure that tiles keep straight!

You possibly can attempt dry-fitting the tiles on the counter to plan the format and decide if any cuts might be wanted, or that cuts are equal on ends and correctly centered.  Don’t neglect to make use of spacers to essentially get it as shut as attainable. 

Some factors to contemplate:  

  • If you may be tiling from wall to wall, take into account having evenly lower tile on every finish. Discover the middle level of the wall and the middle level of a tile, and work out from there.  
  • Have a look at the spots that may present essentially the most. Do you may have a difficult window above your sink?  Must you middle the tile there?  
  • Is there an finish wall that’s REALLY apparent? Must you take into account that your start line to make it good and clear wanting?
  • The underside of your backsplash (proper above the countertop) would be the most seen so make your tile cuts on the prime of the wall, not the underside.  Start on the counter and work up.
  • Take into account the place you may cover a lower tile and the place a lower tile would look misplaced. 

If you’d like your tile to look its greatest, symmetry issues.  Please don’t skip this step, take your time and assume via any unusual shapes, edges or areas.

Tip: Tile Round Trim

You probably have a window body, door body, or different trim that may require an intricate tile lower, use a multi-tool (with piece of wooden or tile as a fence) to chop the trim as an alternative, like we did on our white subway tile backsplash. Then you may make a sq. lower as an alternative and slide the tile beneath the trim.

Step #3: Apply the Adhesive

There are three principal choices for tile adhesives that work nicely for DIYers. 

**Make certain when spreading on the adhesive that you simply take into account the notch dimension of the trowel you’re utilizing.  The notches will get larger with larger tiles, and smaller with small tiles.  There are stickers on the trowel if you purchase them that designate the dimensions of tile it really works for. **

Choice 1: Thinset Mortar

  • Thinset mortar is a dry powder you combine in small batches as you’re employed.
  • Thinset can be utilized in moist or dry functions, akin to backsplashes, showers, bathtubs, and flooring.
  • 🟢 PRO: Cheap and straightforward to seek out.
  • 🟢 PRO: Can be utilized to even out uneven floor beneath the tile.
  • 🔴 CON: Resulting from thinset setting time, tiles could sag on vertical utility like a backsplash/bathe wall- spacers might be crucial. (additionally possibly some further setting/drying time between giant sections of wall)
  • 🔴 CON: If you’re new to tiling, don’t combine an excessive amount of at a time. Do small batches. That approach it received’t get too dry earlier than you’re prepared to make use of it.
  1. Comply with the producer’s directions and blend the tile adhesive.
  2. Then, unfold a skinny mortar layer on the wall utilizing a trowel in small sections.  Thinset is basically useful if the wall is considerably uneven, as a result of you may have extra leeway to fill in a gap or despair. 
  3. Non-compulsory: Apply a skinny layer of mortar to the again of every tile earlier than making use of to the thinset. That is known as “again buttering” and can assist type a stronger bond – (often extra mandatory with bigger tile).
  4. Apply the tile with spacers, backside to prime. (See Step #4 for suggestions.)
  5. Watch out that you simply maintain the grout traces clear and don’t allow them to replenish with thinset. scrap any out if it squeezes out between tiles, you want this to have clear hole to fill with grout.  Wipe the grout traces clear as you’re employed.

Choice 2: Tile Mastic

  • Tile mastic is a premixed “glue” adhesive.
  • Mastic can solely be utilized in dry (or damp) functions akin to partitions, tile wainscot, or dry backsplashes. NOT to be used in a moist space like a bathe.
  • 🟢 PRO: Premixed makes it straightforward to make use of in case you are working slowly in small sections.
  • 🟢 PRO: Units extra shortly than thinset, lowering complete challenge time.
  • 🔴 CON: Not good to be used in showers or the place it could get moist.
  1. Unfold a skinny mastic layer on the wall utilizing a trowel. 
  2. Non-compulsory: Apply a skinny layer of mastic to the again of every tile earlier than making use of to the wall. That is known as “backbuttering” and can assist type a stronger bond.
  3. Apply the tile with spacers, backside to prime. (See Step #4 for suggestions.)
  4. Watch out that you simply maintain the grout traces clear and don’t allow them to replenish with adhesive.  Wipe the grout traces clear as you’re employed.

Choice 3: Adhesive Tile Mat ⭐ (Remodelaholic Selection)

  • Adhesive tile mat (akin to Musselbound or Bondera) is a double-sided adhesive sheet, like a double sided tape, that sticks to the wall and the tile.
  • Can be utilized in moist or dry functions – examine producer’s specs to your use. NOT to be used on flooring.
  • Partitions have to be flat/stage earlier than set up (which is nice apply anyway!)
  • 🟢 PRO: Very straightforward for even newcomers to make use of.
  • 🟢 PRO: Can set up a backsplash in a day since no adhesive set time.
  • 🟠 CON: Dearer than thinset or mastic (however saves you time, in order that’s a professional).
  • 🔴 CON: Greatest for medium-size tiles — very small or giant format tiles don’t adhere as nicely.
  • 🔴 CON: Very sticky, so it may be tough to maneuver a tile if wanted. Be deliberate and cautious when inserting tiles.

Double sided adhesive mat is certainly the very best of all choices for DIYers.  It’s clear, no want to attend for the thinset to dry earlier than, and can be utilized for each tremendous fast initiatives and gradual initiatives.  **I like to recommend protecting the sticker cowl on till you’re able to tile that space.**

  1. Peel off the again of the adhesive mat and stick it rigorously and firmly to the wall. Depart the highest adhesive cowl on. 
  2. Working from the underside to the highest and from the middle to the perimeters, take away the highest cowl as you place tile alongside the wall. (See Step #4 for suggestions.)
  3. For the reason that tiles are harder to regulate placement, I counsel inserting just a few tiles very calmly on the mat, then urgent extra firmly for five+ seconds when the location is good to make sure a agency maintain.

I used an adhesive tile mat in my Texas home transform once we put in our white subway tile backsplash with darkish grout, and LOVED how straightforward it was. It will possibly even be performed with a baby in your lap! (The adhesive mat was clear, however you may see a slight line above my fingers the place it ends.)

Putting Up Tile Adhesive Mat Cropped - How to Install Kitchen Backsplash Tile DIY

Step #4: Tile Set up

Go slowly, don’t rush. Firmly press every tile into the adhesive with even strain so it doesn’t by chance get pushed in too far on one aspect and stick out on the opposite aspect. 

Use your finger to examine that it’s even with the opposite tile and to not excessive or not pressed to far in. There are special tile spacers that assist to maintain the floor stage.

Wall Tile As Baseboard In Bathroom Use Laser Level And Spacers For Accurate Straight Tile Placement Remodelaholic

As soon as on the wall, guarantee even spacing with the assistance of spacers. Depart the spacers in place till dry.  The extra spacers the merrier — don’t attempt to skimp on spacers!

Make certain you retain the spacers away from the adhesive and the tile clear of thinset as you progress alongside.  It’s possible you’ll must scrape some out of the grout traces as you go, and wipe the highest of the tile as you go if any will get on the entrance. Preserve the tiles clear!  

FYI, some small tiles have inbuilt spacers, they’re like small rectangles that stick out of the sting however should not seen from the entrance.   If you’re utilizing these, you could not want spacers.

Work Your Manner Outwards and Minimize Tiles To Match

If you’re ranging from the middle, you may proceed putting in the tiles outward. Preserve a detailed eye on the spacing and alignment of the tiles and ensure they’re stage. You possibly can maintain making the required changes as you go.

You may also want to chop the tiles to suit them across the edges or the retailers. For this objective, you should use a tile cutter or a moist noticed.

the right way to lower tile utilizing a moist noticed

You possibly can rent or buy a wet tile saw – ours has been doing nice work for nearly 2 many years now!

  • Mark the tile lower as precisely as you may. It’s actually useful to have a wax pencil as a result of even everlasting marker simply washes proper off with the quantity of water concerned in making cuts.
  • Put on correct security gear (particularly security glasses) and garments that may get moist/gross.
  • Rigorously information the tile into the noticed blade, making whichever straight cuts you want.
  • To chop a curve, as pictured, make a number of straight cuts subsequent to one another after which rigorously get away the small bits to wash up the lower.
  • All the time orient the tile face-up to make sure the lower is correct and clear on the entrance of the tile.
How To Cut Tile Curved Rounded Around Pipe, Remodelaholic

Edge Ending

You probably have an uncovered tile edge, take into account shopping for a Schluter tile edging system.  That is an L formed metallic band that offers a pleasant clear edge.  They arrive in several metallic finishes, white and black.

You may also purchase trim or bullnose tile with a curved or tapered edge for a phenomenal completed edge to your tile.

You probably have a porcelain tile that has the colour via out the tile, you may take into account grinding the sting (if it was lower) and leaving it uncovered, however you will must be tremendous cautious to maintain the thinset from exhibiting so you may grout the sting.  This selection could also be a little bit trickier, however does work very nicely.

Sealing Backsplash Tile

Most ceramic and porcelain tiles do NOT want sealed. Stone tiles or some other porous supplies WILL want sealed. Test the producer directions to know in case your tile wants sealed, and make sure you seal earlier than grouting if wanted.

Step #5: Apply Grout After Adhesive is Set

After making use of the tiles to the adhesive, you should give it adequate time to dry/set. For greatest outcomes, comply with the producer’s directions, which usually advocate a minimal of 4 hours.

Take away the tile spacers, then grout and caulk the tile backsplash.

Tile Caulk

Should you’ve ever observed within the tile aisle they’ve caulk tubes. These specific caulks are colour matched to the grout they’ve (not all colours can be found).

With a purpose to maintain water from sneaking behind your base cupboards, it’s a good suggestion to seal the counter and tiles backside house with caulk. In locations like this, the grout itself tends to crack and should permit for leaking, so caulk is your greatest guess.

It’s possible you’ll need to caulk the road between the tile and the countertop first earlier than making use of the remainder of the grout to ensure it’s correctly filling the hole.

On the countertop you possibly can add a strip of painters tape to ensure the road is clear. Take away when it’s simply set, however not utterly dry. Simply use a caulk gun and clean the road with a moist finger. Permit the caulk to dry utterly earlier than persevering with to grout.

Combine and Apply Grout

There are two kinds of grout:  sanded and non-sanded.  

  • Non-sanded grout or unsanded grout is used for grout traces ⅛” and smaller. 
  • Sanded grout is used for bigger areas. The sand provides structural stability to the bigger grout areas.

Combine the grout utilizing the supplied directions.

Simply consider, you have to be cautious concerning the grout’s consistency.  It ought to be like a creamy peanut butter, not too watery, not too dry. 


If you’d like your grout to remain cleaner (possibly since you’re like me and I are typically horrible about maintaining on sealing grout), I like to recommend utilizing a sealant additive as an alternative of water in your grout when mixing it.

This sealant additive provides the sealant into the entire combination of the tile and never only a skinny prime layer that wears off and must be reapplied each six months.

As soon as your grout it blended to the best consistency, use a rubber float to unfold grout on the tiles at a 45-degree angle. Just remember to fill all areas in between the tiles with the grout and go away no gaps.  Actually work the grout into the cracks.

Gently wipe off extra grout with a moist sponge.

Wipe Away Shower Grout Haze With Sponge Remodelaholic

Step #6: Clear the Tiles and Seal the Grout

After you let the grout set for the really helpful time (often it’s 15-Half-hour), clear the tiles utilizing a moist sponge. However, be sure that you keep away from eradicating an excessive amount of grout from the gaps.

In roughly 2 hours you should use a cheese fabric to take away the grout haze from the tile.  With out including water, simply rub the tile with the cheese fabric and you may be shocked by how nicely this cleans up!

Within the image under I used to be grouting with black grout. I had already wiped with a sponge, however due to the darkish pigment there was loads of residue. It’s wonderful what the cheese fabric did to wash the tile, and surprisingly simply.

White Subway Tile Backsplash 19

Should you selected to not use the additive, as soon as the grout dries (sometimes in 24 to 72 hours), apply a grout sealer to guard it from stains and moisture. For its utility, you should comply with the producers’ directions.  And don’t neglect it will must be performed periodically to maintain the grout sealed. 

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Kitchen Inspiration

Tile Tricks to Preserve in Thoughts

Including a contemporary, subtle twist to your kitchen by putting in DIY backsplash tiles might be an thrilling challenge. However for greatest outcomes, it is best to comply with some suggestions and methods we’ve discovered the arduous approach in our years of expertise.

Select the Tiles Rigorously

You could find quite a lot of tile supplies in the marketplace, starting from ceramic to porcelain, glass, and even pure stone. Amongst these, you should select the fabric primarily based on its sturdiness, upkeep, and elegance in correspondence together with your imaginative and prescient and way of life.

What Measurement Tile is Greatest?

For a backsplash, small to medium tiles sometimes look higher and cling higher, as much as 10-12″ tiles. For bigger areas like a bathe, full wall of tile, or a tile flooring, bigger tiles could also be extra applicable (and fewer time to put in and fewer grout up maintain).

How A lot Tile Do I Want?

Measure your sq. footage and add 10% extra tile.

Bear in mind that tiles can break when making cuts so all the time order at the least 10% extra for cuts, waste and breaks.  This issues particularly if the house has loads of cuts or zigs or zags, as a result of there could also be a good quantity of lower off tile that you simply can not reuse.  This manner you may have further in the identical lot colour which might fluctuate barely.  

Often you may return further tile – however I do counsel protecting some helpful in case of emergency cracks in like one tile- you may change simply that one (this most likely occurs extra with flooring tile than backsplash tile).

Tile Choices

  • Stone Tile (akin to slate, marble, sandstone) could must be sealed earlier than grouting. Please make sure you do your analysis in your particular stone earlier than putting in.
  • Mosaic Tiles are usually very small tiles (and even bits or items of tile). They might come as tile sheets on a mesh backing in a 1 foot sq. piece, akin to small hexagon tiles or penny tile. Watch out of spacing when inserting on the wall particularly in case you are utilizing a darkish grout. It’s possible you’ll need to embrace some spacers even within the parts which have the mesh backing, as a result of not all spacing is ideal and could also be noticeable when grouted.
  • Glass Tile might be lovely, however it is advisable take into account the colour of the thin-set you utilize for glass tile, as a result of it will probably present via the tile. You have to white and never the common gray colour.
  • Concrete Tile is available in many lovely designs, however these tiles are considerably fragile,and so they chip simply. Concrete tiles have to be sealed earlier than putting in. Moreover, watch out of darkish coloured grout. It isn’t really helpful because the concrete can pull the colour into the tile and stain it.
  • Subway Tile is tile that’s often rectangular in form. Could be put in in dozens of various patterns, very versatile and in addition somewhat timeless.
  • Porcelain Tile is made out of a extra dense, higher-quality clay than customary ceramic tile. This tile typically is made the place the colour often runs all through the tile (not all the time, so examine yours to make certain). This may be useful when making cuts, because it shouldn’t be tremendous apparent if an edge exhibits.
  • Ceramic tile typically has a end on prime of the tile and the clay of the tile possibly a special colour. You have to Schluter edges to cover the clay portion of the tile on edges or particular edge items which have a completed edge. Should you just like the look of concrete tile patterns, however don’t need the upkeep- a ceramic model is perhaps the proper match.

No matter tile you select, make sure you get the identical lot or shade quantity for all of the tiles you’ll want for the challenge. Particularly in the event you’re utilizing a home made tile with pure variations, lay out ALL the tiles to visualise so you may alter as wanted for the variances in colour.

Plan Your Structure Strategically

For greatest outcomes, assume via the tile format and make sure the remaining design is balanced and visually interesting. To not point out, it is best to consider electrical retailers, home windows, and corners to plan and lower the tiles accordingly.

Clear the Tiles Throughout Set up

You must watch out about protecting the tiles clear all through the set up course of. It’s necessary to take away any extra adhesive or grout from the tile floor, earlier than the fabric hardens. Additionally, don’t neglect to take away tile spacers earlier than the grout utility.

Be Affected person and Permit It to Dry Correctly

For a sturdy backsplash, keep away from dashing the drying course of. Give enough time for the adhesive to dry earlier than transferring on to the subsequent step. Equally, let the grout dry absolutely earlier than sealing it with a grout sealer.

Folks Additionally Ask

Can I set up a tile backsplash on current tiles?

Beginning with a clear, flat floor produces the very best outcomes. Nonetheless, you may set up a tile backsplash on current tiles if the floor is clean and in good situation.  The tile mat adhesive is perhaps an excellent possibility for this scenario- however the floor have to be very flat and once more very clear. 

You may also tile over the present backsplash (and laminate counter tops!) like Annie did in her kitchen makeover right here.

How ought to I select a grout colour for my kitchen backsplash?

If you’d like a seamless look, use an identical grout colour. However, a contrasting colour creates visible curiosity and highlights particular person tiles.  Your alternative will rely on the model you are attempting to create within the house. 

What ought to I do to keep up my kitchen tile backsplash?

Often cleansing the backsplash with a tile cleaner or delicate cleaning soap and water will allow you to preserve its good situation. Keep away from utilizing abrasive cleaners that may injury the grout and the tile floor.

Re-seal the tile and grout yearly, or in the event you discover it’s starting to stain simply.

Closing Phrase

Putting in a tile backsplash in your kitchen might be an thrilling DIY challenge. To not point out, it will probably assist improve the looks of your kitchen. It’s a pretty easy job in the event you comply with each step rigorously. 

We have now included the newest suggestions that may help you in reaching knowledgeable look and making a backsplash that provides worth to your kitchen. Now sit again and admire you new tile backsplash. Completely satisfied DIYing!

Extra DIY Kitchen Backsplash Concepts

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