Can You Use Backsplash Tile on Countertop?

Using backsplash tile on a countertop can add a stylish, eye-catching look to your kitchen. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind when deciding if backsplash tile is the right material for your countertop.

Pros of Using Backsplash Tile on Countertops

Some of the benefits of using backsplash tile for countertops include:


Backsplash tiles come in a huge variety of colors, patterns, textures, and designs. Using backsplash tile on your countertop allows you to create a customized look that matches your kitchen’s overall style. The visual interest and artistry of backsplash tile can make your countertop a true focal point.

Easier Installation

Installing backsplash tile on a countertop is a relatively easy DIY project, especially compared to installing natural stone or solid surface countertops which require more specialized tools and skills. Backsplash tile can be cut with basic tools and applied to the countertop using thinset mortar adhesive.


Quality backsplash tile is generally more affordable than materials like natural stone, quartz, or granite. The smaller size of the tile cuts down on cost as well. Backsplash tile allows you to get the high-end look you want at a budget-friendly price point.


Backsplash tiles like ceramic, porcelain, or glass are very durable and resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. When properly sealed, they stand up well to heavy use and cleaning. Durability makes them a practical option for busy kitchen countertops.

Easy to Clean

The smooth, non-porous surface of backsplash tile resists sticking, staining, and buildup of bacteria and grime. Just wipe with a damp cloth to keep your tiled countertop sparkling clean.

Cons of Using Backsplash Tile on Countertops

However, there are also some downsides to keep in mind:


The grout lines between backsplash tiles are vulnerable to stains and moisture. Grout needs to be sealed periodically. The seams also make the countertop less smooth and seamless compared to other materials.

Not Heat Resistant

While durable, backsplash tile can crack or deteriorate when subjected to direct, sustained heat. You need to use a trivet or hot pad when placing hot pots and pans on a tiled countertop.

Can Chip or Crack

Backsplash tile is durable overall but still at risk for cracking, chipping, or breaking if subjected to heavy impact or dropped objects. Cracks allow moisture and bacteria to get underneath the tile.

Cold to the Touch

Materials like ceramic, porcelain, and glass stay cooler than natural stone and retain the coldness of chilled items placed on them. Some people find tiled countertops uncomfortably cold for tasks like rolling dough.

Higher Maintenance

Backsplash tile requires more frequent sealing and occasional re-grouting compared to other countertop materials. It also needs to be cleaned more gently to avoid scratching or damaging the surface.

Key Considerations for Using Backsplash Tile on Countertops

If you decide to use backsplash tile for your countertop, keep these tips in mind:

  • Select a smooth, low-texture tile that mimics the look of stone. Highly textured tiles trap debris.
  • Use larger format tiles to minimize grout lines. Mosaic sheets also reduce grout.
  • Glossy or metal tiles make wiping up spills and crumbs easier.
  • Make sure the tile is rated for floor or wall use, not just backsplashes. It needs to withstand impact.
  • Use epoxy grout instead of regular cement grout. It’s more stain and water resistant.
  • Seal the grout lines multiple times per year for protection and easy cleaning.
  • Use a resilient adhesive like thinset mortar to account for temperature fluctuations.
  • Avoid placing very hot items directly on the tile. Use trivets and hot pads.
  • Select durable tiles with a low water absorption rate. Porcelain is a great option.
  • Include an accent strip of wood, marble, or granite to break up the tile expanse.

Installation Process for Tiled Countertops

Installing backsplash tile on countertops involves careful planning and preparation:

Step 1: Remove Existing Countertop

If replacing an old countertop, remove the countertop and clean/repair the underlying cabinets or base as needed.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Make sure the surface is clean, dry, and smooth. Apply thinset mortar adhesive to the base cabinets or substrate.

Step 3: Lay Out Tiles

Dry lay tiles to map out the pattern and orientation. Mix tiles from several boxes. Leave a small gap between tiles.

Step 4: Apply Adhesive and Set Tiles

Spread thinset mortar on the surface and press tiles into the adhesive. Use spacers between tiles for consistent grout lines.

Step 5: Let Adhesive Cure

Allow thinset mortar to fully cure for 24-48 hours before grouting tiles. Tiles may shift if grouted too soon.

Step 6: Grout and Seal

Apply grout between tile joints. Wipe away excess. Let grout cure fully, then seal with a penetrating grout sealer.

Step 7: Finish Edges

If needed, install edge trim pieces along the counter edges. Use caulk in corner joints.

Maintenance Tips for Tiled Countertops

To keep your tiled countertop looking like new:

  • Seal grout lines 2-3 times per year using a penetrating grout sealer.
  • Clean spills promptly to prevent staining of the grout lines.
  • Use a gentle cleaner and soft cloth or sponge when wiping the tiles. Avoid abrasives.
  • Inspect tiles and grout periodically. Re-grout cracked or missing grout to prevent moisture issues.
  • Limit direct heat exposure by using trivets and pads. Don’t cut food directly on tiles.
  • Re-seal if water starts to pool on the tile instead of beading up.

FAQ About Using Backsplash Tile on Countertops

Can you use any tile on a countertop?

No, only tiles rated for floor and wall use are suitable. Check that tiles are impervious to moisture and impact resistant.

What’s the best grout to use with backsplash tile countertops?

Epoxy grout is more water, stain, and mold resistant than traditional cement grout. It creates durable, easy to clean grout lines.

Should backsplash tiles on a countertop have spacing between them?

Yes, leave a small 1/16-1/8 inch gap between tiles that will be filled with grout. This allows the tiles room to expand and prevents cracking.

Can backsplash tiles chip or crack on a countertop?

Yes, tiles can crack or chip if subjected to heavy impact or force. Minimize risk by selecting durable tile and avoiding direct high heat exposure.

Is it cheaper to install backsplash tile vs. granite countertops?

Generally, yes. Quality backsplash tile costs less per square foot than natural stone. The DIY-friendly installation also saves on labor costs.


Installing backsplash tile on your countertop can provide a gorgeous, customizable look. With proper tile selection and care taken during installation and everyday use, a tiled countertop can be a durable and eye-catching addition to your kitchen. Pay close attention to grout care and heat protection to get the longest lifespan from your tiles. With some periodic maintenance, backsplash tile countertops can look fabulous for many years.