How Long Does it Take to Install a Kitchen Backsplash?

Installing a new kitchen backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. But how long does it actually take to install a backsplash? The total project timeline can vary quite a bit depending on the size of your kitchen, the complexity of the design, and the materials you choose. Here is a detailed overview of what to expect.

Planning and Preparation

Before you can start installing the backsplash itself, there are a few key steps to take to plan out the project and prepare the work area:

  • Choose your backsplash design and materials. Selecting the backsplash tiles/panels, grout, adhesive and any accent materials will be the first step. Allow plenty of time to explore different options.
  • Measure your space. Measure the exact dimensions of the backsplash area so you can purchase the right amount of materials. Don’t forget to account for outlet cuts, edges and any other special considerations.
  • Demolition. If there is an existing backsplash, allocate time to carefully remove it. This includes detaching it from the wall and cleaning off any remaining debris or adhesive.
  • Surface preparation. The wall surface needs to be smooth, clean and dry for proper installation. Fill any holes or cracks, sand down bumps, and clean off dust or oils.
  • Layout planning. Map out the tile layout, including cuts, borders and accent areas. Adjust as needed to avoid ending up with small slivers of tile.
  • Purchase supplies. Buy all materials and tools needed for installation based on your measurements and layout.
  • Schedule installation. If hiring a pro, book your installation dates well in advance to get on their calendar.

Depending on the size of your kitchen, you can expect the planning and prep work to take anywhere from 2-5 days.

Installation Time

When it comes to hands-on installation time, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Size of the backsplash. The overall square footage of the area you are tiling will have a significant impact. A small 4 sq ft backsplash above a stove may take only 4-6 hours. A full wall backsplash spanning 30 sq ft or more could take 16 hours or longer.
  • Layout complexity. A basic brick pattern is faster to install than a intricate mosaic or medallion backdrop. Factor in time for any special tile cuts.
  • Type of tile/material. Natural stone tiles tend to be thicker and need more time to cut and install. Large format tiles or panels go up faster than small mosaics.
  • Skill level of installer. An experienced tile pro can install much quicker than a DIYer tiling their first backsplash. Consider your skill level.

As a very rough guideline, you can estimate anywhere from 4-10 hours for a medium sized backsplash of 10-15 sq ft. But every project is unique, so build in a buffer if unsure.

Grouting, Sealing and Finishing

After the tile installation itself is complete, there are still a few finishing steps:

  • Grouting. Allow 24-48 hours for the tile adhesive to fully cure before applying grout between tiles. Grouting typically adds 2-3 hours.
  • Sealing. Natural stone tiles need a sealant applied 2-3 days after grouting. This may take 1-2 hours.
  • Silicone caulk. Once everything is fully dried, apply caulk between the counter and backsplash. Allow 30-60 minutes.
  • Cleanup. Wipe down the tiles and remove any remaining building materials or dust.

Total Timeline

If you add up all the steps, the total timeline for a kitchen backsplash installation will usually span 1-2 weeks:

  • Planning and prep work: 2-5 days
  • Tile installation: 1-3 days
  • Grouting, sealing and finishing: 1-2 days

Hiring a professional installer can speed things up significantly compared to DIY. But some timeframe variables like demolition, adhesive curing and grout drying remain fixed. Knowing what to expect in advance will help your project go smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to install a backsplash?

Using large format tiles or panels rather than small mosaics can speed up installation time. Hiring experienced professionals will also be faster than DIY.

How long should I budget for a backsplash install?

It’s smart to budget at least 1 week for a medium sized backsplash, and 2 weeks or longer for a big project. Build in some buffer time in case extra prep work is needed.

Can I install a backsplash in one day?

It’s extremely unlikely you could fully install, grout and seal a quality backsplash in only one day, even for a very small area. Rushing the job can lead to problems down the road.

What adds the most time during backsplash installation?

Demolition, planning the layout, prepping the wall surface, measuring and making tile cuts, and waiting for adhesives and grout to fully cure all add hours to the process.

How can I shorten the installation timeline?

Using large, simple tiles and hiring a pro installer are the two best ways to speed things up. You may also be able to do demolition and surface prep before the install date.


Installing a kitchen backsplash takes careful planning and patience to do it right. While small backsplashes can potentially be installed in a full day or weekend, larger and more complex projects will typically span multiple days or weeks when factoring in planning, prep work, installation, grouting, curing and cleanup. Building some buffer into your timeline helps ensure you don’t feel rushed, and your new backsplash looks amazing.