How Long Does it Take to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash?

Tiling your kitchen backsplash can dramatically transform the look and feel of your kitchen. However, it does require some time and effort to do it right. Here’s a detailed look at how long the tiling process takes from start to finish.

Planning and Preparation

Before you can start tiling, there are a few key steps to take to ensure success:

  • Select your tile: Choose a tile material, style, color and pattern that fits your design aesthetic. Ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone tiles are popular options. Allow 1-2 weeks for delivery of tile if not readily available.
  • Calculate how much tile you need: Measure the backsplash area and use a tile calculator to determine the square footage. Buy 10-15% extra to account for cuts and waste.
  • Gather supplies: TILE SAW, tile adhesive, grout, grout sealer, tile spacers, etc. Make sure you have all the right tools and materials before starting.
  • Remove existing backsplash: Take down old tile or backsplash materials. This often takes 1-2 days.
  • Prepare the surface: The wall surface must be clean, smooth, and free of defects for tile to adhere properly. Repair any holes or imperfections, thenprime and seal the surface.
  • Layout your tile design: Map out the tile layout and use spacers to test fit tiles and ensure even spacing. Adjust layout as needed.

With careful planning and preparation, you should budget 3-5 days for this initial stage before installing tile. Rushing through it could lead to problems down the road.


The hands-on installation part of tiling a backsplash typically takes 2-4 days, depending on the size of the space. Here’s a general timeline:

Day 1

  • Install backerboard if needed. Concrete, plywood, or cement board provides a firm, stable surface for tiles.
  • Mark the tile layout on the wall with a pencil and level.
  • Mix thinset mortar adhesive and apply it to the backsplash area.
  • Begin setting tiles in the center and work outward. Press tiles into the adhesive for proper bonding.
  • Use spacers between tiles for consistent grout lines.
  • Cut border and specialty tiles to fit around edges and openings.

Day 2

  • Continue setting tiles, working in small sections across the backsplash.
  • Check for level and even spacing as you go. Adjust tiles if necessary.
  • Allow thinset to cure fully before grouting (often 24 hours).

Days 3-4

  • Mix and apply grout between the tiles, filling the joints completely.
  • Wipe away excess grout with a sponge and water.
  • Allow grout to cure for 72 hours before sealing.
  • Apply grout sealer for protection and waterproofing.

The installation timeline can vary based on the tile size and layout complexity. Smaller tiles or intricate designs will take longer. Allow several extra days if problems arise.

Finishing Touches

Once tiling is complete, a few final steps will polish off your new backsplash:

  • Caulk edges: Use color-matched caulk around perimeter edges and joints.
  • Seal grout: 2-3 coats of penetrating sealer protects grout from stains.
  • Grout cleaning: Use grout cleaner to remove residue and haze.
  • Accessorize: Add finishing touches like an accent border or decorative backsplash trim.

These finishing steps generally take 1-2 days after the main installation is complete.

Total Time

To summarize, a typical timeline for tiling a kitchen backsplash is:

  • Planning and Prep Work: 3-5 days
  • Tile Installation: 2-4 days
  • Finishing Touches: 1-2 days

So in total, allow approximately 1-2 weeks to tile a kitchen backsplash.

Of course, larger or more complex projects may require more time. Having patience and allowing proper drying and curing times at each stage is key for creating a quality, lasting backsplash installation. Get started and enjoy the stylish impact of a new tiled backsplash in your kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does tile adhesive take to dry before grouting?

Tile adhesive or thinset mortar typically takes 24-48 hours to cure before grouting can begin. This allows the adhesive to fully harden and bond with the tile and wall surface.

Should I remove existing backsplash before tiling?

Yes, it’s best to remove any existing backsplash materials like ceramic tile, laminate panels or sheet metal before installing new tile. This provides a smooth, clean surface for proper tile bonding.

What tools do I need to tile a backsplash?

Essential tiling tools include a tile saw, notched trowel, grout float, spacers, mixing bucket, sponges, tile cutter, hammer, tape measure and safety gear like gloves and eye protection.

How do I cut tiles for outlets and edges?

Use a wet saw or manual tile cutter to precisely cut border and accent tiles to fit around edges, outlets, windows and other openings. Finish edges smooth.

What’s the best grout to use for kitchen backsplash?

An epoxy or commercial grade grout is best for water-prone kitchen backsplash areas. Make sure to seal grout after installation for stain protection.

Should I hire a professional to install backsplash tile?

Tiling requires some skill, so hiring a professional tile installer is recommended if you lack tiling experience. They can complete the work more efficiently and ensure it’s done properly.