How Long to Tile Backsplash


Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can transform the whole look and feel of the room. But before starting a tiling project, it’s important to have an understanding of how much time the job will take. Tiling a backsplash is a project that requires careful planning, skill, and patience. The time needed to tile a backsplash can vary greatly depending on the size of the area being tiled, the tile you choose, the complexity of the design, and your skill level. With proper preparation and a systematic approach, tiling a backsplash yourself can be an achievable DIY project.

Preparing the Surface

The first step in any tiling project is ensuring you have a perfectly smooth and clean surface to apply the tiles to. Any flaws in the substrate or wall surface will show through the finished tiles. Expect to spend time preparing the surface:

  • Remove any old backsplash and thoroughly clean the surface. Use a degreaser to remove any oil or dirt.
  • Sand and scrape away any flaws in the surface until completely smooth.
  • Seal porous surfaces like cement board with a specialty sealer.
  • Apply a thinset mortar base if needed to create an even surface. Allow time for it to fully cure.
  • Paint the wall surface with primer and allow it to completely dry before tiling.

Rushing through (or skipping!) these important preparation steps can lead to tiles eventually loosening or cracking. Allocating proper time for surface prep will ensure your backsplash lasts.

Gathering Materials and Supplies

Assembling all the required tile, tools, and materials is another crucial step. You’ll want to have everything readily available before starting to tile. Expect to take at least one full day collecting supplies:

  • Choose your tiles – check ordering times and purchase extra.
  • Mortar, grout, sealer, tile spacers.
  • Trowels, tile cutter, mixing bucket, grout sponge.
  • Drop cloths, painters tape, safety equipment.

Shopping around for the best prices on quality materials can save money on your project. Ordering tile and supplies online also takes extra time.

Tiling the Backsplash

The actual installation and tiling of the backsplash will be the most time consuming and labor intensive part of the project. The time required will depend on:

  • The size of the backsplash area – larger areas obviously take longer.
  • The complexity of tile layout and design – intricate patterns take more time.
  • Tile material – natural stone is more difficult to cut and work with than ceramic.
  • Your skill level – practice first on a small area to get your technique right.

On average expect tiling a backsplash to take 2-3 full days for an inexperienced DIYer. Allow extra time if working alone without help. Go slowly and work systematically to get a professional looking result. Rushing leads to mistakes that take more time to correct later.

Grouting and Finishing Touches

Once all whole tiles are placed, it’s time for grouting. Prepare the grout mix according to package directions. Apply it carefully between the tile joints using a rubber grout float. Clean excess grout with a damp sponge. Allocate 1 full day for grouting and clean up.

Lastly, add any finishing touches:

  • Apply grout sealer once fully cured – 1 day.
  • Seal the tiles if needed with a penetrating sealer – 1 day.
  • Caulk along countertops, edges, fixtures with silicone – 1 day.

In summary, a DIY backsplash tiling project can span 5-7 full work days on average:

  • 1-2 days surface preparation
  • 1 day gathering supplies
  • 2-3 days to install tile
  • 1 day grouting and clean up
  • 1-2 days finishing and sealing

The whole process from start to finish can take a full work week or more. Being well prepared, having the right tools, and dedicating sufficient time will ensure a successful DIY tile backsplash that you can be proud of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about how long it takes to tile a backsplash:

How long does it take a professional to tile a backsplash?

An experienced professional tiler will typically be much faster than a DIY homeowner. They can often complete an average sized backsplash in 1-2 days. Their expertise allows them to work quicker while maintaining quality.

What size backsplash takes the longest?

Larger backsplash areas that cover entire walls of kitchens or bathrooms will require more tiling time. A good rule of thumb is each 10 square feet of area will add a full day to a tiling project.

Does the tile material affect how long it takes?

Yes. Porcelain or ceramic tiles are easiest for DIYers to work with. Natural stone tile is more challenging requiring special tools to cut and install, adding time. Mosaics and tiny tiles also take longer due to their small size.

Does the tile pattern make a difference?

Simple patterns or classic brick layouts are beginner friendly and faster to install. Intricate designs, diagonal tiles, mosaics, borders, etc. add complexity requiring more time and skill.

Can I speed up the process?

Being well prepared, having helpers, and focusing on quality over speed are keys for a fast install. Rushing leads to mistakes that ultimately slow the project down. Doing your prep work is time well spent.


Tiling a backsplash takes careful planning, patience, and at least 5-7 full days for most DIYers. The process can vary based on tile size and type, layout complexity, preparation, and skill level. Focus on doing each step properly, and don’t cut corners. Though tiling does take time, the final result is well worth the effort for a stunning new backsplash! With careful planning, tools, and dedication, tiling your own backsplash is an achievable and rewarding upgrade to your kitchen or bath.