How to Apply Grout to Backsplash Tile

Applying grout to backsplash tile is an important step when installing a new backsplash. Proper grouting will help ensure your backsplash looks uniform and put together, while also protecting it from moisture damage. With some basic tools and techniques, grouting a backsplash tile is an achievable DIY project.

What You’ll Need

  • Grout – Premixed grout or grout mix and water
  • Grout float – For spreading grout
  • Grout sealer – For sealing grout once dry
  • Sponge – For wiping up excess grout
  • Bucket – For grout mix or water
  • Grout haze remover (optional) – For removing grout haze

Preparing for Grouting

Before you can start applying grout, there are a few preparatory steps:

  • Allow tile to fully set – Give tile adhesive time to fully cure before grouting, usually 24-48 hours. Grout prematurely and you risk dislodging tiles.
  • Clean tiles – Use a damp sponge to wipe away any dirt, dust or debris left over from tile installation. Grout will not bond to dirty tiles.
  • Remove tile spacers – Carefully pop out the plastic spacers used during tile installation. Grout will just cover them.
  • Dampen tiles – Use a sponge to moisten the tiles and backsplash. This helps prevent grout from drying too quickly.
  • Mix grout – For premixed grout, simply stir well before use. For grout requiring mixing, carefully follow package directions.

How to Apply Grout

With prep work complete, you’re ready to start grouting:

Step 1 – Spread Grout Across Tiles

Using a rubber grout float, spread grout diagonally across a section of the backsplash, pressing firmly to work grout into tile joints. Hold the float at a 45° angle and use a figure-eight motion.

Apply grout in small, manageable sections of around 4-6 tiles. Don’t grout areas larger than you can easily clean before grout dries.

Grout being applied in a figure 8 motion

Step 2 – Let Grout Sit Briefly

Allow applied grout to firm up and become hazy, 5-10 minutes. This helps grout start to properly adhere within the tile joints before wiping. Don’t let grout fully dry and harden.

Step 3 – Wipe Excess Grout Away

Use a damp sponge to gently wipe diagonally across tiles to remove excess grout. Rinse the sponge frequently to keep it clean. Apply minimal pressure to avoid pulling grout out of joints.

Repeat wiping until all grout haze is removed from the tile surface. Change rinse water frequently.

Wiping excess grout off with a damp sponge

Step 4 – Smooth and Shape Grout Joints

Once excess grout is cleaned off the tile, go back with a lightly dampened finger to smooth and shape grout within the joints. Remove any high spots and shape grout into a concave profile.

Step 5 – Continue in Sections

Complete grouting in similar sized sections across the entire backsplash, working in a logical order from top to bottom or left to right. Always wipe sections clean before grout dries.

Grout completed in sections on a backsplash

Final Steps for Completed Grout

Once grouting is fully complete, there are a few remaining steps:

  • Cure grout by waiting 72 hours before exposure to moisture.
  • Seal grout with a grout sealer for waterproofing protection.
  • For stubborn grout haze, use a grout haze remover.
  • Avoid heavy cleaning for ~7 days to allow grout to fully cure.

And that’s it! With proper grouting techniques, you can achieve clean, uniform grout lines that help bring your backsplash tile design together.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grouting Backsplash Tile

How long should I wait to grout after installing backsplash tile?

It’s recommended to wait 24-48 hours after installing backsplash tile to allow the tile adhesive to fully cure before applying grout. Grout too soon and you risk tiles shifting out of place.

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

An epoxy or urethane-based grout is best for backsplashes. Epoxy grouts resist stains while urethane is more flexible. Standard sanded or non-sanded cement grouts can also work well.

Should I seal backsplash grout?

Yes, it’s highly recommended. Sealing the grout creates a protective barrier that prevents stains and makes cleaning easier. Use a penetrating sealer suitable for the specific grout type.

How do I get a smooth finish on backsplash grout lines?

After wiping away excess grout, go back and smooth the joints with a lightly dampened finger or smooth rounded tool. Remove any high spots and create a uniform, concave grout line profile.

What’s the easiest way to clean grout haze off backsplash tile?

Use a chemical grout haze remover/cleaner formulated for removing hardened grout residue. Apply per product instructions and scrub with a nylon brush. Avoid abrasives that could scratch tile.


Grouting may seem intimidating, but when done properly it helps complete the look of your backsplash tile. By following the right grouting steps and techniques, you can achieve clean, uniform grout lines free of gaps or imperfections. Be sure to allow adequate cure time, work in manageable sections, and thoroughly clean excess grout before it dries. Pay attention to final details like smoothing joints and sealing grout for best long-term durability and appearance. With some patience, the right tools, and these tips, you can expect beautiful, professional-looking results.