How to Apply Grout to Kitchen Backsplash

Applying grout to a kitchen backsplash is a crucial step in finishing your tile installation. Properly grouting the joints between the tiles will help protect the surface from moisture and debris. With some basic tools and techniques, you can achieve a clean, uniform look for your backsplash.

Planning Your Grout Application

Before you start grouting, make sure your tiles are completely set according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the tile adhesive to fully cure, usually 24-48 hours. Using sanded grout is recommended for joints 1/8 inch and wider, while unsanded grout works for narrower joints. Choose a grout color that complements your tile. Have all your materials and tools ready to go before mixing the grout.

Materials Needed

  • Grout – sanded or unsanded
  • Grout sealer
  • Grout float
  • Grout sponge
  • Bucket for mixing grout
  • Old rags and towels
  • Grout coloring (optional)

Tips for Success

  • Work in small sections so the grout doesn’t dry before you can clean it off the tiles.
  • Apply grout sealer after grouting to protect from stains.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to dip your sponge and smooth grout lines.
  • Wipe diagonally across tiles to prevent pulling grout from the joints.

Mixing and Applying the Grout

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing grout. The right consistency is thick but still able to be pushed into joints. Apply grout diagonally across the tiles, pressing firmly into the joints with the float.

Key Steps

  • Use a grout float or squeegee to spread grout at a 45° angle.
  • Apply even pressure and fill all joints completely.
  • Hold the float at a 90° angle and scrape off excess grout.
  • Immediately wipe diagonally across the tiles with a damp sponge.
  • Rinse the sponge frequently and change water often.


  • If grout cracks or crumbles, mix was too dry. Add water sparingly.
  • For high spots, wait for grout to firm up slightly then scrape flush.
  • If too much water is added, grout may shrink or crack when dry.

Cleaning and Finishing the Grouted Backsplash

Cleaning the grout off the tile surface takes time and patience. Go slowly to remove grout without pulling it out of joints. Allow grout to firm up slightly before doing a final clean.

Cleaning Tips

  • Use light pressure when wiping with damp sponge.
  • Rinse sponge frequently to prevent haze on tiles.
  • Buff surface with a soft cloth once grout has firmed up.
  • Avoid smearing grout from board to board. Stay within the grout joints.

Once tiles are clean, allow grout to cure fully according to manufacturer directions, usually 24-48 hours. Apply grout sealer if desired to protect from stains. Avoid washing the backsplash for a few days. When cleaning, use only gentle cleaners recommended for tile and grout.

Common Grouting Mistakes to Avoid

Proper technique is important when grouting a backsplash. Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Not allowing tile adhesive to fully cure before grouting
  • Using too much water when mixing grout
  • Failing to fully pack joints with grout
  • Wiping tiles before grout has set up
  • Not cleaning grout off tile surface before it dries
  • Not sealing grout after it has cured

Careful planning and application will help you achieve professional-looking results. Take your time and don’t rush the process. Keep the area clean as you work in sections. With some practice, you can master flawless grout application.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I wait before grouting my backsplash?

Wait at least 24-48 hours after installing the tiles to allow the adhesive to fully cure. Grout applied too soon can pull tiles out of place.

What is the best grout to use for kitchen backsplash?

Sanded grout is best for joints wider than 1/8 inch. For smaller joints, use unsanded grout. Make sure it is rated for kitchen use.

How do I get a smooth finish when applying grout?

Use steady, even pressure with the grout float. Wipe diagonally across tiles with a lightly dampened sponge to smooth joints and clean excess grout.

Why is my grout cracking after it dried?

Cracking is caused by the grout drying too quickly. Next time, mist the grout occasionally for 72 hours as it cures or consider applying grout sealer.

How soon can I get the backsplash wet after grouting?

Avoid washing the backsplash for 2-3 days. This gives the grout time to fully cure and prevents it from softening. After that, care for it gently with mild cleaners.


Grouting adds the finishing touch to a kitchen backsplash installation. While it takes some finesse, having the right tools and techniques makes the process much easier. Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions for mixing and applying grout. Work deliberately in small sections for best results. Allow the grout to cure completely before exposing it to moisture. Sealing it provides extra protection for a long-lasting, quality finished project. With careful planning and patience, you can achieve professional-looking grouted joints.