How to Cut Granite Backsplash

Adding a granite backsplash to your kitchen can provide an elegant and durable accent while protecting your walls from splashes and spills. While installing a full granite backsplash requires some specialty tools and skills, cutting and installing a simple granite backsplash is a DIY project that most homeowners can tackle. Follow this guide to learn how to accurately measure, cut, polish, and install a granite tile or sheet backsplash in your kitchen.

Selecting the Granite

The first step is choosing the right granite for your backsplash. Consider the overall color scheme and style of your kitchen. Granite comes in a wide range of natural colors and patterns, from solid black granite to reddish brown granite with dramatic white veining. Visit a stone supplier to view granite slabs in person. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Color – Select a granite hue that complements your cabinetry and counters. For a seamless look, match new backsplash granite to your existing countertops.
  • Pattern – Granite backsplashes can showcase unique natural patterns. Subtler veining provides a more uniform look. Busy patterns may suit a more eclectic kitchen.
  • Finish – Polished granite has a glossy mirror-like shine, while honed granite is matte. Consider which finish best suits your kitchen’s style.
  • Thickness – Backsplashes are commonly 1⁄4 inch to 1⁄2 inch thick. Thinner granite is more affordable and easier to cut.
  • Format – Backsplash granite comes in 12 inch square tiles or larger sheets. Tiles allow more design flexibility. Sheets require fewer grout lines.

Once you select the perfect granite for your backsplash, order the amount required. Measure linear feet of backsplash space to determine square footage needed. Add 10% extra to allow for cuts and mistakes.

Tools and Materials

Cutting and installing granite backsplash requires some specialized tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Circular saw with diamond blade for wet cutting granite
  • Grinder with diamond polishing pad for smoothing cut edges
  • Carbide hole saw for drilling faucet holes
  • Mallet and stone chisel to split granite
  • Tile spacers and level for even installation
  • Grout float for spreading grout


  • Granite tiles or sheet
  • Thinset mortar modified for granite
  • Grout (sanded for joints wider than 1/8 inch)
  • Silicone caulk in coordinating color
  • Polymer-modified stone sealer
  • Decorative metal or granite backsplash trim (optional)

Measure and Mark the Granite

Once you have the granite and necessary tools, measure and mark the granite pieces to size. This will ensure accurate cuts.

  1. Measure the backsplash area and make a detailed sketch, noting the locations of outlets, sinks, windows etc. Mark the measurements on the granite slabs.
  2. For outlets and switch plates, measure and mark the exact position and size for the cut-out on the granite.
  3. Account for 1/8 inch spacing between granite tiles or sheets. Mark the cut lines with a pencil.
  4. Use a straightedge as a guide to mark straight lines. For curved cuts, use a compass.
  5. Label each cut granite piece with a number for installation order.

Take care to measure and mark the granite pieces precisely according to your plan. This will minimize wasted granite and the need for adjustments during installation.

Cut the Granite Backsplash Pieces

With all measurements marked, you’re ready to cut the granite. This requires patience and care. Here are some tips:

Wet Cutting

  • Always wet cut granite to minimize dust and friction from the diamond blade.
  • Set up a wet cutting station outdoors or in the garage. Continuously spritz the granite with water during cutting.

Straight Cuts

  • Use a circular saw with a diamond blade to make straight cuts through the granite along the marked lines.
  • Make multiple shallow passes rather than one deep pass for clean cuts.
  • Cut just 1/8 inch inside the line to allow for polishing.

Curved Cuts

  • Use the score and snap method. Score along the line with a carbide-tipped masonry chisel. Position a 2×4 under the scored line and press down to split the granite.
  • For tighter curves, use a mini wet saw or angle grinder with a diamond blade. Go slowly!


  • Drill holes inside the corners of the cut-out using a carbide hole saw.
  • Use a masonry chisel to connect the holes. Tap gently to knock out the cut-out piece.
  • Use a mini wet saw or angle grinder to refine and smooth the edges.

Make sure all cuts are straight and accurate with sharp 90-degree corners. Save all granite scraps for polishing.

Polish the Granite Edges

Freshly cut granite has rough edges. Use a grinder with a diamond polishing pad to smooth and polish the edges.

  • Begin with a 50-grit pad for coarse polishing.
  • Rinse and change to a 100-grit pad. Polish until edges are smooth.
  • Finish with a 3000-grit “buff pad” for a satiny finish.
  • Rinse granite and check for a consistent polished edge all around.
  • Polish all cut edges, as well as the back edges that will be visible between countertops.

Take it slowly when polishing to avoid overheating the granite. Generously spritz edges with water while polishing. Smooth, polished edges give the backsplash a quality finished look.

Install the Granite Backsplash

Once all pieces are cut and edges polished, you’re ready for installation. Make sure the wall is prepped and level. Use these steps:

  1. Dry fit the granite pieces on the counter to test the fit. Make any final adjustments as needed with the grinder.
  2. Apply thinset mortar adhesive to the backsplash area, using a notched trowel to comb it evenly onto the wall.
  3. Press the granite pieces into place against the thinset, using spacers for even gaps. Tape pieces in place until thinset cures if needed.
  4. Allow thinset to fully cure for 24-48 hours. Then apply colored grout between the granite pieces, wiping away excess.
  5. After grout dries, apply clear silicone caulk around edges and between countertops to seal. Wipe away excess caulk with a damp cloth for a neat finish.
  6. Use a granite sealer to protect the surface according to package directions.

Finally, stand back and admire your stunning new granite backsplash! With proper care, it will withstand decades of use while adding beauty to your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cutting Granite Backsplash

Installing a granite backsplash is an ambitious but attainable DIY project for many homeowners. Here are answers to some common questions about cutting granite tile or sheet for backsplash:

What kind of saw do I need to cut granite?

You’ll need a circular saw with a wet-cutting diamond blade. Make sure it is specifically designed to cut stone. A dedicated granite wet saw works best but a regular circular saw can also be used if a steady stream of water is continuously fed to the blade.

What is the best way to get clean straight cuts in granite?

Use a straightedge as a guide, mark cut lines with a pencil, then score the line several times with a carbide-tipped masonry chisel. Position a 2×4 under the scored line, then press down firmly on the overhanging granite to get a clean break. A circular saw with diamond blade can also be used to follow marked lines. Make several shallow passes for the cleanest cuts.

How do I cut curves and holes in granite backsplash?

For rounded cuts, use a mini wet saw, angle grinder, or RotoZip tool with a diamond blade. Drill holes at the corners, then connect the holes by gently tapping with a masonry chisel and mallet. Use the rotary tools to smooth and refine the edges. For electrical cut-outs, start by drilling access holes with a carbide hole saw, then chisel out the remainder.

What grit diamond pad should be used to polish granite edges?

Start with a 50-grit pad for coarse polishing, then use a 100-grit to smooth away coarse scratches. Finish with a 3000-grit “buff pad” and water to achieve a smooth polished finish. Take care not to overheat the granite. Generously lubricate edges with water while polishing.

What is the best way to cut granite sheets?

Use a circular saw and straightedge to score a line, then snap the granite on a piece of plywood overhanging a table. Or use a specialized granite table saw designed for wet cutting large sheets. Cut in multiple passes for best results. Carefully measure and mark cut lines prior for accuracy.

How long does granite backsplash tile adhesive take to cure?

Allow 24-48 hours for thinset mortar adhesive to fully cure before grouting or applying weight to the granite. If necessary during installation, tape pieces in place temporarily with painter’s tape. Avoid working on or cleaning the backsplash until thinset has hardened.

What color grout should I use with black granite backsplash?

For black granite, consider using a very dark charcoal or gray grout color. However, white grout can also create dramatic contrast and highlight the granite’s patterns. For other colors, use a grout close to the granite hue or a neutral tone like tan. Apply grout carefully, wiping away excess before it dries.


Installing a granite backsplash can take kitchen style up a notch while also protecting the walls. With the right tools and preparation, DIY granite backsplash installation is an attainable project for many homeowners. Accurately marking measurements, making careful cuts, polishing edges, and using proper adhesives are the keys to success. The result is a stunning, durable granite accent that will upgrade your kitchen’s design for years to come. With planning and patience, you can cut and install new granite backsplash tile or sheets and gain skills and satisfaction along the way.