Introduction to Backsplash Corners
Kitchen backsplashes not only protect the walls from water damage and stains, but they also add style and visual interest to the room. However, one tricky area that often gets overlooked is the backsplash corners. Installing backsplash corners properly takes some planning and precision but is well worth the effort for a seamless finish. This guide will walk you through the key steps for installing backsplash corners perfectly.
Planning for Backsplash Corners
Proper planning is crucial when installing backsplash corners. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
Precisely measure the length of each wall to determine the exact size tile needed to complete the runs on each side. This ensures the corner pieces will fit properly without leaving unsightly gaps. Having extra tile on hand is also wise in case any break during installation.
Choose the Right Materials
Select backsplash tiles that are designed for corners, such as bullnose or L-shaped tiles. Avoid using rectangular tiles that leave a sharp edge in corners. Also choose grout that matches the tile color well.
Account for Outlets and Switches
Mark the locations of all outlets, switches, and fixtures on the backsplash area before installation. This allows cutting holes in the right spots for a seamless look.
Prepare the Surface
Ensure the backsplash area is smooth, dry, and free of old adhesive or grout. Apply primer if painting the area a different color. This provides an even base for the backsplash tiles to adhere properly.
Cutting Backsplash Corner Tiles
Cutting the corner tiles for the backsplash takes precision. Here are some tips for success:
Mark the Corner
Use a square to draw perpendicular lines marking the exact corner point where the two backsplash walls meet.
Measure and Mark Tiles
Dry fit tiles along each wall up to the corner line. Mark where they intersect the corner.
Cut a 45 Degree Angle
Use a wet saw to cut each corner tile precisely at a 45 degree angle based on the marked line.
Test the Fit
Dry fit the cut tiles together to ensure they form a tight corner with no gaps. Make minor adjustments as needed for a perfect fit.
Installing the Corner Pieces
Once the corner tiles are cut, it’s time to install them properly:
Spread tile adhesive evenly over the corner area using a notched trowel. Don’t apply too much at once so it doesn’t dry before setting tiles.
Set the Corner Pieces
Press the two cut corner tiles firmly into place so they form a right angle. Use tile spacers to maintain even grout lines.
Check that corner tiles align properly with the main backsplash runs along each wall and that all grout lines are straight. Adjust if needed.
Let Adhesive Cure
Allow tile adhesive to fully cure for at least 24 hours before grouting to prevent displacement of corner pieces. Keep the area clean while curing.
Grouting Backsplash Corners
Grouting finishes the backsplash corner install. Follow these tips for great results:
Apply Grout Sealer
Seal the porous tile first with grout sealer so the grout won’t stain the tile during application. Let it dry completely.
Spread Grout into Corners
Force grout deeply into inside and outside corner grout lines using a grout float. Remove excess.
Clean Grout Haze
Use a damp sponge in a circular motion to clean off grout haze and smooth joints. Rinse sponge often.
Polish and Seal Grout
Once grout dries, polish with a soft cloth and seal with grout sealer for protection and sheen. Apply sealer carefully near tile edges.
Inspect Final Results
Examine corners closely for any missing grout and re-apply as needed for consistent coverage. Let dry completely before using backsplash.
Troubleshooting Backsplash Corner Issues
Despite best efforts, backsplash corner problems can still pop up. Here are some common issues and fixes:
Gaps in Corners
If corner tiles don’t form a tight joint, fill gaps with colored caulk matching the grout. Remove old grout first if needed.
Cracked Corner Tiles
Cracked corners can result from hitting them or underlying wall movement. Carefully remove and replace cracked tiles.
Corner tiles not aligning with main runs look sloppy. Remove problem tiles and adjust alignment before re-installing.
Grout Cracks Over Time
Grout can crack in corners from normal expansion and contraction. Re-grout those areas to keep corners looking their best.
Grout in corners may absorb dirt and moisture over time and appear darker. Use a specialized grout cleaner to brighten it up.
Maintaining Backsplash Corners
Regular maintenance keeps backsplash corners looking like new:
Limit Moisture Exposure
Quickly wipe up spills and splatters to prevent moisture damage in vulnerable corners. Avoid spraying water directly on them.
Clean with Care
Use gentle, non-abrasive cleaners and soft sponges to safely clean corners. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
Re-seal Grout Annually
Re-apply grout sealer yearly to corner joints to prevent staining and renew protection.
Watch for Damage
Inspect for loose, cracked, or missing grout or caulking in corners and re-apply as needed to prevent water infiltration.
Replace Broken Tiles
If corner tiles become damaged beyond repair, carefully remove and install new tiles. Match grout color as closely as possible.
Enhancing Backsplash Corners
Beyond the basics, there are options for adding extra flair to backsplash corners:
Use tiles with special shapes, prints, or textures in the corners as accents to tie into the main design.
Framing inside and outside corners with metal, tile, or stone decorative trim provides definition.
Installing mini lights pointing up the corner or frame lighting overhead casts a dramatic glow.
Small glass tile inserts add subtle sparkle and interest to plain corners.
Choose a bold grout or caulk color for corners to make them stand out as an intentional design element.
Hiring a Pro for Backsplash Corners
Backsplash corner installation demands precision best left to the experts. Reasons to hire a professional tile installer include:
- Experience accurately cutting and fitting corner tile pieces
- Knowledge of the optimal corner materials and designs for backsplashes
- Skill doing professional quality grouting for clean, consistent corners
- Ability to perfectly integrate corners with the overall backsplash design
- Access to specialized tools like wet saws to cut tricky angles
- Insights on the best corner installation methods and materials
- Familiarity with how to remedy any corner problems that arise
Though DIY backsplash installation is feasible in skilled hands, the complexity of executing perfectly fitted corners is a smart reason to bring in a pro. Their expertise takes the guesswork out of the process for flawless backsplash corners.
How to Do Backsplash Corners Beautifully
Backsplash corners don’t need to be an afterthought. With proper planning, precision cuts, expert installation, quality grouting, and enhancements like accent tiles or lighting, they can transform from a potential eyesore to an artistic detail. Paying attention to the special considerations corners require results in a magnificent backsplash that seamlessly spans the entire kitchen. Do backsplash corners right, and they’ll be a stunning focal point rather than an annoyance. Use the techniques above, and your corners will elicit compliments instead of glaring as an imperfection. With the right know-how, you can confidently tackle backsplash corners and complete an absolutely breathtaking kitchen backsplash design from start to finish.
Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Corners
Here are some common questions people have about installing backsplash corners:
What kind of tile should be used for backsplash corners?
Bullnose, L-shaped, and other tiles specifically designed for corners are best. Avoid using standard square tiles that leave sharp corners. Glass, metal, and stone tiles also work well.
How are corners cut for a backsplash?
Use a wet saw to cut each corner tile precisely at a 45 degree angle based on marks where the tile runs meet. Test fit to ensure tight joints.
Should backsplash corner joints be caulked or grouted?
Grouting corners provides a more seamless look, but caulking is OK for small gaps. Match the caulk color to the grout.
What’s the best way to align backsplash corner pieces?
Dry fit tiles first and use levels and tile spacers when installing corner pieces to ensure proper alignment with the main tile runs.
Why do corner tiles need to be installed before the main backsplash?
Getting the tricky corner cuts right first allows you to then measure and adjust the wall tiles for perfect fits up to the corner pieces.
How can I avoid cracked corner tiles when installing a backsplash?
Work carefully and slowly, use sharp drill bits, smooth cut edges, and properly adhere corner tiles to prevent cracking. Have extra tile on hand.
Is it better to end the backsplash in the corner or extend it past?
Extending it around the corner provides more protection and looks more finished. Use caulk where the end butts to the wall if needed.
How do I fix a gap in my existing backsplash corner?
Carefully remove old caulk or grout then re-apply new grout if less than 1/8 inch gap. For larger gaps, use colored caulk matched to the grout.
Why is the grout crumbling in my backsplash corners?
Excess moisture exposure or improper initial grouting can crumble grout over time. Re-grout the corners for a lasting repair.
Perfectly installing backsplash corners may seem daunting, but having the right tools, materials, and techniques makes achieving flawless corners much more manageable. Carefully measuring, cutting, aligning, and grouting the corner tiles creates a polished look and prevents cracked tiles, gaps, and other issues. Enhancing backsplash corners with decorative trim, accent tiles, or lighting elevates them from a potential eyesore to an artistic detail. With some planning and finesse, it is possible to tackle backsplash corners yourself and gain the satisfaction of a job well done. For those seeking to save time, hiring an experienced tile pro guarantees expert corner execution. Whichever route you take, following the guidance above will allow you to confidently conquer backsplash corners with stunning results sure to make your kitchen backsplash a focal point of admiration.