Backsplashes protect walls from water damage and spills while adding style to a kitchen. However, over time gaps can appear between backsplash tiles or along the edges where the backsplash meets countertops and cabinets. Filling these backsplash gaps keeps the wall protected and improves the look of your backsplash. There are several effective ways to fill backsplash gaps, depending on the size and location of the gap.
Materials Needed to Fill Backsplash Gaps
Filling backsplash gaps requires using the right materials for the job. Here are the most common supplies needed:
- Caulk – Caulk is the best material for filling small gaps between backsplash tiles or along edges. Silicone caulk formulated for kitchen and bath provides flexibility and water resistance. White caulk blends in with grout. Clear caulk is ideal for natural stone.
- Grout – For larger gaps between tiles, new grout matching the existing color is ideal. Unsanded grout is best for small tile joints. Use sanded grout for wider joints.
- Backer rod – Inserting backer rod into larger gaps before caulking provides support and prevents sagging. Choose a size slightly larger than the gap.
- Epoxy filler – For very large gaps or holes, a two-part epoxy filler bonds strongly and dries solidly. It can be sanded smooth after drying.
- Mesh tape – Applying self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape over a gap provides stability before filling with caulk or filler.
- Putty knife or caulk gun – Use a putty knife to spread filler. A caulk gun neatly dispenses caulk.
- Sponge and water – Dampen a sponge to smooth caulk and clean up excess. Keep a bucket of water nearby.
How to Fill Small Backsplash Gaps
For small gaps along the edges or between tiles, caulking is the best solution. Here is how to fill small backsplash gaps:
Step 1 – Clean the Area
Using a household cleaner, thoroughly clean the area around the gap to remove any grease, grime and debris. This helps the caulk adhere properly.
Step 2 – Dry the Gap
Wipe the gap with a clean cloth or allow to fully dry. Applying caulk over damp surfaces prevents proper bonding.
Step 3 – Apply Painter’s Tape
Place strips of painter’s tape along both edges of the gap. This keeps the caulk neat and provides straight edges.
Step 4 – Load the Caulk Gun
Load a high-quality kitchen and bath silicone caulk into a caulk gun. Cut the tip to allow a 1⁄8-inch opening.
Step 5 – Fill the Gap
Holding the caulk gun at a 45-degree angle, fill the gap with caulk. Keep the tip pressed firmly into the bottom of the gap to fill fully.
Step 6 – Smooth the Caulk
Once filled, run a dampened fingertip along the caulk to smooth evenly with the edges. Remove the tape promptly.
Step 7 – Clean Up Excess Caulk
Use a damp sponge to gently wipe away any excess caulk and smooth the edges. Buff dry with a soft cloth.
Step 8 – Allow the Caulk to Cure
Let the caulk cure fully overnight before exposing to water. The filler will become water resistant.
Filling small backsplash gaps with caulk is a simple, effective method to prevent damage and improve appearance. With the proper caulk and technique, the repair can blend seamlessly.
How to Fill Large Backsplash Gaps
For large gaps wider than 1⁄4-inch, using backer rod and caulk offers extra support. Follow these steps:
Step 1 – Clean and Dry the Area
Scrub the surface surrounding the gap with an all-purpose cleaner and let it dry fully.
Step 2 – Cut Backer Rod
Measure the gap width and cut a piece of backer rod slightly larger than the opening. A rubber mallet can help jam it evenly into place.
Step 3 – Apply Caulk Over It
Run a steady bead of silicone caulk over the backer rod, filling the gap completely. Smooth with a damp fingertip.
Step 4 – Clean Excess Caulk
Carefully wipe away any excess caulk with a damp sponge for clean edges.
Step 5 – Let the Caulk Cure
Allow the caulk several hours to cure and become watertight before exposure.
Using backer rod and caulk creates a flexible, water-tight seal in larger backsplash gaps. The backer rod supports the caulk professionally.
How to Fill Gaps Along a Backsplash Edge
Gaps sometimes appear along the top or bottom edges of a backsplash. Use caulk and a subtle technique to fill them:
Step 1 – Insert Backer Rod
For very large edge gaps, first force slim backer rod into the opening to provide a base.
Step 2 – Apply Painter’s Tape
Run strips of painter’s tape along the countertop or cabinetry edges bordering the gap.
Step 3 – Load Caulk into Gun
Load white or clear silicone caulk formulated for kitchens and baths into a caulk gun. Cut the tip at a 45-degree angle.
Step 4 – Run a Caulk Bead
Keep the caulk gun nozzle tight to the bottom of the gap and fill it with a steady bead, smoothing as you go.
Step 5 – Blend the Edges
With a damp fingertip or sponge, lightly blend and feather the caulk into the edges to taper naturally.
Step 6 – Remove Tape & Clean Up
Promptly remove the tape before the caulk dries. Wipe away any excess smoothly with a damp sponge.
Filling edge gaps this way forms a discreet, water-resistant seal along backsplashes. Take time blending the edges so the repair isn’t visible.
How to Fill Damaged Areas in a Backsplash
For damaged tiles or large holes in a backsplash, epoxy filler provides a durable repair. Follow these steps:
Step 1 – Clean and Dry the Area
Scrub the area with an all-purpose cleaner. Ensure it is completely dry before applying filler.
Step 2 – Mix the Epoxy Filler
Mix equal parts of the two-part epoxy filler according to the directions. Stir together thoroughly.
Step 3 – Fill the Damaged Section
Use a putty knife to apply the filler generously over holes and damaged areas, pressing it into gaps.
Step 4 – Smooth the Surface
Drag the putty knife over the filler to create an even, smooth surface flush with the tiles.
Step 5 – Allow It to Dry
Let the epoxy filler cure fully overnight according to the product directions. Sand if needed.
Step 6 – Clean Up Residue
Once dry, scrape off any dried residue and wipe the area down with a clean, damp sponge.
Repairing damage in backsplash areas with epoxy filler creates a permanent, waterproof bond. The repaired section can be sanded and painted to blend with the backsplash.
Tips for Preventing Backsplash Gaps
Preventing gaps in backsplashes involves proper installation and maintenance:
- Use enough tile spacers – Allowing adequate spacing between tiles prevents gaps from appearing over time.
- Seal areas well initially – Caulk perimeter edges thoroughly during installation for a watertight seal.
- Check for loose tiles – Replace individual loose tiles promptly to prevent damage to surrounding areas.
- Clean backsplash regularly – Routine cleaning prevents grime buildup that enlarges grout lines and gaps.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners – Harsh cleaners can deteriorate grout and cause gaps over time.
- Make timely repairs – Address chips, cracks, and missing grout when minor to prevent bigger gaps.
- Use caulk on natural stone – On polished stone, use a matching translucent caulk rather than grout, which can stain.
- Allow caulk to fully cure – Ensure caulk has adequate drying time to create a lasting waterproof seal.
With proper installation and care, backsplashes can remain securely intact for years before needing gap repairs. Address minor gaps promptly to prevent moisture damage.
FAQs about Filling Backsplash Gaps
Q: Should I always use caulk to fill backsplash gaps?
A: For small gaps less than 1⁄4-inch, caulk is the best choice. It remains flexible and water-resistant. For large gaps, use backer rod and caulk or an epoxy filler for repairs.
Q: What color caulk is best for filling gaps between backsplash tiles?
A: White silicone caulk matches white grout commonly used with ceramic, porcelain or glass tile. Clear caulk is ideal for natural stone backsplashes. Match the caulk color to your grout.
Q: What causes gaps to form along the edges of a backsplash?
A: Edge gaps typically develop from inadequate caulking during installation or caulk that has deteriorated over time. Moisture exposure, sinks not properly sealed, and tile or wall movement can also cause gaps.
Q: Should I use sanded or unsanded caulk to fill small backsplash gaps?
A: For small gaps under 1⁄4-inch, unsanded caulk is best. It provides flexibility and blends smoothly into tight joints. Sanded caulk is thicker and used to fill larger grout joints.
Q: Is epoxy filler strong enough to permanently repair damaged areas in a backsplash?
A: Yes, two-part epoxy filler bonds very strongly to porcelain, ceramic tile, natural stone, and other surfaces. Once fully cured, it creates a permanent, waterproof repair.
Q: How can I prevent gaps from forming between my backsplash tiles?
A: Using enough tile spacers during installation, sealing the edges thoroughly, and cleaning regularly prevents moisture damage that enlarges grout lines. Avoid harsh cleaners which can deteriorate grout.
Q: Should I use grout or caulk for gaps in a polished stone backsplash?
A: Use caulk rather than grout for stone like marble, travertine, or granite. Colored, sanded grout can get lodged in pores and cause staining. Clear silicone caulk flexes with the stone.
Q: Is it okay to apply new caulk over existing caulk along a backsplash edge?
A: Remove old caulk completely before applying fresh caulk. Old caulk prevents the new application from adhering and sealing properly over time as residues accumulate.
The Bottom Line
Gaps in backsplashes should be addressed promptly to prevent moisture damage and improve appearance. Knowing effective filling techniques can help homeowners complete this repair successfully. Small gaps are easily filled with color-matched caulk, while larger gaps benefit from backer rod for support. For heavily damaged areas, epoxy filler provides a permanent fix. With the right materials and method, filling backsplash gaps restores an attractive, clean finish.
How to Sell a House With Tenants
Selling a home that is currently rented out requires some special considerations. Landlords will need to navigate various legalities, prepare the property, and market it appropriately to ensure a smooth sales process. Here is an overview of the key steps involved in selling a house with tenants.
Check Local Laws on Showings and Entry
The first step when selling an occupied rental property is checking your state and local landlord-tenant laws. There are typically rules about entering the premises and showing the home that landlords must abide by. Requirements vary but may include:
- Providing proper notice before entering (often 24-48 hours minimum)
- Limiting showing times to reasonable daytime hours
- Stating if entry and showings require tenant consent
- Allowing the tenant to be present during showings
- Restricting number of showings permitted in a given timeframe
Consult an attorney or real estate professional to fully understand your rights and responsibilities. Make sure to follow all notice and entry requirements when selling.
Have a Frank Talk with Tenants
Once you’ve reviewed the legalities, have an open discussion with your tenants about the plans to sell the property. Ideally do this in person or over the phone for a thoughtful, thorough conversation. Key points to cover include:
- Reason you’ve decided to sell and expected timeline
- Showing needs and procedures
- Expectations for cleanliness and access during showings
- Plan for renovations or repairs prior to listing
- Terms of their existing lease and impact of a sale
- Moving requirements and assistance
Communicate regularly throughout the process and try to alleviate any concerns. Your tenants’ cooperation makes showings run more smoothly.
Make Any Repairs and Improvements
To maximize the home’s selling potential, tackle repairs and improvements before listing:
- Do a thorough cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing, storing away tenants’ belongings as needed
- Make any necessary repairs to fixtures, systems, appliances
- Upgrade elements like flooring, cabinets, or countertops if worn or dated
- Repaint walls in light, neutral colors if loud or bold colors were used
- Ensure carpets are cleaned professionally and floors are spotless
- Clean up the exterior, trim bushes, plant flowers to boost curb appeal
Making the property welcoming, attractive and move-in ready can help it sell faster and for more money. Communicate any improvements to tenants ahead of time.
Hire a Real Estate Agent Familiar with Rentals
An experienced real estate agent who specializes in investment properties and rentals can help guide you through preparing, pricing, marketing and showing an occupied home:
- They understand the laws and intricacies of selling rental properties
- They can advise on timing a sale with tenants’ leases
- They know how to highlight rental potential and income
- Their marketing materials can indicate property is “tenant occupied”
- They can schedule showings per local laws and coordinate access
- They’ll advise pricing based on market rents and area comps
Retaining the right agent helps the sales process go smoothly for all involved.
Consider an Investment Buyer
When seeking buyers, it can be advantageous to market the property directly to real estate investors and landlords. Features to highlight include:
- Existing reliable rental income
- Projected returns on investment
- Good tenant history with few problems
- Recent upgrades and maintenance work
- Favorable area for rentals, near amenities/transportation
- Potential value add upgrades or new construction possibilities
Investors may make competitive offers since buying a currently tenanted property provides instant cash flow. A real estate agent can help connect with the investor market.
Plan an Open House Carefully
Holding an open house requires extra coordination with tenants:
- Schedule for a weekend day when tenants can be out of the home
- Provide ample notice and get tenants’ buy-in
- Offer incentives like discounted rent to ease the inconvenience
- Hire professional cleaners and declutterers to prepare the home
- Include a tenant-occupied disclaimer in marketing materials
- Have an agent there to guide visitors and monitor the home
A weekend open house allows investors and owner-occupants to view the property conveniently while minimizing disruption to tenants.
Set a Move Out Date with Tenants
Once an offer is accepted, the buyer may want tenants to move out before closing. Review the lease terms and local laws regarding ending tenancies. Present tenants with a reasonable written move out notice well in advance and offer help locating similar rentals in the area. Clarify moving requirements and provide ample notice to avoid problems.
Being respectful and diplomatic with tenants when selling an occupied home makes transactions proceed as smoothly as possible for all parties involved. Following proper protocols protects landlords’ interests while also looking out for renters. With the right preparation and guidance, selling a tenanted property can be a straight-forward, mutually beneficial process.
Q: How much notice must I provide tenants before entering to show the property?
A: State laws vary, but you typically need to provide tenants 24-48 hours written notice before entering for showings. Always follow your local landlord-tenant laws.
Q: Can I make my tenants move out before selling the home they rent?
A: Generally no, unless state laws allow ending tenancies when selling. You must honor existing lease agreements. Most buyers purchase occupied properties.
Q: Should I offer my tenants financial incentives to keep the home in good shape before showings?
A: Offering small incentives like gift cards or credits can help motivate tenants to keep the home clean and accessible for showings. But they are still obligated to reasonable access.
Q: Is it better to sell to an owner-occupant buyer or real estate investor?
A: There are pros and cons to both. Investors may make quicker offers without contingencies, while owners can avoid showings after tenants vacate. Evaluate all options.
Q: Can I have my rental property open house while tenants are still living there?
A: In most states you must get tenants’ consent to hold an open house, or work out a window when they’ll be out of the home. Communicate expectations clearly.
Q: Is it wise to end my current tenants’ lease prior to putting my rental home on the market?
A: This is not recommended. Most buyers are not deterred by tenants, and vacancies mean lost rental income for you. End the lease only if required by a buyer after accepting an offer.
Q: What improvements help a rental property show better to potential buyers?
A: Clean thoroughly, paint in light neutral colors, update flooring, fixtures and appliances as needed. Curb appeal matters too – improve the landscaping outside.
Q: How soon should I notify tenants that I plan to sell the home they are renting?
A: Notify tenants as soon as you decide to list the property, so they aren’t caught off guard by showings. Give plenty of notice regarding your intentions.
Q: Can I restrict when and how often my tenants need to allow showings?
A: If local laws do not specify showing parameters, try to limit showings to