How to Grout Backsplash Tile

Grouting backsplash tile is an important finishing step when installing a new tile backsplash. Proper grouting will seal the joints between the tiles, preventing moisture from seeping underneath and provide an attractive, finished look. While grouting may seem intimidating, it’s actually quite simple if you take a methodical approach. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to effectively grout backsplash tile.

Choose the Right Grout

When grouting backsplash tile, you’ll want to use an unsanded grout. Unsanded grout is the best choice for narrow grout lines 1/8 inch or less, which is typical for backsplashes. It will smoothly fill the small joints between the tiles.

There are several options when it comes to grout color. Popular choices are white or grey, which provide a clean, neutral appearance. However, you can also choose a complementary color to match or accent the backsplash tiles. Be sure to take home grout color samples and look at them next to your tiles before deciding.

For kitchen backsplashes, use a grout that has antimicrobial properties to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. Epoxy and urethane grouts both have water-resistant resins that provide maximum stain protection.

Recommended Unsanded Grout Types:

  • Polymer-modified sanded grout: Flexible, durable, stain-resistant. Good for porcelain or ceramic tiles with narrow grout lines.
  • Epoxy grout: Extremely durable, chemical-resistant, waterproof. Great for kitchen backsplashes.
  • Urethane grout: Also durable and water-resistant. Easy to clean. Often used in bathrooms.
  • Standard cement grout: Budget option though not as strong or water-resistant.

Gather Your Materials

Before you begin grouting, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand:

  • Grout
  • Grout float (a trowel-like tool with a rubber edge)
  • Grout sealer
  • Sponge and bucket of water
  • Old rags or cheesecloth
  • Painter’s tape (optional)

Also have paper towels, a trash bag, and materials for mixing grout such as a margin trowel, mixing bucket, and stir stick available.

Prepare the Tile Surface

Proper surface preparation before grouting will allow for smooth, even application. Follow these tips:

  • Allow tile adhesive to dry fully, usually 24-48 hours. Check manufacturer guidelines.
  • Remove any spacers between tiles.
  • Clean tiles thoroughly to remove dust, dirt, adhesive residue.
  • Use cheesecloth to lightly polish the tile and remove any remaining film.
  • Consider taping off the perimeter with painter’s tape for a crisp, clean edge.
  • Dampen the tile lightly with a sponge just before applying grout.

📌 Pro Tip: Check for any lippage or uneven tiles and adjust as needed. Otherwise those discrepancies will show in the finished grout lines.

Mix the Grout

Always mix grout per the manufacturer’s instructions as ratios vary by brand. Here are some general tips for mixing grout:

  • Only mix up as much grout as can be used in 30-45 minutes.
  • Place grout powder in a bucket and add cool, clean water.
  • Use the margin trowel or a sturdy stick to thoroughly mix to a thick, peanut butter like consistency.
  • Allow the mixture to slake (sit) for 5-10 minutes then remix before applying. This allows the ingredients to fully integrate.
  • The grout should be thick enough not to run out of the joints when applied. Add a bit more dry powder or water as needed.

🧃 Grout Tip: Don’t mix too runny or soft. It’s easier to add water to loosen stiff grout than to keep adding powder to thicken it.

Apply the Grout

Now comes time for the fun part – actually grouting the tile! Follow these steps for smooth, even grout lines:

Step 1: Hold the grout float at a 45° angle and push it diagonally across the tiles, forcing grout into the joints.

Step 2: Continue applying grout in sweeping strokes, making sure joints are completely filled.

Step 3: After 10-15 minutes, the grout will start to firm up. Use the edge of the float to scrape off excess grout held on the tile surface. You want to leave grout only in the joints, not on the tiles.

Step 4: Once the grout becomes crumbly, after about 20-30 minutes, you can begin initial cleaning. Lightly dampen the tile and then go over the surface diagonally with a damp sponge or cheesecloth. Rinse the sponge frequently.

Step 5: Give the grout another 30 minutes to further set. Then do a second cleaning, scrubbing any remaining haze off the tiles with a damp sponge or rag. Rinse thoroughly and change water often.

💡 Pro Tip: Try not to leave water sitting on the tiles or joints. Work in small sections for best results.

Finish and Seal the Grout

Your tile grouting is complete! But there are still a couple important steps:

  • Allow the grout to cure fully for 24-48 hours. Avoid getting it wet during this time.
  • Once cured, seal the grout lines with a penetrating grout sealer. This adds water-resistance and stain protection. Apply with a small paint brush, allow to penetrate 5 minutes, then wipe off any excess sealer.
  • Buff the tiles gently with a soft cloth to remove any remaining haze and restore shine.
  • Step back and admire your newly grouted backsplash – beautiful!

Grout Backsplash FAQs

Still have some questions about grouting backsplash tile? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long should I wait before applying sealer to grout?

Wait at least 24 hours after grouting to allow the grout to fully cure before applying any sealers. This ensures maximum penetration and sealing effectiveness.

What’s the best way to get grout out of textured tile?

For textured tile, use a soft bristle toothbrush and water to gently scrub out any grout in crevices once the grout has initially set. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.

Do I need to seal natural stone backsplash tile?

Yes, we recommend sealing porous natural stone such as marble, travertine, or slate before grouting to prevent staining. Use a penetrating stone sealer suitable for the material.

How do I clean epoxy grout?

Epoxy grout is naturally easier to clean than cement grout. Use a pH neutral cleaner and soft sponge or rag. Avoid acidic cleaners which can etch the finish over time.

Can I grout over existing tile backsplash?

In most cases, you can grout over an existing backsplash. Remove old grout first, clean and prep tiles, then regrout. This can freshen up a dated tile job.

Should I grout pebble backsplash tile?

For a pebble mosaic backsplash, use a grout specifically designed for pebble tiles. It will have more flexibility to get into the irregular joints while still adhering.


Grouting might seem like the least glamorous part of a tile installation. But well-grouted joints are crucial for a finished look and optimal tile performance. By following the proper steps and techniques, you can easily grout backsplash tile like a pro. Taking your time and doing careful prep work will help ensure your backsplash looks wonderful for years to come.

The end result will be a backsplash with clean, uniform grout lines that accentuates your tile design and bring together the whole space. With a variety of grout colors and performance options available, you can achieve just the look, durability and ease of maintenance desired. So don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and give grouting a try – your beautiful backsplash is waiting!