How to Grout Kitchen Backsplash

Grouting a kitchen backsplash is an important finishing step when installing tile. With the right grout and technique, you can create a seamless look that protects the tile joints from water and stains. This guide will walk you through all the steps for grouting a kitchen backsplash from start to finish.

Choose the Right Grout

Choosing the right type of grout is the first critical decision when grouting a kitchen backsplash. Here are some top options:

Sanded Grout

Sanded grout contains fine sand particles and is best for grout joints 1/8 inch and wider. The sand gives it strength and resistance to cracking. Sanded grout is a great choice for a kitchen backsplash with ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tiles.

Unsanded Grout

Unsanded grout has a smoother consistency without sand particles. It’s ideal for grout joints less than 1/8 inch, such as with mosaic sheets or glass tiles. Unsanded grout resists staining well and cleans up easily.

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is an extremely durable two-part grout made from epoxy resins. It has stain, water and chemical resistance perfect for a kitchen. Epoxy grout won’t scratch, shrink or crack easily. It’s more expensive than cement grout but offers maximum performance.

Colorfast Grout

For optimal stain resistance, use a colorfast grout specifically designed to lock in pigments. These grouts use advanced polymers and resist fading or discoloration from moisture and UV light. They’re great for white or light grout that stays looking new.

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendation for which type of grout to use with your tile. For most kitchen backsplashes, sanded grout or epoxy grout are excellent choices.

Grout Tools Needed

Grouting requires some simple tools to get pristine results:

  • Grout float: A grout float has a firm rubber edge for pressing grout evenly into joints.
  • Grout trowel: A grout trowel is handy for scooping and packing thick grout.
  • Grout sponge: A grout sponge has an abrasive side for wiping excess grout off tile.
  • Clean buckets: Have separate buckets for grout and clean water.
  • Grout sealer: Sealing the grout prevents stains and damage.
  • Caulk: Caulk is used to seal corners and edges around the perimeter.

Getting the right tools makes grouting much faster and easier. Investing in high-quality tools leads to better results.

Mixing the Grout

For unsanded and sanded grouts:

  1. Read the packaging for the correct grout to water ratio and only mix what you can use in 30 minutes.
  2. In a bucket, pour the right amount of cool, clean water.
  3. Slowly add grout powder while mixing constantly with a drill mixer.
  4. Mix for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a smooth peanut butter consistency.

For epoxy grout:

  1. Combine the epoxy resin and hardener according to package directions.
  2. Thoroughly mix the two parts together with a drill mixer on low speed for 3-5 minutes. Avoid creating air bubbles.
  3. Let the epoxy mixture slake or rest for 10 minutes before grouting.

No matter the grout type, resist the urge to re-wet the mixture after slaking. This weakens the grout and causes variation in color. Mix only what you can use within the working time.

Apply the Grout

Before grouting:

  • Remove tile spacers and debris between joints.
  • Dampen the tile slightly with a sponge (no pooling water).

Use the following steps to apply the grout:

  1. Hold the float at a 45° angle and force it diagonally across joints to fully pack the grout.
  2. Scoop more grout onto the float and repeat packing across the entire backsplash.
  3. Once all joints are packed, hold the float flat and scrape it diagonally across the tile. This smooths the grout level with the tile.
  4. Finally, wipe the float lightly over the surface to remove excess.
  5. After 10-15 minutes, use a barely damp grout sponge in a circular motion to further smooth and clean grout. Rinse the sponge frequently.
  6. Allow drying based on manufacturer directions before polishing with a soft cloth. Epoxy may require 72 hours before polishing.

If the backsplash is large, work in small sections for easier grouting and cleaning. Let each section partially dry before moving on. Proper application takes practice, but creates seamless finished results.

Curing and Sealing

Grout requires curing time to reach full strength. For unsanded and sanded grouts:

  • Wait 24-48 hours for normal curing depending on humidity.
  • Avoid getting the grout wet during this period.
  • After initial curing, grout may be damp mopped if needed.

For epoxy grout:

  • Curing takes 72 hours. Avoid moisture during this time.
  • Some epoxy grouts may require waiting 3-7 days before damp mopping.

Once fully cured, sealing the grout adds protection:

  1. Sweep and mop the backsplash to remove any residue.
  2. Apply grout sealer following the manufacturer’s directions. Avoid sealer puddling in joints.
  3. Buff off excess sealer with a cloth after 10 minutes. Two coats may be needed.
  4. Cure sealer fully before rinsing or using the backsplash. This usually takes 24-48 hours.

Sealing grout prevents stains and makes cleaning much easier. Re-apply sealer every 1-2 years for maximum protection.

Grout Maintenance

To keep grout looking fresh:

  • Sweep or vacuum the backsplash regularly to prevent buildup in joints.
  • Spot clean spills quickly with mild soap and water.
  • For heavier cleaning, use an oxygen bleach cleaner safe for grout.
  • Re-seal grout every 1-2 years depending on usage.

Avoid harsh cleaners, bleach or abrasive scrubbing on grout. This can lead to fading and damage over time. With proper care, grout can stay looking new for many years.

Grout Troubleshooting

Cracks in groutToo much water in mixture, shrinkage as driesMix grout correctly per packaging, ensure joints are packed fully
Powdery groutImproper curing, cheap groutAllow proper curing time before cleaning, use high quality grout
Grout colour variationInconsistent mixture, water amounts, tile porosity differencesUse same batch of grout, consistent water amounts, prime porous tiles
Grout haze on tileNot wiping promptly, using too much waterWipe diagonally when partially dry, dampen sponge
Efflorescence on groutMoisture reacting with grout mineralsDamp mop with pH neutral cleaner, improve ventilation

Pay attention to these common grouting mistakes and fixes. Adjusting your technique and materials can help achieve picture-perfect results. With a weekend of work, you can learn how to grout a kitchen backsplash like a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grouting Kitchen Backsplash

What is the best grout color for a kitchen backsplash?

For most kitchens, a white or light grey grout is the best choice. This prevents the grout from standing out and matches well with any tile color. Dark grout can look dirty over time. Go with a darker grout only if it complements the tile design.

How long does grout take to dry before sealing?

Sanded and unsanded grouts take 24-48 hours to cure initially before sealing. Epoxy grout takes 72 hours or longer to cure before sealing. Always follow manufacturer’s directions for curing time.

Should I caulk before or after grouting a backsplash?

Caulk perimeter joints and changes in plane after grouting. Grout may crack if caulked beforehand. Allow the grout to cure fully before applying caulk.

What is the best way to apply grout on a vertical backsplash?

Working in small sections starting at the bottom helps control mess and touch-ups. Rest your float hand or wrist on the countertop or bottom row of tiles to steady it. Having someone assist with sponge cleaning also helps.

How do I clean haze off tile after grouting?

Use a barely damp sponge in a circular motion once the grout begins drying. Soak the sponge in clean water frequently. Buff any remaining haze with a soft cloth once fully cured. Avoid excess water to prevent discoloring joints.

Grouting a backsplash adds a polished finish that protects your tile. With the proper tools, materials and technique, you can achieve durable and attractive results. Use this guide to take the anxiety out of grouting a kitchen backsplash.


Grouting is a crucial step when installing a kitchen backsplash. With the right grout, proper mixing and application techniques, and regular care, your backsplash can stay looking pristine for years. Sanded and unsanded cement grouts are ideal for most tile while epoxy grout provides maximum performance. Prepare your materials, work in small sections, and allow complete curing and drying between steps. Your beautiful kitchen backsplash will be ready to enjoy with a seamless grouted finish.


  • Choose sanded grout for wide joints, unsanded for narrow joints, or epoxy grout for ultimate durability.
  • Invest in quality grout floats, sponges and buckets for best results.
  • Mix grout to a creamy consistency and let slake 10-15 minutes before use.
  • Pack joints fully by holding float at 45° angle, then wipe diagonally.
  • Gently clean excess grout with a damp sponge once partially dry.
  • Allow proper curing time before sealing or damp mopping grout.
  • Maintain the grout with routine cleaning and re-sealing every 1-2 years.

With the right approach, you can learn how to grout a kitchen backsplash like a professional tile installer. Follow these tips for long-lasting, stain-free grout.