How to Hang Backsplash in Kitchen

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. Not only does a backsplash provide an easy way to add visual interest, color, and texture, it also protects your walls from splashes and stains. While many homeowners opt to hire out the installation, with some basic DIY skills, you can tackle this project yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to hang backsplash in your kitchen.

Choose Your Backsplash Material

The first step is selecting the material for your backsplash. Some of the most popular options include:


Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile allows for endless design possibilities. Tile comes in a vast array of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns so you can create a customized look. The grout lines also add visual texture. Tile is a durable option that is easy to clean.


Glass tile is available in clear, frosted, or colored varieties. It has a sleek, modern appeal. The glass material is impervious to moisture and resists staining. Installation does take precision to prevent cracking.


Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper, or tin can create an industrial vibe. Metals are low maintenance, simple to clean, and heat resistant. Consider textured or patterned metal for added interest.

Stone Slab

Natural stone slabs like marble, granite, or slate have an elegant, seamless appearance. Stone is hardy and naturally stain and heat resistant. The surface can be polished or left with a honed finish.


Wood adds warmth and natural texture. Use real wood planks or veneers for a rustic, cottage look. Wood choices like cedar are moisture-resistant. Expect some maintenance for sealing and preventing water damage.

Gather Your Materials

Once you select your backsplash material, gather the other supplies you will need:

  • Backsplash tiles/sheets
  • Mortar or adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Spacers
  • Tile cutting tool
  • Trowel
  • Grout float
  • Mixing bucket
  • Mixing paddle
  • Sponge
  • Tile nippers
  • Putty knife
  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Knee pads

Make sure you have all required materials before starting work.

Prepare the Wall Surface

Proper prep work is crucial for a long-lasting backsplash installation.

  • Remove existing backsplash if there is one. Scrape off any leftover mortar or adhesive.
  • Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle. Allow to dry completely.
  • Sand any bumps for a smooth surface. Wipe away dust.
  • Prime the wall area with a paint primer and let dry. This helps the mortar adhere.
  • Measure and mark the installation area. Have your tiles or sheets on hand.

Your wall surface needs to be as smooth and clean as possible. This prevents future cracking or loosening of tiles.

Mix the Mortar

For any tile or stone backsplash, you will need to prepare mortar to adhere the pieces to the wall.

  • Add mortar powder to a bucket or wheelbarrow.
  • Slowly pour in clean water while mixing continuously with a paddle mixer.
  • Mix to a smooth, thick consistency without lumps.
  • Let the mortar sit for 10 minutes then do a final mixing.

Check the bag instructions for exact ratio of powder to water. Mortar dries quickly so only mix what you can use in 30-45 minutes.

Apply the Mortar

Now you are ready to start installing the backsplash:

  • Apply a layer of mortar to the lower corner of the wall area using a notched trowel.
  • Only cover a small section that you can tile before the mortar dries.
  • Push the tiles or sheets into the mortar, using spacers for even grout lines.
  • Gently press and slide the pieces through the mortar to set them evenly.
  • Check for straight alignment both horizontally and vertically as you go.
  • Allow the mortar to dry overnight before grouting.

Repeat this process until the entire area is tiled. Keep a damp rag handy to quickly wipe up any excess mortar or messes.

Apply the Grout

Grout fills the joints between the tiles to finish off your backsplash.

  • Let the mortar dry completely, for at least 24 hours.
  • Mix grout powder with water to a thick, creamy consistency per package directions.
  • Spread grout over the tile joints using a rubber grout float. Push it into crevices.
  • Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge in diagonal motions. Rinse the sponge frequently.
  • Allow grout to dry for 24-48 hours.
  • Apply grout sealer using a paintbrush. Let sealer dry completely.

This seals the grout and prevents staining or moisture damage.

Finish Edges and Corners

You will need to take a few extra steps for clean finished edges:

  • For outside corners, use a router to round off cut tile edges. This avoids sharp corners.
  • For bullnose tiles, make sure the rounded edge faces out on outside corners.
  • For inside corners, use a specialty L-shaped bullnose trim if desired.
  • For raw tile edges, attach metal corner trim or install caulk for a clean look.

Completing the edges keeps your new backsplash looking professionally installed.

Enjoy Your New Backsplash!

With careful planning and patience, you can save on installation costs by adding a backsplash yourself. Make sure to properly prepare the wall surface, take your time setting the tiles in mortar, and let all materials fully dry in between steps. The end result will be a stunning, brand new focal point in your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hanging a Backsplash

What tools do I need to hang a backsplash?

You will need basic tools like a tape measure, pencil, level, spacers, bucket, notched trowel, grout float, sponges, mixing paddle, hammer, nail set, tile cutter, nippers, putty knives, and grout sealer. Have safety gear like gloves, goggles, mask, and knee pads too.

How do I cut backsplash tiles?

Use a manual tile cutter for straight cuts and tile nippers for angled or circular cuts. You can also use a wet saw for accurate cuts. Score the tile and snap it for clean edges. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

Should I use mortar or adhesive for the backsplash?

Mortar provides the strongest bond, especially for heavy tile or stone. Adhesives like mastic work for lightweight tile like glass or plastic. Make sure the product is suitable for wall and backsplash use.

How long does backsplash tile mortar need to dry before grouting?

Allow mortar to fully cure for at least 24 hours before applying grout. This prevents cracking or loosening of the tiles later on.

What color grout should I use?

Choose grout that matches or complements your tile color. For subtle seams, use similar grout to the tile color. For more definition, use contrasting grout. White and gray are common backsplash grout colors.


Installing a kitchen backsplash can give your space an instant facelift. With the right materials and some DIY grit, you can save money and gain the satisfaction of tackling this project yourself. Just be sure to follow all the steps carefully. Soon you will have the fresh new look you desire.