How to Install Backsplash in Kitchen Video


Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. Not only does a backsplash provide an extra layer of protection for your walls against splashes and spills, it also serves as a stylish focal point that expresses your personal taste. With the right backsplash tile and some DIY skills, you can easily install a backsplash yourself without the high cost of hiring a professional.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the entire process of installing a backsplash in your kitchen step-by-step. We will cover how to prepare your kitchen for installation, choose the right backsplash materials, tools required, how to cut the tiles, apply thinset mortar, grout application, and finally how to seal and maintain your finished backsplash. With the help of this guide and a backsplash installation video, you will gain the knowledge and confidence to tackle this rewarding DIY project. Let’s get started!

How to Prepare the Kitchen for Backsplash Installation

Before starting to install the backsplash tile, proper preparation of the kitchen wall is an essential first step. Here is a checklist of tasks to complete to get the kitchen ready for backsplash installation:

Clean the Wall Surface Thoroughly

  • Remove any existing backsplash by scraping off old adhesive and grout.
  • Wash the wall area with a mix of mild detergent and water to remove any grease, dust or debris.
  • Rinse thoroughly and allow the wall to dry completely before moving to the next step.

Evaluate and Repair the Wall as Needed

  • Inspect the wall area and look for any cracks, holes or uneven surfaces.
  • Fill any small holes or cracks with spackle and let dry completely.
  • For larger damaged areas, cut out the drywall and replace with a fresh piece.

Remove Outlets and Switch Plates

  • Using a screwdriver, detach any electrical outlets, switch plates, brackets or anything attached to the wall.
  • Set them aside carefully to reinstall after the backsplash is up.

Apply Primer/Sealer to the Entire Wall Surface

  • After repairs, apply a layer of drywall primer or sealer on the wall.
  • This helps seal the surface and provides a uniform base for the backsplash tiles to adhere to.

With the wall prepped, you can move on to the fun part of choosing your backsplash tile!

How to Choose Backsplash Tiles and Materials

When selecting backsplash tiles, consider the style you want as well as factors like moisture resistance, ease of cleaning, and price. Here are some popular backsplash tile options:

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

  • Budget-friendly option available in a huge range of colors, patterns, and finishes.
  • Easy to clean, durable, and water-resistant.
  • Matte finishes help hide grout lines. Glossy finishes reflect more light.

Glass Tile

  • Translucent quality provides depth and brings light into the kitchen.
  • Durable and water-resistant. Easy to wipe clean.
  • Can be prone to cracking if hit hard and professional installation is recommended.

Natural Stone Tile

  • Elegant appeal with unique natural patterns in slate, marble or granite.
  • Sealing required to prevent staining and etching. Requires gentle cleaners.
  • On the expensive side and heavy, may require professional installation.

Metal Tile

  • Stainless steel, copper, and aluminum tiles add a modern, industrial vibe.
  • Durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean but higher cost.
  • Can show scratches over time which adds to the rustic look.

Mosaic Tile

  • Intricate patterns and blend of colors create visual interest.
  • Grout lines may be harder to keep clean due to small tile size.
  • Often uses mesh backing sheets for easier installation.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

  • Budget DIY option with adhesive backing for easy installation.
  • Peel and stick tiles are not as durable or moisture-resistant as traditional tile.
  • Great temporary option for rentals. Wider variety of styles now available.

Always purchase a few extra tiles to account for broken pieces or future repairs. Also, buy tile spacers which are essential to get straight uniform grout lines.

Tools and Materials Needed for Installation

Installing a backsplash is a DIY friendly project but having the right tools will make the process much smoother. Here is a list of the basic equipment needed:

Essential Tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Utility knife and blades
  • Trowel for spreading tile adhesive
  • Tile cutter or wet saw
  • Grout float
  • Sponges
  • Mixing bucket


  • Backsplash tiles
  • Thinset mortar adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Caulk/silicone sealant

Safety gear:

  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Knee pads
  • Dust mask

Other supplies:

  • Drop cloths or rosin paper to protect floors and countertops
  • Rags
  • Buckets for mixing thinset and grout
  • Grout cleaning sponge
  • Grout haze remover solution
  • Wood shims or tile wedges

Investing in quality tools and taking safety precautions makes a big difference in gaining professional looking results. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for any specific tools or materials needed for your particular tile project. Now let’s get to the good stuff – installing the tile!

How to Cut Tile for the Backsplash

The key to obtaining a seamless professional look is properly measuring and cutting the backsplash tiles to fit. Follow these tips:

  • Measure the backsplash area and sketch a layout plan for the tile placement. Mark the measurements on the wall.
  • For the first row of tiles at the bottom, measure and cut tiles to fit around outlets, corners, and any obstacles. Cut tiles with a manual tile cutter or wet saw.
  • Cut tiles for the top row last after installing the field tiles. Use a spacer and level to map the area and achieve even spacing.
  • For oval or irregular shapes around electrical boxes or cabinets, make a pattern out of cardboard to trace and cut the shape.
  • Cut tiles 1/8 inch smaller than measurements to account for thinset thickness and grout lines.
  • Use tile nippers to trim small uneven edges as needed for a precision fit.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby when cutting to rinse dust and keep tile cool.

Follow all safety precautions when using power tools like a wet saw and be patient – measure twice and cut only once!

How to Apply Thinset Mortar and Install Tiles

Applying the tile adhesive properly achieves a strong bond and level surface for the backsplash installation. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Mix the Thinset Mortar

  • For the adhesive, use premixed thinset mortar or mix powered thinset with water in a bucket according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Let the mixture slake for 10 minutes after mixing then remix before using to get a smooth, lump-free consistency.

Step 2: Apply Thinset to the Wall

  • Use a notched trowel held at a 45 degree angle to spread a layer of thinset onto the wall area.
  • Apply even 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick layers using the trowel’s straight edges as guides.
  • Scratch grooves into the setting bed after spreading. The ridges allow the tiles to bond evenly.

Step 3: Set the Tiles into the Thinset

  • Working in sections, press tiles firmly into place in the prepped thinset, using spacers to align.
  • Use a rubber grout float or hammer to gently tap tiles and ensure a solid adhesive bond, pressing out any air pockets.
  • Make sure tiles are fully embedded but not sunk too deeply. Remove excess thinset squeeze-out immediately with a damp sponge.
  • Allow thinset to dry for at least 24 hours before continuing with grouting. Remove spacers once dry.

Be meticulous about verifying level and alignment as you go – fixing mistakes later is much harder!

How to Apply Grout and Finish the Job

Grouting seals the joints between tiles and gives your backsplash its finished polished look:

Step 1: Mix the Grout

  • For unsanded grout suited for narrow joints, mix grout powder with water or latex additive to a thick peanut butter-like consistency.
  • Allow to slake for 5-10 minutes then remix before using. Only mix what you can apply in 30 minutes.

Step 2: Apply Grout with a Grout Float

  • Use a rubber grout float or squeegee to spread grout forcefully into the joints, filling completely.
  • Hold float at a 30° angle and scrape diagonally across tiles to prevent dragging out the grout.
  • Let grout rest for 10-15 minutes so it can start to set up and become less sticky.

Step 3: Clean Excess Grout Off the Tile Surface

  • Use a damp grout sponge in a circular motion to gently start removing excess grout off the face of the tiles.
  • Rinse sponge frequently and change water often to get grout residue off. Wipe diagonally across joints.
  • Allow grout to dry for 72 hours, then use a soft cloth to polish off any remaining haze.

Step 4: Caulk Edges and Seams

  • Once grout has cured, apply silicone caulk along the countertop seam and perimeter edges using a caulk gun.
  • Wet finger and tool the caulk into corners for a neat finish. Wipe excess caulk away immediately with a damp cloth.

Helpful Tips for Achieving a Flawless Finish

Follow these pro tips and tricks to get stunning results from your backsplash tile project:

  • Carefully lay out the tile design and create a balanced layout. Mix tile boxes for consistent color.
  • Use plastic tile spacers for perfect grout line alignment. Remove them before the thinset dries.
  • Make precise cuts around outlets, corners, and edges for a seamless look.
  • Apply thinset and grout in small sections for optimal working time.
  • Clean up spills and grout haze with a damp sponge immediately to prevent staining.
  • Allow proper drying time for thinset and grout between steps. Rushing can ruin work.
  • Seal grout lines with a penetrating sealer to guard against stains and mildew growth.
  • Caulk all seams and gaps around edges with flexible silicone caulk. Smooth with damp finger for best results.
  • Consider adding trim pieces like bullnose tiles or metal strips for a polished finish.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can achieve beautiful backsplash results and better enjoy your updated kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing a Backsplash

Many common questions come up when tackling a backsplash installation. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked:

How long does it take to install a backsplash?

The timeline can vary based on tile size and layout, but budget 2-3 days total as a general estimate. Allow proper drying time between steps.

Should backsplash go all the way to ceiling?

Not necessarily – standard height is 4 inches above countertops. Full height can work with some materials like beadboard or stacked stone.

What type of thinset is best for backsplash?

Use white premixed thinset or one with a latex additive for porcelain or ceramic tiles. Epoxy is recommended for natural stone. Consult manufacturer.

Can backsplash tile be installed over existing tile?

Yes, if the current tile is in good shape it provides an ideal surface for applying new tile with thinset mortar.

How are outlets dealt with during backsplash installation?

Carefully measure and cut tiles to fit around outlets. Turn off power at the breaker. Ground wires may need to be detached and then reconnected.

Should backsplash tiles overlap countertop?

It is recommended to allow tiles to overlap the countertop slightly to prevent gaps where water can seep behind. Use caulk to seal the seam.

How soon can I use newly tiled backsplash?

Avoid direct water contact for minimum 72 hours. Allow at least 14 days for thinset and grout to fully cure before heavy use.


We hope this guide has provided you with the tips and process overview needed to install a backsplash tile project from start to finish. The key steps include proper prep and planning, precise tile cutting, proper thinset application, careful grouting, and consistent sealing and maintenance. While it does take some time and diligence, installing your own backsplash is an immensely rewarding upgrade you can tackle yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your beautiful new backsplash!