How to Install Backsplash Tile Sheets Around Outlets

Installing a beautiful backsplash tile can add style and charm to any kitchen. However, working around outlets requires some special planning and techniques. With careful preparation and the right materials, you can achieve a seamless look around your outlets.

Choose the Right Outlet Covers

When tiling around outlets, you need to make sure you have the right type of outlet covers. There are a few options:

  • Tileable outlet covers – These special outlet covers have a flat front border that allows tile to be installed right up to the edge. This gives a built-in finished look.
  • Standard plastic outlet covers – These inexpensive covers can work, but will leave an obvious edge between the tile and outlet. Use these if the tile falls above the outlet location.
  • Metal outlet covers – Like plastic covers, these leave an edge but give a more stylish, finished look. screws hold them in place.

Make sure the outlet covers you buy match the size and shape of the outlets. Measure carefully before purchasing to ensure a good fit.

Prepare the Outlets

Before tiling, you need to make sure the outlets are ready:

  • Turn off power at the breaker before working on any outlets.
  • Remove the existing outlet covers.
  • Ensure about 1/2″ of the box extends past the wall surface for the outlet covers to screw into later. If not, you may need to install electrical box extenders.
  • Confirm grounding wires are properly connected.
  • Remove any old caulk or grout around boxes. The tile needs to lie completely flat.

Once prepped, stuff the boxes with cardboard or foam to prevent debris falling in.

Install Tile Around the Boxes

When ready to set the tile, lay it carefully around the outlet boxes:

  • Cut tile pieces to fit around boxes precisely. Remove only material needed to make room.
  • Use thinset mortar to attach tile up to the edge of the boxes.
  • Avoid getting thinset or grout on the front edge of the boxes. Wipe away excess immediately.
  • Don’t bridge the empty space between the tile and boxes with mortar. This can prevent covers from sitting flush.
  • Allow thinset to fully cure before reconnecting outlets.

Take great care cutting and fitting the tile pieces accurately for the cleanest look.

Insert New Outlet Covers

Once grouting is done and the thinset has cured, finish by installing the new outlet covers:

  • Carefully remove any cardboard or foam from the boxes.
  • Attach the outlet covers using the provided screws. Tighten just enough to hold firmly in place.
  • Restore power and test that outlets are functioning properly.
  • Caulk around the edges of the outlet covers for a watertight seal if needed.

Choose outlet covers that complement your tile color and style. Coordinate with light switches, drawer pulls and other hardware for a cohesive look.

With attention to detail at each step, you can end up with gorgeous, seamless backsplash tile around your outlets. Take time to do the prep work correctly and the finished result will be worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Backsplash Tile Around Outlets

How do I cut the tile around awkward outlet spots?

Use a wet saw to accurately cut small tile pieces to fit around outlet boxes and corners. Turn off power, trace the outlet shape onto the tile, and cut just inside the line. Grind edges smooth.

What’s the easiest way to remove old caulk and grout?

A grout removal tool, sharp utility knife, or oscillating tool all work to scrape out old caulk or grout around outlets. Go slowly to avoid damaging the wallboard.

Should I remove the outlet or box when tiling?

Usually not necessary. Just ensure the box extends enough past the wall surface and remove any grout or caulk preventing the covers from sitting flush.

How close can backsplash tile come to an outlet?

Tile can about up to 1/16″ from the outlet box. Any closer risks thinset or grout interfering with the outlet cover attachment.

Should I use a plastic or metal outlet cover?

It depends on the look you want. Plastic is inexpensive but can clash with upscale tile. Metal matches the tile edges better for a built-in look.

What’s the best way to keep outlet boxes clean when tiling?

Stuffing the boxes with cardboard keeps out thinset, grout and tile dust. Just be sure to carefully remove it all later before installing the covers.

How soon can I use the outlets after installing backsplash tile?

Wait at least 24 hours after grouting for thinset and grout to fully cure before reconnecting outlets and testing them.

How do I remove a tileable outlet cover later if needed?

Use a thin utility knife to gently pry up the edges little by little until you can lift off the cover. Take care not to chip the tile.


Installing backsplash tile around electrical outlets involves careful planning and attention to detail. With the right materials and proper technique, you can achieve a beautifully seamless look. Prepping the boxes, cleanly cutting and placing the tile, and finishing with covers that complement your design will result in a professional looking, integrated backsplash surface that adds functionality and visual appeal. Take it slowly and focus on precision at each stage of the process.