How to Install Backsplash YouTube

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. Backsplashes not only provide an attractive, eye-catching focal point, but they also protect your walls from water damage and stains. Installing a backsplash may seem daunting, but it can actually be a pretty straightforward DIY project. With the right materials, tools, and some basic know-how, you can learn how to install a beautiful backsplash in your kitchen.

Getting Started with a Backsplash Installation

Before you start tiling, take some time to properly prepare. Rushing in without thinking through all the steps will likely lead to mistakes and poor execution. Follow these tips for starting off your project on the right foot:

Selecting the Backsplash Materials

There are lots of options when it comes to backsplash tiles. Ceramic, porcelain, glass, stone, and metal backsplashes come in different shapes, sizes, textures and colors. Visit a tile showroom to view samples in person before deciding on a style. Keep in mind factors like:

  • Durability – Glass and metal backsplashes are very durable and easy to clean. Ceramic and porcelain are more prone to chipping.
  • Ease of installation – Large format tiles or panels are quicker to install than mosaics or small tiles.
  • Accessories – Consider which edges, trim pieces, accent tiles, etc. you may need.
  • Cost – Material prices vary greatly. Set a budget beforehand.

Pre-Cut Tiles

To save time during installation, have full tiles pre-cut at the store according to your measurements. This helps avoid mistakes or inconsistencies when cutting on your own.

Gather Your Materials

Make sure you have all the essential materials before starting:

  • Backsplash tiles
  • Tile adhesive (thinset mortar)
  • Notched trowel for spreading adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout float for applying grout
  • Spacers for consistent grout lines
  • Tile cutter and nippers
  • Tile sealant

Safety Gear

Wear safety goggles and gloves when cutting tile. Use knee pads for comfort while working on the floor. A dust mask can protect from inhaling tile dust.

Clean the Surface

The backsplash area should be clear of any dust, grease, or debris that could prevent the tiles from properly adhering. Clean thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner.

Layout Your Design

Dry lay a few rows of tile on the countertop so you can visualize the pattern and spacing. Ensure edges align evenly. Use spacers between each tile.

Step-by-Step Installation Instructions

Once you have all your materials and preparations ready, follow these key steps for properly installing the backsplash:

Step 1: Apply Adhesive to the Wall

  • Use a notched trowel to spread a layer of tile adhesive onto the backsplash area, covering about one square foot at a time.
  • Hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle to create ridges for optimal adhesion.
  • Only cover an area that you can tile over within about 20 minutes while the adhesive is still tacky.

Step 2: Press Tiles into Adhesive

  • Place your pre-cut tiles or full sheets directly into the adhesive starting at the bottom row.
  • Push the tiles firmly into the adhesive with a slight twisting motion to ensure even contact and bonding.
  • Make sure spacers are placed evenly between each tile.
  • Use a level often to check for straight rows, and a tape measure to maintain consistent spacing.
  • Cut any edge or filler tiles to fit using a wet saw or tile cutter. Grind the edges smooth.

Step 3: Let Adhesive Cure

  • Allow the installed tiles to set undisturbed for at least 24 hours. This allows the adhesive to fully cure and form a strong bond.
  • Keep foot traffic away and do not grout until the curing time is complete.
  • Cure time depends on the type of mortar used. Check manufacturer guidelines.

Step 4: Apply Grout Between Tiles

  • Mix your grout according to package directions. Apply to tile joints using a rubber grout float.
  • Hold the float at a 45 degree angle and firmly press grout into the crevices, scraping off any excess.
  • Let the grout sit for 5-10 minutes until slightly firm. Use a damp sponge to wipe and smooth joints.
  • Avoid removing too much grout from the joints – just clean the tile surfaces.
  • Allow grout to fully cure for 24-48 hours before sealing or using the backsplash.

Step 5: Seal and Finish

  • Once grout has cured, apply a penetrating sealant to protect from moisture and stains.
  • Use a foam paintbrush or cloth to apply 2-3 thin, even coats of sealant, allowing to dry between coats.
  • Buff any remaining haze with a soft, dry cloth for a polished look.
  • Caulk any gaps along edges or corners with a flexible silicone caulk.

Tips for a Successful Installation

Follow these pointers to help your backsplash installation go smoothly from start to finish:

  • Test fit a few tiles – Dry lay a section first to ensure your measurements are accurate before applying any adhesive.
  • Thoroughly mix thinset – Improperly mixed thinset can weaken adhesion. Mix to a uniform consistency.
  • Use proper sized trowel – A notched trowel helps ensure adequate thickness and coverage of adhesive.
  • Keep installations small – Work in sections no larger than 4 sq ft at a time to prevent thinset from drying out.
  • Check level often – Use a 3-4 ft level frequently to make sure tiles align properly.
  • Leave proper gaps – Don’t butt tiles tight. Use spacers for consistent grout line spacing.
  • Clean as you go – Wipe any adhesive, grout or sealant from the tile surface immediately to prevent drying.
  • Allow proper curing time – Let adhesive and grout fully cure as directed before grouting and sealing.
  • Seal tiles and grout – Sealers prevent staining and increase water resistance. Reapply yearly.

Common Backsplash Installation Mistakes to Avoid

While tiling a backsplash is not extremely complex, it’s important to understand proper techniques to avoid some all-too-common pitfalls:

Not Preparing the Surface

Adhesive will not bond well to surfaces covered in grease, paint or wallpaper. Proper cleaning and sanding ensures a solid bond.

Failing to Let Adhesive Cure

Rushing to grout before adhesive has fully set often leads to loose tiles popping off the wall. Respect all cure times.

Using Wrong Adhesive Type

Be sure to use adhesive specifically formulated for wall tiling rather than one for floors. The composition is different.

Applying Adhesive Too Far in Advance

Mortar should still be tacky when tiles are embedded. Don’t spread adhesive over areas too far ahead of your progress.

Not Using Spacers

Grout lines will be uneven and sloppy without spacers to maintain equal gaps between tiles.

Applying Grout Too Soon

Letting adhesive fully cure provides critical strength and stability before grouting.

Using Too Much Grout

It’s easy to apply more grout than necessary. Use a grout float to spread just enough into tile joints without excessive mess or difficulty cleaning.

Neglecting to Seal

Sealing grout and porous tile materials is a must! Otherwise, stains will accumulate easily.

FAQs About Installing a Backsplash

Some commonly asked questions regarding backsplash installation include:

How long does it take to install a backsplash?

For an average sized backsplash of around 15-25 square feet, installation may take 2-3 days from start to finish. Exact timeframe depends on tile size, layout, and your skill level.

What tools do I need to install backsplash tile?

Essential tools include a notched trowel, spacers, tile cutter, mixing bucket, grout float, sponges, utility knife, tape measure, level, safety gear, and clean cloths or rags.

What’s the proper thinset thickness for backsplash tile?

Use a 1/4″ x 1/4″ square-notched trowel held at a 45 degree angle to apply a thinset thickness of about 1/8″ – 3/16″ for backsplash tiles.

How soon can I grout after installing backsplash tile?

It’s crucial to allow tile adhesive a full cure time of 24-48 hours before applying grout. This prevents tiles from shifting or popping off.

What type of caulk should I use between backsplash and countertop?

A flexible, waterproof silicone caulk is ideal to fill any gaps between the backsplash tiles and cabinets or countertops.

How do I cut backsplash tile around outlets?

Carefully measure and mark locations to cut. Use a rotary tool or oscillating cutter to cut precise openings. Take great care not to damage tile edges.


The key to a successful DIY backsplash installation is having the right tools, materials, and knowledge before getting started. With proper planning, preparation, and technique, you can tackle tiling your backsplash and take your kitchen design to the next level. Carefully follow installation steps and best practices to ensure your backsplash looks beautiful and lasts for many years. Don’t be afraid to call in a professional tiler if you need any guidance or run into difficulties along the way. Investing the time into a quality backsplash installation can greatly enhance the aesthetic and function of your kitchen.