How to Install Marble Tile Backsplash

Installing a marble tile backsplash can add elegance and style to any kitchen. Marble is a classic and timeless material that has been used for centuries to create beautiful features in homes. With proper planning and preparation, you can install marble tile on your backsplash to get the high-end look you desire.

Choose the Marble Tile

The first step is to select the marble tile you wish to use. There are a few things to consider when choosing marble tile:

  • Color – Marble comes in a range of natural colors like white, gray, brown, pink, green, etc. Select a marble color that complements your existing kitchen decor.
  • Vein patterns – Marble has unique veining running through it. Choose marble tiles with vein patterns that appeal to your style preferences.
  • Tile size – Marble tile comes in different sizes like 12×12, 12×24, 16×16 inches, etc. Decide on the tile size based on the dimensions of your backsplash. Mixing sizes can create visual interest.
  • Tile finish – Marble tiles come in polished, honed or tumbled finishes. Polished has a shiny glossy surface while honed is matte. Tumbled marble has softened edges for a rustic look.
  • Mosaic marble – Many stores sell marble mosaic tile which has a mesh backing. This can be an easier install option.
  • Marble slabs – For a seamless look, marble slabs come in large cuts that can be installed on the backsplash.
  • Marble countertops – Custom cutting marble countertops to run up the backsplash is another seamless option.

Once you select the marble tile, make sure to order 10-15% extra to account for cuts, waste and future repairs.

Prepare the Surface

Installing marble tile backsplash starts with preparing the surface:

  • Remove existing backsplash completely – Take down old tile, grout and adhesive so the new marble will bond properly.
  • Clean thoroughly – Use a degreaser to clean the area of any oil, grease or soap scum. Rinse well.
  • Check for damage – Inspect the drywall or cement board behind the backsplash. Repair any water damage or flaws for proper adhesion.
  • Prime – After repairs, apply primer over the surface. This helps the thinset stick to the wall.
  • Mark plumb lines – Take measurements and mark straight vertical and horizontal lines to line up the first row of marble tile.

Preparing the backsplash area properly will provide the ideal smooth, clean surface for your marble tile installation.

Gather Supplies

Installing marble tile backsplash requires having the right tools and materials ready. Here is what you’ll need:


  • Tile cutter – Manual cutter for straight cuts or wet saw for angled cuts
  • Notched trowel – For spreading thinset adhesive
  • Grout float – For pressing grout into seams
  • Sponge – For wiping excess grout
  • Tile spacers – For consistent grout lines
  • Level – For checking tile alignment
  • Hammer – For tapping tiles into place
  • Tape measure – For measuring tile spacing
  • Utility knife – For cutting small pieces


  • Marble tiles
  • Thinset mortar adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Backer board – If existing surface needs reinforcement

Having all supplies and tools ready will make the installation process go smoothly.

Install the Marble Tile

Once fully prepared, you can start installing the marble tile:

  • Apply thinset – Use the trowel to spread a layer of thinset adhesive on the lower portion of the backsplash. Apply only enough that can be tiled in 30 minutes.
  • Set the first row – Place the corner marble tile against the plumb line. Press tiles gently but firmly into the thinset.
  • Check level – Use a level on top of the tiles to ensure they are perfectly straight.
  • Add spacers – Place plastic spacers between tiles for consistent grout line spacing.
  • Continue setting tiles – Work in rows, applying thinset as you go up the backsplash. Cut border and filler tiles as needed with the wet saw.
  • Let dry – Allow thinset to cure for 24-48 hours before grouting.

Take care to regularly inspect marble tile alignment and levelness as you set each row. The tiles must be firmly pressed into the mortar with no gaps or slipping.

Apply Grout and Seal

Once the thinset has dried, you can complete the marble tile backsplash:

  • Grout application – Prepare grout per package instructions. Use a rubber grout float to spread grout over the tile surface, pressing into joints.
  • Wipe and clean – Let grout harden slightly and then wipe diagonally across tiles with a damp sponge to remove excess. Rinse sponge frequently.
  • Seal grout – Once grout has dried, apply grout sealer as directed to protect from moisture and stains.
  • Seal marble – Use a penetrating stone sealer made for marble on the tiles. This prevents staining or etching of the marble surface.
  • Caulk edges – Run a bead of silicone caulk along the top and side edges where the backsplash meets the wall or countertop.
  • Clean up – Use a dry towel to remove any haze or residue from the marble tiles.

Sealing and grouting completes your marble tile backsplash installation.

Marble Tile Backsplash Maintenance

To keep your marble tile backsplash looking like new:

  • Clean regularly with pH-neutral stone cleaner. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners.
  • Re-seal marble every 1-2 years with a marble sealer to renew stain protection.
  • Re-seal grout yearly with grout sealer to prevent absorption of moisture.
  • Avoid putting very hot pans or cleaners directly on the marble. Use trivets and mild cleaning products.
  • Repair chips or stains right away to prevent further damage.

With proper care, a marble backsplash can stay beautiful for many years in any kitchen. Taking the time to install it properly will lead to a stunning finished product.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install marble tile backsplash myself?

Yes, with proper preparation and by following the instructions, an experienced DIYer can install marble backsplash tile themselves. Some cutting and fitting of border tiles is required. Hiring a tile pro can be helpful if you’re uncomfortable doing this.

What type of thinset do I use for marble tile?

Use a polymer-modified thinset adhesive suitable for marble and natural stone. This provides a stronger bond. Avoid multi-purpose mastic adhesives which can discolor marble.

How long does marble tile backsplash installation take?

The timeline can vary based on the size of your backsplash. Allow 2-4 days – 1 day for prep work, 1 day for install, 1 day for drying thinset and 1 day for grouting and sealing.

What color grout should I use with marble backsplash?

A white or off-white grout matches most marble backsplash tiles. Darker grout can also create contrast. Select a grout that complements your marble color.

Can I use marble slab behind a stove?

Yes, marble slabs and countertops can be used on backsplashes behind stoves. Seal the marble well and be cautious with hot pans to prevent burning or cracking. Use a backsplash protector when cooking.


Installing marble tile backsplash brings elegance and luxury to any kitchen. With proper planning and preparation, the project can be accomplished by experienced DIYers. The key steps are prepping the surface, cutting and setting the marble tiles in thinset adhesive, then grouting and sealing once dry. Maintain the marble by routine cleaning and re-sealing. Done right, you’ll love enjoying your beautiful new marble backsplash for years to come.