How to Install Smart Tiles Backsplash

Installing a smart tiles backsplash is a great way to add visual interest and high-tech functionality to your kitchen or bathroom. Smart tiles are WiFi-enabled tiles that can be controlled via app to display customizable designs, textures, colors, and even photos. With just a few taps on your phone, you can change up the entire look of your backsplash. The tiles are easy to install yourself with minimal handyman skills required. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to install smart tiles for your backsplash.

Selecting Your Smart Tiles

The first step is choosing the right smart tiles for your space. There are a few top brands of smart tiles to consider:

  • Mirasol: Offers a wide selection of sizes and styles. Tiles can display graphics, textures, colors, or even act as a digital photo frame.
  • Raspberry Pi Tiles: Raspberry Pi boards allow you to program custom displays. For the DIY smart tile enthusiast.
  • E Ink Tiles: Use e-paper technology with a monochrome display. Low power consumption.
  • LED Light Tiles: LED lights within each tile can glow in any color.
  • Interactive Tiles: Detect motion and touch to trigger light shows or animations.

When selecting smart tiles, consider factors like:

  • Size: Standard backsplash tiles are often 4×4 inches, but smart tiles can be smaller or larger. Measure your space to determine the best size tiles.
  • Power Source: Some smart tiles require wiring while others use batteries or USB power banks.
  • WiFi Connectivity: Tiles connect to WiFi to receive app commands. Make sure your WiFi covers the kitchen.
  • Design Aesthetic: Choose smart tile shapes and designs that match your existing backsplash tiles.
  • Display Options: Different smart tiles have various display capabilities. Select technology that aligns with how you want to use the tiles.
  • Quantity Needed: Measure your backsplash area to calculate how many tiles you need to cover the space. Buy 10-20% extra.

Preparing Your Backsplash Area

Once you’ve selected your smart tiles, you’ll need to prep the backsplash installation area:

  • Clean Surface: Wipe down the backsplash thoroughly to remove any grease, food splatters, dust, etc. This allows the tiles to properly adhere.
  • Remove Obstructions: Take down anything on the backsplash like lighting fixtures, switches, or knickknacks. You want a clear workspace.
  • Outlets & Switches: These will need to be worked around during your smart tile installation. Have an electrician adjust outlet placement if needed.
  • Verify Level Surface: Use a level tool to confirm the backsplash area is flat. Uneven surfaces must be smoothed out with spackle or drywall mud.
  • Fill Any Holes: Fill holes, cracks, or uneven grout lines with spackling paste even with the wall surface. Allow time to dry completely.
  • Prime Paint: Lightly sand the backsplash and apply 1-2 coats of primer paint if needed to create a fresh canvas for tiles.

With the backsplash prepped, it’s time to layout your tile design.

Mapping Your Tile Layout

Carefully planning where each smart tile will go ensures your finished look is seamless. Here are some tips:

  • Make a Grid: Draw a grid on the backsplash with a pencil and ruler marking exact tile positions.
  • Account for Outlets: Layout your tile grid around any outlets or switches. Measure and mark their placement.
  • Cut Tile Positions: Note any partial tiles that need cutting around outlets, corners, or edges.
  • Test Patterns: Lay tiles on the floor first in different patterns to visualize how grout lines will look.
  • Follow Directions: Check tile manufacturer instructions for recommended installations patterns and grout widths.
  • Snap Photos: Take photos of the backsplash grid from multiple angles to reference during installation.
  • Focus on Problem Areas: Spend extra time mapping tricky spots like accent tiles, niches, or corners.

Having a well-executed tile layout is the key to a successful smart tiles backsplash.

Gathering Your Installation Supplies

There are some basic supplies needed for properly installing smart tiles:

  • Adhesive: Choose non-moisture sensitive modified thinset mortar adhesive to apply the tiles.
  • Grout: Pick unsanded grout in a color that complements the tile. Contrasting grout shows off tile designs.
  • Grout Sealant: Sealing the grout makes it waterproof and stain resistant.
  • Spacers: Plastic spacers ensure consistent grout line thickness between tiles.
  • Tile Cutter: A manual cutter has a wheeled score and snap motion for straight cuts.
  • Wet Saw: For L-shaped, U-shaped, or curved cuts, a compact wet saw is needed.
  • Grout Float: This tool helps spread and fill grout into tile joints. Use a rubber grout float.
  • Sponges & Buckets: For washing away grout residue and clean up. Have several sponges and buckets for rinsing.
  • Towels & Rags: Microfiber cloths help smooth tiles and remove smudges or excess grout.

With the right tools and materials assembled, you’re ready to start the smart tile installation.

Installing the Smart Tiles

Follow these steps for properly installing smart tiles:

Step 1: Apply the Adhesive

  • Use a notched trowel to spread a thin, even layer of adhesive mortar onto the backsplash area marked for tile placement.
  • Apply only 1-2 square feet of adhesive at a time to prevent drying before tile is applied.

Step 2: Place the Tiles

  • Beginning at the center and working outwards, press tiles firmly into the adhesive.
  • Twist each tile back and forth slightly to collapse the adhesive ridges for maximum adhesion.
  • Make sure tile edges are correctly aligned with the marked backsplash grid. Refer to photos taken earlier.
  • Use plastic spacers between tiles to maintain even grout line width.
  • Don’t stress about getting tiles perfectly even or removing every bit of adhesive. The grouting step will clean it up.

Step 3. Cut Any Partial Tiles

  • Place tiles needing cuts upside down on the tile cutting wet saw.
  • Score the tile face lightly with the saw blade multiple passes until cutting through.
  • Carefully snip off any remaining attachment tabs using tile nippers.
  • File jagged edges smooth with a rubbing stone. Test cut tiles in their spaces.

Step 4: Allow Tile Adhesive to Cure

  • Let the installed tiles sit undisturbed for 24 hours. This allows the adhesive to fully cure.
  • Keep foot traffic off the newly tiled backsplash during the curing period.
  • You can continue installing tiles in sections during this time as long as adhesive in that area has set for at least 5-6 hours.

Step 5: Grout the Tiles

  • Mix the grout with water to a thick, peanut butter-like consistency. Let sit 10 minutes.
  • Spread grout over the tiles using a rubber grout float pressing into joints.
  • Diagonally swipe float across tiles scraping off excess grout.
  • Rinse sponge frequently and wipe tiles lightly to shape joints. Avoid digging into grout lines.
  • Allow grout to dry on tiles for 10-15 minutes until a light haze forms.

Step 6: Clean Tile and Finish Grouting

  • Wipe over tiles with a damp microfiber towel to remove grout film.

-dip sponge in bucket and wring out excess water. Lightly wipe tiles to clean grout haze and shape joints.

  • Over several hours, periodically wipe tiles with damp sponges to ensure grout haze is removed.
  • Visually inspect grout lines for any low spots and re-apply grout as needed.
  • Allow grout to fully cure 24-48 hours before using shower or exposing to water.

The grouting process takes some finesse, but is very rewarding seeing your professional finished backsplash.

Installing the Smart Features

With tiles firmly mounted, it’s time to install and connect the smart technology components:

Power Source

  • For battery powered tiles, insert batteries hidden on tile backs according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Hardwired power tiles may require an electrician to install a low voltage transformer that plugs into an outlet.
  • Connect any loose wires from tile power sources. Consult product manuals for wiring information.

WiFi Connection

  • Download the app for your smart tiles brand. Create an account and connect app to your WiFi.
  • Power on tiles and sync them with WiFi following app setup prompts. This may require pressing a connect button on each tile.
  • Ensure tiles show as registered and online in the app. Check there are no connectivity issues.
  • Update tile firmware and name individual tiles or groups if allowed in app settings.

With power and WiFi established, you can now use the app to fully configure your new smart tiles backsplash!

Troubleshooting Common Smart Tile Install Problems

Despite best efforts, you may encounter some common smart tile issues:

Tiles Not Sticking to Wall

  • Ensure adhesive fully dried before applying tiles. Re-apply adhesive.
  • Too much space between tiles. Use more spacers for consistent gaps when setting tiles.
  • Wall surface not properly prepared. Redo steps for cleaning and priming backsplash area.

Hazy Residue on Tiles After Grout

  • Allow grout longer drying time before wiping tiles. Grout requires up to 72 hours to fully cure.
  • Too much water used to wipe grout. Dip sponge in bucket and wring out thoroughly before wiping.
  • Poor quality grout used. Only use non-sanded grout recommended for wall installation.

Grout Cracking Between Tiles

  • Applying grout in too thick a layer can lead it to crack when drying. Aim for a thinner application.
  • Wall movement or tile expansion can also crack grout. Ensure backsplash area is stable.
  • Aggressive wiping of the grout before cured can rake lines and promote cracks. Wipe gently.

Smart Tiles Not Connecting to WiFi

  • Double check WiFi password entered in app is correct. Also confirm network coverage extends to tile area.
  • Try rebooting the router if tiles won’t connect at all. Verify router security settings allow new device connections.
  • Update tile firmware and WiFi router to latest versions available. This can resolve connectivity bugs.
  • For hardwired tiles, check for any loose wire connections either on tiles or at transformer plug.

With some adjustments and extra care taken for trouble spots, you can achieve a flawless looking smart tiles backsplash installation.

Caring for Your New Smart Tile Backsplash

Once successfully installed, maintaining your smart tile backsplash keeps it looking stunning:

  • For day to day cleaning, simply use a microfiber cloth and warm, mild soapy water. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
  • Change disposable batteries in battery powered tiles about once a year or when notified by tile low battery indicator.
  • Check for any cracked or missing grout. Repair right away to prevent moisture damage.
  • Re-seal grout lines every 1-2 years with grout sealant to keep grout waterproof and stain-free.
  • Occasionally wipe dust from any wall ventilation holes or fans so moisture can escape properly. This prevents bulging tiles.
  • Take time to regularly change up the tile colors, patterns, and displays. Smart tiles are meant to be customized!

Follow the manufacturer’s care guidelines for their specific smart tiles products. With routine upkeep, you can enjoy your high-tech backsplash for many years.

Backsplash Tile Design Inspiration

One of the best aspects of installing smart tiles is the limitless design options. Here are some backsplash tile pattern ideas to spark your creativity:

Graphic Displays

  • Display abstract art, geometric patterns, or photographic images. Change artwork remotely by the day or season.
  • Program continually changing designs like waterfalls, fireworks, sunrises, flowers blooming.
  • Set tiles to visually complement kitchen accent colors like bright red appliances or teal cabinet paint.

Words & Quotes

  • Spell out fun or inspiring sayings. Easily update messages for holidays.
  • Make a backsplash birthday countdown display. Children will enjoy watching the tiles change daily.
  • Show favorite recipe names or ingredients. Tie in tile designs to cooking and meals.

Texture & 3D Effects

  • Mimic materials like wood grain, marble, stone, concrete, or terrazzo.
  • Use programed animations to simulate water rippling, fire flickering or leaves blowing.
  • Create faux 3D effects with shadows and perspectives using clever tile arrangements.

Calendars & Clocks

  • Transform the backsplash into a gigantic clock to easily track time prepping meals.
  • Display calendars showing upcoming events, appointments, or dinner parties. Never miss an occasion!
  • Set timers right on the tiles when baking or cooking. Get alerts when time is up.

With smart tiles, the possibilities for creative backsplash designs are truly endless. Experiment and have fun dreaming up your own unique smart tile configurations. The advanced functionality takes kitchen backsplash design into the future.

Smart Tiles Backsplash Ideas by Room

Beyond the kitchen, smart tiles make for captivating backsplash tile designs in all rooms:


  • Display soothing nature scenes, falling water, or peaceful landscapes as a relaxing accent wall behind bathtubs.
  • Program automatic night lights to come on from tiles at certain times for middle of the night bathroom visits.
  • Switch tiles to coordinate with bath towels, rugs, and shower curtains for a cohesive look.

Laundry Rooms

  • Use tiles to count down wash or dryer cycles. Get alerts when loads are complete.
  • Write reminders to buy laundry supplies or add missing socks to lost and found.
  • Display fun laundry quotes and sayings like “wash, dry, fold, repeat.”

Home Offices

  • Program an inspirational quote of the day as a uplifting backdrop while working.
  • Use tiles to jot notes, to-do lists, reminders, and calendar events.
  • Display photos of loved ones, favorite vacation memories, or pet pictures.

Kids’ Rooms

  • Spell out names in custom graphics and colors for a personalized wall accent.
  • Let kids draw pictures or send selfies on their devices to display on tiles.
  • Program night light settings, calming nature scenes, or a sleep timer counting down to bedtime.

Any room can be enhanced with the creative freedom provided by DIY smart tiles. With the ability to quickly change displays, the design possibilities are endless.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Smart Tile Backsplashes

What tools do I need to install a smart tile backsplash?

You’ll need basic tiling tools like a notched trowel, spacers, tile cutter, adhesive, and grout. Many smart tiles also require a power drill or screwdriver for some installation steps per the manufacturer’s instructions. Have rags, sponges, and buckets for clean up on hand.

What’s the best smart tile brand?

Some top rated smart tile brands are Polygonal Labs, Raspi Tiles, Mosaic Manufacturing, and Decky. Check out product reviews and smart tile forum discussions to see real customer experiences with various brands.

How do you cut smart tiles?

Cutting smart tiles requires the same tools you’d use to cut normal ceramic or porcelain tiles – typically a wet saw for angled cuts and a manual tile cutter for straight cuts. Just be very careful not to damage any wired connections or microchips on the back of the tiles when cutting.

Can I install smart tiles over existing backsplash?

In most cases, smart tiles cannot be installed over an existing backsplash. The wall surface needs to be cleared down the studs and prepared with fresh drywall or cement board. Consult manufacturer guidelines for overlaying tiles on specific surfaces.

How are smart tiles powered?

Smart tiles are powered either by small replaceable coin cell batteries, USB power banks, or low voltage hardwired connections. Battery replacements are needed about once a year. Hardwired tiles require professional installation of a transformer.

What WiFi speed is needed for smart tiles?

Most smart tiles need a minimum of 2.4 gHz WiFi supporting IEEE 802.11 b/g/n standards. Fast internet is not important – only the speed of your local WiFi network covering the tile installation area matters. A mesh router system helps ensure full WiFi signal strength.

How thick are smart tiles?

Smart tiles are typically 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Thicker smart tiles house more advanced technology and battery storage. If combining smart tiles with regular tiles, use spacers to align overall thickness.

Installing DIY smart tiles to create an interactive, customizable backsplash is an easy tiling project achievable even for the novice renovator. With the right materials and planning, you can unlock a whole new world of innovative backsplash design possibilities.