How to Install Solid Glass Backsplash


Installing a solid glass backsplash can be a great way to add style, elegance, and function to your kitchen. A glass backsplash protects your wall from water damage and is very easy to keep clean. Glass comes in a huge variety of colors, textures, and patterns, so you’re sure to find a look that suits your taste. Installing it yourself can save on labor costs, and the project itself is fairly straightforward as long as you’re careful in your preparations and measurements. We’ll walk you through the entire process step-by-step to help you successfully install your solid glass backsplash.

Things You’ll Need

  • Glass backsplash tiles or sheets
  • Backerboard (cement, Hardibacker, etc.)
  • Thinset mortar adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Grout sealer
  • Tile spacers
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenters square
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Knee pads

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

The first step is to prepare your work area to keep things clean and organized. Remove everything from the counter tops and clear the area where you’ll be working. It can get messy when cutting tiles and during the grouting process. Protect surrounding surfaces with drop cloths. Have all your tools and materials handy before beginning work. Make sure there is adequate lighting in the kitchen. Turn off power to any outlets in the backsplash area to stay safe when using water.

Step 2: Install Backerboard

Glass tile should not be installed directly onto drywall. It’s important to first install a backerboard that will provide structure and stability. Cement, fiber cement, or fiberglass backerboard are good options. Measure the area and cut boards to size using a utility knife or circular saw. Secure the backerboard with construction adhesive and screws. Be sure boards are level and junctions butt up flush, filling any gaps. The backerboard should cover the entire installation area.

Step 3: Mark Your Tile Layout

Now it’s time to map out your tile layout. Most backsplashes use a grid pattern, offset pattern or single sheet of glass. Mark vertical and horizontal lines on the board to guide your installation. Use a level and carpenter square to ensure your lines are straight. Measure the tile sheets and mark their size along the grid. Adjust lines to achieve a symmetrical layout with equal size cuts at borders. This prep work will make installing the glass backsplash much easier.

Step 4: Spread Thinset Mortar

Mix thinset mortar adhesive according to package directions. Use a notch trowel to spread a layer of thinset onto the backerboard where the first tiles will be set. Spread only enough thinset that can be covered with tile before the mortar skins over. Using the right trowel size is key – consult adhesive specs for recommended notch depth. The mortar should be pressed through tile to achieve full coverage.

Step 5: Set the Bottom Row

Beginning with the bottom row, press tiles into the thinset and slide them to align with your layout lines. Use tile spacers between each to achieve even grout joint size. Ensure full contact between tile and thinset by gently pressing and sliding the tile. Work any air pockets out towards edges. Immediately wipe away any excess thinset. Continue setting tiles, making sure everything remains aligned and even. Allow thinset to cure per manufacturer directions before grouting.

Step 6: Cut Border Tiles

Once the field tiles are installed, measure and cut any custom tiles needed to fill the borders. Glass can be tricky to cut, so this takes precision. Use a straight edge and utility knife to score the glass, applying firm, consistent pressure with multiple passes. Line the score mark up with the edge of the counter or use a tile cutter to snap the glass cleanly. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper. Set border tiles in place with thinset.

Step 7: Apply Grout and Seal

After ensuring thinset has cured properly, it’s time to grout the tile joints. Apply grout by pressing it into the joints with a rubber grout float. Hold the float at a 45° angle and work it diagonally across tiles to fill joints fully. Strike the joints once more to compress grout into any voids. Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge. Once grout has dried, apply grout sealer according to product directions to protect it from moisture and staining.

Step 8: Seal the Edges

Most solid glass backsplashes have exposed edges that also need to be sealed. Apply a transparent sealant designed for glass along all the perimeter edges using an applicator or bead gun. This prevents moisture from seeping behind the glass and compromising adhesion. Install any trim pieces like bullnose tiles once sealing is complete.

Tips for Installation Success

  • Use a high-quality thinset mortar designed for glass tile installation. This prevents cracking or loosening.
  • Glass tiles can be slippery. Handle them carefully and work slowly on a flat, stable surface.
  • Use tile spacers consistently to ensure straight, even grout joint sizes.
  • Check for level and plumb as you install tiles to prevent lippage between tiles.
  • Cut glass on a smooth surface and use a tile wet saw or glass cutter for best results.
  • Apply grout and sealant per manufacturer specifications for optimal durability.
  • Protect newly installed glass backsplash from other construction debris until project is complete.


What are the benefits of a glass backsplash?

Glass backsplashes offer elegance, easy maintenance, durability, and style. Glass is waterproof and resistant to heat, grease, and stains. It’s very easy to clean and wipes free of bacteria. Glass comes in endless colors, prints, and textures to suit any design aesthetic. It adds a modern, sleek look to kitchens.

Is a glass backsplash hard to install?

Installing a glass backsplash is considered intermediate in terms of DIY difficulty. With proper planning, tools, and attention to detail, an experienced DIYer can tackle the project successfully. The main challenges involve precise cutting of the glass and working carefully to prevent cracking tiles.

How long does a glass backsplash installation take?

The installation time can vary depending on the size of the project, but expect it to take 2 full days or more for a typical backsplash. Allow time for proper thinset curing between steps. Larger kitchens or detailed layouts will inevitably take more time overall.

Can you install glass backsplash over existing tile?

It is not recommended to install a glass backsplash directly over existing tile. The texture and depth of the underlying tile can make it impossible to achieve a smooth, even finish with the glass tile. The best practice is to remove existing backsplash tile and install new backerboard prior to a glass installation.

Should glass backsplash go floor to ceiling?

This depends on personal preference, but most backsplashes stop at 4 feet or so above the countertop. Going floor to ceiling with glossy glass tile could be overwhelming visually. An option is to go full height with glass and use accent bands of different materials like subway tile to break it up.


Installing a stunning glass backsplash can completely transform the look and functionality of your kitchen. With the right preparations and careful adherence to each installation step, you can achieve glass backsplash success on your DIY project. A weekend of patience and persistence will reward you with a durable, low-maintenance focal point that adds style and character. Just be sure to do your homework researching products and techniques before beginning. With the helpful tips we’ve provided, you can look forward to enjoying your beautiful new glass backsplash for years to come.