Adding a backsplash to your bathroom can instantly upgrade the look and feel of the space. Not only does a backsplash provide an eye-catching focal point, but it also protects your walls from moisture damage. Installing a bathroom backsplash is a relatively easy DIY project that can be completed in a weekend. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to put backsplash in bathroom.
Choosing Your Backsplash
The first step is selecting the right backsplash material and design for your bathroom. There are endless options when it comes to backsplash tiles. Consider the following when making your choice:
- Ceramic tile: A classic choice, ceramic tiles come in a variety of styles, shapes, colors and textures. They are water-resistant and easy to clean.
- Glass tile: Glass tiles have a shiny, sleek appearance. They are available in tons of colors but keep in mind they can be tricky to cut.
- Metal tile: Metal backsplashes like copper, stainless steel or aluminum provide an industrial modern look. They are durable but prone to scratches.
- Stone tile: Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine or granite have beautiful veining. They are more expensive and require sealing.
- Mosaic tile: Mosaic tiles are made up of small pieces arranged in a pattern. They create a colorful, textured look.
Consider the overall style of your bathroom. Do you want something modern and sleek or rustic and natural? Think about choosing a backsplash pattern or texture that complements the finishes already in your bathroom.
Pick a backsplash color that ties into the color scheme of your bathroom. You can match your tiles to an existing feature or introduce an accent color.
Large format tiles will have fewer grout lines, creating a seamless look. Smaller tiles or mosaics will have more grout, causing the backsplash to look busier. Tile size impacts the overall visual effect.
Adding an accent or border tile gives your backsplash extra character. This works well with subways tiles or small mosaics.
Once you’ve selected the perfect backsplash tile, order about 10-15% extra to account for cuts and waste.
Preparing Your Wall
Proper prep work is crucial for a long lasting backsplash installation. Follow these steps to get your wall ready:
Use a cleaning solution like trisodium phosphate (TSP) to wash your walls. This will remove any grease, soap scum or dirt. Rinse thoroughly. Allow the wall to fully dry before moving onto the next step.
Inspect the wall and make any necessary repairs. Fill holes, fix cracks and smooth imperfections with spackle or joint compound. Sand smooth.
Take out any electrical outlets or switches on your backsplash wall. You’ll need access behind them to insert your tile. Place a towel in the empty outlet box to prevent debris from getting inside.
Apply a coat of primer over your entire backsplash area. This helps the thinset adhere properly. Use an acrylic primer made specifically for tile and masonry.
Paint Contrasting Color
Paint the areas above and below your backsplash with a contrasting color. This creates definition from the rest of the wall. Allow the paint to fully dry. Apply painter’s tape right above where your top row of tiles will sit.
Your wall is now prepped and ready for tile!
How to Cut Tile
Before starting your installation, you need to know how to properly cut your tiles to fit around outlets, corners and other obstacles. Here are the best tools for cutting different tile materials:
- Porcelain or ceramic: Use a wet saw to accurately cut porcelain or ceramic tiles. For small notches, you can use tile nippers.
- Glass: Since glass tile is sensitive to high heat, it should be cut using tile nippers or a glass cutter.
- Natural stone: For marble, granite, slate etc, use a wet saw. The rigid diamond blade minimizes chipping.
- Mosaic sheets: Score and snap mosaic sheets with tile pliers. Or use a utility knife and straightedge.
Practice your tile cutting technique on scrap pieces before moving onto your actual backsplash. Take your time and make sure cuts are straight and even.
Applying the Tile
Once you have all your materials and tile cuts ready, it’s time for the fun part – actually tiling your backsplash! Follow these steps:
Step 1: Plan Your Layout
Dry lay your tiles on the floor to determine the layout. Make sure you have an even number of tiles along the top and bottom, with similar size cuts on the ends. Adjust to achieve the optimal layout.
Step 2: Mix Thinset
In a bucket, combine thinset mortar powder with latex additive and water. Mix with a drill until smooth. Let it slake for 10 minutes before using.
Step 3: Apply Thinset
Use a notched trowel to spread a layer of thinset onto the wall. Apply in 3-4 foot sections so the thinset doesn’t dry out.
Step 4: Set Tiles
Starting at the bottom, press tiles into the thinset and wiggle to set them. Use spacers between tiles to achieve even grout lines.
Step 5: Cut Edge Tiles
Measure and cut edge tiles to fit around corners and edges. Set the cut tiles into place.
Step 6: Let Dry
Allow thinset to cure for 24-48 hours. Remove spacers and inspect for gaps, voids or raised edges.
You now have a fully tiled backsplash! Once dry, it’s time to grout.
How to Grout a Backsplash
Grout fills the seams between tiles, adding a polished finished look to your backsplash. Follow this easy process:
Step 1: Mix Grout
Make unsanded grout according to package directions, to a peanut butter consistency. Let slake for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Apply Grout
Using a grout float or rubber grout float, spread grout diagonally across the tiles to fill joints.
Step 3: Wipe Away Excess
Wait 10-15 minutes until the grout becomes firm. Use a damp sponge to wipe diagonal across tiles, removing excess grout.
Step 4: Clean Haze
Once grout has dried, a film will appear on tiles. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and scrub with a sponge to remove.
Step 5: Seal Grout
Apply a penetrating grout sealer to protect from moisture and stains. Allow to cure fully.
With the grout complete, your new backsplash is ready to enjoy! Be sure to maintain it properly to keep it looking fresh.
Backsplash Maintenance Tips
Follow these backsplash care tips:
- Use a gentle cleaner designed for natural stone or ceramic tile. Avoid abrasive cleansers.
- Re-seal grout lines annually to prevent staining and damage from moisture.
- Immediately wipe up spills and splatters to prevent stubborn staining.
- Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia that can discolor grout or etch tiles.
- Use a squeegee after showering to prevent soap scum and mineral deposits.
With proper care, your bathroom backsplash will maintain its beauty and function for many years of enjoyment!
FAQs About Putting Backsplash in Bathroom
How much does it cost to install a bathroom backsplash?
The cost to install a backsplash in a bathroom runs between $800-$1500 depending on the size of the space and materials used. Tile choice has the biggest impact on overall cost. High-end stone and glass tiles will be more expensive.
What kind of backsplash is best for bathrooms?
Water-resistant ceramic, porcelain or glass tiles are best for bathroom backsplashes. Options like marble, travertine and granite work but require diligent sealing to prevent water stains. Mosaics create a nice accent but will involve more grout.
How high should a backsplash be in a bathroom?
A standard backsplash height is 4 inches above the countertop. But anywhere between 4-6 inches is common. For a full wall look, take the backsplash all the way up to the ceiling. Limit to areas behind the sink and toilet only.
Should bathroom backsplash match floor tile?
It’s common to use matching tile for the flooring and backsplash which creates a cohesive flow. But it’s not a must – picking a contrasting tile or different style like subway tile can actually enhance the design.
What is the most waterproof backsplash for bathrooms?
Porcelain, ceramic and glass tile are waterproof options perfect for bathrooms. Metal tile like stainless steel, copper or tin are also water-resistant. Natural stone is prone to water damage but can work if properly sealed.
How do you cut glass tile for a backsplash?
Use a straight edge and glass cutter to score the tile, then snap it in half. You can also use tile nippers to clip small pieces. Do not cut glass tile using a wet saw as the heat can shatter it.
Adding a backsplash is one of the best ways to give your bathroom a fresh new look with just a small investment of time and money. With the right preparation and materials, you can tackle this DIY backsplash project and completely transform the feel of your space. Just take it step-by-step – properly prepare the wall, measure and cut your tiles, apply thinset mortar, place the tiles in a pleasing layout, then grout and seal. Maintain your backsplash properly and it will last for many years of beauty and function. With a wide range of tile options to fit any design aesthetic, it’s fun to get creative with your bathroom backsplash installation!