How to Put Grout in Backsplash – A Comprehensive Guide for DIYers

Placing grout in between the tiles of your backsplash is an essential step to finishing your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. Properly grouting your backsplash will give it a polished, finished look while also sealing and protecting the tiles. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to grout a backsplash yourself and achieve beautiful, professional-looking results.

Getting Started with Grout for Your Backsplash

Before you can start applying grout, there are a few key preparations you need to make:

Choose the Right Grout

  • Unsanded grout is best for grout lines 1/8 inch or smaller. It has a smooth, even texture perfect for narrow grout lines.
  • Sanded grout contains fine sand particles and is ideal for wider grout lines over 1/8 inch. The sand helps it bond and fill wider gaps.
  • Match the grout color to your tile. Contrasting shades can look nice but for an inconspicuous look, choose a similar color.
  • For water resistance, use a grout that is formulated with polymers and waterproofing admixtures. This is crucial for kitchens and baths.

Gather Your Supplies

  • Grout float for spreading grout.
  • Grout sponge and bucket for wiping away excess.
  • Old rags, paper towels, painter’s tape.
  • Grout sealer to apply after grouting.
  • Grout haze remover in case of haze.
  • Safety gear like gloves and goggles.

Prepare the Tiles

  • Let tile cement cure fully, for at least 24-48 hours.
  • Remove all spacers between tiles.
  • Clean tiles thoroughly to remove dust, dirt and debris.

How to Apply Grout on Your Backsplash

Grouting your backsplash is a simple process of spreading grout then wiping off the excess. Follow these key steps:

Step 1: Spread Grout Over the Tiles

  • Apply a thin layer of grout over the tiles, pushing it into the grout lines. Hold the float at a 45° angle and work in small sections.
  • Make sure grout fills the lines fully and doesn’t just sit on top of the tile edges.
  • Let it sit for 20-30 minutes so it can start to cure in the joints.

Step 2: Wipe Off Excess Grout

  • After grout has sat for a bit, use a damp grout sponge in a circular motion to start wiping it away.
  • Rinse the sponge and reapply water/squeeze out excess as needed. Change water frequently.
  • Wipe diagonally across tiles to avoid pulling grout out of the lines. Apply light pressure.
  • Remove all residue and haze from tile surface.

Step 3. Final Cleanup

  • With a damp sponge, do a final pass to tidy up any remaining haze or residue.
  • Allow grout to fully cure for 72 hours. Do not get it wet during this time.
  • If haze appears, use a grout haze remover per product instructions. Never use acids.
  • Once cured, seal grout lines with a penetrating sealer.
  • Buff surface with a soft cloth.

Tips for Achieving Flawless Grout Lines

Follow these tips and tricks for grouting success:

  • Mix grout to a thick, peanut butter-like consistency – not too wet or dry.
  • Grout in small sections so it stays workable and doesn’t dry out.
  • Hold float at a consistent 45° angle to compact grout nicely into lines.
  • Wipe diagonally across tiles so you don’t pull grout out of the joints.
  • Change rinse water frequently to avoid redistributing grout film.
  • Avoid excessive water when wiping to prevent uneven grout color.
  • Be patient during cleanup. Multiple passes and touchups may be needed.
  • Use painter’s tape around wall edges for a crisp, clean transition.

Common Grout Issues and How to Avoid Them

Grouting is straightforward but some common problems can occur. Here are tips to avoid them:

  • Cracking – Let grout cure fully before getting it wet. Use grout with latex additive for flexibility.
  • Poor adhesion – Make sure tiles are clean and cement is cured. Use proper grout for joint size.
  • Efflorescence – Mix and wipe grout thoroughly to avoid whitish mineral deposits.
  • Uneven coloring – Maintain a consistent water amount when wiping to prevent light/dark areas.
  • Grout haze – Wipe off all residue before it dries. If needed, use grout haze remover.
  • Crumbling grout – Ensure mix isn’t too wet. Let it cure fully before cleaning. Seal to protect.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does grout take to dry before sealing?

Grout will fully cure in 72 hours. Wait at least that long before sealing to prevent issues with adhesion or cracking.

Should I seal my grout?

Sealing is highly recommended for grout in kitchens, baths and showers. The sealer will repel stains and make regular cleaning much easier.

What’s the easiest way to apply grout?

Using a grout float is the easiest DIY method. Hold it at a consistent 45° angle to force grout into the joints. Let it sit briefly before wiping.

How do I clean grout haze off my tiles?

Use a specialized grout haze remover per manufacturer directions. Never use acidic cleaners which can damage the grout and tiles.

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout?

For narrow grout lines under 1/8 inch, use unsanded grout. For wider joints, sanded grout fills gaps better and resists cracking.


Grouting your backsplash is a satisfying final step to finish off your new kitchen or bath tiles. Following the recommendations in this guide will ensure you get flawless results. The key is proper preparation, careful application, gentle wiping, and patience during cleanup. Avoid common issues like cracking and grout haze by adhering to best practices. With some time and care, you can achieve beautiful grout lines that give your tiles a polished, professional look.