Installing a beautiful backsplash can add style and personality to any kitchen. But properly grouting a backsplash is just as important as choosing the right tile. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn how to put grout on a backsplash like a pro.
Preparing for Grouting
Before you can grout your new backsplash, make sure you have completed the tile installation and allowed the thinset adhesive to fully cure according to manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes at least 24 hours. It’s also crucial that the tiles are clean and free of any dust, dirt or oily residues that could prevent the grout from bonding properly.
To grout a backsplash, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Grout – Choose an unsanded grout for joints 1/8″ or less, sanded for wider joints. Match the grout color to your tile.
- Grout float – A rubber grout float helps spread grout smoothly and evenly.
- Sponge – For wiping up excess grout. Some pros use a grout sponge with a scrubber side.
- Buckets – For grout and clean water.
- Grout sealer – Sealing the grout prevents staining and damage.
Tips Before Grouting
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions for any special tips or precautions for your specific grout.
- Test the grout color on a spare tile to ensure it’s the right shade.
- Apply grout release or sealer if recommended for the tile type. This prevents grout from sticking to the tile surface.
- Have a damp sponge and plenty of clean water on hand to wipe up messes.
- Work in small sections for the most control over neat, even grout lines.
How to Apply Grout on a Backsplash
Grouting a backsplash is a simple process that just takes a little practice. Here are the step-by-step instructions for flawless results:
Step 1: Dampen the Tile Surface
Use a lightly damp sponge to wipe down the tile and joints prior to grouting. This helps prevent the grout from drying out too quickly.
Step 2: Apply the Grout
Hold the rubber grout float at a 45° angle and force it firmly into the joints to fill them completely with grout. Apply in sections, working diagonally across the tile.
Step 3: Let it Sit for a Few Minutes
Allow the grout to firm up slightly in the joints, usually 5-10 minutes. This helps ensure it stays packed into the joints. Don’t let it get too firm.
Step 4: Wipe Away Excess Grout
Holding the sponge at a 90° angle, wipe in a circular motion to remove excess grout sitting on the tile surface. Rinse the sponge frequently.
Step 5: Smooth the Joints
Once the excess grout is cleaned up, go back over the joints using less pressure to smooth and shape the grout evenly in the lines.
Step 6: Clean the Surface
Use a lightly damp sponge to give the tile one more wipe to remove any remaining grout haze sitting on the surface.
Step 7: Allow the Grout to Cure
Give the grout at least 48 hours to fully cure before getting the backsplash wet. Avoid heavy use during this time.
Grout Curing Tips
Follow these tips for proper grout curing and protection:
- Keep the area dry for at least 48 hours as grout cures.
- Open windows or use fans to circulate air to allow grout to cure evenly.
- After 48 hours, mist the grout joints lightly with water 1-2 times per day for 3 days. This helps proper curing.
- Avoid heavy use of the backsplash for 5-7 days to prevent damage to soft grout joints.
- Apply a penetrating grout sealer according to manufacturer’s directions once fully cured.
Common Grout Issues and Solutions
Sometimes grout doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. Here are some common grouting problems and how to fix them:
Uneven Grout Lines
- Re-wet the joint slightly and use the grout float to carefully shape and smooth the lines.
Cracks or Pitting
- Chisel out cracked areas and re-grout, allowing extra time to cure.
Grout Haze on Tiles
- Mix a mild solution of vinegar and water and scrub with a soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly.
- Wipe down grout with equal parts water and white vinegar. Brush joints gently.
Grout Dried on Surface
- Carefully scrape off hardened grout with a plastic scraper or toothpick. Avoid scratching tile.
To keep your backsplash grout looking fresh, be sure to:
- Seal grout every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer.
- Use a gentle household cleaner for regular cleaning. Avoid abrasive scouring powders.
- Re-apply grout in any cracked or damaged areas to prevent moisture issues.
- Consider refreshing the grout color every 5-10 years.
With the proper tools, techniques, and care, you can achieve beautiful, professional-looking grouted joints for your backsplash project. Take your time, follow these tips, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. The end result will be well worth the effort for a kitchen you’ll love showing off.
Frequently Asked Questions About Grout for Backsplashes
What type of grout should I use for a kitchen backsplash?
For backsplashes, it’s best to use an unsanded grout. Unsanded grout is ideal for joints smaller than 1/8 inch. It creates a smooth finish and won’t scratch glass, metal or polished stone tiles.
What color grout should I choose?
Match the grout color to your tile color for the most seamless look. For white subway tile, a bright white grout is best. Go for a gray grout with gray stone tiles. Contrasting grout can be used if you want the joints to stand out.
How long does grout take to dry?
Grout begins drying in 30 minutes but takes about 48 hours to fully cure. Avoid getting the backsplash wet during this time. Lightly mist grouted areas after 48 hours to help curing.
Should I seal my backsplash grout?
Yes, use a penetrating grout sealer on fully cured grout. Sealing prevents stains, damage and discoloration. Reapply every 1-2 years. Don’t use topical sealers which can discolor grout.
Why is my grout cracking or crumbling?
Cracks happen when grout loses moisture too quickly while curing. Ensure proper curing by keeping the area ventilated and misting 1-2 times per day after 48 hours.
How do I clean grout haze from my tile?
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Apply to hazy areas and let sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Repeat as needed.
Installing and grouting a kitchen backsplash brings your design together for a cohesive look. Taking the proper steps will lead to a flawless finished project you can enjoy for years. Prepare the area, have the right tools on hand, apply the grout carefully, allow proper curing time, and keep the grout maintained. Follow this guide for gorgeous grout lines and a backsplash you’ll absolutely love.