How to Redo a Backsplash

An SEO Expert’s Guide to Updating Your Kitchen Backsplash

Remodeling your kitchen backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. A stylish, updated backsplash brings your kitchen décor to the next level and makes cooking and entertaining a delight. However, redoing a backsplash is no small task. There are many factors to consider, from tile selection to proper installation methods. As SEO experts in all things home improvement, we’ve created this comprehensive guide on how to redo a kitchen backsplash. Follow our tips below for a smooth backsplash renovation from start to finish.

Selecting New Backsplash Tiles

The first step when redoing your backsplash is choosing your new tile. The options can feel overwhelming, but keeping the below factors in mind will help you select the perfect backsplash tile for your home:


Ceramic, porcelain, glass, and natural stone tiles like marble or granite are all popular backsplash tile materials. Consider the pros and cons of each:

  • Ceramic tile is affordable, available in endless colors/patterns, and easy to install. However, it is less durable than other materials.
  • Porcelain tiles are more durable, stain and water-resistant. They offer realistic stone and wood looks. Porcelain is generally more expensive than ceramic.
  • Glass tile provides brilliant color and shimmer. It is not very durable or water-resistant. Glass tile can also be pricey.
  • Natural stone offers elegance and durability, but is a big investment. Granite, marble, and travertine are common backsplash stones.


Pick a backsplash tile color that aligns with your cabinetry, countertops, and overall kitchen aesthetic. Bold, colorful tile or a neutral stone mosaic are both great options. Just make your backsplash visually cohesive with the rest of the kitchen.

Size & Shape

Large format tiles like 12”x24” subway tile create a seamless look. Small mosaic tiles, penny tiles, or hexagons pack visual interest. Combining tile sizes and shapes can look stunning too.

Finish & Texture

Consider glossy, matte, or textured tile finishes. Match durability needs too – glossy may show less wear than textured.


Measure your backsplash space to determine the tile amount needed. Set a tile budget and allow for extra overage. Shop options in your budget that meet your backsplash goals.


If aiming for a permanent backsplash that lasts decades, choose durable porcelain or natural stone tiles. For a temporary upgrade on a budget, stick to standard ceramic.

Preparing Your Backsplash Area

Once you’ve selected your backsplash tile, it’s time to get your space ready for installation. Proper preparation sets the stage for stunning results.

Remove Existing Backsplash

Carefully remove every existing backsplash tile and thoroughly clean off old tile adhesive. Use a putty knife to scrape adhesive residue and a multi-purpose cleaner to remove remaining debris. Wear safety goggles and gloves during demo. The area must be completely clean before applying new tile.

Inspect Drywall

Examine the exposed drywall after existing tile removal. Look for any damage, holes, or moisture that need addressing. Repair issues immediately so your new backsplash has a smooth base.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Cover countertops, cabinets, and appliances with plastic sheeting or rosin paper. Tape down edges to safeguard surfaces from splatters, dust, and debris during backsplash installation. It allows easy clean up later.

Sand Uneven Areas

Use 36-40 grit sandpaper to manually sand any lumps, dried adhesive, or uneven drywall seams. Smooth areas ensure your backsplash lies flat during install.

Prime the Walls

Applying primer creates an ideal bonding surface for backsplash thinset adhesive. Use drywall primer formulated for kitchens/bathrooms. Allow primer to fully dry per manufacturer instructions before tiling.

Gather Tools & Materials

Have all necessary backsplash installation tools ready – tile cutter, spacers, grout float, sponges, buckets, and safety gear. Thresholds like electrical outlets also need covering with surface-mount boxes.

How to Install New Backsplash Tile

Once prepped, it’s go time! Follow these key steps for seamless DIY backsplash tile installation:

1. Plan Your Tile Layout

Map out your tile layout on the wall accounting for focal points and design continuity. Mark the center point and work outward, using a level and chalk line to keep rows straight. Cut border tiles later as needed.

2. Mix & Apply Thinset

In a bucket, mix thinset adhesive per packaging directions until a smooth, lump-free consistency. Apply a thin layer across the backsplash area using a notched trowel sized for the tile. Work in small sections.

**3. Set & Space Tiles **

Starting from your center layout line, firmly press tiles into the thinset one by one. Leave a consistent 1/16” gap between tiles using temporary plastic spacers. Check lines stay straight using levels.

4. Grout the Tiles

Let thinset fully cure 24-48 hours before grouting. Mix and apply grout with a float, pressing into tile gaps. Let sit 10 minutes then scrub off residue with a damp sponge in circular motions. Rinse sponge frequently.

5. Seal & Finish

Once grout has cured 24 hours, apply grout sealer using a paintbrush. Avoid coating the tile faces. Finally, caulk edges and seal around fixtures. Your new backsplash is complete!

Common Backsplash Installation Issues

Even experienced DIYers encounter the occasional hiccup when tiling. Being aware of common backsplash problems and quick fixes helps ensure install success:

Uneven Tiles: Check thinset consistency – too thick can create an uneven base. Shim any visibly unlevel tiles immediately after placing to realign.

Grouting Gaps or Cracks: If grout lines cracked or fell out, rake them out using a grout removal tool. Re-grout those areas, allowing extra cure time.

Hazy Residue: If grout left a film on tiles, wait 72 hours and scrub with an alkaline tile cleaner. Re-seal if needed. Test in inconspicuous spot first.

Chipped Tiles: Carefully scrape out damaged thinset around the tile and replace it with an intact spare. Re-grout the new tile into place.

Backsplash Maintenance Tips

Regular backsplash cleaning and re-sealing will keep your new tile looking like new for years to come:

  • Use a pH-neutral daily cleaner concentrate to wipe down tile. Never use harsh cleaners or scrubbing pads.
  • Re-seal grout annually with a penetrating grout sealer to prevent stains and damage.
  • Address spills, splatters, and grime immediately to avoid stubborn staining.
  • Inspect for cracked or missing grout. Repair any problem areas promptly.
  • Consider refreshing caulk every few years as needed to prevent moisture issues.

With the proper prep work, installation techniques, and ongoing maintenance, your kitchen backsplash can be a true work of art. Just take it step-by-step. Before you know it, you’ll have a stunning, brand new backsplash to enjoy for decades to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Redoing a Backsplash

Redoing your outdated or damaged backsplash brings a fresh new look to your kitchen. However, tiling a backsplash for the first time can be daunting. Here we answer common questions on how to tackle this project confidently:

What is the easiest backsplash to install?

Self-adhesive vinyl backsplash tiles offer the quickest, easiest installation for DIYers. Peel and stick sheets go up with no thinset or grouting needed. This is a temporary solution though, not as durable as ceramic or stone.

What should I know before redoing my backsplash?

  • Accurately measure your backsplash space and account for extra tile.
  • Budget for all materials, tools, and safety equipment needed.
  • Demolishing the old backsplash takes time and energy.
  • Expect the project to take 2-3 days between dry time for thinset and grout.
  • Begin installation only when fully prepared and tiles are onsite.

How do I cut backsplash tiles?

Use a wet tile saw with a diamond blade for straight cuts and shaped tile edges. Place tile face up, mark cut lines, and run through the saw gently. Use a grinder for small notches needed around outlets. Wear eye and ear protection.

What thinset is best for backsplash tile?

Use a polymer-modified thinset mortar suitable for wall application and your tile type. This adhesive bonds well and has more flexibility. White thinset shows through glass or stone. For those, use a gray thinset.

How long does backsplash tile take to install?

Once prepped, the installation including thinset and grouting can be done in 1-2 days. Allow 24 hours for thinset curing before grouting, then another 24 for grout to cure. Extra drying time ensures a quality job.

How do you apply new backsplash caulk?

Run a smooth, continuous bead of kitchen/bath silicone caulk along all backsplash edges using a caulk gun. Tool the caulk with a damp finger for a smooth finish. Allow 24 hours to fully cure before water exposure.

How much does it cost to redo a backsplash?

For a 10 sq. ft. ceramic tile backsplash and DIY installation, expect costs around:

  • Tile: $100
  • Thinset/grout: $60
  • Tools: $50
  • Total: Approximately $200

Hiring a backsplash contractor ranges $6-$15 per square foot installed.

How can I make my backsplash shine?

Apply a marble polish or ceramic tile wax using a microfiber cloth and rubbing in small circles. For regular upkeep, seal tiles and grout annually and wipe down daily with a cleaner made for your tile material.

Redoing your backsplash is an extremely rewarding project that can completely transform your kitchen’s style. With proper planning and patience, you can install an elegant new backsplash in your space with confidence.


Updating your backsplash makes a dramatic impact on your kitchen’s aesthetic. With strategic tile selection, proper preparation, and step-by-step installation techniques, you can successfully redo your backsplash yourself as a DIY project. Use the guidelines provided above to achieve stunning results you’ll enjoy for decades to come. Just take it one tile at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have the contemporary, eye-catching backsplash of your dreams – all without breaking the bank.

The sense of pride and accomplishment after finishing your backsplash redo will be priceless. You’ll have gained tremendously valuable tiling skills that will benefit you with future projects around the home as well. And anytime you need extra guidance, refer back to these tips from our experts. We hope this article has equipped you with the knowledge needed to tackle your backsplash makeover with confidence. The transformation will be amazing. Soon you’ll have the kitchen of your dreams, starting with its beautiful new backsplash designed just for you.