How to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash Yourself

How to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash

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You might be looking forward to bringing a new look into your kitchen by doing a backsplash makeover. Well, this is a nice idea because it is one of the easily noticeable surfaces in the kitchen.

A new backsplash can turn a once dull and unappreciated kitchen into a bright and lovely one. how about if I told you could do it all by yourself without spending a cent on labor? By the time you’re done reading this article, that’ll be true in your case.

Firstly, you should decide whether you want glass, mosaic, or even porcelain tiles for your kitchen.

In this article, I’m going to guide you on how to tile your kitchen backsplash and the tools and materials you will need. I shall also enlighten you on what you should consider when choosing which style to go for. Let’s get started-

Tools needed

You’ll need the following tools for the job;

  • Tile cutter/tile saw
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Rubber grout float
  • Sponge

Materials needed

  • Wall tiles
  • Grout
  • Sandpaper
  • Tile adhesive


Step 1: Preparing the wall

You should ensure that the wall you want to tile is clean and on the level.

Measure the area that you are going to the tile using a tape measure.

Prepare a layout of the area on a piece of paper using a pencil and come up with a design on how you are going to arrange the tiles.

Measure the space between the cabinets and countertop and go for tiles that can fit well in that space. Ensure you have a way you will work out space at the edges. You can use edge tiles instead of cutting tiles to fit those edges.

If your countertop is not at the level, create a grout line, and make it your starting point. Next, extend the line to the entire area that you want to tile using a level. Ensure that all the tiles lined at the bottom meet the grout line. If they do not meet, cut it from the bottom to fit with the mark. All the tiles you install above this line should fit well without any cutting. Fix any cut tiles at the bottom of the cabinets where they won’t be easily seen.

The tiles ill look better in vertical and symmetrical all around. For you to achieve symmetrical layout, measure and mark the center part. Place the tiles to ascertain how many of them will be required.

Roughen the wall using sandpaper and then wipe off the dust using a damp cloth.

Step 2: Cutting the tiles

Set the tiles on the tile cutter and cut them to the required measurements. The tile cutter snaps the tiles at the set score and works well with either porcelain or ceramic tiles. If the tiles will have rough edges after cutting, you can make smoothen them out with sandpaper.

For glass tiles, use a power wet saw. It produces well cut, and smooth edges.

Step 3: Cutting off power

Switch off the power at the breaker panel and unscrew the screws that hold the switch. Pull away slowly and carefully. The power has to remain off when you are on the project.

Step 4: Applying adhesive

Spread the adhesive smoothly on the wall using a notched trowel. The notches increase the bonding strength of the adhesive. Also, ensure you spread the adhesive in a square area that can be handled within not more than 5 minutes.

In some cases, when using mastic, a layer of skin can form on its surface. That only means that the mastic has already begun drying and you should wipe the wall clean and apply adhesive afresh.

Step 5: setting tiles

Starting from the countertop, fix your tiles and use tile spacers for uniform joints. Ensure that you press onto the tiles firmly after setting them for them to bond properly with the adhesive.

When you get to the area around the power outlets, cut to appropriate tile size and set them. This also includes to those areas that the tiles won’t fit properly.

After all the tiles are set, leave them to sit for at least 24 hours. Some mortars take longer to dry. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for more information.

You can then proceed to remove the tile spacers after the adhesive has fully dried.

Step 6: Filling grout

Check the grout mixing procedure and mix it as required. Spread it well and deeply into the horizontal and vertical joints left after removing tile spacers.

The best grout to use in wide joints is the sanded one while for the shallow joints you can use the unsanded one. However, the sanded grout is not good with glass tiles, this is because the sand grains can scratch the glass damaging the luster.

As you apply the grout, ensure you hold the float in a 45-degree angle. After all, joints are filled, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess grout. Wait for about 30 minutes until a hazy film appears on the surface.

Clean off the tiles again but this time with a dry cloth and wait for 2-3 days. You can apply a seal to the grout if necessary.

Step 7: Applying caulk

Apply waterproof silicone caulk to edges that the tile meets another surface like the area where the tiles meet the countertop. The caulk prevents mold from growing on those edges.

When applying, hold it at 45 degrees angle and press onto the caulk for uniform application. In case of any mistakes, wipe it out immediately and freshly apply a clean layer uniformly.

For a thin caulk layer, cut the top nozzle part of the caulk and for a thicker one, cut a bit further down. You should allow the caulk to dry after every few square feet.

Lastly, smoothen the caulk using your finger to a point that it can’t be noticed easily.

Step 8: Fixing electrical outlets

After you have installed your tiles, your power outlets will probably not flush to the front backsplash. To ensure they match out well, add some space with plastic spacers, and do not forget to turn the power off when at work. This new setting will require longer screws.

Factors to consider when choosing kitchen backsplash tiles

Nowadays, the kitchen is no longer a place for just cooking. Everyone wants total beauty, style, and elegance in their kitchen. It can be hard, however, to avoid mistakes when choosing the type of backsplash, you want for your kitchen. Below are some of the things you should look at when deciding the right tiles for your kitchen.


Everyone wants a beautiful backsplash for their kitchen and usually, the more attractive the tile, the more expensive it is. Glass tiles cost more than the other types.

Not everyone can afford it but that does not mean you will have to install a boring backsplash, No! You can choose other less expensive tiles like ceramic, porcelain that suit your pocket needs.

Consider also options like the method for installing those tiles. Will you hire a professional? Or will you do it by yourself?

Material of tile

We all want a tile material that requires little care like the very hygienic subway tiles. So, the time spent maintaining these tiles will be less.

Another example is the granite backsplash which is beautiful to the eyes but requires intensive care and maintenance. You will have to regularly clean these tiles to prevent bacteria from growing in those crannies.

Stainless steel is well known for its reflective power. As such, it is quite prone to staining when touched or when water and food particles splash onto it. You will spend some time maintaining that glow for these tiles.

The shape of the tile

Bringing the style into the kitchen requires some differences. Many go for the subway tile layout but who said you can’t go for other unique shapes like Hexagon or chevron?


If you are a lover of cozy kitchen, go for darker colors but ensure that the lighting in the kitchen is full. And for lovers of light ones, go for them! Light colors will make the kitchen appear spacious.


To avoid your kitchen looking a bit off-balance, make sure the tiles you choose to match with the cabinets and the countertops.

Final thoughts

Your kitchen should not be the old boring style. You can upgrade to something more elegant and stylish by just upgrading the backsplash. This guide could be all you could need to show some love to your kitchen. Go ahead and try it out, and who knows, a friend might even ask you to do their kitchen backsplash too!

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