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If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to upgrade the look of your kitchen, consider a DIY backsplash.

If you’re wondering how to tile a backsplash, it’s actually quite easy! In this article, we’ll explain step-by-step how to plan for the project, prepare the space for installation and lay the tile so it will look great for many years to come.

wall measurements to install kitchen backsplash

Take Wall Measurements

Tile backsplash installation begins by calculating how much tile is necessary to cover the backsplash area. You don’t want to buy too much tile or not have enough to get the job done!

  • The square footage determines how much tile is necessary for tiling a backsplash in a kitchen. Proper measurements will help keep tile installation costs down.
  • To get your square footage measurement, multiply the length and the width of your wall space, The sum of that calculation is your final measurement
  • Take note of any light switches or electrical outlets.
  • It’s always a good idea to add an additional 10% of tiles to your final order in case you make a mistake or there are some damaged pieces.
  • Consult the labels on your mortar and grout purchases to ensure you have enough to cover the square-footage required.
preparing workspace before installing kitchen backspash

Prepare Workspace

  • Clear off your entire countertop before you begin. Remove every appliance and piece of cookware. Some larger appliances like your stove might have to be pulled out as well so you can properly access the workspace.
  • We suggest using some heavy paper or cardboard to cover your countertops to avoid debris and possible damage. Use painters tape to cover up any other exposed parts of your kitchen that you don’t want to risk getting covered in mortar and grout.
  • Go to the circuit breaker panel and disconnect power to any electrical outlets you’ll be working around. Remove any of the cover plates.
Prepare Walls for Backsplash Installation

Prep Walls for Backsplash Installation

  • Use spackling paste to patch up any holes in the drywall. Observe the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. Smooth the wall over with sandpaper.
  • Clean the wall with soap and water, ensuring to get rid of all dust and grease stains. If there are really bad stains, you should consider using a heavy duty product or even painting a layer or primer over the entire area to start fresh.
Pre-Lay Your DIY Backsplash

Pre-Lay Your DIY Backsplash

  • Find the most viewed part of your wall and mark that as your starting point.
  • Using a level or straightedge, draw lines as you go. Pre-lay the tiles moving up and out from your marked starting point, making sure you’re keeping the tiles even.
  • This is where you can make any special cuts if needed. A wet saw can help you prevent damaging the tiles, but a tile cutter or tile snipper for circular/unusual cuts can work as well.
preparing mortar for kitchen backsplash

Prepare Mortar

  • Follow the instructions on the package. Fill a bucket with the prescribed amount of water and slowly add the suggested amount of powdered thinset mortar. Be sure to mix thoroughly until the mixture is smooth.
  • Wait at least 5 minutes and then you can mix the mortar one more time. Be sure you’re ready to start tiling as soon as the mortar is mixed because you only have a few hours to use it.
  • It costs a bit more money, but you can save a lot of time if you buy premixed thinset mortar.
apply mortar carefully for the best result of kitchen backsplash

Apply Mortar

  • Working in small sections measuring two-feet, spread a thin layer of mortar on the wall with your trowel’s flat edge.
  • Press down at a slight angle to make sure that the mortar is going to stick to the wall.
  • Using the notched edge of the trowel, add a bit more mortar and gently pull the teeth through your mortar on the wall moving in one direction only. The grooves you make in the mortar should travel in the same direction as your tiles (up to down for vertical tiles and left to right for horizontal).
  • You need to work in small sections to stop the mortar from drying too quickly before you can tile it.
  • Be sure to use a damp sponge to remove any mortar from the surface of the tile as you go, otherwise it’s very difficult to remove after it dries.
Installing Backsplash

Installing Backsplash

  • Follow the lines you made during the dry-fit stage of tiling.
  • As you lay the tile on the wall, use tile spacers to keep everything straight and lined up properly.
  • Using your hands, gently rock the tile sheet down and up until it settles into the bed of mortar you just spread onto the wall. You can use a grout float for extra flattening.
  • If you get to the top row under the cabinetry and there’s more than an inch of space, you’ll have to cut some tiles especially to fit. If it’s less than one inch, you can cover the gap with some moulding.
kitchen backsplash

Pre-Seal Tile

  • Depending on the temperature and humidity of your home, as well as the type of mortar used, you should allow at least 24 hours for your tiles and mortar to dry.
  • Apply a good quality pre-seal to your tile if it’s made from natural stone. Do this a few hours before you add the grout. Presealer is imperative to prevent stains on the stone.
modern kitchen backsplash ideas 2022

Prepare Grout

  • Remove all the tile spacers and clean your newly laid tiles with water.
  • Next, it’s time to prepare your grout. Fill a bucket with the manufacturer’s prescribed amount of water and then slowly add the grout powder. Be sure to mix everything very well.
  • Wait about 5 minutes and mix again before applying grout. You should keep re-mixing the grout every so often during the application process.
How to Grout Kitchen Backsplash

How to Grout Backsplash

  • Keeping your grout float at an angle, apply the grout to the tile in a diagonal fashion.
  • Remove excess grout with the float held on a straight edge.
  • Remove grout from the front of the tiles with a damp sponge. Move the sponge in a circular motion. Keep rinsing the sponge regularly during this stage.
  • Keep doing this until your backsplash is covered. Don’t use too much water or you could wash out the grout.
  • When the grouting is done, wait three hours and then use a damp sponge one more time to remove any residual grout haze from the face of the tiles.
Clean and Seal Tile

Clean and Seal Tile

  • Wait a few days for the grout to fully dry and then you can use grout sealer to defend from stains.
  • When that’s dry, you can add a small bead of latex caulking to the edge where the backsplash meets the counter.
  • Reinstall your switch plates and reconnect your power. Put your countertop appliances back in their original spaces.
  • Keep your backsplash looking its best by wiping it down every so often with a glass cleaner.

Installing a new backsplash can instantly elevate the look of your kitchen and increase the value of your home. As you can see from this article, it can be an easy DIY project. But if you want a time-saving, hassle-free experience, call the kitchen design experts at ClearView Kitchens. Contact us for a free consultation and we can start designing your dream kitchen today.