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How to Tile a Kitchen Backsplash


Supply List:

  • Tile
  • Bullnose tile for edging
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile adhesive
  • Premixed grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Notched trowel
  • Caulk & caulking gun
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil

Tiling a kitchen backsplash is an easy do-it-yourself project, even for the novice. And it can really update a kitchen when you add or change the kitchen backsplash.

First, you need to measure the width and height of the area you plan to tile. Do you want it to cover the length of the wall or just above the sink itself? Traditionally, backsplashes are about 18" high but you may want to adjust it depending on your kitchen design.

Next, you need to select the tile. If you don't want to be cutting a lot of tile, tile size is an important consideration, and don't forget the 1/4" space around each tile when planning. Those 1/4" spaces will be marked with tile spacers as you tile. Because a kitchen is typically a moist environment, don't forget to select tile that is sealed against moisture. If you are unsure, be sure to ask the tile expert when you are purchasing your tile.

Once you select the tile, you will also need to select the grout. You can go traditional gray or you can select one of the newer (and usually more expensive) colored grouts. Don't forget grout sealer!

You should always start tiling from the bottom. Why? Because if things are slightly off center, it will be much less obvious at the top where there is wall space, than it would be at the bottom where tiles would have to be cut to compensate.

Before you start tiling, layout the tile on the counter or floor so you can look at it. If any of the tiles have an odd looking finish, you want to make sure those are placed at the end and not front and center, or swapped out for other tiles. You can also check the look if your tiles are multicolored variant.

Mark where the center of the tiling is, so you will have an even center point, and work out from there. Apply adhesive and your first tiles, remembering to place spacers between each tile as you go. When you reach the top, use bullnose tile, or cut the tiles to fit beneath overhead cabinets if you decided to go higher than the standard 18" height.

Once you are done, carefully remove spacers and allow to dry, at least overnight.

Then, following the instructions on the grout sealer to seal it from moisture and water damage, as well as to easily clean it.


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