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Installing a Kitchen Tile Backsplash

Installing a kitchen tile backsplash can really transform the look of the entire room. This is an upgrade that can increase the value of your home 5-6 times what it will cost to complete the job. It’s a fairly straight forward project that anyone can tackle (with patience) over a weekend. Expect to spend somewhere between $200-$400 in material on average, but there are ways to do this much cheaper and of course many ways to spend a lot more.

I’m going to show you step by step as I complete this project. I installed this backsplash recently for clients as we prepared the home for sale. The finished product really turned out well and I know it is going to help sell the home a little faster and for more money.


Step 1:

Prepping the work area

– Turn of the applicable breakers at your electrical panel and check that there is no power to the outlets before doing any work on them

– Take off the cover plates and unscrew the outlet from the electrical box and pull the outlet off the wall to create some space


Remove outlet covers and unscrew outlets












– With a new blade in your exacto knife, cut away any silicone caulking from the space between the wall and the countertop

– This will make sure you have a level surface to install the tile on


Remove any caulking












After that’s finished make sure to clean the area where you will be installing tile with a damp cloth. Installing the tile on a clean surface will make a big difference in making sure the tile adheres properly


Step 2:

Applying The Adhesive

– Use your trowel to spread adhesive evenly over a small area. The adhesive dries out quickly and once its dry the tile won’t stick very well. Make sure you aren’t leaving the adhesive exposed without applying tile for a maximum of 15 minutes or so. If it stays on the wall longer than that I would scrape it off and re-apply again.


Applying adhesive











Step 3:

Installing The Tile

– Press the tile or sheet of tiles onto the adhesive with enough pressure to ensure the tile is planted firmly in place. Don’t use too much force otherwise the adhesive will be forced out into the spaces between the tile and create a lot more cleanup work for you.

Cutting Around Outlets

– For cutting the tile there are a few different options. I bought a Dremel Saw Max last year and it came with a saw bit to cut tile. It works perfectly for this type of job.

– First measure the outside dimensions of the opening you’ll be cutting out:

– Then measure the distance from the bottom of the cut


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– And then take the second measurement to find the distance at the side


photo 4












– Add the size of the outlet to the marks you have already made and then trace out the shape you need to cut

– I always mark out the entire shape with a black sharpie before starting any cuts

– Then with the Dremel saw I score the outline of the shape before making the final cut right through the entire tile


photo 3-1

photo 2-1


– If you measured correctly, the tile should be ready to install onto the wall and fit right into place


Cutting around outlets












– Keep working away and repeat this process until you get the backsplash area covered


photo 2-2          photo 1-3



Step 4:


– Applying grout is similar to putting on the wall adhesive

– Instead of using a trowel you’ll need to use a rubber float.


photo 3-3



– In a plastic bucket pour in the dry grout mix and add water while mixing quickly until the grout get to be the consistency of peanut butter

– Let it stand for 5 or 10 minutes and then you’re ready to start putting it on

– Keep the float at a 45 degree angle and work your way across the tile making sure to work the grout reallly well into the grout lines.

– Don’t worry about covering the tile entirely with the grout when you’re doing this


photo 4-3


– Once you have finished applying the grout across the entire area of the tile, go back over your work and make sure there aren’t any empty spaces between the tile where the grout didn’t get in the first time.

– Let that stand for a few minutes and then you’re ready to wipe it down with a sponge


photo 5-3


– You’ll likely need to wipe the tile surface down several times while cleaning the sponge after every single pass.

– You’ll notice a haze will develop on the tile as it dries, continue to wipe down the tile until the haze no longer shows up


Finished Product