How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step Guide

The kitchen is the soul of the home, and the more aesthetically pleasing it is, the happier you and your family will be when you gather in it for lunch or dinner. 

That’s only one of the reasons why we should strive to take the best possible care of our kitchen area. And when the time for tiled kitchen splashback renewal comes, you must ensure that you have found the right company to do the job.

Still, you may ask yourself if you could do it alone. Today, we’ll answer that question and help you do it by guiding you through a step-by-step process.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: FreePik.com

Can You Tile a Splashback Yourself?

The quickest answer is: Nothing is impossible.

You must consider, though, that you need experience, handy skills and some professional knowledge of renovation-specific techniques. If you lack those, you will probably generate a lot more work and expenses than before starting your splashback tiling project. In that case, it’s better to opt for a professional tiling service.

It is not impossible to learn, though. So if you take enough time to learn, read and watch videos made by experts, for example, we believe you will manage to finish the task. Just remember to try and do it on a smaller surface first.

Tiling is challenging work to do, so we advise you to do a lot of detailed research before starting and read on until the end of this article.  

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: FreePik.com

How Long Will It Take?

If professionals execute the kitchen splashback tiling, installing a medium-sized backsplash area normally takes two to three days.

However, for a person with a basic knowledge of tiling, it will take around double this time if he does it all by himself.

On the other hand, some who just came up with the idea of tiling a DIY splashback will need more time to educate themselves on the topic to ensure the job will be done correctly. In that case, the process may take a couple of weeks.

But don’t give up! Below, we will provide a step-by-step guide for creating a beautiful kitchen cooker splashback so you can begin your DIY project as soon as possible.

Step-By-Step Guide

You may be undertaking an entire kitchen renovation or want to upgrade just your splashback tiling. Whatever the case is, you want to do it right. 

There are twelve steps to follow if you decide to do it independently. If you are unsure where to start or how to do it right, follow these steps.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: Unsplash.com

Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Make sure you have everything you need before starting to save yourself from the hassle of constantly running back and forth to the shop to gather the instruments you need.

Here’s a full list of things you need to have before you start your project:

  • Tape measure – When executing a renovation job as precise as tiling, you must measure every square meter as accurately as possible. Hence, the tape measure is a must-have in this situation. 
  • Straight edge – The accuracy and precision, as we said, are the main things you should be concerned about when you start tiling. The straight edge will ensure your backsplash turns out exactly as it should.
  • A level – Don’t make the common mistake of sizing your backsplash tiles based solely on how straight your kitchen cabinets are. Levelling is crucial for the perfection of your splashback.
  • Tile cutter – Every backsplash varies in shape and size. That’s why tile trimming is important. There is a big chance that you will need to cut a tile to cover an area at some point in your project. You will need a wet saw if cutting natural stone to prevent chipping and a regular tile cutter for ceramic or porcelain tiling.
  • Utility knife – The utility knife is handy when cutting the mesh backing to fit your backsplash.
  • Notched trowel – This is one of the main instruments for tiling. It is used to spread the tile adhesive.
  • Float – An instrument similar to the notched trowel but used for spreading grout.
  • Sponges – After you complete the tiling, you must clean off the tiles from any excess adhesive and grout. You can accomplish this by using a clean sponge or damp cloth.
  • Drill – If you purchased unused grout, you must mix it yourself by utilizing the drill.
  • Sheets/Cardboards – Lay some protection on the ground and other surfaces to protect them from debris. Protecting floors, kitchen sinks, surfaces, and appliances is important.
  • Bucket, soap and washcloth – Cleaning the surfaces after you are done is really important, and these tools come in handy.
  • Low-grit sandpaper – Sanding down the wall surface before starting is a must-do to provide the best adhesion.
  • Tile spacers – You will need them to space out tiles on the wall.

Step 2: Choose the Right Tiles

Of course, one of the main things you should do before starting the tiling process is to choose the right tile design for your splashback space.

First, you need to consider the style of your kitchen. The splashback area will be a small space in the room, but it’s a crucial detail that changes interior aesthetics. 

Think about whether or not you want marble, stone or granite tiles. Mosaic settings or more common options like porcelain and ceramic are always on the table to consider. The choices vary greatly and include anything from stone to glass splashbacks

Step back and decide which suits your dream space best before taking other steps. You also shouldn’t neglect the tiles’ shape and size

The options for kitchen walls are numerous:

  • Irregular mosaic tiles or mosaic sheets
  • Pencil tiles
  • Fish Scale
  • Herringbone tiles
  • Hexagon tiles
  • Subway tiles
  • Penny Round
  • Arabesque Tile
  • Diamond
  • Hexagon and many more.

Pick the right style, material, colour and shape for your interior design plan, and you are ready to go to the next step.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: Unsplash.com

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

When you have chosen your tiles, you can proceed with the next part of the process, which is the preparation of your work surfaces.

First, it is important to patch any holes in your walls. The optimal way to do that is to use spackling paste and then sandpaper to ensure a smooth finish of the surface of the area where you will install the tiles.

Clean the surface with soap and water and let it dry so you can be sure you are starting on a clean area. If you look at it and see a clean, smooth surface, you are ready to continue with your kitchen tile splashback endeavour.

Step 4: Measure and Create a Layout Plan

As we said before, tiling is a precise job and requires precise measurements. Make sure you have measured your surfaces correctly before proceeding any further. You must have a layout plan from the first to the last step. And measuring only the kitchen cupboards doesn’t do the job.

Visualize every step and its result before executing, and it will save you a lot of headaches.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: FreePik.com

Step 5: Cut Tiles as Needed

All kitchen splashbacks are different because of the available area and their surroundings. 

There may be some curves or spaces where you must cut your tiles so they fit properly to bring your vision of a perfect splashback area to life. Always keep this in mind so that you are ready and equipped with the right materials and knowledge to execute this task.

Step 6: Apply Adhesive

Once your wall is ready for tiling and you have all the necessary materials next to you, you can add adhesive or glue residue, which will be the base for your chosen tiles

However, before mixing the adhesive, you must measure how much you need for the tiling surface. If you are sure you have the right measurements and you know what quantity of adhesive you need, you can proceed to the mixing itself.

For that, you will need several things:

  • Bucket
  • Adhesive
  • Mixing paddle
  • Notch trowel
  • Spacers
  • Water
  • Protective equipment such as eyewear, face mask and protective gloves

If you have bought mixed adhesive, you won’t need a bucket, mixing paddle, or water. We suggest you buy a waterproof adhesive for optimal results.

We advise you to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the adhesive packaging and see their recommendations on correctly applying it. In general, you must ensure you wear appropriate protection for your body before you start.

After that, spread your adhesive on a generous and even layer on the area you will cover with tiles. Stick with small areas; don’t simultaneously spread it over the entire space.

Use your notched trowel to create vertical or horizontal lines (which are called channels) because that will give you a texture with more grip.

Step 7: Set the Tiles

Start laying the first row of tiles. Begin by pushing your first tile into the first horizontal row created by the adhesive, slightly twist, and apply light pressure. This way, you are securely bedding it into the wall and ensuring that the air between the tile and the surface is reduced.

Repeat this with every next tile, and don’t forget to use spacers to separate the tile’s small gaps as you go. When you finish with this step, you will have a tiled splashback.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: Unsplash.com

Step 8: Grout between the Tiles

The process is similar to applying the adhesive; just start with the grout mix.

The best way to mix it is to find the instructions on the manufacturer’s package. Generally speaking, grouts are mixed by adding water and mixing until you get the thick consistency you are aiming for.

After your grout is ready, apply it in small sections. Using a grout float, work the paste into the crevices of the work surface at a 45-degree angle. Make sure you apply the mixture thoroughly and into all joint spaces.

Step 9: Wipe off Excess Grout

When you finish grouting, clean the ready surface of all the excessive paste that is over it. 

Removing excessive grout when it is already dry will be hard, so ensure you do this while it is still removable. The mixture needs a few hours to dry, so you have enough time to clean it properly.

Step 10: Seal the Tiles

Ensure your entire area is clean before you start sealing the tiles.

Apply sealant and let dry. You can read on the sealer manufacturer’s package and see for how long you should let it dry before it is ready.

Step 11: Finish the Caulk

Proper finishing with caulk is a must-do if you want a professional look on your surface. It also ensures that the edges are shielded from moisture and cracks.

Apply a fine, generous, and even caulk layer over the exposed edges, smooth the lines, and give it time to dry.

Step 12: Maintenance and Care

When you complete every step of this guide for tiling a kitchen splashback, you will probably want to enjoy the fruits of your labour as long as possible. 

So keep in mind that the longevity of your splashback depends on proper maintenance and care. Make sure you clean it regularly with proper cleaning solutions, depending on the type of tile you’ve chosen. Ensure regular maintenance to enjoy an aesthetically pleasing and sturdy kitchen splashback.

How to Tile a Kitchen Splashback: A Step-By-Step GuideImage Source: Unsplash.com

DIY vs. Professional Installation

DIY projects are always fun and satisfying to look at when they are ready, and we understand your aspiration and creativity.

However, we suggest not starting a DIY home improvement project if you are not sure you can do it right. A professional service provided by an experienced tiler will ensure everything you need is done correctly and that you don’t compromise the beauty or safety of your home. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Tile My Kitchen Splashback by Myself?

If you have experience and you know what you are doing, it will probably take around a week to do it alone.

How Long Does It Take for a Professional to Tile My Kitchen Splashback?

Two to three days is enough time for a professional service provider to tile your kitchen splashback.

What Are the Best Materials When It Comes to Splashback Tiles?

It depends on your chosen style and aesthetics, but we suggest choosing a material that is easy to clean.