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The Complete Backsplash Tile Installation Guide

Though it's a part of your kitchen that may not get much attention on a daily basis, your backsplash actually plays quite an important role in how your kitchen looks and functions. Of course, its primary duty is to protect the area behind your sink when you get a little overzealous cooking or washing dishes. Yet it also serves as a backdrop that can become a beautiful focal point in your kitchen allowing you to create unique backsplash designs

If you're considering installing new backsplash tiles but need to know more about what's involved, here are our Oasis Tile tips about DIY and professional backsplash installation.

Person installing backsplash tile

DIY and Professional Backsplash Installation Cost

Since we know you're wondering if kitchen backsplash installation is difficult and/or expensive, we'll give you some information on how much it costs to have a tile backsplash installed.  

First, certain factors will impact the cost of the job. The two main ones will be the type of tile you use for your backsplash, as well as whether or not an old backsplash needs to be removed. The typical range for backsplash installation cost goes from about $900 if you are doing a DIY installation to as much as $2500-$3000 if you hire a professional installer.

Material costs will vary. Ceramic tile is very popular with kitchen backsplashes, although glass tiles are seen in more and more kitchens. Installation costs for a ceramic tile backsplash may range from $200 to as high as $3000, while glass tiles could cost anything between $650-$1500, depending on the style and quality selected

Labor costs can also vary, with the size of the backsplash and how hard the tiles will be to install being the two main factors. The typical range for labor costs will be five to nine dollars per square foot. If you need to remove an existing backsplash before the new one can be installed, you can add an additional one to three dollars per square foot to the job's cost. Should new drywall be required, the labor cost may increase to an extra five dollars per square foot. 

How to Install Backsplash Tile Yourself

If you're ready to tackle your kitchen backsplash installation project on your own, here are the steps you'll need to take.

1. Gather Your Materials

First, gather together everything you'll need for the installation. This will include:

  • thin-set mortar
  • a bucket
  • sponge
  • rags
  • a utility knife
  • tape measure
  • tile cutter
  • level
  • spacers
  • caulking

If there is one mistake to avoid when installing backsplash tile, it is thinking you won't need your spacers and level. Should you try to only eyeball your backsplash, you'll have a backsplash that will get noticed for all the wrong reasons.

2. Clean the Wall

Turn off the power to your kitchen, remove any outlet covers, and then clean the wall with a sponge or wet rag, letting it dry thoroughly.

3. Plan the Layout

Always plan the layout of your backsplash tile installation. Use painter's tape to tape tile sheets to the wall, including any that have been cut to various sizes.  

4. Apply the Mortar

Apply the thin-set mortar with a notched trowel, then start installing the tile. As you go, add tile spacers so your backsplash won't be crooked. Once you're satisfied, use a clean grout float to press the tiles firmly onto the wall.

5. Apply the Grout

After you have let the mortar set for about 12 hours, apply the tile grout. Work it well with the grout float so that you have no holes or gaps. This is especially important if you have used mosaic tiles to turn your backsplash into a one-of-a-kind picture, since even the slightest gap or air bubble could be disastrous.

6. Wipe and Clean

Use a damp sponge to wipe away any excess grout, then use a dry rag or towel to get rid of any leftover haze that may have formed on the tiles while grouting.

7. Seal the Grout

Finally, seal the grout. By using grout sealer, you will be making it easy to maintain your backsplash. The sealer will prevent staining, keeping your backsplash looking like new. As a last step, use some caulk to seal the area where your backsplash meets any upper cabinets or windows.

Backsplash Tile Installation FAQ

Can Floor Tile be Used on a Backsplash?

This will depend on the manufacturer's specifications. Generally, we recommend sticking with tiles made specifically for kitchen wall installation. Remember, wall tile is called wall tile for a reason.

Can Backsplash Tile be Installed on Drywall?

If your wall is smooth, flat, and clean, it is easy to install virtually any type of tile for your backsplash directly onto drywall or plaster.  

How Will I Know the Amount of Tile I Need for the Backsplash?

To know how much tile you will need to complete your kitchen backsplash installation, you will measure the area's height and width, which you will multiply. This gives you the total area in inches, which you will then divide by 144 to get the proper amount of square footage.  

What Tile is Best for a Backsplash?

This will vary based on the type of backsplash you desire. Here at Oasis Tile, we have customers who use ceramic, porcelain, glass or stone for their backsplashes. You will also need to factor in how much you want to spend on the project, ease of installation, if you want to take this on as a DIY project or hire a professional installer for the job, if you are looking for a backsplash tile that’s easy to clean, or if you are after trending backsplash tile styles.

Explore Our Collection of Backsplash Tiles 

If you are redoing your kitchen and looking for high quality backsplash tiles, look to us here at Oasis Tile for everything you need. Once you begin exploring our excellent selection of tiles for your kitchen, you'll know the possibilities for your kitchen backsplash are endless.

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