How to Tile a Backsplash – Part 2: Grouting and Sealing a Backsplash

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

How did you do yesterday with the How to Tile a Backsplash: Tile Setting tutorial? Not too bad, right? Well, today will be a very gratifying day. Today I’m going to show you how to grout (and seal) your tiles and finish off your kitchen backsplash. You are going to love the end result.

Materials:

  • Grout (Used: Mapei UltraColor Plus Rapid-Setting Sanded Grout color: Frost)
  • VanHearron’s Grout Once
  • Two buckets (same size or one larger)
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Grout Float
  • Spatula
  • Rag
  • Buffing pad
  • Sponge
  • Basin filled with clean water

Prep work: If you are working with a natural stone tile, you may want to seal the tiles before grouting. I sprayed StainGuard5000 on a dry clean rag and wiped it onto all the tiles. Then buffed it off after five minutes.

Instructions:

If you are using a rapid setting grout, you might want to slow the “setting” process slightly. I learned this trick from our local tile shop: Start by filling one bucket with ice water. Nest the second bucket inside the first.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Mix your grout according the package directions. Mix as much as you can spread in about 15-20 minutes. If you want to save yourself the extra step of sealing your grout later, you should use Grout Once (or another sealer additive) instead of water when mixing your grout.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Mix until you have a thick consistency, like smooth peanut butter.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Watch this video to learn the techniques for spreading the grout and how to clean after grouting:

Use the spatula to load the grout float with grout.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Spread the grout onto the tile by dragging the float across the tile at a 45 degree angle and along the wall at an angle. Then drag the float in the opposite direction (imagine creating an “X” on the wall. Push firmly to force the grout into the spaces between tiles.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Scrape off excess grout from the float and use it to squeegee off any excess grout from the tiles.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

As the grout starts to firm, sponge off your tiles with a very damp sponge. Remove any excess grout from the tiles by frequently flipping the sponge to a clean side and rinsing the sponge in water.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

After the tiles dry, you will have a slight haze left on the tiles. Buff them with a clean dry rag and/or a buffing pad (check automotive stores.)

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

When your wall has been grouted and has dried, you need to fill the space between the tiles and the countertop with caulk. I used Mapei’s Keracolor unsanded caulk that matches the grout (Frost color.)

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Follow this tutorial to learn how to caulk with a caulking gun. To get a smooth caulk line, I like to use my finger dipped in ice water. I follow up with a baby wipe on my finger to smooth and get rid of excess caulk.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Before the caulk dries, remove any painter’s tape (put up before you tiled) to reveal a clean line.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

That’s it! Enjoy your newly finished kitchen backsplash!

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

I am in LOVE with our backsplash. I was talking to my friend and told her that it was amazing how much more “finished” the kitchen feels now that the backsplash is done.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

I have one more project before I’m ready to call the kitchen officially DONE. It involves something awesome on this wall:

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

The tiles I used are Venato Marble 3″ x 6″ honed subway tiles from TheBuilderDepot.com. If you are looking for a good source for tiles, check out TheBuilderDepot.com. Their prices are fantastic! Plus, you can use this coupon code to save even more money!


TheBuilderDepot 5% Discount Code | Pretty Handy Girl

Now, I hope you’ll excuse me as I enjoy my new view while cooking.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

I will put together a tutorial later on how I built the tiled niche above the stove.

Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting
Pretty Handy Girl's Guide to Tiling a Backsplash: Part 2 - Grouting

Feel free to leave me questions if you have any about tiling and grouting. This is definitely a task any DIYer can accomplish!

PHGFancySign

Here are some other helpful tiling tutorials:

White Subway Tile Backsplash Tutorial using Simple Mat by Remodelaholic

How to Tile Subway Tile Backsplash using Bondera by Southern Hospitality

Garden Stone Kitchen Backsplash Tutorial by Home Stories A to Z

Installing the Tile Backsplash by Miss Mustard Seed

How to Install a Tiled Backsplash using OmniGrip Adhesive by The DIY Showoff

Subway Tile Backsplash by Infarrantly Creative

Installing a Split Travertine Backsplash

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tiles from TheBuilderDepot in exchange for mentioning them in this post. As with all the companies I mention, I have thoroughly researched the company and I share these resources with you because I believe in the quality of their products at an affordable price. I was not told what to say or write. All words and ideas are my own.

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Comments

  1. I am going to be doing some tiling in a few months and I read several places that the best grout is 100% epoxy grout. Did you consider using that? If so can you share your opinion.

    thanks- (I love your blog!!)

    • Maggie, I hadn’t read about epoxy grout until just now that you mentioned it. If I were doing a floor in the bathroom or entryway or kitchen I think I’d consider an epoxy grout. For this project I worked with what our local tile shop recommended. Thanks for bringing this to my attention though!

  2. What a coincidence! I just finished my tiling job and grouting yesterday in my own kitchen. I used a premixed grout and it worked great! Love the my new backsplash and the pride that came with doing it myself. :)

  3. I’m definitely going to refer back to this Brittany. I dislike our tile backsplash in the kitchen that was the former owners taste. Haven’t had the time to tackle that just yet but it’s on my list. Thanks for this awesome visual tutorial.

  4. I just love your tile. It is so timeless!! I am not so in love with Mapei’s Keracolor caulk. I have found it shrinks and comes away from the wall after a while. I will just be using regular silicone on my next tile job.

    • Feral Turtle, thanks for letting me know! I’ll have to keep an eye on the caulk and report back if I do have issues. It was nice that it matches the grout perfectly, but I will be frustrated if it shrinks.

  5. This is a great tutorial! I really appreciate the details you gave about prepping the space properly with cardboard, painters tape, and drop cloth. Do you apply anymore sealer once all the tiling is complete and dry?

    • LaTonya,

      Nope! I didn’t need to because I sealed the tiles before grouting (Sorry if you missed it, I just added a Prep Work section this morning under the materials) and the grout has sealer in it! YEAH!

  6. Is it better to have the counter in before you do the backsplash or have the backsplash done before the counter goes in?

    Great tutorial by the way and your timing is perfect!

  7. be careful with grout additives. I used Vanhearron Grout Once with mapei keracolor it was recommended by best tile, it ruined the grout and the recommended fix, another vanhearron product, haze away made the grout lighter and botchier. do some research, there are numerous posts on the web in professional tile forums that describe similar experiences with blotchy and ruined grout. be very careful with grout additives that the grout manufacturer doesn’t recommend.
    mkedean@gmail.com
    mike dean

  8. I happened to use the exact same tiles on my backsplash. I have all the tiles up and am about ready to grout. I am hesitating because I feel like I left too much space between my top layer of tiles and the bottom of my upper cabinets. It’s nearly 1/2 inch thick. Do you think I could grout that space, or is it too thick?

Trackbacks

  1. […] But, if I had to pick my favorite project, it would be my kitchen. I literally just finished building back our kitchen after a leak left us in a gutted situation. It was the toughest DIY project I’ve ever completed (and longest.) But, I am absolutely thrilled with the results. The most recent photos of my kitchen are in my Holiday Home tour.  But, there are more pictures in my other kitchen tutorials: Custom Wood Range and Tile Back Splash . […]

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