How To's - How to Grout a Kitchen Backsplash

How to Grout a Kitchen Backsplash

You’ve installed that stylish new kitchen backsplash and now all that remains is to grout it. Compared to the cutting, placing and adhering of tile, this step will be easy. Once you’ve chosen the color that will best accent your kitchen, all you need to do is set aside two days, get your tools and materials together and then do it.


Tools and Materials Needed to Grout Your Kitchen Backsplash

You don’t need a lot of tools to grout your kitchen backsplash. In fact, you probably already have a few of the tools you need:


  • (2) Buckets, one with warm water
  • Grout float
  • Putty knife
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Grout
  • Caulk
  • Grout sealer
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Painter’s tape

A Step-by-Step Guide to Grouting Your Kitchen Backsplash

The following step-by-step instructions to grout your kitchen backsplash presume the backsplash tile is already in place. Grouting, like working with the mastic used to hold the tiles in place, needs to be paced so that the grout doesn’t dry before you’ve applied it. To ensure this, have all your tools and materials ready to go.


Step 1


Cover your countertops. Take the plastic sheeting and tape it in place with the painter’s tape. You don’t want grout to fall and dry on your countertop as it could damage or ruin the surface.


Step 2


Prepare the grout. Some grouts come pre-mixed and can be used straight from their container. If you’re using one of these, follow the instructions on the label.


If you’re using a powder, take the bucket that doesn’t have the water. Add water per the instructions, then add the grout and mix with your putty knife until it reaches a thick, peanut butter-like consistency.


Since you need to use all the grout before it dries, you’ll only want to mix as much as you can apply in that time. When mixing powder, it’s always best to add it to water, instead of pouring the powder in the bucket first. This ensures the powder mixes evenly rather than clumping, which can happen when water poured over powder forms a mixed layer on the surface of the powder but prevents it from mixing with the remainder below.


Step 3


Apply the grout. Scoop grout onto your float and spread over the backsplash tile at a 45-degree angle. Spread upward and press the grout firmly between the tiles. Work in sections over a larger area. Do not grout in the spaces against countertops, kitchen cabinets or windows; these areas will be caulked.


Step 4


Wipe away the excess grout. Let the grout dry for at least 10-15 minutes in an area before moving onto the next part of this step. If you’re working on a larger area, this works well as you complete one section, move onto the next and by the time you’ve finished that one or more, you’re ready to move on.


Once you’ve let the grout dry, take the bucket with warm water. Using your sponge, wipe away the excess grout from your backsplash tile. As you do this, rinse your sponge regularly so it’s clean and only damp as you wipe. If the sponge is too wet, it can oversaturate your grout lines and ruin the appearance.


A dirty sponge will also leave a thick haze on your backsplash. A little haze is ok, as you can do one final pass with a fresh bucket of clean, warm water over the entire backsplash.


Step 5


Let the grout dry overnight.Some grouts may dry in a few hours while some may need longer. Follow the grout manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Typically, letting it dry overnight ensures the best results.


Step 6


Wipe the tile with a soft cloth. Once the grout is dry, use a soft cloth to remove any remaining film or haze on the tile. If the haze/film is too thick, first use a damp cloth, let dry, then follow with soft dry cloth to remove any remaining haze.


Step 7


Apply grout sealer. For this step, it’s essential to follow the directions on the sealer. Most sealers require the grout set for at least 24 hours before applying. Apply the sealer using a cloth or as directed.


The sealer protects grout against stains, water damage and discoloration that can occur over time.


Step 8


Caulk. Choose a caulk that matches your grout. Apply a bead along the countertops, windows and kitchen cabinets. Go over it with a damp sponge or use your finger by dipping in water then running gently but firmly over the caulk to press smooth. Take the sponge or damp towel to wipe buildup along the edges for a smooth finish.


Enjoy Your New Kitchen Backsplash

Once you’ve finished, you’ll see how much a new kitchen backsplash can transform a room. Let the caulk dry, remove the plastic covering the countertops, and wipe the counters to clean. You’re now ready to replace your countertop appliances and use your kitchen!

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