Installing A Tile Back-splash For Your Kitchen

The Handyguys discuss doing a tile back-splash.


Tile for Handyguy Paul's back-splashYou need to make sure your wall is smooth and clean. Measure and decide what areas of your back-splash you want to cover. When buying tile, make sure you account for waste and bad cuts.


Decide on your layout. If you go horizontal, you will have significantly fewer cuts. If you have a complicated pattern, you should lay out each piece of tile on the floor so you can see how it will go on the wall.

Tile options

Decorative tiles can add a nice look to your project but can really add to the cost. When selecting a tile, ensure that any bull-nose, inside corners, outside corners, etc. are available. Some patterns and layouts wont need the pieces. They can add significantly to your budget depending on your tile choices.

Tools and Materials

Handyguy Paul set up an area in his garage to cut the tiles. He borrowd the saw. The plastic curtain kepts the mess contained.
Handyguy Paul set up an area in his garage to cut the tiles. He borrowed the saw. The plastic curtain kept the mess contained.

Handyguy Paul found all the tools he needed at the local True Value. First decide on mastic or thinset. The Handyguys discuss the pros and cons of each choice and what applications are best for each. You will need a trowel, a grout float, a tile saw (rent, borrow or buy one), spacers, grout, caulk, a bucket and a large sponge.

Application Techniques

Paul wraps up the show with some tips and encouragement for anyone considering doing a tile back-splash.

Looks great! Still needs grouting in this picture but the whole project turned out nicely. The design committee approved.


The Handyguys would like to Thank True Value for sponsoring several segments of The Handyguys Podcast over the past few months. It’s supporters like True Value that make it possible for us to stay on the air.

We were one of five bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program and our DIY projects as well as our posts about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

13 thoughts on “Installing A Tile Back-splash For Your Kitchen

  1. Good show Guys!
    I recently did my first tile job – two bathroom floors, with 2o” porcelain tiles. The first floor was OK – not the most even surface. But, I learned from that and the second floor was pretty good.
    My next tile job will be our kitchen backsplash. So, thanks for the tips.
    By the way, my rental place messed up my wet-saw reservation and only had a saw that would accomodate 18″ tiles! That was a challenge! I had to build a auxillary fence that I could use to begin the cut, and then slide the tile further under the blade and against the original fence to complete the cut. But, it all worked out and I’m pleased with the floors.

    Also, I’ve been meaning to compliment you on your website design. It looks very professional! I really like the graphics.

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  3. I echo the comment that the two of you briefly said about using two water buckets. One bucket to rinse the sponge after cleaning off the grout, and the sec0nd to re-wet and clean the sponge for a second time before going back to the tile. One bucket should get really cloudy/dirty, and the other should remain fairly clean.

    This really helps minimize the number of times you have to change the water, and minimize the number of times you need to go back and clean the tile. The cleaner the water that you clean the tile off with, the less times you will have to go over it again.

    Another quick tip: if one of your tiles gets cracked due to dropping something on it, you can buy the colored caulk or colored sanded caulk to fill the crack and it makes it very hard to notice your oops.

    1. Good tip about a cracked or chipped tile. I have been there, done that. If you have a chip on the edge of a tile and dont want to pull it out to replace it it does hide pretty well with some grout.

  4. Hey guys thanks for the post. I do about 1-2 backsplashes per month and you actually gave me a few ideas. I always feel like I’m putting together a jig-saw puzzle when installing kitchen backsplashes. It’s nice seeing the finished product.

  5. This is great! We’ve cut back on home project this past year but the backsplash is a relatively low cost (compared to some of my plans) and with tax refunds coming… yeah! This seems to be a project that would really help out my boring/bland kitchen. Great timing. Glad I found you via YoungHouseLove’s blogroll.

  6. fleur de lis ๐Ÿ™‚ (“lis” is pronounced “lee”) You were close, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi. I’m a first time visitor/listener. Found you through Google.

    Great podcast. Very helpful, clear, and informative. I really enjoyed listening and feel a lot more confident facing my backsplash project now. Thanks!

    I’ll definitely be back for more. ๐Ÿ™‚

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