DIY Network

How to Design a Glass Backsplash

Glass tiles add a unique touch to any kitchen's backsplash. Learn how to install your own glass backsplash.

More in Kitchen

completed glass tiled backsplash
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Apply Adhesive to the Wall

Lay out your tile and determine the pattern. Mark the center of the backsplash area. First, begin by applying thinset adhesive to the wall. You don't want to apply more than you can tile in five minutes. Use the flat side of the trowel to apply a uniform layer of thinset. Use a 3/16" square notched trowel and comb the thinset at a 45-degree angle. This will set the proper thickness of the adhesive.

apply a uniform layer of thinset

Step 2: Get Rid of the Comb Marks

Smooth over or "knock down" the thinset to get rid of the comb marks. Otherwise, you will see the comb marks through the glass tile. The trick is to do this without changing the depth of the thinset on the wall.

Step 3: Back Butter the Tiles

Use a dry cloth to wipe each tile clean. Then with a margin trowel, apply thinset to the back of each tile. This is known as back buttering.

back butter tile with thinset using margin trowel

Step 4: Apply the Tiles to the Wall

Set each tile in place making sure there are no air pockets in the thinset. Give the tile a little wiggle to make sure it's set in place. Use spacers to make sure the tiles are set in a uniform pattern.

If you need to cut the tiles, use a wet saw with a diamond blade. A miter gauge holds the tile at the proper angle through the cut. Use a rubbing stone to smooth out the edges. Be careful of the sharp edges with the glass.