DIY Network

How to Install a Tile Backsplash

A white backsplash is a great way to brighten the space under dark wood cabinets.

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white backsplash brightened area under cabinets Watch Video
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Measure the Area

Measure and level the space to be tiled (Image 1). Lay the pattern out onto the counter and over the stove making notes where you will need to make cuts (Image 2).

Tile Backsplash Tips:
- The subway tiles featured in this project are pre-spaced, eliminating the need to use spacers between each tile.
- Position 1/8-inch shim or spacers between the bottom tiles and the countertop to allow space for the caulk bead.
- Clean mortar as you work.

Safety Alert: Always wear protective eyewear when working with power tools.

Step 2: Cut the Tiles

Make the cut marks with a wax pencil and cut the tile with a wet tile saw. Push the tile gently through the blade to cut the tile.

cutting the tile needs a sure steady hand

Step 3: Apply the Tiles

After covering the new countertops with paper and painter’s tape, start with the bullnose border tiles. Use a notched trowel to back butter the tile with thin set mortar holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle, to create grooves (Image 1). This will adhere the tile to the wall.

Press the tile onto the wall and wiggle it to create suction (Image 2).

Place a spacer between the countertop and the tiles to keep the line straight (Image 3) and also to keep the hard surfaces from touching and potentially cracking. Nail a batten board or a ledger board onto the wall level with the countertop to continue a line that extends behind an appliance (Image 4).

Continue tiling, staggering every other tile for a brick-layered effect. After the tile dries, apply a light grout to complement the bright white backsplash (Image 5).

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