Kitchen Update: Add a Glass Tile Backsplash

Adding a high-end glass tile backsplash is a lot easier than you may think, and it makes a tremendous difference in your kitchen's style.

Blue-hued, iridescent glass tile backsplash for the kitchen.

Give Your Kitchen a Punch of Pizzazz With a Glass Tile Backsplash

By: Erinn Valencich

Materials Needed:

  • opaque glass tile
  • non-sanded grout
  • thinset adhesive
  • V-notched trowel
  • level
  • sandpaper
  • glass tile cutter
  • tile spacers (optional)
  • wax pencil
  • bucket
  • sponge
  • rubber grout float

Eliminate Power

Turn off power to all walls where you'll be working and remove outlet covers on the area to be tiled.

Prep the Wall

Using 80- or 90-grit sandpaper, thoroughly sand the backsplash area to be tiled. Wipe walls with a damp rag to remove any loose debris. Find the visual center of the wall. This is where you will begin tiling. Use a level to draw a centerline through the visual center.

Dry Fit Tiles

Make sure you understand how your tile will lay out, and that you will be happy with the fit by doing a dry layout on the floor before adhering tile to wall.

Apply Thinset Adhesive

Apply thinset to a small area of the wall at the centerline. Start at the bottom of the wall, holding your trowel at an angle so the V-grooves cut into the thinset giving it a grooved texture which will help to grip the tiles. Wipe thinset onto the wall in sweeping motion, being careful to only apply enough adhesive that can be covered by a few tiles at a time.

Using a trowel to spread a thin coating of adhesive to a wall.

Adding a Glass Backsplash: Applying Thinset Adhesive


Erinn Valencich

Add Glass Tiles

Place tiles over thinset, pressing them evenly into the adhesive. Use the centerline as visual reference to keep your tile application level as you continue to apply tiles. Work in a small area at a time, adding adhesive and tile until you reach the top of the area to be tiled. If the thinset begins to set before you apply tiles, just scrape it off and re-apply. Optional: To assist in placing the tiles evenly with consistent grout lines, use tile spacers to separate them.

Cut Remaining Tiles to Fit

Mark the last row of tile with a wax pencil to the appropriate size and cut the tile with a glass tile cutter.

Apply Grout

Wait 24 hours for adhesive to cure before applying grout. Mix grout in a bucket according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply grout along tile seams so it fills them in completely. Do not grout the bottom seam, this will be filled with caulk in a later step.

Spreading grout onto a kitchen backsplash with a trowel.

Adding a Glass Tile Backsplash: Applying Grout


Erinn Valencich

Clean Surface of Tile

Using a soft, wet sponge, remove excess grout from the tile's surface. Use a gentle approach so you don't wipe grout out of the seams. After an hour, buff glass tiles to remove the hazy film left by grout and water.

Cleaning excess grout from the surface of newly installed tile.

Adding a Glass Tile Backsplash: Cleaning the Tile


Erinn Valencich

Apply Caulk

Apply a thin bead of caulk on the bottom seam where tile meets the countertop. Wet your finger and smooth the caulk seam in a single, continuous motion.

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