How to Install a Natural Stone Backsplash

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen design is a great way to create a dynamic look, and natural stone is an excellent choice because it not only looks fantastic but also is easy to cut and install. Hiring a professional to install a backsplash in your kitchen could cost thousands of dollars, but by following these simple steps we will show you how to install a natural stone backsplash yourself for just a few hundred dollars.

Step #1: Purchase your supplies. You only need a few things to install a natural stone backsplash: the tile of your choice, spacers, a tape measure, a pencil, a wax pen, compound thin set mix, a trowel, a bucket, a sponge, a blade, grout and a rubber float.

Step #2: Prep the wall. You want to make sure you are starting on a smooth surface. If this is the first time the wall has been tiled, it should be ready to go.

Step #3: Work section by section, measuring out the tile and cutting when necessary at a corner or to fit around outlets. Use the tape measure, pencil, and wax pen to mark off areas before you begin cutting tile or applying the compound.  

Step #4: Some people choose to apply the compound directly to the wall and then apply tile. However if you are installing a kitchen backsplash it is sometimes easier to apply the compound to each individual tile and then adhere to the wall. This is helpful when you are working around outlets and other obstacles.

Step #5: Start with the bottom row, adhering tile horizontally. As you lay each tile, make sure you are leaving a small gap between one tile and the next, and that you are checking that the edges are aligned. If you find that they are not, remove the last tile and reapply so that tile will lay flat.

Step #6: After a few tiles have been placed, use your bucket of water and a sponge to wipe the surface of the tiles and clean up any excess compound. If you see compound building up between the tiles, use your blade to slide through the gap.

Step #7: After the first row is complete, begin moving upward. Use tile spacers between each horizontal row so that you maintain a straight line. Occasionally check your work to make sure the spacers are keeping the tile level.

Step #8: Let your work set over night before applying grout. Because natural stone is very absorbent, you will want to wet the surface of the tiles before applying grout. Once your grout is mixed, apply with a rubber float, making sure to push the grout gently into the spaces.

Step #9: Once the grout has been fully applied, wait for about ten minutes and then use your wet sponge to once again clean the tile surface.

Step #10: If you are applying a stone sealant, you can do so after the grout has fully dried.