How to Tile a Kitchen Wall

A tiled kitchen wall, like a backsplash, will enhance the room.
A tiled kitchen wall, like a backsplash, will enhance the room. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Adding tile to a kitchen wall will not only visually enhance a kitchen but will also add value to your house. With a little practice, installing ceramic or glass tile is not difficult. Tile a kitchen wall in a few hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiles
  • Level
  • Spacers
  • Adhesive or mortar
  • Trowel
  • Float
  • Wet saw
  • Tile nippers
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Carborundum stone
  • Measuring tape
  • Grout

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Prepare the wall for adding tile. Patch any holes and dents in the wall. Turn off any electrical outlets. Wash the wall with a sponge and clean water.

Tile a kitchen wall without mortar so you can get an idea of what it will look like. Arrange the tile on the wall until you get the pattern you desire. This is especially important when doing a mosaic.

Measure any tile that needs to be cut and mark with a pencil. Cut straight edges using a wet saw, which can be rented or purchased from a hardware or home improvement store. Use the nipper to chip curved edges. A carborundum stone can smooth sharp edges.

Mix the mortar or adhesive according to directions on the package. Working in a small area, evenly spread a ¼-inch layer of mortar on the wall using a notched trowel. Hold the trowel at 45 degrees to create ridges in the mortar.

Put a tile on the wall and lightly push it into the mortar. Work quickly, so the mortar doesn't dry. Use a level to make sure the tiles are level and put spacers in between tiles.

Remove the spacers after the mortar has had time to dry according to manufacturer's directions.

Mix the grout according to manufacturer's directions.

Put some grout on a rubber float and spread it over the tile, making sure to work it in between the tiles. Wait 15 minutes and use the sponge and a bucket of water to wash the haze off the tile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work quickly with the mortar and grout, as it dries fast.
  • Be prepared for a mistake by buying more tile than you think you will need.
  • Use full tiles in the middle of the wall so the cut tiles will be along the edge of the wall and less noticeable.
  • Wear eye protection when using the wet saw.


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