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Install a Kitchen Glass Tile Backsplash

Glass backsplash tile adds a customized accent to your kitchen design. Choose from a variety of tiles, and learn how to install the tile backsplash yourself.

Glass tile backsplash

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Tape measure
  • Toothed trowel
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Hammer
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Soft rags
  • Utility knife
  • Tile cutter (optional)


  • 12-in square mixed-glass wall tile, #355788
  • White unsanded powder grout, #111221
  • Tile mastic, 1 gallon, #40452

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Adhesive Bondera sheets provide an alternative to mastic. You simply cut sheets to fit your wall and press the tiles in place.

Anchor Tile on the Wall

Step 1

Install tile backsplash: Mark kitchen backsplash tile location

Measure the length of your wall where you'll install the backsplash and check to make sure the vertical row of tiles that will end up in any corner between two walls can be cut wider than half the tile width. (You don't want to end up with slivers of tile. If that's what you can expect, consider shifting all the tiles toward the inside corner and leaving a gap between the outside vertical row of tiles and the wall edge.) Do the same with the height of the backsplash. Lay tiles on the countertop where you'll install them on the wall and mark the wall above each tile edge as a guide for applying tile mastic -- the adhesive that holds the tile in place -- in 3-ft sections.

If you're removing any outlet or switch covers prior to tiling, turn off power to them at the breaker or fuse box. Then test outlets and switches for power before removing the covers.

Step 2

Install tile backsplash: Apply tile mastic to kitchen wall

Measure from the wall edge or nearest installed tile to find the location of outlets and light switches. For the 1-in tiles shown here, it was easy to cut tiles out of the 12-in-square sheets with a utility knife to accommodate the outlets. For larger tiles, cut openings as needed using a tile saw before applying tile adhesive to the wall. Then use the wall marks as guides to apply a layer of tile mastic to the wall just on the area where you'll install the first 3 feet of tile.

Step 3

Install tile backsplash: Spread tile mastic on kitchen wall

Apply a strip of painter's tape to the countertop beneath where you'll install the tile backsplash. Using a toothed trowel, spread the mastic evenly over the area where you'll apply the first 3 feet of tile. Then lay cardboard spacers flat on the counter with their edges against the wall.

Step 4

Install tile backsplash: Press glass tile into the kitchen wall mastic

Press the first sheet of tiles into place -- align the outside edge with the wall and rest the bottom on the cardboard spacer. Begin with the bottom tile if you'll stack more than one row. Use the space between tiles on the mesh backing -- or tile spacers if using individual tiles -- to determine the space between tiles or tile sheets.

Step 5

Install tile backsplash: Seat tiles firmly in the mastic by tapping a board

Hold a block of wood firmly against the tile and tap it with a hammer to set the individual tiles evenly against the mastic. Move and tap the wood across the entire surface until the tiles feel level to the touch. Continue applying tile along the entire backsplash and let dry.

Grout the Tile

Step 1

Smooth grout between the backsplash tiles using a float

Using a grout float, apply and press grout between the tiles. Work in small areas (about a 3-ft square at a time) and only move the grout float diagonal to the grout lines.

When buying grout, you'll see products labeled "sanded" or "unsanded." Choose unsanded grout when filling spaces less than 1/8-in. Use sanded grout for wider spaces.

Step 2

Sponge off excess grout on mosaic tile backsplash

When the grout begins to form a haze on the tile, wipe away the excess using a moist sponge. Wash out the sponge frequently as you work.

Timing is critical for this and the next stage. You want the grout to be dry enough so that it doesn't pull out of the joints and onto your sponge, but not so dry that you have to use heavy pressure to clean the tiles.

Step 3

Wipe tiles clean with a soft cloth to complete glass mosaic tile backsplash

Before the grout dries completely, use a soft, dry cloth to polish off any remaining haze and clean the tiles. Slide the cardboard spacer out from below the bottom row of tiles.

Step 4

Seal grout between the glass tiles

Allow the grout to dry for two weeks before applying a grout sealer. Clean the tile and reapply sealer annually.