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How long does it take to tile a kitchen backsplash?

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Tiling a kitchen backsplash will depend on the area to be tiled and the material used. But in general, how long does it take to tile a kitchen backsplash?

A professional installer will typically take about two to three days to install a medium-sized backsplash area. Installations are typically dependent on the area in terms of square foot. Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes and with angles, so professional installation time will vary from project to project.

Finishing the raw edges of a tile backsplash ensures that the installation is proper and the project has a striking and eye-catching finish. The finishing tile edge can be either in matching colors to the installed ones or contrasting ones.

How to finish tile edges on a backsplash

There are several ways to make sure that the transition from tile to wall or ceiling is smooth and refined.

- Caulking edges: It is the most cost-effective solution. Mosaics, stone, and some porcelain tiles have edges that are more suited for this. If the edges of the tile are clean and finished, thin caulking may be applied to the edge to create a watertight seal.

- Tail moldings: Tile moldings that are coordinated are available in stone and porcelain. These thin and decorative moldings help in the transition process between different types of tile or from tile to wall. Moldings may also be chosen in coordinating or contrasting colors depending upon the decor to be achieved.

- Metal edges: Metal edges can be used for a clean and contemporary transition to another surface. Metal edges may be chosen to coordinate with the metal surfaces on the taps or the sink to bring a level of coordination and cohesion into the finish.

- Bullnose edge: Some tiles that may have been chosen to be the backsplash may not have a bullnose edge available. In this case, a bullnose edge may be created. This method only works for natural stone and some porcelain tiles that are solid throughout. In this process, the edges of the tiles are ground, sanded, and polished before installation.

How long does it take for backsplash tile grout to dry?

Grout lines are another important aspect of tile installation, from aesthetic and functional standpoints. The grout lines will vary, depending on the finish to be achieved. While the tile itself is highly water repellent, the grout lines themselves are not. Hence care has to be taken in deciding how thin or thick the grout lines are going to be.

Jointless installations show no or virtually no grout. Thick installations are generally about a quarter-inch thick. A recommended spacing for wall tiles is one-sixteenth of an inch. Grout lines tend to wear quicker than tile and are more prone to staining, hence it is recommended to minimize the width.

The average drying time of grout is around a day to three days. The exact drying time of grout is dependent on various factors like the type of grout used and humidity levels. Epoxy-based grouts will have shorter drying times when compared to cement ones.

Most manufacturers recommend a drying time of a week before the grout is exposed to moisture. Grouts can also be sealed to make them more waterproof. In case the grout has to be sealed, they have to be allowed to dry even longer for all the moisture to be wicked out.

Common mistakes to avoid during tile backsplash?

- Not planning in advance: One of the biggest mistakes that people make when installing a backsplash, is to follow the suggestions of the builder or contractor, and act instinctively. There are some factors, such as colour, material, size of tile and grout, to be considered.

If the backsplash is not planned properly, it could become an expensive mistake. Removing a backsplash that has not been installed correctly, could damage the wall, countertops and cabinets.

- Tile colour: A common mistake that most people make is to match the backsplash with the countertop. This makes it blend with the other parts such as the cabinets and countertop, without creating a distinct appearance. More importantly, if the countertop is of a dark shade, then, a matching backsplash will make the kitchen look dark, gloomy and smaller than it is.

Another problem is that installing a backsplash in any color other than white makes it a permanent wall color. This makes it difficult to change the shades of the other walls.

Choosing trendy and wild designs could also prove to be a drawback in the long run. Trends like bright, neon colours, tribal patterns such as Warli paintings, mandalas and geometric patterns might look appealing when brand new, but since trends change over the years, the same patterns could look outdated and out of place.

- Installation: There are various stages during installation that could go wrong. These mistakes, again, could prove costly. The first mistake you can make is to install tiles on uneven walls. The backsplash should be installed on walls that are clean and smooth, free of debris, stains and residual wallpaper or paint. If the wall is not prepared properly, the backsplash could chip or break in various places.

The grout should also be applied neatly. The grout has to serve the purpose of sealing the tiles properly, and also be in proper lines. If it is uneven and lumpy, it can look shabby. It can also retain moisture in the gaps, and lead to breakage or chipping.

To avoid any imperfections during installation of backsplash and grout, battens can be used. These are long horizontal or vertical lines that can help with the alignment of the tiles on your wall before they are fixed.

- Sealing: In addition to fixing the tiles on the wall, care should be given to ensuring that there are no gaps or spaces between the wall and the tiles, and between tiles. The grout ensures that inter- tile spaces are sealed, but sometimes, if the surface is uneven, water could seep in between the tiles, or between the tile and the wall, leading to damage.

Therefore, it is imperative to seal the tiles after installation. This will contribute towards longevity of the backsplash and also serve the purpose of protecting your walls.

- Doing it yourself: While there are many things in our house that we can install on our own, the backsplash is best left in the hands of an expert. Although some websites would convince you that it can be done in a weekend, this depends on the area to be tiled, and how much grouting is required. Hastily installed backsplashes could lead to more expenses.

Also, you may not be aware of all the instructions and the drying time required. This could also lead to more problems. Accurate measurements are also necessary before installation.

Cost to install a kitchen tile backsplash?

Backsplash tiles come at varying prices. Some traders sell them in boxes. Prices range from ₹ 200 per box (consists of 5 tiles) to as high as ₹15,000 per piece or more. The cost of installation, however, is separate.

Since there is a variety of tiles to choose from, you can make an informed decision after consulting with individual brands, or by approaching a seller who has a number of brands under the same roof.

Costs vary depending on the size and thickness of the tiles, and also the treatment- whether it is glazed, digitally printed, and so on. The tiles are also available in boxes of 4, 6 or 8.

Some companies sell tiles for backsplash by charging per square foot, while most others sell them in boxes. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are moderately priced starting at ₹ 25 per sq. ft, while marble and glass tiles range from ₹ 90 to ₹ 500 per sq. ft.

The reason behind this huge price difference is the cutting of some of these tiles, and also the glazing required. Some tiles are cut in octagonal or hexagonal shapes, with curved edges instead of straight ones. This makes it more expensive than the regular rectangular ones.

Patterns and stickers on the tiles could also increase the price of the tiles to cost upto ₹ 15,000 for the backsplash. For custom-made tiles, the prices could go higher, depending on the material to be used, and the finish.

In India, the cost for installation is covered with the rest of the house, so there are no separate installation charges unless you choose to install them at a later stage.

Backsplashes are trendy solutions to many common kitchen problems. Though they cost a little extra to install, they go a long way towards keeping the kitchen looking new and clean.

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