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How to tile a splashback

Kind of a Big Deal

Difficulty: Intermediate


Want to give your kitchen an inexpensive makeover? Whether you are selling your house or just want to give your kitchen a little facelift, one of the most cost-effective and simple methods is to replace the splashback.


In this article you’ll find everything you need to install a tiled splashback in a weekend of D.I.Y. fun that should cost you less than $100.


Preparation and patience will go a long way to ensuring you get the best finish possible. And bear in mind, if you’re going to lay mosaic tiles, it’s a similar process but you’ll need a special adhesive and a little more patience.



Step 1

Measure your wall space to be tiled. When buying your tiles, add at least five percent extra for cuts and waste.


Take the time to properly tape up and protect your benchtop and floors. Use some old sheets or buy some cheap (ideally reusable) plastic to tape down to the benchtop.


Lay out your tools and materials in a way that will help you complete the job most cleanly and efficiently.


1. Preparation.jpg

Step 2

Getting your first row of tiles level is key to ensuring you have the best finish. Remember to take into account any slope in your benchtop. Set a level line for the length of the wall being tiled.


If you have a gap between benchtops, you will need to temporarily fix a piece of wood to the wall to provide a guide to lay level tiles.


2. Ensure your first row is level.jpg

Step 3

Lay your first tiles by spreading adhesive on the wall with your notch trowel and pressing your tile onto it firmly. Use wedges to allow a small gap between your benchtop and the bottom of your tile. Place spacers between each tile - one near top of the tile and one near the bottom. Apply the same pressure when applying each tile to ensure a smooth finish.


Tip: To keep a constant flow, spread adhesive for the length of each row. And to avoid adhesive build-up in-between tiles which you have to clean out before grouting, wipe a pinky finger worth of adhesive away along adjoining edges of tiles before you lay each one.


Step 4

If you are laying your tiles brickbond you need to start your second row with a half length tile. Hold on to the offcut (other half) as you’ll be able to use it to finish that row or start your fourth row.


Stackbond is pretty self-explanatory - only requiring cuts on one end. But don’t underestimate the extra complexity of maintaining perfectly level rows and straight columns, as any discrepancies are far more noticeable compared to brickbond.


4. Brickbond.png  4. Stackbond.png

Step 5

Cutting around powerpoints and other obstacles doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply line up your tile, mark where the powerpoint is (accounting for enough space for the powerpoint to fit into the wall) and make your cuts with the angle grinder. Take your time especially with finer cuts - a small mistake can easily ruin the tile.


5. Cut around powerpoints.jpg


Step 6

Once you’ve laid all your tiles, give them at least 12 hours to dry before grouting.


Step 7

Clean the excess adhesive off your tiles with a plastic scraper and cloth.


7. Clean excess adhesive.jpg

Step 8

Once you’ve cleaned your tiles, mix your grout per the instructions on the packet with your drill and paint mixer. Getting the right consistency is key to an easier job and better finish.


8. Tiles are clean.jpg


Step 9

When grouting, it is important to avoid being too pedantic as the more you work each grout line, the more you risk actually ruining the final finish. Simply spread your toothpaste like grout over your tiles and into the gaps with your rubber grouting trowel. Once you’ve filled it all, run over your tiles fairly firmly with a damp jumbo sponge to remove excess grout ensuring a smooth grout line between tiles. You need to avoid a coarse/rough finish.


Now leave it to dry before giving it a final wipe down and clean up.


9. Ensure a smooth finish when grouting.jpg

Step 10

Once you’ve cleaned up and your benchtop is dust free, apply a bead of silicone evenly along the bottom to fill the gap between benchtop and tile. It’s also a good idea to seal your grout to help protect it from stains.


Now step back and bask in the glory of your work and put any pennies you have left over into your next project.


10. Finished Result.jpg


  • Protective plastic or sheet for benchtop and floors
  • Painters tape
  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile wedges
  • Wet area silicone
  • Grout sealer


  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Tape measure
  • Small spirit level
  • Pencil or sharp felt-tip pen
  • Drill
  • Mixer
  • Bucket
  • Notch trowel
  • Angle grinder with tile/ceramic disc
  • Rubber grouting trowel
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Jumbo sponge
  • Wet tile cutter (Optional)


1. Preparation.jpg

2. Ensure your first row is level.jpg

4. Brickbond.png

4. Stackbond.png

5. Cut around powerpoints.jpg

7. Clean excess adhesive.jpg

8. Tiles are clean.jpg

9. Ensure a smooth finish when grouting.jpg

10. Finished Result.jpg

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