How to Tile a Backsplash Over Sheetrock

Lead Image for How to Tile a Backsplash Over Sheetrock
  • 8-12 hours
  • Advanced
  • 300-1,000
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Sheetrock compound
Sheetrock tape
Plastic scraper
Utility knife
Tile mortar
Notched trowel
Tile cutter

One of the projects in a kitchen remodel is to install tile for a backsplash behind the sink. This is a very standard project that requires some tiling skills and tools like a tile cutter. Many times when you tile a backsplash the material that you will be mounting it onto will determine the specifics of the project. Tile can be installed onto many different materials, such as wood, cement, and even drywall. Here are the steps to follow when you install tile for a backsplash over sheetrock.

Prepare The Sheetrock Surface

Tiles mortar will easily adhere to sheetrock without any problems, but the sheetrock must be free of any cracks or holes. Go over the surface and repair any damage that might have been done during installation or through the removal of older tiles. Use the sheetrock compound, tape, and screws to install any new pieces or fix damaged areas.

Measure For The Backsplash

When you tile a backsplash you want to make sure there is little cutting involved and that you can use full pieces. There are times when you will need to cut some of the tiles to fit, but by taking your time in measuring out the tile you can avoid a lot of cutting. Measure the backsplash area so that it is a few inches wider than the sink and about 18-inches high. You can vary these measurements to fit the tiles you are using. Remember to add 1/8-inch to each measurement of the tiles to allow for the grout. Mark the area with a pencil and level.

Spread Adhesive over Sheetrock

When you start to lay the tile for the backsplash you want to start out with the border. This way all of your border tiles will be full pieces. Spread the tile mortar over the surface of the sheetrock along the border area. Do not cover the entire backsplash area. Use a notched trowel to give the mortar some grooves. Set the tile into position with a slight wiggle to set them in place.

Finish Applying The Tiles

Once the border has been completed, you can then finish the tile work of your backsplash. Take the time to carefully set each piece in place and remember to use a tile spacer.

Wash The Tile Surface

After all of the remaining tiles have been installed onto the backsplash surface, go over the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge. You need to remove the excess mortar from the surface before it dries and to prepare the backsplash for grout. Let the tile dry overnight.

Grout The Tile

When you tile a backsplash you also need to apply grout in between each tile for a more finished look. Ready-made grout comes in a wide variety of colors and eliminates the need for any mixing. Spread it out with a smooth rubber spreader and make sure all the cracks are filled in. Go over the surface of the tiles with a sponge after the grout has dried a little. Wait another day and apply a coating of grout sealer to protect it from water and other liquids.