How Long Does It Take To Install A Backsplash?

Who doesn’t want to have a beautiful new backsplash? A new backsplash can update the look of any kitchen. But how long will this installation take? We've researched what you need to know about the time needed for backsplash installation, as well as answers to some important questions. 

The actual installation of a backsplash is surprisingly fast. A finished backsplash will take from two to four days. It is the drying time required for the mortar, grout, and grout sealant that takes the bulk of the time. Depending on the material you choose and the house's age, a  professional installation can sometimes take several days. 

Keeping it simple will save you time and will still look fabulous! Now, we’ll go into a little more detail about the time and process. Below are the basic steps and what to expect when installing a backsplash. If you are hiring a contractor, you’ll know what to expect from start to finish. And if you love to DIY, you’ll be able to put up your own backsplash in no time at all! 

A gorgeous remodeled contemporary classic wooden inspired kitchen with an expensive oven and indoor plants on the side, How Long Does It Take To Install A Backsplash?

Is it hard to install a backsplash? 

If you choose a simple tile, such as subway tile, and have a flat surface, a backsplash installation can be very easy. The following list of abbreviated steps will help you determine how long it takes to install your backsplash. 

1. Choosing a new tile and grout color to complement your current decor     

Large, chain hardware stores always have plenty of beautiful options that can be purchased immediately. Ordering backsplash material online or from a specialty store can take days or weeks if the tiles come from overseas. Choosing tiny or oddly shaped tiles will also add extra time to your installation.

2. Preparing the surface for new tiles 

If old tile must be removed, damage can occur to the drywall beneath. Replacements or repairs can take as much as two or three days.

3. Preparing a pencil grid on the wall of the tile layout.  

The size of the surface area and your materials will determine how much time this takes. Allow anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. 

4. Gathering the materials and protecting surfaces

This is an important step. Once the mortar is mixed, it dries quickly. If you are in a fourth-floor apartment with no elevator, extra time will be needed to bring all the materials up to the project location.

5. Working in small sections 

This is the main event! Once all of the materials are gathered, it should take only one to three hours for a professional to install a standard kitchen backsplash of even the most difficult materials. Experienced professionals will work very quickly. Watch the process below:

6. Allowing the mortar to dry

Once the tile is on the wall, the mortar needs time to dry. The standard drying time is 12 to 24 hours before installing the grout.

7. Grouting and cleaning the tiles 

This step includes grout installation and cleaning of the tile surface. This takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Then, allow 24 to 48 hours for the grout to dry. 

8. Sealing the grout 

This takes anywhere from an hour to three hours, depending on the surface area. The time for this process is very dependent on the size of your tiles. Small, penny-round tile will have a lot of grout lines to seal compared with larger subway tiles.

The following questions and considerations should also be taken into account when calculating the time needed to install the backsplash. 

Do you need a backer board for a kitchen backsplash? 

Yes! An important part of your backsplash installation time will be whether or not you have an existing backer board, or whether you need a new backer board. If you have an old house, there is a possibility that your current backsplash is simply a thin piece of Formica. Once you remove that, you will be faced with bare studs and empty space. 

Backer board is exactly what it sounds like. You need to attach your backsplash material to something, that is the backer board. If your 2x4 frame studs are in place, the installation can take as little as an hour. Here are the types of backer board and what to expect when calculating the time for your backsplash: 

  • If you are putting up a backsplash in a wet area, you can use a green backer board. This is simply waterproof drywall, and as the name suggests, it is green and easy to differentiate from regular drywall. It can be scored and snapped neatly and easily with a utility knife. 
  • If you are putting up a backsplash behind a stove, you need to use a fire-grade backer board. This is a little thicker and made with a fire-resistant material. It prevents the spread of an accidental fire through walls. This type of backer board can also be cut the same way. 
  • If you want to install a complete slab of marble or stone for your backsplash, you may need to install a cement backer board. This is made with cement and wire mesh and is approved for both waterproofing and fire-proofing your backsplash. However, it is extremely heavy and difficult to work with; it can take an additional day to install. 

Do you need to seal grout on a kitchen backsplash?  

The answer depends on the tile and grout you use. Some tiles will need epoxy grout cement, which does not usually need to be sealed. For tiles that require sealant, the sealant will also cover the grout lines. This eliminates the need for an additional sealant application. 

Other types of tile will need to be used with organic cement grout. It is a mixture of sand and cement. Since it is naturally porous, it can absorb and release moisture. Sealing this type of grout is usually recommended to prevent moisture from seeping into your wall or from mold or mildew growing in the grout. 

What is the easiest backsplash to install? 

The easiest backsplash to install is square or subway tiles, or tiles without odd shapes. In some cases, you can actually tile right over an existing backsplash! This is a significant time-saver as well as a financial savings option. 


In Closing

As you can see, installing a backsplash can be a simple project. The main time constraints involve ordering and gathering materials, drying time between steps, and the type of material you choose. So, the decision about what you want for your backsplash will be the ultimate factor in calculating the time necessary for the installation. But whatever type of material you choose, a  new backsplash will create an amazing, updated look in any area!

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