How Easy Is It to Tile Your Own Natural Stone Backsplash?

natural stone backsplash

A natural stone backsplash is a great way to bring character to your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Installing a backsplash also comes with a number of benefits, including protecting the wall behind it from moisture, grease, and more.

You may be considering tiling your own natural stone backsplash rather than hiring a professional to do it for you. While tackling this DIY project on your own can be intimidating, it is possible to do it with little to no hassle. With the right step-by-step process, you can complete this project in no time.

Is It Hard to Install a Natural Stone Backsplash?

You’re likely wondering if the process of installing a natural stone backsplash is difficult. This type of do-it-yourself project is considered an intermediate difficulty level, meaning it will involve research, planning, measuring, and the use of power tools.

Once you’ve gathered the right information and tools, the project itself is fairly straightforward. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, as completing a backsplash can take up to two days. This is because it takes at least twenty-four hours for the mastic adhesive to dry before grouting the tile.

One of the most challenging parts of the installation process will be choosing the right natural stone backsplash for your home. With so many natural stone options available on the market, the choice can be overwhelming. Because natural stones vary so much in tone, striations, and more, it can be difficult to match them to your current countertop.

natural stone backsplash over range

The safest bet is to follow one of two design rules: the stone backsplash should be the same stone material as your countertop, or it should contrast. Trying to have eye-catching designs on both your countertops and backsplash will overwhelm the senses. Instead, choose one to be light and the other dark, or one to be patterned and the other more neutral.

Another factor to consider is what size of tiling you want. For your first time tiling a backsplash, we recommend larger tiles, as they can be easier to cut to size, rather than the smaller meshes of tiles, which can be trickier to cut on a wet saw.

Once you’ve figured out the type of tile that will look best in your home, it’s time to get started on the installation process.

How to Install a Natural Stone Backsplash

So, how do you go about installing a natural stone backsplash? Every space is a little different, and you may encounter some challenges for which you’ll have to figure out a solution.

A medium-sized backsplash will take at least two days to tile. Prepare, research, purchase enough materials, and start from a specific focal point. If a window or oven vent hood will be the focal point, start right in the middle of it. Starting in the middle ensures that each tile looks great. This is especially important for larger tiles.

grout or mastic going on wall to make a backsplash

10 Steps for Installing a Natural Stone Backsplash

Follow these steps to install a natural stone backsplash in your home:

  1. Clean and prepare the wall.
  2. Measure and mark with pencil where the tile will go.
  3. Buy supplies and tools. Add ten percent more tiling than you think you need.
  4. Install backer board if the area will be getting wet often. Spread mastic adhesive on the wall or backer board.
  5. Set the tile.
  6. Saw tiles for exact fits around outlets and corners.
  7. Let mastic adhesive dry for 24 hours.
  8. Apply the grout and remove excess with a damp sponge.
  9. Scrape out corners and caulk the edges and corners.
  10. Let the grout dry for one to seven days, depending on the manufacturer. Then, use a stone sealer on the backsplash, as this will seal both the tiles and grout.

Bonus tip: When cutting tiles to size, use a wet saw rather than a tiler cutter or tile nipper to prevent chipping or breaking.

using a wet saw to cut tile for backsplash

How to Care for a Natural Stone Backsplash

As we see in Step Nine of tiling a backsplash, the stone and the grout need to be sealed. This will add a protective shield over the stone and grout, helping it resist water.

Rock Doctor’s Granite & Stone Sealer is the best product for placing a protective layer over your new natural stone backsplash and grout. No matter which kind of stone you decide to use, our Stone Sealer will protect your backsplash against stains and other hazards.

We recommend re-sealing your natural stone every six to twelve months. If you’re unsure whether your stone needs to be resealed, sprinkle some water on the surface. If the water beads up, your seal is still good. If it spreads out and darkens the stone, it’s time to apply another coat of stone sealer.

Cleaning your backsplash will occur more regularly than sealing. You’ll want to wipe it down every time grease or other substances, such as spaghetti sauce or toothpaste, splash onto your backsplash. Use Rock Doctor’s Tile & Grout Cleaner to clean your natural stone backsplash.

How to Care for Backsplash Grout

Similar to the natural stone on your backsplash, your grout will need to be cleaned and periodically resealed. Use Rock Doctor’s Tile & Grout Cleaner to clean your grout. This powerful cleaner is designed to remove grease, dirt, oil, and soap scum from grout and tile. It’s quick and easy to use, safe for both glazed and unglazed tile, and safe to use on ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, granite, and grout.

Your grout should be resealed every year or two. This is less often than your natural stone requires resealing, and it doesn’t hurt to knock the two out simultaneously. You can find our outstanding Sealer and Cleaner at a local retail store near you or find us at one of our online retailers!