Help! How Do You Prep A Kitchen Wall For A Tile Backsplash?

3 August 2016
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog


You can convert the blank space behind the range into an appealing view, and it doesn't need to be a daunting task. You won't need to look at all of those splash marks from grease anymore. With a bit of preparation, you can have a nice tile backsplash that can last for many years to come.

Before You Start

Be sure not to tile over plywood, lead paint, glossy surfaces, or wallpaper. If you aren't sure whether the surface contains lead, you should purchase a test kit. A professional needs to remove lead paint from surfaces because the toxins in it can spread into your home and cause health issues. Children and pregnant women need to stay away from the home until the work is completed.

Otherwise, for other textured or painted drywall, you will need to scrape any peeling/loose paint from the surface and provide a smooth surface. You will need to patch any cracks or holes before you begin. Use a vacuum to remove any dust. Grease or oil can be removed from the wall with an ammonia-based cleaner or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). You need to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin when using TSP.


The temperature in the room for a tile surface does influence the work progress. Mortar, grout, adhesives, and patch materials are affected by fluctuation in room temperatures. Cold temperatures will slow down the drying times. You need to plan ahead of time and not install the tile under freezing conditions.

Tiles Over Existing Tiles?

You can tile over existing tiles, but it might not be a good idea. If there are just a few loose tiles, you can remove and clean them. However, you need to be sure your wall is strong enough to hold the two tile surfaces. You would just place epoxy tile adhesive bonds over the tiles and proceed with the tile job.

Prepare the Wall

Step 1: The switch plates and outlet covers need to be removed from the area you plan to tile.

Step 2: Use an 80-grit hand-sander to roughen the paint's surface. Use a damp rag to remove the dust.

Step 3: Use a measuring rule and mark the focal point (such as the range) in the center of the space.

Step 4: Draw a straight line with a level with a sharp pencil at the center mark.

Step 5: Set-up the tile pattern on a table or floor to ensure you have a correct fit.

These are the basic steps and suggestions for preparing a kitchen wall for a tile backsplash. It is best to be sure you do it right the first time, making sure all of the surfaces are properly prepared. You will have a finished product that will give you many hours of viewing enjoyment. Use your imagination and make a unique pattern that fits your home's décor. 

If you find this project too complicated to handle on your own, contact a company like Art Tile Co. Inc. for assistance.