How to Install Kitchen Tile + FireClayTile Giveaway [DIY]

Hi there, glad you are here. This post is all about Kitchen Tile Installation. In other words, if you are new to kitchen remodeling, then you may want to start with our 

because you most likely will need to apply this process if you plan on remodeling. But just in case you installed your drywall already, installing tile would be your next step after the cabinets are installed.

House tour 2015 - Kitchen
Kitchen Tile Installation

Above all, we are so glad that we finally finished our NEW Ikea kitchen, it’s been 2 months since we first started with the design for our new kitchen. We LOVE the outcome and would do it all over again!

How to Install Kitchen Tile + FireClayTile Giveaway [DIY]

Therefore, I am not only sharing our Kitchen Tile Installation, but we have also collaborated with FireClayTile – an amazing company that believes that new isn’t necessarily better and that trash really can become a treasure.

Handmade things have soul, and good design will prevail as one of our most sustainable assets. They believe in the power of teamwork and that work should be fun. They believe that life should be lived boldly and with purpose.

GIVEAWAY [closed]

FireClayTile is giving away 2 Handpainted 8×8 trivets tiles, the Jerez tile in the color Cool Motif from the MEDITERRANEAN COLLECTION and the Jardin Fretwork tile in the color Cool Motif from the MOROCCAN COLLECTION to one of our lucky readers, so make sure you enter at the bottom of today’s post! – Eligibility to enter: Open to legal residents of the USA who are 18 years or older.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Fireclay Tile 8x8 trivets
Fireclay Tile 8×8 trivets

Kitchen Tile Installation and where it all began

Before I get started with my Kitchen Tile Installation tutorial for today, I like to share my little story about the tile and how it all brought this new kitchen to life.

I was searching craigslist for a tile to remodel our bathroom, but instead, I stumbled across this amazing tile and “Had To Have Them”!

Kitchen Tile Installation - Handmade FireClayTile
Handmade FireClayTile

Long Story short

In conclusion, I was able to talk my husband into a new kitchen from Ikea, and a couple of weeks later we started taking cabinets down. The tile was my inspiration for the entire kitchen, I love rustic, modern, chic, and most of all if it’s unique. Very grateful to have found the Chaine Homme FireClayTile – it was meant to be!

Ok, so let’s get started with our Kitchen Tile Installation. Here are the things I used to install the FireClayTile tiles.

Supply list:

Kitchen Tile Installation - Tool and material
Tools and material
Kitchen Tile Installation - Kitchen before backsplash was added Kitchen Tile Installation
Kitchen without backsplash [tile installation]

Bare Kitchen – Before tiling 

Unfinished kitchen’s don’t look that great, and so did ours. It looked so bare without the backsplash, and I couldn’t wait to install these tiles!

To begin with, I had to protect my butcher block from any damage, in order to do that I used a water-blocking paper that I got at Home Depot (find the link above in the Tools and Material you need, section).

After that, simply roll the paper out on the counter, cut it to fit, and tape it down with some painter’s tape.

Kitchen Tile Installation- Prep before starting the tiling
Prep before starting the tiling
Kitchen Tile Installation- Finished prep for tiling
Finished prep for tiling

Drywall Prep

Next, you want to smooth out the drywall, this can be done with a sanding block of 220. I skipped this step since I had done a good job applying the sheetrock all-purpose joint compound, you can find my tutorial for the drywall installation here.

However, before I got started with anything, I laid out my tile – FireClayTile’s are handmade and there can be some variation in the color and fitting, so make sure you lay them out the way you like them to go on the wall.

Kitchen Tile Installation- Laying out tile part 2
Laying out tile
Kitchen Tile Installation- Laying out tile
Laying out tile – Kitchen Tile Installation part 2

What to watch out for if wood counters are used?

In addition, I had to make sure the countertop was leveled. A simple leveler should do the trick! I added 1/4″ spacer’s to the bottom of my tile, this is done in case the butcher block starts expanding.

The moisture content of the butcher block will vary due to the movement of moisture into and out of the wood. Natural humidity (dry and wet), air conditioning, and machines that dispel heat or moisture (eg. Dishwashers, cooking appliances, etc.) will affect the moisture content of the wood. As moisture in the air increases, it is absorbed by the butcher block, and the wood will expand. The butcher block contracts as moisture in the air decrease.

I chose a finishing trim for a smooth and professional look on the outside of my ending tile. I used the Schulter Metal trim (Shiene profile, 7/16″ AE110).

Kitchen Tile Installation- Schulter Metal trim
Schulter Metal trim – 7/16″ AE110
Kitchen Tile Installation- Metal trim look
Metal trim was added to the outside!

Grouting [instructions]

To add the trim I started by applying the thin-set at a 45-degree angle as if you would for the tile, you then press the trim into its marked position and tile right over it. I back-buttered my backsplash just to give everything a stronger hold once done.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Add thin-set in a 45 degree angle
Add thin-set at a 45-degree angle
Kitchen Tile Installation-Apply the 1/4" grout with your trowel
The grout should be applied 1/4″ thickness with your notched trowel
Kitchen Tile Installation- Back-buttered tile
Back-buttered tile
Kitchen Tile Installation - progress after 4hours
Kitchen Tile Installation – progress after 4hours

Back-Buttering [instructions]

The first wall of backsplash took me forever to install, but I finished everything the next day since hubby was home and kept the kids occupied.

Here are a few extra steps of the back-buttering and applying process, so you can see how easy it is.

Kitchen Tile Installation - back-buttering tile step 1
back-buttering tile step 1
Kitchen Tile Installation - back-buttering tile step 2
back-buttering tile step 2
Kitchen Tile Installation - back-buttering tile step 3
back-buttering tile step 3 (sorry for the blur!)

With the drywall prepared with a thin set, I then applied the back-buttered tile to the wall.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Apply the tile to the wall
Apply the tile to the wall
Kitchen Tile Installation - Press the tile into the thin-set with light pressure.
Press the tile into the thin set with light pressure.
Kitchen Tile Installation - Clean out the spaces in between each tile
Clean out the spaces in between each tile

I read that FireClayTile recommends in their installation guide to use spacers in between tiles as well, I didn’t use them to space each tile, because the tile fit so snugly that I didn’t have room to add them. However, I made sure to leave 1/4″ on the left and right side of each tile.

TIP: To get thin-set out in between tiles, I used a business card to scrape excess mortar out.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Tile around the stove top
Tile around the stovetop

When I reached the stove area, I decided to tile in a straight line along with the countertop. I used a leveler and some painter’s tape to keep the tile straight. The area was first marked with a straight line and then taped with painter’s tape right below.

Therefore, the excess mortar ended up on the tape, and all I had to do was to remove the tape before drying and I had a clean look at the end.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Tiling along the counter
Tiling along the counter
Kitchen Tile Installation - Dirty Job
Dirty Job

Messy counter, exhaustion, and some super sore arms after two days.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Finished tiling
Finished tiling

After 24h of drying, the tile was ready for grouting.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Finished tiling
Backsplash before grouting
Kitchen Tile Installation - Tile closeup
Tile closeup

What you need for grouting tile:

Kitchen Tile Installation - Grouting tools
Grouting tools

Start by cleaning your tile, and wiping them down with a damp sponge.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Clean tile before applying grout
Clean tile before applying grout
Kitchen Tile Installation - Apply grout in a 45 degree angle
Apply grout at a 45-degree angle

Let the fusion pro grout set 3-4min before wiping off the excess in a circular motion.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Wiping off excess grout
Wiping off excess grout
Kitchen Tile Installation - Working along the corner
Working along the corner

This corner was the hardest to get to, but it turned out beautifully and all the sweat was well worth it!

Kitchen Tile Installation - Finished look
Finished look

What a transformation!!!

Kitchen Tile Installation - Grouting result after 1h.
Grouting result after 1h.
Kitchen Tile Installation - Grouting part 2
Grouting result after 24h

After 24h of dry time, it was time to give this kitchen its finishing touch. Cleaning up, removing the tape, adding outlet covers, and applying silicone along with the countertops.

Kitchen Tile Installation - Adding outlet covers (after 24h drytime)
Adding outlet covers (after 24h dry time)
Kitchen Tile Installation - Applying Silicone along the countertops
Applying Silicone along with the countertops

Amazing how tile can transform a space!

Kitchen Tile Installation - Before
Before tiling
Kitchen Tile Installation - Before grouting
Before grouting
Kitchen Tile Installation - After tiling and grouting
After tiling and grouting

Here is a before and after of the old kitchen and the new kitchen after I applied some other finishing touches, like; lighting and some decor. More about that coming soon in another post!

Kitchen Tile Installation - Before and after
Before and after


Enter to win 2 Handpainted 8×8 tiles from FireClayTile right below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you like to start reading about our kitchen takedown from the beginning, you may start here:

I’m also sharing lots of sneak peeks of projects on instagram, you can follow me at @oheverythinghandmade

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    1. Hi Silvia, Thank you so much, we are very pleased with our new kitchen. Cooking is more fun now!

  1. I loved your kitchen transformation. It gave light and life to your kitchen. I am also impressed with the tutorial you presented on the tile. The tiles were a revelation. I’ve never seen anything like it before. What creativity!

    1. Hi kssunflower, glad you stopped by. We are so glad that fireclay tile popped into our lives, it turned out exactly how I pictured it.

  2. Your kitchen is wonderful!! I know you are so excited to have it done. I love your backsplash tile

    1. Barbara, the reason I had to have this specific tile, was the shape and the color. I keep catching myself looking at the tile and thinking “wow, I did it!!!” Best feeling ever!

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