When caulking your backsplash, it’s best to match the caulking color to the color of the grout, not the countertop. Color-matched silicone caulk can be used to achieve this look. It’s essential to use caulk where the backsplash meets the kitchen counter, as well as at the top and edges of the backsplash. This prevents water from seeping in between your tile and the wall or trickling in behind your countertop. Water that infiltrates your wall in this way can cause mold, rot, and damage. Save money and prevent future headaches by caulking your backsplash during installation.
Do You Need to Caulk Your Backsplash?
It’s essential to use caulk to seal the bottom, top, corners, and edges of your tile backsplash. The reason for this is because caulk forms a flexible waterproof seal. As your house settles and different surfaces (countertops and cabinets) expand or contract due to temperature changes, caulk will flex with the changes, maintaining a waterproof seal and preventing water damage to your walls.
- Use caulk to seal the gap between the backsplash and any other surface, including countertops, cabinets, and walls.
- Use caulk to seal corners after tile installation.
- Caulk exposed top and side edges of the tile.
- Caulk will flex with the movement and settling of surfaces, ensuring a long-lasting waterproof seal.
- Grout used between surfaces and in corners will crack and fall out.
Grout is not an effective substitute for caulk when filling the gap between the tile and the countertop, or where the backsplash ends and the wall begins. Grout joints will not flex as caulk does. If grout is used in these applications, it will gradually crumble and leave gaps for moisture to invade.
What is the Best Caulk for Your Kitchen Backsplash?
Choose a color-matched silicone caulk for your backsplash. This type of caulk can be purchased in a variety of shades to match any grout type. This will allow you to caulk the essential areas of your backsplash without ruining the look of your tile installation.
- Use this color-matching caulk to seal your backsplash without marring the look of your tilework.
- Silicone is the best material for backsplash caulk because it remains flexible and waterproof over time.
Although latex caulk can be found in a variety of colors, it’s best to opt for silicone. This is because silicone does not harden and break down as easily as other caulk varieties. It will remain pliable and retain a waterproof seal for years.
How Do You Caulk Between the Countertop and Backsplash?
Properly caulking your backsplash begins with installation. When you install your backsplash, leave a 1/8-inch gap between the tilework and the countertop. Additionally, leave a 1/8-inch gap in corners, as well as between the tiles and any other fixtures, such as oven vents and cabinets.
- Leave a 1/8 inch (3 mm) gap between the tile and all other surfaces, including the countertop.
- Apply a bead of color-matched silicone caulk in the gap between the tile and the counter.
- Use this caulking tool to smooth caulk between tile and backsplash.
- Allow the caulk to dry for 24 hours, then carefully scrape off any excess on tiles and countertops.
Once your tile is installed, grouted, and dried, caulk the gaps, top, and edges of the backsplash with your silicone caulk. Smooth the caulk to maintain a pristine look. Then, scrape off excess silicone caulk after it has been allowed to fully dry.
Do You Caulk Before or After Grout?
When installing a backsplash, grout between tiles, once they are set, before you caulk the corners and edges. Grouting is messier work than caulking and involves spreading grout, sponging off excess grout, and removing any haze. If you grout after caulking, stubborn grout may cling to caulked areas. This results in a rough, unfinished look. It’s best to leave caulking as the final step in tile installation.
- Grout the areas between the tiles before caulking.
- Grouting after caulking can ruin the look of your caulk.
- When grouting, make sure to avoid adding grout to areas that will be caulked in the final step.
When grouting, it’s a good idea to use tape to mark seams that need to be caulked later. This will ensure you don’t get carried away and grout a joint that should be caulked.
Can You Caulk Over Grout On a Backsplash?
Do not apply caulk over grout on areas of your backsplash. Grout installed in gaps that should be caulked will break down and fall out. As the grout breaks down, it will cause the caulk installed on top of it to bubble, pull free, or split. For best results, use a scraper tool to remove caulk from these seams, then apply caulk.
- Do not caulk over grout on your kitchen backsplash.
- Caulk applied over grout is prone to pulling free as the grout breaks down.
- If seams and joints that should be caulked have been grouted, use a caulking/grout scraper tool to carefully remove grout before caulking.
For the longevity of your tile, your wall, and your kitchen at large, make sure to take the correct steps to caulk corners and seams where tilework meets another surface. This helps prevent dangerous mold and mildew from breeding in the walls of your kitchen.
Should Caulking Match Your Countertop or Backsplash?
For an ideal look when sealing the gap between your backsplash and countertop, use a color caulk that matches the grout used between the tiles. The finished product will have a uniform look. If you attempt to match the caulk color to the countertop, it will often look very jarring. This is because the bottom seam between the tile and counter is still on the vertical surface (the wall) and will take the place of grout in the lowermost gap. If the caulk is a different color than the grout, it will look very out of place.