Use silicone caulk to fill the gap between any tile surface and cabinets. Caulk used to fill the gap between a tile backsplash and your cabinets will create a waterproof, flexible seal between the two surfaces. Grout will not effectively seal this gap. Not only is grout messy where it comes in contact with cabinets, but it is also prone to falling out of gaps between two different surfaces.
Why Should You Use Caulk Between Tile and Cabinets?
The primary reason to use caulk between your backsplash tile and your kitchen cabinets is because it will create a lasting, waterproof seal. As your house settles, and as different surfaces expand and contract slightly due to changes in temperature, your ceramic tile and kitchen cabinets will expand at different rates. This means the gap between the two surfaces will change slightly. Silicone caulk is flexible enough to handle this expansion and contraction without breaking or falling out.
- Caulk maintains a flexible seal despite different rates of heat expansion and contraction between tile and cabinets.
- It’s extremely important to use caulk to seal these gaps in your kitchen, where high temperatures from cooking surfaces are common.
- If gaps are not sealed with caulk, moisture can infiltrate your walls, causing mold or destroying your kitchen backsplash.
Changes in temperature are extremely common in kitchen cooking areas, where a hot stove, oven, or steam rising off a pot can change temperatures in an area. By using caulk wherever tile and cabinets meet, you keep an attractive seal that prevents moisture from invading your walls and damaging your tilework.
What Happens if You Grout Between Tiles and Cabinets?
Grout applied to the gap between tile and cabinets is prone to cracking and falling out. This is because the cabinet material is likely to expand and contract more dramatically than the tiles. Essentially, the grout will be crushed by this expansion, cracking it. Then, when the cabinet contracts a fraction of an inch as it cools, pieces of grout will fall out of the seam.
- Grout used in seams between your tile backsplash and cabinet will crack and fall out.
- If you use grout between tile and cabinets, excess grout can leave a gritty residue on your cabinets.
Grout is also less precise to work with than caulk. Sanded grout can leave a gritty residue on your finished cabinets that is hard to clean off. By comparison, silicone caulk is easy to remove from a cabinet, whether it’s fresh or dry.
How to Properly Caulk Between Tile and Cabinets
For best results caulking the gap between your kitchen backsplash and your cabinets, use a color-matched silicone caulk. Choose a color that closely resembles your colored grout. That way, the caulk will be almost indistinguishable from the grout lines.
- Use this color-matched caulk in the gap between tiles and cabinets. Match the caulk color to your grout.
- When installing tile, leave a 1/8 inch (3 mm) gap between tile and cabinets.
- Fill the gap between the tile and cabinet with color-matched caulk. Then, smooth it with this caulking tool.
To make caulking easier, leave a 1/8 inch (3 mm) gap between the tiles and the cabinet during tile installation. Once you’ve completed your tile install, simply use a caulk gun to apply a bead of caulk to the gap and smooth it with a caulking tool. Once dry, you can use a scraper to carefully remove any unwanted caulk residue.
How Do You Fill the Gap Between Cabinets and Tiles?
The best way to make a waterproof seal between your cabinets and tile is by filling it with color-matched silicone caulk. Silicone is the best material for this use because it remains flexible for years despite temperature changes. Unlike latex caulk, silicone won’t split or crack. Choose a color-matched silicone caulk to achieve a professional finish between the top row of tiles and your cabinets. This method will keep your kitchen pristine for years to come and works for glass, porcelain, stone, or ceramic tile.