Lay out your tiles on the counter, table, or floor. Make sure that your tile lay out matches the dimensions of your wall. For example, if your backsplash is 6 to 2 feet (1.83 to 0.61 m), then your tile lay out should also be 6 to 2 feet (1.83 to 0.61 m). Include the tiles that will get in the way of cabinets, corners, and edges. You will cut these down to size later. Also, remember to include the grouting gaps between the tiles; use a spacer if you have to.
This step is known as “dry-fitting.” It will help you figure out whether or not you need to cut any tiles. Leave a 1⁄8-in (0.32-cm) gap around the backsplash, where it connects to the cabinets, counter, and adjacent wall. If you are working with a large sheet of tiles, click here to continue.
Mark the tiles that will get in the way of cabinets and corners. Check the dimensions of your wall against your laid-out tiles. Use a marker to make a mark across the tiles where they will bump against a cabinet or corner. Mark the tiles that will be along the top edge of your backsplash, next to a wall, or under a cabinet. They will be more disguised that way.
Put on some eye and respiratory protection. A pair of safety goggles will protect your eyes against any flying pieces of tile. A good respiratory mask will prevent you from breathing in any sanding dust. Most masks are graded based on the type of particle they can filter. Choose one that can filter dust particles.
Use a score-and-snap tile cutter on large tiles. Use the cutting wheel to make a single, deep score in the tile. Snap the tile along the scored line. If the tile has a mesh backing, make sure that the mesh side is facing up. Do not use grinders on tiles made from slate. You can use them on ceramic tiles, however.