Can I Put Peel and Stick Backsplash Over Existing Tile?

Installing a new backsplash can instantly update the look of your kitchen or bathroom. If you have existing tile that you want to cover up, using a peel and stick backsplash tile provides an easy and budget-friendly solution. Here’s what you need to know about installing peel and stick tile over existing backsplash tile.

An Introduction to Peel and Stick Tiles

Peel and stick backsplash tiles, also known as self-adhesive tile or stick-on tile, have become very popular in recent years. They provide the look of real ceramic or stone tile without the difficult installation and high cost.

Peel and stick tiles have an adhesive backing that allows them to adhere directly to a variety of surfaces. They come in many different materials including ceramic, porcelain, marble, and granite looks. The tiles are designed to be installed right over existing tile, walls, laminate, or other flat surfaces.

Some key advantages of using peel and stick backsplash tile:

  • Easy “peel and stick” installation – no need for tile setting mastery.
  • Allows you to cover up old or outdated backsplashes easily.
  • More affordable than ceramic or stone tile.
  • Creates a backsplash with the look of real tile.
  • Removable and reusable in some cases.

Can You Install Peel and Stick Tiles Over Existing Tile?

The good news is, yes, you can install peel and stick backsplash tile directly over existing tile! This provides a simple upgrade to outdated or damaged backsplash tile without having to do a full tear-out.

There are a few things to keep in mind though when installing peel and stick over existing tile:

Ensure the Surface is Smooth

For the peel and stick tiles to properly adhere, the surface must be smooth and flat. If the existing tiles are heavily textured or have wide grout lines, some preparation may be required:

  • Fill in grout lines – Use a sanded caulk or grout to fill in and smooth over large grout lines.
  • Skim coat surface – Apply a thin layer of cement, plaster, or drywall mud over the entire surface to smooth it out.
  • Use backerboard – In some cases, it may be better to install a new 1/4″ backerboard over the old tile first to create a perfectly smooth surface.

Thoroughly Clean the Surface

Before applying the new tile, be sure to deep clean the existing tile surface. Remove all grease, soap residue, and grime so the adhesive can properly stick. A combination of warm water, dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda typically works well.

Check Adhesive Strength

Do a test of the adhesive on the existing tile before doing the entire project. Clean a small area of the old tile and apply one of the new peel and stick tiles. Press firmly for 60-90 seconds and then let it cure for 48 hours. Try removing the test tile, if it sticks well then the adhesive should work.

Consider a Transition Strip

You may want to install a metal or plastic transition strip between the countertop and new backsplash tile. This helps provide a finished edge and allows for slight differences in thickness between the old and new tile.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installation

Once you’ve prepped the surface, you’re ready to install the peel and stick tiles. Follow these steps:

  1. Measure and mark – Measure the backsplash area and mark chalk lines to keep the tiles aligned and evenly spaced.
  2. Cut tiles (if needed) – Cut any edge or border tiles to fit using a utility knife and straight edge. A wet saw can be used for more precise cuts.
  3. Clean surface – Wipe down the entire backsplash surface with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  4. Peel off backing – Remove the adhesive backing from the first tile, being careful not to touch the sticky surface.
  5. Apply tile – Press the tile firmly to the backsplash surface starting from the center and smoothing outward. Hold for 60-90 seconds.
  6. Continue laying tiles – Follow the chalk lines to install the remaining tiles in rows, peeling off backing and pressing each one firmly.
  7. Roll all tiles – Once all the tiles are applied, roll over them firmly with a J-roller or grout float to ensure strong adhesion.
  8. Install transition strip (optional) – Apply metal/plastic edge trim between the countertop and new backsplash for a finished look.
  9. Clean tiles – Wipe away any adhesive residue or smudges using a damp microfiber cloth or sponge.
  10. Enjoy your new backsplash! – Let it cure fully for 48-72 hours before using heavily.

And that’s it! With just a few supplies and following proper installation steps, you can easily install peel and stick backsplash tile over existing backsplash surfaces. This can refresh the look of your kitchen or bath without the hassle of a full tile removal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Peel and Stick Tile Over Existing Tile

Can you put peel and stick tile over cracked tiles?

It’s best to remove and replace any cracked tiles before installing peel and stick over the surface. The unevenness of cracked tiles could prevent proper adhesion.

What about putting peel and stick tile over ceramic tile?

Peel and stick tile works well directly over ceramic backsplash tiles as long as the surface is properly prepped and smooth. Fill any wide grout lines and ensure tiles are fully secured.

Can I install peel and stick backsplash over porcelain tile?

You can install peel and stick tiles over polished porcelain tiles in good shape. Be sure to roughen up the glazed porcelain surface first using sandpaper for better adhesion.

Is it ok to install peel and stick backsplash over glass tile?

Yes, you can apply peel and stick tiles over existing glass backsplash tile. Thoroughly clean and lightly etch the slick glass surface first to help the adhesive stick.

How do you prepare textured backsplash tile for peel and stick?

For heavy tile textures, apply a thin skim coat of plaster or cement board finish to smooth out the surface before adding the new peel and stick backsplash.

What about putting peel and stick backsplash over travertine tile?

Natural stone tiles like travertine have uneven surfaces that will need smoothing out with a skim coat layer before installing peel and stick backsplash tiles.

Can I just put tile adhesive directly over existing tile?

Applying new tile adhesive directly over old tile often doesn’t adhere well. It’s better to use a tile-over-tile product or install backerboard before tiling over an existing backsplash.

How long does peel and stick backsplash tile last?

With proper installation over a smooth surface, most quality peel and stick backsplash tiles will last 3-5 years or longer before needing replacement. Proper cleaning is important.


Installing peel and stick backsplash tile over existing backsplash provides a quick and simple kitchen or bath update. Prepping the surface by cleaning, filling grout lines, or adding backerboard ensures proper adhesion. Carefully follow the product instructions and installation steps. With the right preparation, peel and stick tiles can transform your backsplash in just an afternoon.