Can You Put Backsplash Over Laminate?

Adding a backsplash is one of the most popular ways to update the look of a kitchen. Not only does a backsplash provide an extra pop of color and visual interest, it also protects the walls from splashes and spills. But what if your kitchen has laminate countertops? Can you still install a backsplash over laminate?

What is Laminate?

Laminate countertops, also known as plastic laminate or formica countertops, are made from layers of kraft paper infused with melamine resin and fused under high heat and pressure. This creates a durable, solid surface that resists scratches, stains, heat damage and more.

Laminate gained popularity in the 1950s as an affordable alternative to natural stone countertops. Today, laminate remains a budget-friendly option for kitchen and bathroom countertops. It comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns and finishes to suit any style.

Compared to natural stone and solid surface countertops, laminate is very easy to install and maintain. However, it does have some disadvantages:

  • Laminate can chip, scratch or bubble if subjected to excessive heat or direct impact.
  • The seams where two laminate sheets meet are visible.
  • Over time, the surface may fade or yellow.
  • Laminate cannot be refinished or repaired like natural stone. If badly damaged, the whole countertop may need replacement.

Can You Install a Backsplash Over Laminate?

The good news is, yes, you can install a backsplash over existing laminate countertops! Adding a backsplash is a quick and easy upgrade that allows you to introduce color, texture and charm to your kitchen without a full remodel.

There are a few options for backsplash materials that work well with laminate countertops:


Ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile is the most popular choice for kitchen backsplashes. Tiles come in a vast selection of sizes, colors, shapes and finishes to match any decor.

Glass, metal or mosaic tiles are also options that add shiny dimension. Just make sure the tiles are sealed properly and the grout lines are wide enough to prevent cracking.

Tiles can be installed over laminate using a thinset mortar adhesive. This provides a strong bond and allows for minor adjustment during installation.


Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper or tin add an industrial vibe. Metal sheets fasten directly to the wall and require no grout. This makes them super easy to keep clean.

Some metal backsplash options, like penny tiles or hand-hammered sheets, provide interesting textures and patinas. Just watch for heavy signs of wear over time.

Stone Slab

Natural stone slabs like marble, granite, slate or travertine can be cut to size and installed as a backsplash. Stone makes a substantial, high-end statement. Be sure to seal the surface to prevent staining and etching.

Stone slab backsplashes work best installed with metal brackets or an adhesive, rather than mortar, to allow for the heaviness of the material.

Engineered Quartz

Quartz is an engineered composite made from crushed quartz, polymers and resin. It comes in slab form and can be cut down for backsplash use.

Quartz is durable, low maintenance, stain resistant and provides the look of natural stone without the higher cost. There are dozens of colors and patterns to choose from.


Glass tile or solid glass sheets introduce gleaming texture. Glass backsplashes refract light beautifully, but may require frequent cleaning. Check for temperature resistance if installed behind a range.

For safety, always opt for tempered glass. Apply with a high-quality adhesive and grout carefully to prevent cracking tiles.

Peel and Stick

Peel-and-stick backsplash panels provide the easiest installation option. Simply cut to size, peel off the backing paper and press onto the wall. No messy adhesive or grout required.

Materials like plastic, metal, faux stone, and recycled glass are available. This is a temporary solution though, as peel-and-stick backsplashes may not last more than a few years before requiring replacement.


Wood adds natural warmth and texture. Use water-resistant boards like bamboo, teak or marine-grade plywood. Apply a protective finish to prevent moisture damage and warping.

Create visual interest by installing wood boards in a brick or herringbone pattern. Or use varying wood textures, like combining boards with shiplap.


For the easiest DIY option, a painted backsplash can supplement your laminate countertops. Use semi-gloss, high-quality acrylic latex paints formulated for kitchen and bath areas. Add dimension with contrasting colors or patterns painted between coats.

Paint is likely the most affordable backsplash option. But keep in mind paint may require frequent touching up compared to tile, metal or stone.

How to Install a Backsplash Over Laminate

Installing a backsplash over laminate countertops follows a similar process as with other surface materials. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Clear the area of any items on or near the countertops. Clean the laminate surfaces thoroughly to remove grease, dust and grime so the backsplash adheres properly.

Fill any divots, chipped areas or seams in the laminate with caulk to level out the surface.

Step 2: Cut the Backsplash Material to Size

Measure the backsplash area and cut your material to size with a wet saw (for tile), score and snap cutter (for glass) or tin snips (for metal).

Be sure to account for outlets, corners and any obstructions. Have pieces cut slightly larger than needed to allow for adjustments.

Step 3: Apply the Adhesive

Apply a thin, even layer of adhesive on the back of the backsplash pieces or directly onto the laminate and wall surface.

Use a material-appropriate adhesive like mastic for tile, silicone for glass or construction adhesive for metal or wood.

Step 4: Mount the Backsplash

Press the backsplash pieces into place starting at the bottom and working up. Apply even pressure to create a solid bond and eliminate gaps or air bubbles behind the material.

Use painter’s tape to hold pieces in place if needed until the adhesive sets. Follow drying times specified per the product instructions.

Step 5: Grout and Seal

Once fully dry, apply grout between tile or stone pieces to fill any joints and create a finished look. Take care to wipe away any excess.

Seal natural stone materials with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining and increase water resistance.

That’s it! Adding some caulk around edges and the laminate backsplash transition completes the project. Enjoy your upgraded kitchen!

FAQ About Installing Backsplash Over Laminate

Many homeowners have additional questions about installing a backsplash over existing laminate countertops. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can I put tile directly over laminate countertops?

It’s not recommended to install tile directly against the laminate countertop surface. The laminate can flex subtly over time, which can crack rigid tiles above. Instead, leave a slight 1/8″ gap between the laminate edge and bottom row of backsplash tiles. Fill this with a flexible silicone caulk.

What about using backsplash mosaics or small tiles?

An issue with mosaics or tiles under 2” x 2” is the increased number of grout lines can allow moisture to seep behind tiles over time. This can lead to lifting or damage. If using small tiles or mosaics, apply a waterproof membrane like RedGard over the laminate before tiling.

Should I take any extra precautions with glass backsplashes?

Definitely. Glass can crack under too much pressure or heat. Use extra spacers between tiles for wider grout lines, gentler pressure when setting tiles, and high-quality silicone adhesive. Also check the tempered glass rating to ensure it can withstand heat from the stovetop.

How do I cut laminate countertops for outlets or obstacles?

Use a jig saw with a fine-toothed blade to cut openings in laminate for outlets, pipes, etc. Drill holes in the corners first and cut slowly to avoid chipping. File the cut edges smooth. Cover cuts with additional backsplash pieces, trim or caulk.

Can I install a backsplash over laminate myself or do I need to hire a pro?

Homeowners comfortable using basic tools can install their own backsplash over laminate. Carefully follow all product instructions. Be sure to thoroughly prep the surface and allow adequate drying time before grouting. If uneasy about cutting materials or the installation process, hiring a tile professional can help ensure it’s done right.

How long does a backsplash typically last over laminate?

With proper installation and maintenance, a quality backsplash like ceramic tile, natural stone or metal should last at least 10-15 years over laminate. Lower quality materials like peel-and-stick or painted backsplashes may need replacement every 3-5 years.

The Pros and Cons of Laminate Backsplashes

Like any design choice, there are pros and cons to using laminate countertops paired with a backsplash. Here are some factors to keep in mind:


  • Cost-effective. Laminate counters and an affordable backsplash like painted drywall or peel-and-stick provide budget-friendly options.
  • Quick update. It’s fast and easy to install backsplash treatments over existing laminate countertops, allowing you to refresh the look without replacing the whole counter surface.
  • Customization options. From tile to glass to stone and beyond, backsplashes pair beautifully with laminate and offer tons of colors, patterns and textures to match your unique style.
  • Protect walls. Backsplashes prevent water damage, grease build up, and food splatter on kitchen walls adjacent to countertops.


  • Not seamless. You may see or feel the transition line between laminate and non-laminate backsplash materials. Caulk and careful tile placement can minimize, but not totally hide, the countertop-backsplash seam.
  • Darker grout can stain. Tile grout next to laminate counters may absorb stain over time. Epoxy grout is an easier-to-clean option.
  • Limits material options. Natural stone or solid surface backsplashes weigh more, making direct application to laminate riskier. Heavy materials often need alternative installation methods.
  • Longevity issues. If the laminate countertops become damaged or deteriorate, the attached backsplash will likely need replacement sooner as well.

Enhancing Laminate Counters with Backsplash Design Ideas

Installing a backsplash opens up many possibilities to enhance and complement your existing laminate counters. Here are some creative ways to make the most of your backsplash design:

  • Extend tile or other backsplash materials up the wall beyond the standard 4-6” height for more visual impact.
  • Incorporate two colors or patterns in the backsplash to tie in different laminate counter tones.
  • Contrast solid laminate countertops with an eye-catching glass or mosaic backsplash.
  • Opt for rustic materials like reclaimed wood or Spanish tile to balance sleek high-gloss laminate.
  • Use hexagons or subway tiles to add intriguing shapes beyond traditional squares and rectangles.
  • Try open shelving in front of the backsplash to provide quick access to decorative kitchenware.
  • Accent the backsplash area with modern pendant lighting or sconces for dramatic ambiance.
  • Combine metal trim or accessories within the backsplash design for an industrial vibe.
  • Install a laminate cove backsplash that seamlessly curves up from countertops to wall for a fluid look.

Backsplash Ideas for White, Beige and Wood Laminate Countertops

Plain white or beige laminate countertops are common kitchen sights. But just because your counters are neutral doesn’t mean your backsplash has to be boring! Here are some backsplash ideas to pair beautifully with white, beige or wood laminate:

White Laminate Countertops

  • Bold colors like navy blue, emerald or ruby glass tile
  • Stainless steel metal sheets or mosaic tiles
  • Natural stone like marble, travertine or white granite
  • Weathered navy, gray or bleached wood planks
  • Multi-colored mosaic or Moroccan-style tile patterns

Beige Laminate Countertops

  • Creamy marble or travertine stone slab
  • Mosaic tile in shades of tan, brown and terracotta
  • Distressed wood boards in whitewash or birch
  • Rustic red brick or encaustic patterned tiles
  • Geometric black, white and grey patterned tiles

Wood Laminate Countertops

  • White subway tile with charcoal grout lines
  • Blue, green or turquoise glass tiles
  • Stainless steel or tin backsplash sheets
  • Natural stone like quartzite or soapstone
  • Ceramic tile replicating Spanish Talavera or Moroccan zellige

Don’t be afraid to get creative with colors, shapes, textures and patterns that contrast with basic laminate counters. The backsplash is a great spot to showcase your unique style.


Updating kitchens with laminate countertops is simple and affordable when you install a new backsplash. All kinds of tile, metal, stone, glass and other backsplash materials can be applied successfully over laminate.

With proper preparation and installation, a backsplash can protect the walls while adding eye-catching style. Just watch for heavier materials that may require special adhesive or brackets.

Take time to choose the perfect backsplash colors, designs and textures to complement your existing laminate counters. Combine materials and shapes to add interest. Extending the backsplash tile higher on the wall makes a big visual statement.

So don’t let laminate countertops deter you from creating your dream kitchen. With creative backsplash options, you can customize the look while working with your existing counters.