Can You Put Peel and Stick Backsplash on Tile?

Installing a new backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Peel and stick backsplashes provide an easy upgrade, allowing you to install a backsplash directly over existing tile or drywall. But can you install peel and stick backsplash tiles over existing tile? Here’s what you need to know.

An Introduction to Peel and Stick Backsplash Tiles

Peel and stick backsplash tiles, also known as self-adhesive backsplash tiles, provide a simple solution for upgrading your backsplash. These tiles have an adhesive backing, allowing them to stick directly to your wall surface. They come in a range of styles, like subway tile, marble, stone, and mosaic.

Peel and stick backsplash tiles are easy to install. You simply measure, cut, peel, and stick them to the wall. The adhesive backing adheres to the surface, eliminating the need for grout or special tools. It’s an easy and affordable way to refresh your backsplash without remodeling.

Can You Install Peel and Stick Backsplash Over Existing Tile?

The short answer is yes, you can install peel and stick backsplash tiles over existing tile or ceramic backsplash. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Surface Preparation is Key

Proper surface prep is crucial for a successful peel and stick backsplash installation. The adhesive will not bond well if the surface is not cleaned and prepared properly.

To install over existing tile, start by cleaning the tile thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner or tile and grout cleaner. This removes any dirt, oil, or soap scum that could interfere with adhesion.

Next, scrape away any old caulk or grout haze from the tile joints using a putty knife or grout removal tool. This enables the backsplash tiles to lay flush against the surface.

Finally, wipe the entire surface with rubbing alcohol. This helps remove any remaining residue and ensures a clean surface for the adhesive backing to stick to.

Check for a Smooth Surface

The surface you apply peel and stick backsplash tiles to needs to be smooth and flat. If the existing tile has a distinct texture or grout lines that are not flush, the backsplash tiles may not adhere properly. The tiles need full contact with the surface to stick.

If your existing backsplash is heavily textured, has uneven grout lines, or gaps between the tiles, applying a skim coat of plaster or spackle can help smooth the surface before installing the backsplash.

Cut Out for Outlets & Switches

Be sure to measure and cut the peel and stick backsplash tiles to fit around any outlets, switches, or fixtures on your backsplash area. You want the tiles to lay flush against the wall surface. Cutting around these items prevents bumps and bulges in your finished backsplash.

Use Pressing Techniques for Good Adhesion

Once you’ve prepped the surface and cut any needed outlets or switches, apply the backsplash tiles using firm, even pressure across the entire surface of the tile. Use a rubber roller or the back of a spoon to apply pressure and ensure a strong bond between the adhesive backing and the wall.

Applying adequate pressure helps activate the adhesive and creates a strong adhesion to the tile surface underneath. Take your time pressing each tile during the installation process.

Expect Some Imperfections

While peel and stick backsplash can work well over existing tile, you may still see some imperfections in the finished look. Grout lines, texture, and color variations in the original backsplash may show through the new tiles.

If your goal is to achieve a completely smooth and uniform look, removing the old backsplash and installing on drywall may provide better results. But for a quick and easy upgrade, peel and stick backsplash over tile often works well.

Tips for Installing Peel and Stick Backsplash on Tile

Here are a few more tips to get the best results from installing peel and stick backsplash tile over existing tile:

  • Choose a style that complements the existing tile color and pattern to minimize visible grout lines.
  • Use mosaic sheets rather than large tiles, which conform better on uneven surfaces.
  • Apply the tiles in the same direction as the original backsplash tiles. This makes the new backsplash look more cohesive.
  • Avoid heavier stone-look tiles, which are harder to adhere to tile than acrylic, PVC, or metal material tiles.
  • Start from the bottom and work upwards, applying the bottom row first.
  • Don’t over-stretch the tiles during application, which can cause them to release or bubble.
  • Add caulk around the edges and between tiles for a streamlined look.

Alternative Options to Peel and Stick Backsplash

If you decide that applying peel and stick backsplash over your existing tile is not the right option, here are a few alternatives:

  • Paint the existing backsplash – Backsplash paint formulated for tile and grout provides an affordable facelift.
  • Replace only a portion – Consider tiling a new backsplash only in key areas, like behind the stove, leaving existing tile everywhere else.
  • Install new tile or ceramic – For the best results, removing old backsplash and installing new ceramic or tile lets you achieve any style you want.
  • Install shiplap – Wood shiplap provides a rustic, farmhouse vibe and can be applied over old backsplash.

The Bottom Line

Peel and stick backsplash can be applied successfully over existing backsplash tile with proper preparation and installation. While you may see some imperfections from grout lines or texture, this can provide a quick and budget-friendly backsplash refresh. Alternatively, you can explore other options like painting, partial replacement with traditional tile, or installing shiplap over your existing backsplash. With some creativity, you can find a solution that works in your home and delivers the backsplash style you want.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Peel and Stick Backsplash Over Tile

Can I put peel and stick backsplash over cracked tile?

It is not recommended to install peel and stick backsplash tiles directly over cracked or damaged tile. The uneven surface could prevent the adhesive from bonding correctly. If you have cracked tiles, it would be best to remove and replace them prior to installing the backsplash.

What surface prep needs to be done before installing over tile?

To prepare an existing tile surface, start by cleaning thoroughly with a degreasing cleaner. Scrape out old grout lines and caulk, then wipe down with rubbing alcohol. This removes residue and ensures a clean base for the adhesive backing to adhere to.

Do I need to fill in grout lines before applying peel and stick backsplash?

It is not required, but filling grout lines with caulk or grout before installing the backsplash can help provide a smoother finish. If the grout lines are significantly textured, filling them can help prevent that texture from showing through the backsplash tiles.

How do I get a smooth finish with peel and stick over tile?

Use small mosaic-style peel and stick tiles rather than large tiles, apply in the same direction as existing tile, firmly press each tile during installation, and use caulk around edges and seams to get the smoothest possible finish over existing tile backsplash.

Can I put peel and stick backsplash in my shower over tile?

Peel and stick backsplash is not recommended for use inside shower enclosures or areas exposed to prolonged moisture. The adhesive backing is not designed to withstand that environment long-term. For a shower backsplash, traditional tile or wetroom-rated panels are better options.

How long does peel and stick backsplash last over tile?

When installed properly over a clean, smooth tile surface, peel and stick backsplash tiles can last 3-5 years or longer before needing replacement. Ensure your surface prep is done thoroughly, press tiles firmly during installation, and caulk edges well to maximize durability.

What’s better for resale value, peel and stick or tile backsplash?

Traditional tile backsplash will provide better resale value in most cases compared to peel and stick backsplash. Tile is seen as a higher-quality, more permanent material. But peel and stick can provide a cost-effective facelift that may appeal to some buyers.

Can I put peel and stick backsplash directly over drywall?

Yes, peel and stick backsplash tiles are designed to adhere directly to drywall. Ensure the drywall surface is smooth, cleaned, and primed before installation. Apply adequate pressure to all tiles for maximum adhesion. Seal edges with caulk for a finished look.

Is it cheaper to put tile or peel and stick backsplash in a kitchen?

Peel and stick backsplash provides a much cheaper option compared to tile installation. Peel and stick costs $3 to $10 per square foot for materials, while tile can run $10 to $50 per square foot including labor and installation costs.


Installing peel and stick backsplash over existing tile or drywall can provide an easy and budget-friendly way to refresh your kitchen or bath backsplash. With proper prep and installation techniques, it can effectively cover up old tile and give your space a new look. Pay attention to surface preparation, cut around fixtures, press tiles firmly, and finish with caulk for best results. Alternatively, options like painting, new tile, or shiplap may better suit your needs.