Do You Put Backsplash Around Window?

Installing a backsplash around windows can help protect the walls from water damage and also provide an attractive accent to your home’s design. While a backsplash is not an absolute necessity, it offers practical and aesthetic benefits that make it worth considering for many homeowners. This guide will look at the pros and cons of adding a backsplash around windows and provide tips for installation.

What is a Backsplash?

A backsplash refers to a cover of water-resistant material installed on the wall behind a sink, stove, or other area where water exposure is likely. Backsplashes are commonly made from tile, metal, glass, marble, or other water-resistant materials. Not only do they protect the wall from moisture damage, they also provide an opportunity to add visual interest and tie together a room’s decor.

Backsplashes are most commonly installed in kitchens behind sinks and stoves. However, they can also be added behind bathroom sinks and even around windows that are prone to collecting moisture. The main goal of a backsplash is to prevent water damage, and they are considered necessities behind sinks, stoves, and other wet areas. Around windows, they offer extra protection but are more optional.

Benefits of Adding a Backsplash Around Windows

There are several potential benefits to installing a backsplash around windows in your home:

Protects Against Moisture Damage

Windows can be susceptible to water issues, especially around the sills and lower panes. Humidity, rain, snow and condensation can result in moisture collecting on and around the window. Over time, this moisture can seep into the walls causing mold, mildew, peeling paint and rotting drywall.

A properly installed backsplash forms a barrier that prevents water from penetrating into the vulnerable window framing and walls. The water-resistant material allows the moisture to bead up and run down to the window sill where it can evaporate or be wiped away easily.

Accentuates the Window Area

Backsplashes don’t just provide practical protection, they also offer design possibilities. Tiling or panels around a window can accentuate the window, turning it into a decorative focal point in the room.

Creative backsplash materials like glass, metal and marble tiles can add a pop of color, shine or texture. You can also use the backsplash as an opportunity to pull in design themes from elsewhere in the home, giving the window area a cohesive custom look.

Increases Natural Lighting

Depending on the material, a backsplash around a window can act as a reflective surface. As light enters the window, it bounces off the backsplash, increasing the brightness in the room. Using backsplash materials like stainless steel, glass, marble or mirrored tiles maximizes this reflective effect.

Adds Visual Interest

Plain drywall or painted walls around a window can end up looking dull. Backsplashes liven up the area with colors, textures, patterns and decorative materials. For a bold statement, you could also extend your main kitchen or bathroom backsplash around to the nearby windows for a seamless look.

Increases Wall Protection

Not only does a backsplash guard against water damage, it also protects walls from other potential issues. For example, a sturdy tile or metal backsplash around a kitchen sink window prevents cooking splatters and debris from damaging the window framing and drywall. In bathrooms, backsplashes prevent issues like mold and mildew growth.

Easier to Clean

The water-resistant materials used for backsplashes are smoother and easier to clean than textured drywall. A simple wipedown is all that is needed to remove dust, grime and built-up moisture from a backsplash area. The seams between backsplash tiles also collect less dirt and debris compared to drywall.

Considerations Before Installing a Backsplash Around a Window

While backsplashes can provide both form and function around windows, there are some things to keep in mind before installing:

Moisture Issues

Backsplashes should only be installed once any underlying moisture issues around the window have been fully addressed. They can protect against surface-level moisture but cannot fix pre-existing water penetration problems. Making sure the window itself is properly sealed and insulated should be the first priority.

Natural Light Blocking

Solid backsplash materials like tile or marble can slightly reduce the amount of natural light coming in through the window. To prevent substantial light blocking, glass or metal backsplashes are better choices. Installing the backsplash a few inches below the window instead of all the way up can also help.

Reflective Surface Temperatures

Using reflective materials like metals around large windows can result in higher surface temperatures as sunlight is amplified. This can make the backsplash too hot to touch. Tempered glass is a better choice around large sunny windows. Proper window shades and curtains also help control this reflective light and heat.

Condensation Dripping

Certain backsplash materials can worsen cold weather condensation issues. When humid interior air contacts the cold window glass, condensation forms and drips down. Absorbent materials like tiles allow that moisture to be wicked away. However, moisture beads on non-absorbent backsplashes like glass or metal, potentially dripping inside if a proper window sill overhang isn’t present.


Backsplashes add to the total window installation or replacement costs. Tile, metal and glass backsplash materials range widely in pricing from inexpensive to high-end premium options. Professional installation also bumps up the total expense but helps ensure proper moisture protection.

Existing Window Frames

If adding a backsplash to an already installed window, the existing window frames, trim, drywall and siding may make installing right up against the glass difficult. Leaving a slight gap between the window and backsplash is sometimes needed. Sealing this gap with caulk is recommended to maintain water resistance.


Like any surface, backsplashes need periodic cleaning to look their best and prevent buildup of dirt. Grout between backsplash tiles also needs sealing to prevent staining and moisture absorption. Harsh cleaners and scrubbing can damage some backsplash materials over time. following manufacturer maintenance recommendations is key.

Proper planning helps maximize the benefits of a backsplash around a window while avoiding potential downsides. Consulting with a contractor experienced in both window and backsplash installation is also advised.

How High Should a Backsplash go Around a Window?

Deciding on the ideal backsplash height around a window depends on the location and your goals:

  • For a full backsplash install, extend it all the way up to right below the window sill. This provides maximum splash protection and moisture prevention. It also allows using decorative trim pieces along the top edge for a finished custom look.
  • To allow in more natural light, limit the backsplash height to just part way up the window, around 4-6 inches high. This still protects from standing moisture and splashes. Glass or translucent materials prevent excessive light blocking.
  • Around a kitchen sink window, extend the backsplash height to at least above the level of the faucet spout. This protects the window from excessive water exposure when doing dishes. Full height backsplashes around sink windows are recommended.
  • In a bathroom, a mid-height backsplash that is 4-6 inches below the window sill is usually sufficient. This covers the primary splash area around sinks without cutting too much light.
  • For large windows, keep the backsplash height low, around 4-6 inches high. This prevents too much light reflection and amplification of window surface temperatures.
  • If dealing with moisture issues around the window, a full height backsplash installation is best to fully protect vulnerable areas.

The window location, light considerations, splash potential and moisture issues should all factor into choosing the ideal backsplash installation height for your specific situation.

How to Install a Tile Backsplash Around a Window

Installing a tile backsplash around a window takes careful planning and execution but can give fantastic results. Here are the step-by-step installation tips:

Gather Supplies

First gather all the necessary supplies:

  • Backsplash tiles
  • Tile adhesive mortar
  • Grout
  • Spacers
  • Tile sealer
  • Trowel
  • Grout float
  • Mixing bucket
  • Grout sponge
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenter’s square

Ensure the tiles, mortar and grout match and are suitable for a backsplash install.

Prepare the Surface

Proper surface prep is crucial:

  • Remove any old wall materials around the window to expose the studs and sheathing.
  • Inspect for any signs of moisture damage or leaks that need to be addressed.
  • Install cement board around the window secured into the studs.
  • Waterproof the cement board and window framing using a waterproofing membrane. RedGard is an excellent option.
  • Let the membrane cure fully as per manufacturer instructions.

Plan the Layout

  • Measure the area to tile and sketch a layout for the backsplash design.
  • Account for the window size, corners, outlets and any obstructions.
  • Determine the tile arrangement pattern and make allowances for cut tiles.
  • Use spacers between tiles so things align properly when installed.

Mix the Mortar

Combine the adhesive mortar powder with water in a bucket as per the packaging directions. Mix to a smooth consistency without lumps. Allow to slake for 5-10 minutes before use per manufacturer instructions.

Apply the Mortar

Use a notched trowel held at a 45 degree angle to apply the mortar onto the cement board surface around the window. Apply only 1-2 square feet of mortar at a time to prevent drying out before tiles are set.

Set the Tiles

Following the layout, firmly press tiles into the mortar. Use spacers between tiles for consistent spacing and alignment. Work in small sections and remove any excess mortar squeezed out of tile joints. Allow the mortar to cure per instructions before grouting.

Apply the Grout

Mix the grout and apply it over the tiles using a grout float. Push it deeply into the tile joints. Let it set slightly before wiping away excess grout with a damp sponge. Avoid smearing grout on the tile surfaces. Allow the grout to fully cure.

Seal the Tiles

Once fully cured, apply a penetrating sealer to the tiles and grout using a sponge or spray bottle. This prevents staining and moisture absorption into the grout over time. Allow sealer to fully dry.

Finish the Edges

If needed, finish off edges with trim pieces like bullnose tiles. Caulk any gaps against the window frame for a water-tight seal. Taking care with each step results in a stunning backsplash design.

Backsplash Design Ideas for Windows

Creative backsplash designs can really make your windows pop. Consider these gorgeous design ideas:

Extend Kitchen Backsplash to Window

For a seamless look, bring your kitchen backsplash tile all the way to the edges of nearby windows. Use trim pieces to finish the edges.

Contrasting Tile Colors

Choose tiles in a shade that contrasts with the wall color for the window backsplash. This makes the window frame “pop” for an eye-catching detail.

Mosaic Tiles

Tiny mosaic tiles create a pointillistic, artful look around a window. Go with rainbow colors or metallic glass mosaics.

Patterned Tile Shape

Use tiles shaped like subway bricks, hexagons or chevrons to create a patterned look around the window. Playing with the tile arrangement adds interest.

Border Tiles

Frame the window area using decorative border tiles. Tiles with ledges, ridges or curved shapes make attractive framing options.

Accent Strip

Add a strip of marble, metal or glass tile down the middle of the window backsplash as an accent. This pairs well with plain white or neutral tiles.

Matching Windowsills

Install matching windowsills and backsplashes made of the same materials like marble, soapstone, slate, etc. This gives the window a polished built-in look.

Metallic Tiles

Tiles made from materials like brushed bronze, stainless steel, and copper give a glamorous touch. They reflect light beautifully.

Natural Stone

Backsplashes made of granite, limestone or textured rock tiles bring nature indoors. These pair well with wood trim.

Creative Shapes

Lay tile in geometric patterns or creative custom shapes around the window for artistic flair.

With the right backsplash design, your windows can be turned into true standout features in any room. Get creative with dazzling materials, colors, textures and shapes.

Do’s and Don’ts of Installing a Backsplash Around a Window

When installing a backsplash around a window, there are some key dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


DO clean thoroughly behind the window sill and framing before installing the backsplash.

DO remove any old materials like plaster for a flush surface to adhere backsplash to.

DO make sure the window itself is properly sealed, caulked and insulated before backsplash installation.

DO consider moisture and condensation issues before selecting backsplash materials.

DO use adhesive mortar suitable for wet area applications.

DO apply waterproofing membranes before installing backsplash.

DO make tile cuts carefully around window frames and outlets.

DO seal natural stone backsplash tiles to prevent staining and etching.

DO caulk along any edges, gaps or around fixtures for water-tightness.

DO follow all manufacturer instructions for backsplash products.


DON’T install a backsplash over existing mold, mildew or moisture damage without remediating first.

DON’T allow gaps between the tiles and window trim or corner edges.

DON’T use excessive water when sponging off grout to avoid water issues.

DON’T allow mortar or thinset to dry out before setting tiles for proper adhesion.

DON’T forget to use spacers between tiles to prevent alignment issues and uneven grout lines.

DON’T use acidic or abrasive cleaners on natural stone backsplashes.

DON’T allow moisture behind the backsplash tiles – seal the surface underneath properly first.

Following these dos and don’ts helps ensure your backsplash successfully protects your window while looking fabulous. Take care with the preparation, proper materials, and installation techniques for best results.

Tips for Protecting a Backsplash Around Windows

Once your backsplash is expertly installed around your windows, maintaining it properly ensures it lasts for years to come:

  • Use soft cloths when gently cleaning backsplash surfaces near windows to avoid scratching.
  • Check periodically for any regrouting or caulking needs between the backsplash and window frame to maintain water resistance.
  • Use a sealant annually on grout lines to prevent staining or moisture absorption, especially in kitchen and bathroom backsplash areas.
  • For natural stone backsplashes, avoid using acidic cleaners which can etch the surface over time.
  • Limit exposing the backsplash to excess direct sunlight which can cause fading of the materials. Utilize window shades.
  • Inspect for any cracks or damage appearing in the backsplash materials and repair immediately before moisture intrudes behind.
  • Have window and backsplash areas professionally recaulked every 2-5 years to maintain flexibility and water performance.
  • Adjust any sprinkler heads to avoid excessive outdoor water exposure onto stone or tile backsplash surfaces.
  • Install a properly sized overhang above the window if dealing with excessive moisture runoff on nonabsorbent backsplashes.
  • For cold climates, consider adding insulation behind the backsplash installation to reduce condensation potential near the window.

Taking steps to protect and maintain your backsplash keeps it performing like new for many years of enhanced moisture protection and great aesthetics around your windows.

Backsplash Height Around Windows: The Bottom Line

Installing a backsplash around your home’s windows can provide both practical protection and beautiful design. But determining the ideal backsplash height involves weighing several factors. Lower heights allow in more natural light. Full height backsplashes provide maximum splash and moisture prevention.

Consider the window location, condensation risks, light needs, potential water exposure, and desired appearance when deciding on backsplash height. And don’t forget to seal any edges and maintain it properly once installed. Coordinating your windows and backsplash can create a phenomenal focal point in any room.

FAQs About Installing Backsplashes Around Windows

Q: Do backsplashes need to go all the way up to the ceiling?

A: No, backsplashes do not necessarily have to extend all the way to the ceiling. Around a window, the backsplash only needs to reach high enough to protect from potential water splashes and condensation. The ideal height depends on the location and your specific needs. Many backsplashes around windows look best ending a few inches to several inches below the window sill.

Q: Should backsplashes go around windows?

A: Backsplashes around windows are optional but can provide practical water protection and allow you to add stylish design details. In higher moisture areas like above kitchen sinks or around bathroom mirrors, extending the backsplash to window areas is highly recommended. Around other windows it is more of an aesthetic choice that can complement your decor.

Q: How do I finish edges of a backsplash around a window?

A: The edges of backsplashes around windows can be finished off in several ways, such as:

  • Addingcoordinating trim pieces like bullnose tiles.
  • Caulking any gaps where the backsplash meets the window frame.
  • If drywall is exposed above the backsplash, installing corner edge trim for protection.
  • Choosing edge tiles for the ends that have finished edges already like metal or glass tile.

Q: Should a window sill overlap a backsplash?

A: Ideally, yes the window sill should slightly overlap the backsplash below. This helps prevent water from seeping behind the backsplash. If the sill doesn’t overlap, applying a quality caulk between the sill and backsplash can seal the area. The caulk joint can also be covered with