Does Backsplash Go Behind Microwave?


Installing a backsplash behind your microwave is an important decision that requires careful consideration. The backsplash serves both decorative and functional purposes, protecting your walls from splatters and spills while also adding visual interest to your kitchen. There are pros and cons to putting backsplash behind a microwave that are important to weigh before making a final decision.

In this comprehensive guide, we will examine if backsplash should go behind the microwave, the benefits and drawbacks of doing so, tips for installation, material recommendations, and visual examples to inspire you. With the information provided, you will be able to determine if a backsplash is right for your space and select materials that are tailored to your unique needs.

Should You Put Backsplash Behind a Microwave?

The short answer is yes, backsplash should be installed behind the microwave for optimal protection and aesthetics in the kitchen.

Here are some of the top reasons why backsplash should go behind microwave:

  • Splatter Protection: Backsplashes prevent splatters, drips and spills from damaging and staining the wall behind the microwave when cooking or reheating foods. The backsplash bears the brunt of the mess instead of the drywall.
  • Moisture Protection: Backsplash prevents steam, condensation and grease from accumulating on the walls and causing damage over time. The backsplash materials are designed to withstand moisture.
  • Easier Cleaning: Backsplash materials like ceramic tile, metal or glass are smooth and non-porous, making it easier to wipe away messes compared to drywall. The walls stay cleaner longer.
  • Visual Appeal: Backsplashes add decorative visual interest and tie the microwave area into the overall kitchen design aesthetic. It prevents an unfinished look.
  • Increased Home Value: Putting in backsplash shows attention to detail and quality of construction, increasing resale value. Many buyers expect backsplash behind appliances.

While backsplashes come with pros, there are some potential cons to weigh as well:

  • Cost: Material and installation costs can add up, from $3-$50 per square foot depending on material.
  • Installation Complexity: Removing the microwave and installing the backsplash properly takes skill and may require a professional.
  • Limiting Microwave Placement: The backsplash dictates the permanent placement of the microwave, reducing flexibility.

Overall, the benefits of properly installed backsplash outweigh the drawbacks for most kitchens. The moisture protection and easier cleaning alone make it a smart investment.

Tips for Installing Backsplash Behind Microwave

Installing backsplash behind the microwave requires careful preparation and execution to get right:

  • Pick Durable, Moisture-Resistant Materials: Ceramic tile, metal, glass and stone can withstand splatters. Avoid porous materials like wallpaper.
  • Cut Outlets Precisely: Allow proper clearance behind microwave for cords, outlet covers. Use a jigsaw.
  • Follow Appliance Instructions: Check microwave specs for venting needs and clearance. Install as directed.
  • Protect Edges and Corners: Use bullnose tiles, edge trim and caulking for clean finish against walls.
  • Seal Backsplash: Use watertight grout, caulk between tiles, silicone around edges to prevent water infiltration behind.
  • Consider Heat Shield: Use cement board or other heat-safe material if backsplash is near venting.
  • Hire a Professional If Unsure: Experts can properly cut outlets, install tricky materials like natural stone and achieve clean results.

Allow additional time in your kitchen remodel schedule if you don’t have experience installing backsplash. The end results will be worth it, providing a seamless, stylish accent that protects your space.

Best Materials for Backsplash Behind Microwave

The backsplash will need to withstand splatter, moisture, heat and cleaning products. Here are top backsplash material recommendations for behind the microwave:

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

  • Pros: Easy to clean, durable, heat/moisture resistant, variety of styles & colors, affordable
  • Cons: Grout may need periodic sealing, tile can crack/chip if hit
  • **Cost: **$5-$50 per sq. ft. installed

Ceramic or porcelain tile backsplash provides an elegant, seamless look behind the microwave in traditional and contemporary kitchens alike. Choose a grout color to complement the tile.

Glass Tile

  • Pros: Impervious to moisture, easy to clean, sleek appearance, variety of colors/finishes
  • Cons: More fragile than ceramic, transparent glass shows wall flaws
  • Cost: $15-$50 per sq. ft. installed

From brilliant colored glass to tile with metallic or stone hues, glass backsplash brings unique visual appeal. Use opaque glass if wall imperfections are a concern.

Stainless Steel

  • Pros: Extremely durable, heat resistant, modern look, moisture/stain-proof
  • Cons: Shows fingerprints, prone to scratches, harder DIY installation
  • Cost: $45-$75 sq. ft. installed

Stainless steel backsplash brings professional, commercial appeal. opt for brushed or textured finish to help limit visible fingerprint marks. Easy to wipe clean.

Natural Stone

  • Pros: Elegant, luxurious look, variety of natural patterns/colors, durable
  • Cons: Expensive, sealing required, scratches/chips show, heavy
  • Cost: $60-$100 per sq. ft. installed

Granite, marble or travertine backsplash provide striking visual interest behind the microwave. Be prepared for specialty cutting, heavy materials and sealing maintenance.

Metal Tile

  • Pros: Durable, moisture resistant, affordable, variety of colors/finishes, modern
  • Cons: Vulnerable to scratches, prone to dents, grout staining over time
  • Cost: $10-$50 per sq. ft. installed

Metal backsplash tile comes in stainless steel, copper, bronze and more. Provides sleek, trendy look at often lower cost than solid metal sheets. Finish options like aged metal available.

Design Inspiration: Backsplash Behind Microwave Examples

To help inspire your backsplash design, here are some beautiful examples of kitchen backsplashes installed behind the microwave:

Rustic Farmhouse Brick Backsplash

This eye-catching brick backsplash paired with the stainless steel microwave conjures rustic farmhouse style. The red brick tiles coordinate with the accent colors throughout the kitchen.

Rustic brick backsplash behind microwave

Image Source

Modern Geometric Tile

The geometricpatterned tile in gray, white and wood hues creates modern dimensionagainst the sleek stainless microwave. The contemporary backsplash design contrasts the traditional cabinets.

Geometric tile backsplash behind microwave

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Blue Glass Subway Tile

This light blue glass subway tile backsplash paired with white grout makes the stainless microwave pop. The blue glass tiles coordinate with the larger accent tiles for a cohesive look.

Blue subway tile backsplash behind microwave

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Marble Herringbone Backsplash

The marble herringbone backsplash pattern and marble countertop create luxe symmetry around the built-in microwave. The veining in the marble tiles makes each one unique.

Marble herringbone backsplash behind microwave

Image Source

FAQ About Backsplash Behind Microwave

Many homeowners have additional questions about installing backsplash behind the microwave. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Does backsplash have to go around microwave?

It is recommended that backsplash goes around all sides of the microwave for optimal splash protection and visual appeal. Having unfinished sides without backsplash looks sloppy.

What size tile is best for backsplash behind a microwave?

Smaller tiles like standard 3×6 subway tile or mosaics work best behind microwaves. The small grout lines make it easier to cut outlet openings precisely without damaging tiles.

Should backsplash match kitchen counters?

The backsplash does not need to match the counters exactly but it is best if they coordinate. For example, both could use a similar tile material in different colors or finishes. This creates a cohesive look.

How high should backsplash go behind stove and microwave?

Backsplash should extend 18-24 inches above countertops for adequate protection behind both stovetops and microwaves which are typically this height off counters. Extend full height for very messy cooks.

How thick should backsplash be behind microwave?

Standard backsplash tile is 3/8 to 3/4 inches thick. Glass tiles are around 1/4 inch thick. Backsplash should align with thickness of existing kitchen backsplash.

Can you put wood backsplash behind a microwave?

Wood backsplash is not recommended behind a microwave since prolonged exposure to steam and splatter can cause wood to warp, peel and stain. Use wood look porcelain or ceramic tile instead.


Installing backsplash behind your microwave not only protects your kitchen walls from inevitable splatters but also gives you the chance to infuse decorative flair. Carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of backsplash placement before committing. If you do decide to add this accent wall feature, choose durable, moisture-resistant materials tailored to your unique style. With proper planning and execution, the backsplash can become a focal point that elegantly ties your whole kitchen together.