Does Peel and Stick Backsplash Come Off?

What is Peel and Stick Backsplash?

Peel and stick backsplash, also known as self-adhesive backsplash tile, is a backsplash material that has an adhesive backing, allowing the tiles to stick directly to your wall surface. The tiles come in a variety of styles, from subway tile, marble, and stone looks to creative patterns and textures.

Peel and stick backsplash tiles are lightweight and easy for DIY installation. Since no grout or special tools are needed, they provide a simple backsplash solution that can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom in just an afternoon. Many homeowners opt for peel and stick backsplash as an affordable and approachable alternative to traditional tile.

Does Peel and Stick Backsplash Come Off?

The short answer is yes, peel and stick backsplash can come off the wall. The adhesive used on the back of the tiles is designed to create a strong bond, but it is not permanent. With the right technique and tools, you can remove peel and stick backsplash tiles from your wall if desired. Here are some key factors to consider:

Ease of Removal Depends on Tile Age

  • Newly installed peel and stick backsplash is easiest to remove. The adhesive will not have fully cured, so the tiles can peel off without too much effort.
  • After several months to a year, the adhesive cures fully and forms a stronger bond to the wall. More force is needed to pry off tiles at this stage.
  • Older peel and stick backsplash that has been on the wall for years can be the most stubborn to remove. The adhesive has likely hardened significantly.

Heat and Steam Help

  • Applying heat and steam helps weaken the tile adhesive. This makes the tiles easier to pop off cleanly.
  • Try holding a hair dryer to the tiles or carefully directing steam from an iron or garment steamer. Take safety precautions against burns.

Use a Plastic Putty Knife or Paint Scraper

  • Slide a plastic putty knife or paint scraper between the tile and wall to slowly peel it off. Plastic scrapers won’t scratch the wall surface.
  • Multi-tool scrapers that vibrate can also help slice through the adhesive layer. Work slowly and carefully.

Goo Gone and WD-40 Loosen Adhesive

  • Spray problem areas with Goo Gone, WD-40, or another mild adhesive remover. This helps separate the tile from the wall.
  • Let it soak in for 5-10 minutes before scraping. Wipe away excess liquid and residue.

Be Prepared for Wall Damage and Repairs

  • While care can be taken to remove peel and stick backsplash intact, some adhesive and even drywall paper will likely peel off too, leaving behind a damaged wall surface.
  • Patching, priming, and repainting may be needed to restore walls after backsplash removal.

Tips for Removing Peel and Stick Backsplash

Follow these tips to cleanly remove peel and stick backsplash tiles:

  • Take your time and work slowly to minimize wall damage. Don’t rush prying off tiles.
  • Apply heat to soften the adhesive before scraping tiles off.
  • Keep removal tools like putty knives parallel to the wall surface as you work.
  • Spray problem spots with remover spray and let it soak in before scraping.
  • Start removal in an inconspicuous spot like next to cabinets or under upper cabinets.
  • Dispose of removed tiles promptly before adhesive fully re-hardens.

What to Consider Before Removal

Before taking on the project of removing peel and stick backsplash tiles, ask yourself:

  • Do I definitely want to remove the backsplash or just change out some tiles? Partial tile replacement may be possible.
  • What condition are the underlying walls in? Drywall repairs may be needed after backsplash removal.
  • What new backsplash material do I plan to install? Match your new backsplash prep and installation requirements.
  • Do I have the time and tools needed for a proper removal process? Rushing can cause unnecessary wall damage.
  • Is professional help recommended? Tile installers may be best for large or complicated backsplash removal.

Alternatives to Removal

If your main goal is to update the look of your dated or damaged peel and stick backsplash, some alternatives to removal include:

  • Painting over the existing backsplash with specialty tile paint. This provides a fresh color change.
  • Applying a faux finish over the tiles to alter their pattern, material look, or texture. Great for a budget makeover.
  • Covering over the existing backsplash with new tiles or panels. This avoids the removal process entirely.
  • Partial replacement of the most damaged or unattractive tiles only. Leave the rest intact.

So in summary, yes peel and stick backsplash does come off, but proper techniques and planning are needed for ideal removal results. Consider the factors above to decide if total backsplash removal, alternatives like painting or covering, or partial replacement is the best option for your goals and situation. With some patience and elbow grease, you can eliminate the outdated backsplash without harming your walls.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Peel and Stick Backsplash

Does peel and stick backsplash damage walls when removed?

Some minor wall damage is likely, though careful removal can minimize it. Adhesive residue, chipped paint or drywall paper, and popped nails or screw heads are common. Prepping and repairing walls before installing new backsplash is recommended.

What is the easiest way to get off old peel and stick backsplash?

Heating tiles with a blow dryer or steamer before scraping makes removal much easier. Multi-tool scrapers also help vibrate tiles off cleanly. Take it slow and don’t force tiles off in chunks.

Can I put new peel and stick backsplash over old?

It’s not recommended. The textured surface of old tile adhesive will likely prevent good adhesion and smooth results with new tiles. Removing old backsplash completely before installing new is best.

How do I prep walls after removing peel and stick backsplash?

Fill any gouges with spackle. Sand rough areas. Wipe off residual adhesive. Prime walls with an adhesive primer before installing new backsplash. This helps the new tiles adhere properly for long-lasting results.

Is it cheaper to remove or cover over existing backsplash?

Covering over existing backsplash with panels or new tile is generally cheaper since you skip the removal process. But if your walls need smoothing or extensive adhesive removal, removal may be better to provide a fresh start. Consider costs for both approaches.


Peel and stick backsplash tiles aren’t designed to be permanently affixed, so removal is definitely possible. Just be strategic in your approach. Heat and plastic scraping tools help ease tiles off without marring walls. Residual adhesive can be expected and should be prepped before setting new tiles. With some perseverance and the right techniques, you can give your kitchen or bath a fresh makeover by removing outdated or damaged peel and stick backsplash.