How to Apply Peel and Stick Backsplash Tiles

Installing a new backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Peel and stick backsplash tiles provide an easy and affordable way to upgrade your space. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply peel and stick backsplash tiles.

Materials Needed

  • Peel and stick tiles
  • Tile cutting tool (utility knife or scissors)
    -Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Adhesive (recommended by manufacturer)
  • Rag
  • Grout (optional)

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Proper surface prep is crucial for the tiles to adhere correctly. The surface needs to be:

  • Clean – Wipe away any dust, grease, or soap scum with a rag and all-purpose cleaner. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry – Allow the surface to fully dry before installing tiles. Any moisture will prevent the adhesive from bonding.
  • Smooth – Sand down any bumps or uneven spots for the tiles to lay flat.
  • Primed – For porous surfaces like drywall, apply a coat of primer. For non-porous surfaces, wipe down with rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Measure and Mark the Layout

First, measure your space to determine the tile layout. It helps to draw a diagram of the pattern.

  • For full tiles, use the level and pencil to mark straight horizontal and vertical lines as a guide.
  • If needing to cut border or filler tiles, lay the tile on the wall and use the pencil to trace around it.
  • Plan the layout so that cut edges are not immediately adjacent to each other. Stagger them so cut edges align with a full tile edge.

Step 3: Cut the Tiles

Using the utility knife or scissors, carefully score and snap off any excess tile. For outlet cutouts, drill a hole first and then cut inward to the hole. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

Tip: Keep the cutouts to use elsewhere, like covering switch plate screws.

Step 4: Apply the Adhesive

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Options include:

  • Peel and stick adhesive strips on the back of each tile. Remove protective backing and press onto surface.
  • Spreadable adhesive applied with a trowel or paintbrush. Spread evenly over the area and apply tiles while wet.
  • Adhesive in a caulking gun to apply directly onto back of tiles. Apply in a zig-zag pattern.

Apply pressure to create a strong bond between the tile and surface. Use a small roller or firmly press with hands.

Step 5: Install the Tiles

Carefully place the tiles on the prepared surface. Follow your layout markings.

  • Work in small sections, applying adhesive and installing tiles one at a time.
  • Align the edges of each tile against your guideline markings.
  • Use spacers between tiles to ensure even gaps if desired.
  • Don’t get adhesive on tile surface. Immediately wipe away excess with damp rag.
  • Work from bottom to top and tile out from corners. Cut border tiles as you go.
  • Periodically check level and straightness of tiles. Realign if necessary.

Step 6: Finish Tile Edges

Once all full tiles are installed, apply border and filler tiles:

  • Measure, cut, and install cut pieces to fill in gaps along top, bottom, and sides.
  • Cut holes for fixtures like outlets, faucets, and soap dispensers.
  • Seal any exposed tile edges with silicone. Allow to dry fully.

Step 7: Grout the Tiles

Grouting is optional, depending on your preference:

  • Apply grout with float and spread evenly over joints. Let sit 10 minutes and wipe away excess.
  • After grout dries fully, apply grout sealer to protect from moisture and staining.

And that’s it! Properly installed peel and stick backsplash tiles should last for years of beauty and protection behind sinks, stoves, and countertops. Enjoy your upgraded space!

FAQs About Applying Peel and Stick Backsplash Tiles

How long do peel and stick tiles last?

With proper installation, most quality peel and stick tiles can last 3-5 years or longer before needing replacement. Using grout can extend longevity. Avoid moisture and heavy steam.

What’s the best adhesive for peel and stick tile?

Always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations. But silicone or mastic adhesives formulated especially for tiles provide the best adhesion and accommodate movement.

Do I need to seal peel and stick tiles?

Sealing is not mandatory but can be beneficial to protect tiles from moisture damage and stains, especially behind sinks and stoves. Use a grout sealer or silicone sealant.

Can I install backsplash tile over existing tile?

Yes, as long as the original tile is properly secured and in good condition. The surface must be prepped so the new tiles bond successfully. Lightly sanding can help.

Should outlets be installed before or after backsplash?

Pre-installation allows outlet holes to be cut more precisely. Cover plates can be added after for full coverage. Plug outlets to avoid moisture collecting inside.

Can I use these tiles for a shower surround?

Peel-and-stick tiles work well for shower walls, provided they are designed and labeled accordingly. Check manufacturer specs for bathroom suitability.


Updating a kitchen or bathroom backsplash is a relatively easy DIY project using peel and stick tiles. With proper prep, careful installation, and regular sealing, these adhesive tiles can provide a stylish, affordable revamp. Just follow the steps for measuring, cutting, applying adhesive, aligning, grouting, and sealing the tiles. Do not forget to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. With some patience and precision, anyone can achieve a backsplash makeover.