How to Attach Backsplash to Vanity

Installing a beautiful backsplash behind your bathroom vanity can add an elegant, customized touch to your space. However, installing a backsplash properly is key to achieving a flawless look. Follow these steps to learn how to attach a backsplash to a vanity correctly.

Selecting the Right Backsplash Material

The material you select for your backsplash will impact the installation method. Consider materials like:

  • Tile: Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles allow endless design options. Use mastic adhesive to attach tile backsplashes.
  • Glass: Glass backsplashes create a sleek, modern look. Use silicone adhesive to attach glass backsplashes.
  • Metal: Metallic backsplashes like copper or stainless steel make a bold statement. Use construction adhesive to attach metal backsplashes.
  • Laminates: Budget-friendly laminate backsplashes are very DIY-friendly. Use construction adhesive for laminate backsplashes.

Make sure to choose a material that is moisture-resistant and easy to clean to stand up well in a damp bathroom environment.

Preparing the Wall Surface

Proper prep is crucial for a long-lasting backsplash installation. Follow these steps:

  • Remove any existing backsplash or wall covering like wallpaper down to the bare wall surface.
  • Inspect the wall for any damage or imperfections. Fill any holes or cracks with spackle and sand smooth.
  • Clean the wall thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease, or soap scum. Degrease the surface using an all-purpose cleaner or TSP substitute.
  • For glossy surfaces like tile or laminate, rough up the wall slightly with sandpaper to help the adhesive adhere properly.
  • Prime the wall using a water-based primer specifically made for bathrooms. Allow the primer to fully dry.

Planning the Layout

Take measurements and mark the layout lines:

  • Measure the length and height of the wall area to be covered by the backsplash. Include the wall space taken up by the sides of the vanity.
  • Draw level horizontal and vertical layout lines using a level and pencil to map out the backsplash placement.
  • Dry fit the backsplash sheets or tiles to confirm the planned layout before attaching. Make any needed adjustments.

Applying the Adhesive

Attach the backsplash using the appropriate adhesive for your material:

  • For tile, apply a layer of mastic adhesive to the back of each tile using a notched trowel.
  • For glass, spread a layer of silicone adhesive on the back using a putty knife.
  • For metal or laminate, use a construction adhesive like Liquid Nails applied with a caulking gun.

Only apply adhesive to one sheet/tile at a time to prevent it from drying out before attaching.

Attaching the Backsplash

Once adhesive is applied, carefully mount the backsplash:

  • Press sheets or tiles firmly into place, sliding them into position. Apply even pressure to ensure full contact with adhesive.
  • For tile, use plastic tile spacers to maintain even grout lines and wipe away any excess mastic squeezed out from behind tiles.
  • For glass or laminate sheets, tape sheets in place with painter’s tape as needed while adhesive sets.
  • Don’t disturb or wipe the backsplash while adhesive starts to cure. Allow several hours or overnight drying time.

Finishing Touches

Once fully dried, finish installing the backsplash:

  • For tile, apply grout between tiles and allow to dry before sealing the grout. Apply caulk between the backsplash and wall edges.
  • For other materials, apply color-matched caulk around all edges and between seams for a polished look.
  • Wipe away any residual haze or adhesive using the appropriate solvent for your backsplash material.
  • Seal natural stone backsplashes with a stone sealer to prevent staining and increase water resistance.

With the right prep and installation method, you can install a backsplash that makes your vanity area pop. Just take your time and follow each step carefully. Maintain your backsplash by promptly cleaning spills and re-sealing as needed. Enjoy your fresh, new focal point!

Frequently Asked Questions About Attaching Backsplashes to Vanities

What kind of adhesive should I use to attach a backsplash to drywall?

For drywall, use a construction adhesive like Liquid Nails or Loctite Power Grab. Make sure the wall is primed first for better adhesion.

How do I create a watertight seal when installing a backsplash behind a vanity?

Use a quality bathroom-grade silicone caulk to seal around all edges and between the backsplash and countertop. Allow proper drying time before exposing to water.

What’s the best way to cut glass or tile for an inset backsplash around plumbing?

Make a cardboard template of the wall area first. Use the template to mark and make clean precision cuts using a glass cutter or tile saw. Use caulk to seal cut edges.

Should I install the backsplash before or after setting the vanity?

It’s best to install the backsplash first so it sits neatly behind and flush with the sides of the vanity. Leave an 1/8″ gap between the backsplash and countertop.

How do I remove old mastic or adhesive from a wall when replacing a backsplash?

Use a chemical adhesive remover or scraper to remove old residue. Follow up with denatured alcohol to fully clean the area before applying new adhesive.


Installing a backsplash behind your bathroom vanity can take your space from drab to dramatic. With some careful planning and the right supplies, you can achieve a picture-perfect custom backsplash that makes getting ready each morning a little more delightful. Just be sure to properly prepare the wall, plan an attractive layout, use the recommended adhesive for your material, and take your time pressing each piece firmly into place. Follow up with trim caulking and enjoy your upgraded vanity area. With the right know-how, you can DIY your dream backsplash on any budget.