How to Cover Glass Tile Backsplash

Installing a glass tile backsplash can add a touch of elegance and shine to any kitchen. However, covering up an existing glass tile backsplash brings its own set of challenges. With proper planning and the right materials, you can successfully cover a glass tile backsplash while minimizing damage and preserving the underlying design.

Prepare the Surface

Before installing the new covering, take time to prepare the glass tile surface. This will help the new materials adhere properly.

  • Clean the tiles thoroughly with a mild detergent and water to remove any dirt, oil or soap buildup. Rinse and let dry completely.
  • Rough up the surface slightly with fine-grit sandpaper. This helps the adhesive grip the smooth glass.
  • Wash again to remove any dust. Let the tiles dry completely before moving on.
  • Apply a primer or sealer designed for glass and tile. This provides extra holding power for the new covering. Allow the primer to dry per the manufacturer’s directions.

Choose a Covering Material

There are several good options for covering glass tile backsplashes:


Adding a new tile over the existing brings a fresh new look. Porcelain, ceramic or natural stone tiles all work well. Select tiles at least 1/4-inches thick to span smoothly over the grout lines. The new tile must be firmly bonded to the old for proper installation.


For a more modern, industrial vibe, metal sheets add durable style. Stainless steel, copper, nickel or tin backsplashes make a statement. Use metal sheets designed for wall coverage that are malleable enough to manipuate on the contours of the glass tile.


Vinyl wallpaper offers an affordable covering that comes in many designs. Choose peel-and-stick varieties with acrylic or urethane coatings that resist moisture and stains. Install a waterproof underlayment first for added leak protection.


Wood shiplap brings warmth and dimension. Use 1/4-inch-thick wooden boards with beveled edges. Space the boards slightly apart for a charming cottage look. Use exterior-grade wood sealed with waterproof polyurethane for kitchen backsplash use.

Stone Veneer

Natural stone veneer panels provide an elegant upgrade. Available in sedimentary, granite, and other stone types, the panels adhere to the glass tile for seamless beauty. Use moisture-resistant, groutless panels for low maintenance.

Prepare and Install New Covering

With the glass tile cleaned and prepped, now comes the fun part. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation of the new covering. Here are some general tips:

  • Carefully cut any covering materials to fit using sharp snips or a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade.
  • Apply a thinset mortar adhesive using a notched trowel. Press covering firmly into place.
  • Take care on outside corners or edges so they align neatly. Miter edges of shiplap or other rigid boards.
  • Use plastic wall tile spacers between stone veneer panels. Remove spacers after panels adhere.
  • Grout natural stone tiles once set. Use a grout release agent first for easy cleanup.
  • Caulk perimeter edges of any rigid coverings with flexible silicone caulk.
  • Steel panels often use strong magnets to affix to the wall. Ensure magnets are aligned and pressed firmly so panels feel secure.

Maintain the Finished Look

The new backsplash covering should hold up beautifully for years. Just provide regular care and maintenance:

  • Always use a gentle cleaner recommended for the specific covering material. Avoid harsh abrasives.
  • Rinse metal, stone and wood materials after cleaning to remove residue. Blot dry with soft cloth.
  • Re-apply sealers or finishes periodically as directed. This protects the beauty of natural materials.
  • Inspect caulked edges and grout for cracks or wear. Re-apply fresh caulk or grout as needed.
  • Take care not to bump, scratch or dent coverings when cleaning the kitchen.

With proper installation and care, your refreshed backsplash will maintain its handsome new appearance flawlessly. Enjoy the updated look!

Frequently Asked Questions About Covering Glass Tile Backsplashes

Can I glue wallpaper directly over glass tile?

No, for best adhesion apply an acrylic-based primer first. This gives the wallpaper glue something to grip aside from just the glass. Also use an adhesive made for high-moisture areas.

What about just painting over glass tile?

Paint adheres minimally to glass without proper prep and primer. It’s likely to peel or scratch off easily. Proper prep like sanding and priming helps, but coverings like tile or wallpaper provide more durable solutions.

Should I remove the existing grout before installing a new covering?

No, removing all the original grout risks damaging the underlying tiles. As long as the glass tiles are clean, new coverings can be installed right over top of the grouted seams.

How do I cover the edges of a glass tile backsplash neatly?

Use an aluminum J-trim or L-trim molding designed for tile edges. Apply caulk between the molding and new covering for clean, straight lines. For shiplap or similar boards, miter the edges at the corners.

Can I install beadboard over glass tile?

Yes, thin beadboard panels can span smoothly over glass tiles. Use moisture-resistant MDF or exterior-grade beadboard. Make sure panels are securely fastened to provide a stable base for the beadboard to adhere.

What type of saw blade is best for cutting coverings like tile or tin?

Use a circular saw or a jigsaw fitted with a fine-toothed blade suitable for cutting metal, stone or ceramic. A carbide grit blade makes the cleanest cuts. Go slowly to avoid cracks or chips.


Revitalizing an outdated glass tile backsplash is very achievable with the right materials and method. While glass tile can pose some challenges for adhesion, proper preparation provides the strong bonding needed for new coverings to properly adhere. With a well-chosen covering like tile, shiplap, wallpaper or metal, you can give your kitchen backsplash a fresh new look while keeping the existing tile intact. Pay attention to details like clean cuts, proper spacing and moisture-proof adhesives for a seamless finished project.