A backsplash is an important design element in any kitchen that serves both decorative and functional purposes. Often made of tile or other materials, a backsplash sits on the wall behind a countertop, sink, or stove. It protects the wall from water, grease, food stains, and other types of damage.
In recent years, stick on backsplashes have become a popular easy-to-install and budget-friendly alternative to traditional backsplash tiles. Stick on backsplashes consist of a thin sheet material that has adhesive on the backside so it can adhere directly to the wall surface. The material is cut into tiles or panels that mimic the look of real ceramic or stone tiles.
Compared to tile backsplashes, stick on backsplash panels are lightweight, easy to handle, and require no special tools or skills to install. They come in a wide variety of styles, textures, colors, and patterns to match any kitchen décor. Many homeowners opt for stick on backsplash panels as an affordable way to quickly upgrade the look of their kitchen.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to do stick on backsplash installations, including planning and preparation, materials needed, steps for installation, tips for choosing stick on backsplash patterns and designs, care and maintenance recommendations, and answers to frequently asked questions. With the help of this guide, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to DIY this simple kitchen upgrade.
Planning and Preparation
The key to a successful stick on backsplash installation is proper planning and preparation. Here are some important steps to take before starting the project:
Measure the Space
Measure the entire backsplash area to determine how many full panels and cut panels you will need. Be sure to account for outlets, windows, and other obstructions. Leave a 1/8 inch gap between panels. Make a sketch of the layout to use as a reference during installation.
Gather Materials and Tools
You will need to have the stick on backsplash panels, adhesive, utility knife or scissors for cutting, painter’s tape, caulk, and a few other supplies on hand before beginning. Make sure the surface is cleaned and any repairs completed before installation day.
Choose Your Backsplash Design
Browse backsplash stick on panel options to select a material, style, texture, color, and pattern that complements your kitchen decor. Many companies offer sample packs of stick on backsplash tiles to help you visualize options.
Prepare the Surface
To achieve the best bond, the wall surface must be cleaned thoroughly of grease, soap film, and dirt. Sand glossy surfaces to improve adhesion. Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle and sand smooth. Wipe away dust with a tack cloth.
Materials and Tools Needed
Gather the following materials and tools before starting your stick on backsplash installation:
- Stick on backsplash panels
- Adhesive (often included with backsplash kit)
- Caulk and caulk gun
- Utility knife or scissors
- Measuring tape
- Painter’s tape
- Sponge and bucket of clean water
- Rag or paper towels
- Grout (optional)
- Trowel (if using grout)
Follow these steps for a successful DIY stick on backsplash installation:
Step 1: Prepare the Wall Surface
Make sure the wall surface is clean, dry, and smooth. Repair any imperfections and sand glossy surfaces. Wipe away dust and debris. Apply painter’s tape around the perimeter of the installation area.
Step 2: Plan the Layout
Measure the space and create a layout, marking the center point and where full panels and cut panels will go. Account for outlets and other obstructions. Plan for a 1/8 inch gap between panels.
Step 3: Cut the Panels
Measure each panel to be cut and use a utility knife and straightedge to score and snap panels to size. Cut panels face down when possible. Make sure cuts are straight and panels fit correctly.
Step 4: Apply the Adhesive
Apply a thin, even layer of adhesive to the back of the stick on backsplash panels using the trowel provided. Apply enough to coat at least 80% of the back of each tile or panel.
Step 5: Adhere the Panel
Carefully place the panel in position, pressing firmly for 30-60 seconds to ensure good contact with the adhesive. Use a level to keep panels aligned. Work one panel at a time.
Step 6: Continue Installing Panels
Keep installing panels one-by-one, working in rows or sections and using spacers to maintain even 1/8 inch grout lines. Be sure panels are level and lines match up.
Step 7: Finish the Perimeter
Measure and cut partial panels as needed to finish the installation. Caulk around edges and let dry completely before removing painter’s tape.
Step 8: Clean Up
Use a damp sponge to wipe away any adhesive residue immediately before it dries. Remove spacer sticks. Buff panels gently with a microfiber cloth once fully set.
Step 9: Seal and Grout (Optional)
Apply a bead of clear silicone caulk between panels and along edges. Allow to dry before buffing away excess. For a grouted look, apply pre-mixed grout between panels.
And that’s it! Enjoy your fresh new stick on backsplash. Be sure to follow care instructions from the manufacturer. Re-caulk as needed to maintain water resistance.
Tips for Choosing Stick On Backsplash Designs
When selecting a stick on backsplash, keep the following design tips in mind:
- Match the color palette and style of your kitchen cabinets and countertops. A coordinating backsplash will pull the whole room together.
- Smaller tile sizes and varied patterns create visual interest. Larger solid panels offer a smooth, seamless look.
- Matte and satin finishes hide flaws and are family-friendly. Glossy panels add depth but show water spots and scratches more easily.
- Neutral colors are versatile. Bold colors or patterns make a statement. Accent colors can brighten up a white kitchen.
- Stone and wood looks offer natural texture. Metallic and glass panels add glamour. Pick a durable material that fits your lifestyle.
- Pull inspiration from other design elements like window treatments, light fixtures, or accent colors used elsewhere in the home.
Care and Maintenance
Stick on backsplash panels are designed to be low maintenance, but following a proper care routine will keep them looking like new:
- Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe away water, grease, food stains, and other messes as soon as possible. Don’t let spills sit.
- For routine cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrub brushes.
- Re-apply caulk or grout as needed. Check for cracks or gaps seasonally that could compromise water resistance.
- Limit the use of very hot pans directly up against the backsplash. Heat can damage adhesive or panel finishes over time.
- Harsh chemicals like bleach or acidic cleaners can discolor, dull, or etch surfaces. Always test cleaners on an inconspicuous spot first.
- Follow any additional care recommendations from the backsplash manufacturer, which may include periodic sealing or re-polishing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best adhesive to use for stick on backsplash?
Always use the adhesive included in the backsplash kit or recommended by the manufacturer. Many are specifically formulated acrylic or peel-and-stick adhesives designed for that product.
Can I install stick on backsplash over existing tile?
No, stick on backsplash panels should only be applied to smooth, clean surfaces. Any imperfections in the underlying surface will likely show through.
Do I need to seal or grout around stick on backsplash panels?
Grouting is optional, but sealing with a waterproof caulk around all edges is highly recommended. This prevents moisture from getting behind panels and compromising adhesion.
What’s the best way to cut stick on backsplash cleanly?
Use a very sharp utility knife and steady straightedge as guides for clean cuts. Score the surface paper multiple times before snapping panel. Face down cuts generally yield the cleanest edges.
Can I change my mind and remove stick on backsplash later?
Stick on backsplash is designed to be permanent, but panels can be carefully removed with a utility knife or putty knife by gently lifting up a corner. This will damage the drywall underneath, which will need patching and repainting.
How long does stick on backsplash installation take?
Plan on backsplash installation taking 2-3 hours for an average 10 square foot space. Working in teams of two speeds up the process. Larger, more intricate designs take more time.
Updating your kitchen with a stick on backsplash offers an easy and affordable way to give this important space a fresh new look, while also protecting the walls behind sinks, stoves, and countertops. With proper planning, preparation, materials, and by following the step-by-step application guidelines, you can achieve beautiful, professional-looking results.
Take your time, measure carefully, and don’t be afraid to watch online tutorial videos for extra visual guidance on cutting, applying adhesive, aligning, and finishing panels. In just an afternoon, you can gain a stylish new focal point in your kitchen that will upgrade the look, protect the walls, and increase the value of any home.