Backsplashes are an important design element in any kitchen. Not only do they protect your walls from splashes and stains, but they also add visual interest and personality. Backsplashes come in endless styles, materials, colors, and patterns, allowing you to customize your space. While backsplashes were traditionally simple tile or laminate, today’s design trends favor more unique and artful backsplashes using materials like glass, metal, and stone.
One way to make your backsplash stand out is by adding an accent edge or border. An edged backsplash frames your backsplash material and gives it a finished, polished look. The edging material contrasts with or complements your main backsplash depending on the look you want to achieve. It allows you to highlight a section of your backsplash or draw attention to the entire surface.
Edging a backsplash is a relatively easy DIY project that makes a big impact. With the right materials and a little skill and patience, you can create a high-end backsplash on any budget. This guide will walk you through how to edge backsplash with tile, metal, glass, and other creative materials. We’ll cover planning, prep work, cutting, adhering, grouting, and finishing so you can edge your backsplash like a pro. Let’s get started!
Choosing an Edging Material
The first step in edging your backsplash is selecting an edging material that works with your design aesthetic and skill level. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile in a coordinating or contrasting color.
- Mosaic tile for a more intricate, artistic edge.
- Small format tile shapes like squares or pennies.
- Brick or subway tile laid on its side.
Tile edging is budget-friendly and easy to install. Matching your edging tile to your backsplash tile is a seamless look. Contrasting colors or textures create visual interest.
- Stainless steel for a modern, industrial vibe.
- Copper for a vintage flair.
- Aluminum or tin for a rustic or nautical style.
Metallic edging adds a contemporary, sleek finish. It pairs well with glass or stone backsplashes. Cut ready-made metal strips or molding to fit your space.
- Frosted or clear glass tile.
- Iridescent glass mosaics.
- Recycled glass pieces for an eco-friendly edge.
Glass edging gleams and catches the light. Use glass that coordinates with the colors in your backsplash. Add whimsy with iridescent glass mosaics.
- Marble, travertine or granite pieces.
- Pebbles or stone mosaics.
- Ledger panels of sliced stone.
Natural stone edging brings texture and earthiness. Use pebbles or mosaics for an organic feel. Ledger stone panels offer a contemporary look.
- Wood sections like picture frame molding.
- Plaster for a Victorian vibe.
- Polystyrene or polyurethane for ornate detailing.
Decorative molding and trim lend traditional or formal flair. Look for intricate carved patterns and feminine silhouettes. Use molding that complements your cabinetry.
Other Unique Materials
If you want an ultra-custom look, get creative with your edging materials like:
- Seashells, colored glass or glitter vinyl graphic.
- Painted or stained wood.
- galvanized metal roofing cut into strips.
- Colored caulk for a no-fuss edge.
Choose What Speaks to Your Style
With so many edging possibilities, select materials that fit your backsplash design and overall kitchen decor. For contemporary spaces, choose sleek metal or glass. Rustic kitchens pair well with natural stone edging. Go bold with contrasting colors or patterns. The options are endless, so get creative with edging materials that make your backsplash pop!
How to Prep and Plan Your Project
Once you’ve picked your edging material, proper planning and preparation will ensure it is installed correctly.
Gather Your Materials
- Backsplash tiles/panels
- Edge tiles, metal strip, molding, etc.
- Mortar or adhesive compatible with edging material
- Tile cutter and/or snips
- Grout float
- painter’s tape
Grab a measuring tape and pad of paper to sketch out your backsplash and edging. Note the length and height of your focal area, windows, outlets and stove to find your backsplash dimensions. Measure and mark where you want your edging strip to begin and end. Having detailed measurements ensures you purchase enough materials.
Clean Surface Thoroughly
Use TSP cleaner and scrub brush to clear your backsplash area of dirt, oil and soap scum. Rinse and let dry completely. Remove existing backsplash if replacing.
Collect all tools you’ll need for cutting, adhering, grouting and finishing. Ensure you have enough buckets, sponges, gloves and rags on hand. A grout float, caulk gun and painter’s tape will be essential.
Start with a Clean Palette
Pick edging materials that complement your backsplash without competing. The edge should accent, not overwhelm the main tiles. Keep colors and textures simple if using an intricate or bold backsplash pattern.
Proper planning and a clean workspace will set you up for backsplash edging success!
Cutting Tiles and Materials to Size
Cutting your edging tiles or materials accurately takes patience and the right tools. Follow these tips for smooth, clean cuts:
Use a Wet Saw for Tile
For ceramic, porcelain or natural stone, a quality wet saw is a must for precise cuts. Lubricate the blade and cut tiles slowly for smooth edges. Place tile face up to see lines.
Snip Metal Strips
Use sturdy tin snips for cutting metal backsplash edging like stainless steel or copper. Measure carefully and clamp strips to a stable surface before cutting. File edges smooth.
Score and Snap Glass
Score glass tile or mosaic sheets evenly with a glass cutter then snap downward to break cleanly. Use snips for small remnants or irregular spots. Wear gloves and eye protection.
Cut Wood or Molding with Miter Saw
For wood trim edging, use a miter saw to cut boards and molding at 45 degree angles. Sand cut ends smooth and apply adhesive, nails, or screws.
Make Templates for Precise Cuts
For irregular backsplash shapes, make cardboard cutout templates first. Trace templates onto your edging material and cut out for an exact fit.
Work Slowly and Check Often
Test fit pieces as you cut. Make minor adjustments until edging fits tightly to backsplash edges. Take your time for accuracy.
With careful measurement and the right cutting tools, you can achieve flawless edging cuts. Now let’s apply them!
Attaching the Edging
Applying your backsplash edge takes finesse. Follow these tips for gluing, mounting and adhering edging properly:
Prepare the Surface
Ensure the backsplash area is clean and dry. Apply painter’s tape vertically along wall edges for clean caulk lines. Fill any cracks or uneven spots with thinset mortar.
Spread Adhesive Evenly
Use a tile trowel to spread a thin, even layer of tile mastic, mortar or adhesive on backsplash and edge. Use mesh tape for extra grip.
Press and Hold in Place
Starting at the base, gently press edging into adhesive and hold for 30-60 seconds. Use tile spacers to maintain an even gap.
Staple or Nail Molding
For wood trim edging, carefully attach boards and molding with finishing nails. Pre-drill holes to prevent splitting.
Check Alignment as You Go
Work in small sections. As you stick edging pieces, step back and verify they are level, with consistent gaps.
Allow Proper Curing Time
Give adhesive 24-48 hours to fully cure before grouting or caulking. Don’t disturb or allow heavy traffic during this time.
Take it slowly when attaching edging. Allowing proper drying time ensures your pieces stay firmly affixed to the backsplash.
Grouting the Edging
Grout fills the spaces between your backsplash and edging, creates a finished look and helps waterproof your wall. Follow these tips for grouting success:
Choose the Right Grout
For narrow edging gaps, use unsanded grout. Sanded grout is better for wider grout lines 1/8 inch or larger. Match grout color to your tile/edging.
Prepare the Area
Remove spacers once edging is firmly attached. Cover surrounding surfaces with rosin paper or plastic sheeting to protect from grout splatter.
Dampen the Tile and Edging
Use a sponge to moisten tile and edging just before grouting. Remove any excess water. Damp (not soaked) surfaces prevent grout from drying too quickly.
Spread Grout Across the Surface
Apply grout over the entire area using a rubber grout float. Spread it at a 45 degree angle pressing into joints. Completely fill gaps.
Let Grout Set and Firm Up
Allow grout to rest and begin drying for about 15 minutes. Do not let it dry completely. Grout should be firm but still moist.
Wipe Away Excess Grout
Use a damp sponge in a circular motion to lightly wipe grout haze off tile and edging surfaces. Rinse sponge frequently.
Polish and Smoothen Joints
Once grout haze is removed, use a soft cloth to polish and finish grout lines. Make them flush and consistent.
When grouted correctly, your edging and backsplash will have a clean uniform appearance.
The final details complete your backsplash project for a seamless look:
Apply Caulk Along Countertops/Edges
Use a caulk gun to apply a thin bead of silicone caulk between backsplash and countertop, along wall edges, and around fixtures.
Make Connections to Flooring
If backsplash extends to flooring, apply caulk along bottom edges for clean transition lines between surfaces.
Once grout has cured fully, apply grout sealer following product directions to protect from stains and mildew.
Clean Entire Area
Use a soft sponge and mild soap and water to clean the entire backsplash surface. Rinse and dry with soft cloth.
Step Back and Admire!
After all finishing touches are complete, step back and enjoy your gorgeous new edged backsplash!
With some careful prep and patience, you can edge any backsplash like an expert.
FAQs About Edging Backsplash
What tools do I need to edge backsplash?
Basic tools include a tape measure, level, tile cutter, snips, trowel, grout float, sponges, buckets, painter’s tape, and caulk gun. For specialty edging, a wet saw, miter saw, or glass cutter may be needed.
What width should edging tiles be?
Edging tiles are commonly 1-6 inches wide. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches. Size edging tiles to match or contrast your main backsplash tiles.
Should I use sanded or unsanded grout?
For edging gaps less than 1/8 inch, use unsanded grout. For wider grout lines, sanded grout is better. Match grout color to your tiles.
How long does grout need to cure before sealing?
Allow grout to cure fully for 72 hours before applying any sealer or finishing treatments. This prevents sealers from trapping moisture or whitening grout.
Should I caulk where backsplash meets countertop?
Yes, apply a thin bead of silicone caulk along countertops, edges, fixtures, and any seams for a waterproof finished look.
What if my backsplash has an irregular shape?
Make a cardboard template if your backsplash has angles or curves. Trace and cut edging from the template for a perfect custom fit.
How do I cut metal backsplash edge strips?
Use sturdy tin snips to accurately cut metal edging strips. File cut edges smooth. Work slowly and make minor adjustments for precise fitting.
Edging your backsplash transforms it from basic to beautiful with relatively little effort. Choosing edging materials like tile, metal, glass, or stone that work with your design style allows you to accent your backsplash with color, texture, shape, and pattern.
Carefully planning the project, cleaning the area, measuring precisely, and gathering the right tools ensures your edging is installed correctly. Cutting materials accurately, spreading adhesive smoothly, pressing edging in place tightly, grouting completely, and applying finishing caulk will result in a polished, professional look.
With this guide’s step-by-step instructions, you can edge your backsplash with confidence. So turn that ordinary backsplash into an extraordinary focal point and enjoy the great style and protection it adds to your kitchen.