How to Hang Things on a Tile Backsplash

Installing a beautiful tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can really enhance the look and feel of the space. However, once the tile is up, you may be wondering how to decorate it or hang items like artwork, mirrors, spice racks, utensil holders, and more. With the right techniques and materials, you can securely hang items on your tile backsplash without damaging the tile.

Selecting Items to Hang

When choosing items to hang on your backsplash, keep in mind that the weight will be concentrated on a small area of the tile. Heavy items can put too much stress on the tile and cause cracks or chips. Opt for lightweight decorations and accessories whenever possible. Some good options include:

  • Small framed photos or artwork
  • Lightweight mirrors or sconces
  • Spice racks
  • Light utensil hooks
  • Floating shelves
  • Lightweight hanging baskets or rails

Make sure any hardware you select matches the weight rating recommended by the manufacturer to avoid overloading the tile. For medium-weight items like floating shelves, choose a braced design with a metal support system to disperse the weight.

Preparing the Tile Surface

Before hanging anything, inspect the tile carefully for any cracks or damage that could weaken its holding power. Check for loose or hollow-sounding tiles that may need re-adhering before attaching any hardware.

It’s also important to make sure the grout between tiles is in good condition. Crumbling or missing grout can diminish the strength of the tile surface. Re-grout any problem areas before hanging items on the tile.

Cleaning the backsplash is also recommended to remove any grease, dirt, or soap scum that could interfere with adhesion. Use a specialized tile cleaner and a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. Avoid abrasive cleansers or scrubbing pads that might scratch the tile.

Hanging Items on Tile

There are a few methods for securely hanging items on a tile backsplash, depending on the weight of the item:

Adhesive Hooks

For very lightweight items like kitchen towels, utensils, or herb racks, adhesive hooks provide an easy, damage-free solution. Use high-quality hooks designed specifically for tile, like 3M Command Brand Damage-Free Hanging Hooks. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Thoroughly clean the area where the hook will be placed with rubbing alcohol and let it dry completely. Apply firm pressure for 30-60 seconds after attaching the hook to ensure a strong bond to the tile. Do not exceed the weight rating for the hooks.

Properly removing adhesive hooks after use is important to avoid tile damage. Never pull them off forcibly. Instead, slide dental floss or fishing line behind the hook to detach the adhesive. Any adhesive residue can be cleaned off with rubbing alcohol.

Adhesive Tiles

For small, lightweight framed photos, artwork, or mirrors, consider using adhesive tile holders. These provide a damage-free hanging solution with a stronger hold than standard hooks.

Products like RockyMountain Goods Adhesive Tile Hangers or UHU Tile Hangers stick securely to the back of the tile and hold up to 3 pounds. Position them carefully, then press firmly for 30-60 seconds for full adhesion. They can be removed later with dental floss or fishing line without harming the tile.

Screws and Anchors

Medium-weight items like floating shelves, utensil rods, or small towel bars will require being safely anchored into the tile with screws. Using the proper drilling technique, screws, and anchors is crucial to avoiding tile damage.

First, mark the precise drill location with a pencil. Use a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit slightly smaller than your screw size. Drill on a low speed until you penetrate the tile’s glazed surface, then increase speed to avoid cracking the tile.

Insert wall anchors for screws like plastic sleeve anchors into the drill holes, tapping gently with a hammer until flush with the tile. Screw your hanging hardware into the anchors. Optionally, apply silicone sealant around anchors for extra holding power and moisture protection.

Construction Adhesive

For some items, construction adhesive offers a removable hanging solution without screws or tile damage. Look for a high-quality adhesive like Liquid Nails Fuze It that bonds well to tile and the hanging item.

Make sure the tile area and the item are clean and dry first. Apply a thin, even bead of adhesive to the back of the item, or to the tile. Firmly press into position for 30-60 seconds. Temporary support like painter’s tape may be needed while the adhesive dries. Avoid moving or jostling the item while drying.

To safely remove items attached with construction adhesive later, carefully slide dental floss or fishing line behind the item to detach it from the tile. Use rubbing alcohol to remove any leftover adhesive.

Hanging Tips by Item

Follow these tips when hanging specific items on your tile backsplash:

Hanging Artwork or Mirrors

  • For larger framed art or mirrors, distribute the weight across two screws and anchors near the top of the piece, evenly spaced.
  • Adhesive sawtooth picture hangers provide another damage-free option for lightweight mirrors or art. Stick them firmly to the back of the frame.
  • Choose wire hangers or D-ring hangers on the back of the frame to slip over screws or adhesive hooks.
  • Ensure hanging hardware is centered at the same height for a level installation. Use a laser level if needed.

Hanging Shelves

  • For floating shelves, look for brackets with vertical support pegs to distribute weight across multiple anchor points.
  • Space brackets evenly. Make sure they align with wall studs or use masonry anchors. Follow manufacturer weight limits.
  • Consider L-brackets for extra support. Install adhesive-backed felt pads on shelf bottoms to prevent slipping and tile scratches.

Hanging Kitchen Accessories

  • Adhesive hooks are ideal for hanging lightweight utensils, trivets, and towels on tile. Stick hooks securely to the top corners of items for hanging.
  • For hanging herb racks, rail systems, or spice racks, install two to three screws with anchors across the top and bottom to distribute weight.
  • Prevent swinging items like utensil hooks from hitting the tile by placing bumpers behind them. Use small rubber stops or clear adhesive bumpers.

Hanging Bathroom Accessories

  • For bath accessories like towel bars, TP holders, or soap dishes, distribute weight across studs and anchors at each end.
  • Non-damaging tension-mounted designs are also available for light- to medium-weight bathroom accessories.
  • Ensure bars and other accessories are adequately supported underneath by installing to wall studs, or using anchors, construction adhesive, or sealant for added support.
  • For hanging towels, opt for a lightweight rail with adhesive hooks rather than individual heavy hooks to spread out the load.

Avoiding Damage to Tile When Hanging Items

To hang items on your tile backsplash without damage, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Carefully follow all manufacturer instructions for any hanging hardware or adhesive products.
  • Only use recommended drill bits and screws for tile and avoid hammering.
  • Clean and prepare the tile surface properly before installing any hardware.
  • Distribute weight across multiple evenly spaced anchor points.
  • Use silicone sealant around anchors for extra moisture protection and holding power.
  • Don’t overload tile—pay attention to weight ratings and limits.
  • Prevent swinging items from hitting tile with stops or bumpers.
  • Take care not to crack tile when removing adhesive hooks or tiles—avoid pulling them off forcibly.

Alternatives to Hanging on Tile

If you decide that hanging items directly from your tile backsplash may be too risky, consider these alternative options:

  • Install a wood, metal, or plastic ledge above the backsplash to hang items from without drilling into tile. Attach it to wall studs at each end.
  • Hang a decorative floating wall shelf above the backsplash for displaying items. Make sure it’s securely anchored into studs.
  • Use freestanding accent pieces like pedestals or tabletop units to display items near the backsplash without attaching to it.
  • Opt for backsplash vinyl decals or removable tile wallpaper to add artwork instead of traditional hanging.
  • Attach items to the wall or cabinetry neighboring the backsplash instead of drilling into the tile itself.

Ensuring Success When Hanging Items on Tile

Installing items on your tile backsplash takes care and precision, but it can safely be done with the right techniques. Follow these tips to ensure success:

  • Take your time and don’t rush the work or guessing on placement. Proper measuring and marking is essential.
  • Have the necessary tools and materials on hand before starting, like a drill, laser level, quality hardware, and sealant.
  • If using screws, invest in drill bits made specifically for tile to avoid cracking or chipping.
  • Always follow manufacturer instructions for hanging hardware and adhesive products closely. Don’t over-load.
  • Keep the tile surface clean and dry while prepping it for hanging items. Remove any contaminated areas.
  • Feel free to practice on scrap tile first if you need to get the hang of drilling or using adhesives.
  • Carefully remove any adhesive hooks, tiles, strips, etc. later using dental floss or fishing line to avoid damage.
  • Take safety precautions against sharp edges and eye/hand injuries when prepping tile and handling glass.

Do your homework, go slowly, use the best tools, and hang lightweight items only. With care and patience, you can safely add beautiful decorations to your tile backsplash. Just take time to do it right.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hanging Items on Tile Backsplashes

  1. How much weight can tile support?

The weight tile can support varies by factors like tile material, thickness, age, installation method, and condition. Most tile backsplashes can safely support 5-10 pounds per square foot as a general estimate. But always check manufacturer recommendations and use appropriate hardware for the weight of items.

  1. What types of anchors should be used for hanging items on tile?

For screws on tile, use plastic sleeve anchors, nylon sleeve anchors, or toggle bolts in pre-drilled holes. Make sure anchors are sized to fit snugly and rated for the weight they will hold. Apply silicone sealant around anchors for added durability.

  1. What kind of drill bit is best for drilling into ceramic tile?

Use carbide-tipped masonry drill bits for tile. They are designed to grind through tile without cracking or shattering it. Match the drill bit diameter to your screw size. Start drilling slowly until you break the glazed tile surface, then increase drill speed.

  1. Can you use Command strips or hooks to hang items on tile?

Yes, Command brand damage-free hanging hooks or tile hanging strips can safely be used to hang very lightweight items (under 2-3 lbs) on tile. Follow all preparation and application directions carefully for best performance. Use fishing line to detach hooks from tile later to avoid damage.

  1. How do you anchor a floating shelf on a tile backsplash?

Install floating shelves on tile using quality metal brackets designed to support shelves. Mark stud locations and use at least two brackets attached to studs with wood screws at each end of the shelf. For stud-less areas, use screw anchors. Apply silicone sealant at bracket points for added strength.

  1. How much weight can construction adhesive hold on tile?

Construction adhesive like Liquid Nails generally provides around 100 pounds of holding power per square foot on tile when applied properly as a thin bead or dots. Ensure the tile area is clean before application. Press and hold items firmly for 30-60 seconds after positioning. Allow ample drying time before use per the manufacturer.

  1. What’s the best way to hang a heavy mirror on tile?

Use sawtooth picture hangers attached securely to the mirror frame, then anchor two screw hooks spaced evenly across the top of the frame into the tile using plastic sleeve anchors. Adding silicone sealant around the anchors provides extra support and stability for heavy mirrors.

  1. How do you remove adhesive hooks from tile without damaging it?

Never pull adhesive hooks directly off tile, as this can strip the glaze or break the tile. Instead, slide dental floss, fishing line, or a plastic spackling knife behind the hook to gently detach it. Any adhesive residue left behind can be cleaned up with rubbing alcohol.

  1. Should tile be sealed before installing hanging hardware?

Sealing porous natural stone tile before installation provides an extra layer of protection. But glazed ceramic and porcelain tile does not require sealing. Make sure the tile area is clean and dry before applying any adhesives or anchors. Use silicone sealant around anchors for added moisture protection.

  1. How can I avoid damaging the grout lines when drilling into tile?

Use a center punch to mark drilling points in the middle of the tile rather than risk cracking grout lines at the edges. Apply painter’s tape over drill locations first. Start drilling slowly at an angle rather than perpendicular to avoid skidding. Use a drill bit sized for your screws and tile material.


Installing functional and beautiful items on your tile backsplash can enhance the space when done properly. With the right preparation, high-quality hardware, proper installation technique, and care in later removal, you can hang items with confidence while avoiding damage. Take time to ensure the tile can support the weight, mark locations carefully, and use specialty tile drill bits and anchors.

With the tips in this guide, you now have all the information needed to securely and safely hang artwork, mirrors, shelves, kitchen accessories, and more on your tile backsplash. Just be cautious of the weight, take your time, and don’t overload the tile. Use adhesive hooks or tiles for ultra-light items, quality anchors and screws for medium-weight items, and dispersion techniques like multiple brackets for heavier items. With the right approach, you can create a stunning, organized space that takes full advantage of your beautiful new backsplash.