A mesh backsplash can be a stylish and modern addition to any kitchen. Made of metal or other materials woven into an open grid pattern, mesh backsplashes allow you to add an eye-catching accent wall while still being able to see the wall surface behind it. Installing a mesh backsplash is a relatively straightforward DIY project that can upgrade the look of your kitchen. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a mesh backsplash in your home.
Gather the Necessary Materials
Before starting installation, you’ll need to pick up the required materials:
- Mesh backsplash sheets – Mesh backsplash typically comes in 12×12 inch peel-and-stick sheets. Purchase enough sheets to cover the backsplash area, allowing a little extra for cuts and errors.
- Adhesive – Each mesh sheet will have its own adhesive backing. You may need additional liquid construction adhesive if the backing seems weak.
- Utility knife and metal snips – For precise cutting of the mesh sheets. Tin snips can cut through mesh easily.
- Level and measuring tape – To ensure your backsplash is installed straight and accurately measured.
- Painter’s tape – To mark off the installation area and hold mesh sheets in place temporarily.
- Silicone caulk and caulk gun – To seal edges and gaps for a waterproof finish.
- Grout (optional) – If your mesh has wider gaps, grout can create a smoother appearance.
- Rag – For wiping away excess adhesives and smoothing the mesh surface.
With these supplies gathered, you can move on to prepping the backsplash area.
Prepare the Backsplash Area
Proper prep work ensures the mesh sticks securely and looks its best.
- Remove existing backsplash if there is one already installed. Scrape off all old caulk and adhesives.
- Thoroughly clean the backsplash area using a degreasing cleaner or isopropyl alcohol solution. This allows the adhesive to bond tightly.
- Make sure the surface is smooth. Fill any holes or cracks with spackling compound and sand smooth when dry.
- Paint the backsplash area if needed so your wall color shows through the mesh pattern nicely. Let paint fully cure for 2-3 days.
- Measure the backsplash area and mark the outer borders with painter’s tape. Have your mesh sheets and other materials ready.
Now the real installation work can begin!
Cut the Mesh Sheets to Size
Mesh backsplash comes in standard 12×12 inch squares. You’ll need to cut sheets to fit your backsplash area.
- Lay mesh sheet over the taped area to find the right fit. Leave a 1/8″ gap between sheet edges and tape borders.
- Cut through the mesh using sharp snips. Steady your hands and cut slowly for clean edges.
- Cut vents, outlets, or other openings before installing. Measure openings and mark cuts carefully.
- Dry fit mesh sheets before peeling off adhesive backing. Make sure you have a good fit before sticking them to wall.
Trim all sheets precisely to ensure a tight arrangement and uniform look for the backsplash.
Apply Adhesive Backing
With mesh sheets cut to size, you can prep them for installation:
- Peel away outer plastic covering to expose adhesive backing on mesh sheet.
- Apply a bead of liquid construction adhesive along outer edges for extra holding power.
- For a very smooth surface underneath, apply adhesive in a thin, even layer across the entire back of sheet.
- Follow adhesive manufacturer instructions for proper drying time before sticking mesh to wall. You want the adhesive tacky but not fully dry yet.
Applying additional adhesive provides a super secure bond when installed on the wall.
Affix Mesh Sheets to the Backsplash Area
Now comes the fun part – sticking on your mesh backsplash!
- Working one sheet at a time, peel mesh from the outer plastic layer of the adhesive backing.
- Carefully press against installation area on the wall, starting from one corner outward to smooth any bubbles.
- Use a rag or plastic smoother to firmly adhere mesh sheet to the wall, pressing out any air pockets or wrinkles.
- Repeat process for each sheet, arranging them in a brickwork pattern for best visual results.
- Trim off excess mesh from top or sides with metal snips.
- If the mesh pattern has wide gaps, consider applying colored caulk or grout for a smoother appearance.
Take your time and use care when affixing each sheet to achieve a solid bond and smooth surface.
Finish Edges and Seams
For a complete installation, properly finish the edges and seams:
- Apply painter’s tape parallel to sheet edges to protect from excess silicone.
- Seal all edges and seams with a silicone caulk that matches your grout color. Smooth the beads with a wet finger for a clean finish.
- Allow caulk to fully cure for 24-48 hours before removing tape. Wipe away any residue with a damp rag.
- Color-match grout and apply carefully to wide mesh gaps if desired. Let dry completely. Polish away any haze with a soft cloth.
- If seams between sheets have uneven gaps, consider applying trim pieces or metal edging for a neater look.
Finishing the edges provides a polished look and waterproofs the backsplash installation.
Enjoy Your New Mesh Backsplash!
With that, your stylish new mesh backsplash should be installed and ready to enjoy! Tips for maintaining it:
- Use a gentle cleaner and soft sponge to keep your new backsplash looking its best over time. Harsh chemicals can damage the finish.
- Immediately clean up any food, oil, or grease spills to prevent staining.
- Reapply caulk if you notice it getting cracked or worn to maintain water protection.
- Avoid hitting the mesh with heavy pans or abrasive scrubbers which can dent or scratch it.
Follow these simple care guidelines, and your mesh backsplash will maintain its chic, eye-catching look for many years. Add some colorful accessories, and it can be a real focal point in your kitchen!
Benefits of Installing a Mesh Backsplash
Beyond just stylish appearance, mesh backsplashes offer some great benefits that make them a smart upgrade for many kitchens:
Unique Visual Style
With various weave patterns and metallic finishes available, a mesh backsplash brings unique visual style to your kitchen. The woven texture and partial visibility create visual depth and interest. It serves as an artistic accent wall that makes your kitchen feel more modern and up-to-date.
Solid backsplashes like tile or granite can require extensive cleaning. With the open weave pattern, a mesh backsplash is easier to keep clean. Food and grime are less likely to stick to the smooth metal surface. You can simply wipe it clean with a soft cloth and gentle cleaner.
Other backsplash materials like ceramic tile or natural stone can get expensive with installation costs. Mesh backsplashes are relatively affordable, especially since they have peel-and-stick installation that doesn’t require hiring a contractor. The simple DIY process also saves money.
Mesh backsplashes come in varied materials and colors, from copper to stainless steel. This allows you to match your kitchen’s existing decor or add a pop of color. Mix and match mesh patterns and textures for even more creative possibilities. The choice is yours!
Lightweight and Removable
Heavy tile backsplashes are permanent and damage walls if removed. Lightweight mesh sheets can be easily peeled off without harming your walls, allowing you to switch up your backsplash look more easily. Renters can even install mesh backsplashes without worrying about moving.
Solid backsplash materials completely block the view to your walls. The woven look of mesh backsplashes allows some visibility to the surface underneath. This can make a small kitchen appear more open and airy.
Durable and Waterproof
When properly sealed, mesh backsplashes are waterproof and stand up well to moisture, grease, and daily wear-and-tear. Copper and stainless steel meshes are naturally antimicrobial as well. The durable woven material is built to last.
If you’re looking to upgrade your backsplash with style, texture, and visual interest, a mesh backsplash offers form, function, and many benefits at an affordable price point!
What to Look for When Choosing a Mesh Backsplash
The wide variety of mesh backsplash materials and styles on the market means you have lots of options for your kitchen upgrade. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a mesh backsplash:
- Metal – Stainless steel and copper offer durability, easy cleaning, and antimicrobial properties. Brass, nickel, and aluminum are eye-catching choices too.
- Plastic – PVC and vinyl are budget-friendly options. Go for thicker, higher-quality plastics that are more rigid and long-lasting.
- Glass – Frosted or colored glass mesh creates a unique visual style. Ensure it is safety tempered glass.
- Natural – Woven bamboo or rattan meshes provide eco-friendly texture. Best for low-moisture areas.
Choose a material that fits both your budget and kitchen style.
Weave Pattern and Size
- Tighter micro weave vs. more open patterns
- Smaller openings show less wall underneath
- Larger gaps (1/4” or bigger) may need grout for smoother finish
- Measure existing backsplash area to buy enough mesh sheets
The size of the woven gaps and thickness of the strands impact the overall look. Scale it appropriately for your backsplash space.
Color and Finish
- Match existing kitchen color scheme and decor
- Natural metal finishes like brushed stainless or oil-rubbed bronze
- Colored meshes for bold pops of accent color
- Coated options for corrosion resistance or different textures
Consider colors and finishes that coordinate well with your cabinets, countertops, and overall kitchen design tastes.
Shape and Dimensions
- 12”x12” sheets are standard for peel-and-stick installation
- Larger meshes may require professional installation
- Custom cutting for fitting around outlets or pipes
- Border/trim options to finish edges
Think about sizing needs and customization requirements of your specific backsplash installation area.
- Plastic and vinyl on lower end, around $10-20 per sheet
- Mid-range options $20-50 like coated aluminum or thinner stainless
- Higher-end $50-100+ for thick, high-quality metal
- Special order or custom mesh is most expensive
Set a budget and look for quality mesh backsplashes you can afford. Peel-and-stick styles help keep costs lower.
Choosing the right mesh material, pattern, color, and size for your needs will ensure you get the perfect backsplash look and performance.
How to Cut Mesh Backsplash Sheets
Cutting mesh backsplash sheets to custom sizes and shapes is a crucial part of the installation process. Here are some tips for accurately and cleanly cutting metal, plastic, or glass mesh:
Use Sharp Snips or Shears
- Aim for compound action snips designed to cut metals. Kitchen shears also work for plastic meshes.
- Change snips blade if it starts to dull for clean, even cuts.
- Don’t use household scissors as they may bend or warp thinner mesh.
Sharp cutting tools prevent fraying, rippling, and jagged edges.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
- Check your measurements twice before making any cuts.
- Dry fit mesh piece before permanently installing to ensure proper sizing.
- Mark cuts clearly with pencil, tape, or painter’s mask rather than free-handing it.
Careful measurements prevent costly cutting errors and mesh waste.
Secure the Mesh Sheet
- Use clamps or weights to keep the sheet from shifting as you cut it.
- For outlets or vent cuts, tape metal mesh to a cutting board for stability.
- Make small cuts incrementally rather than one long chop.
Keeping the mesh still ensures straight cuts at the desired size.
Cut Slowly and Carefully
- Don’t rush the cutting process. Move the shears or snips steadily through the mesh.
- Let the tool do the work. Don’t bend or torque the material while cutting.
- Keep heavier snips supported and level so their weight doesn’t warp thinner metal mesh.
Controlled, even pressure gives the cleanest cut through fine woven materials.
Smooth Rough Edges
- Use a metal file to smooth any burrs or sharp edges after cutting.
- Sand plastic mesh edges gently with fine grit sandpaper.
- Bend mesh piece to help loosen protruding strands pulled in cutting.
Removing rough edges gives a safer, more polished look.
With care and the right cutting tools, you can achieve perfect custom cuts for a seamless mesh backsplash installation.
How to Drill Holes in a Mesh Backsplash
Drilling clean holes in mesh backsplash materials allows you to install around outlets, plumbing, and other fixtures. Follow these tips for smooth hole cuts:
Mark the Holes Accurately
- Locate outlet placements and measure hole size needed. Account for the fixture plate size.
- Use painter’s tape to guide drill bit and prevent tearing.
- Centerpunch the hole location to prevent bit from walking.
Precisely marked holes result in a tidier fit.
Secure the Mesh Sheet
- Clamp mesh to a firm, level surface like MDF or plywood.
- Use extra hands to hold sheet in place if needed.
- Start holes from the front smooth side rather than back adhesive.
Keeping the mesh immobilized prevents rough edges around holes.
Use a Drill Press If Possible
- A drill press ensures straight, level holes instead of freehand drilling.
- For thinner plastic or metal mesh, use lower drill speeds.
- Clamp mesh flat to drill press bed. Use a bit slightly larger than hole needed.
A drill press hole saw attachment works cleanly through mesh.
Alternately, Use a Hand Drill
- Tape mesh down before drilling to prevent spinning and tearing.
- Choose a tungsten carbide or cobalt step bit matched for the mesh thickness.
- For larger holes, drill pilot hole then widen gradually with larger bits.
Work slowly with firm pressure for clean hand drill holes.
Deburr the Holes
- Use a file, sandpaper, or deburring tool to smooth cut mesh strands.
- Remove all rough edges to prevent scratches installing outlet covers.
- For larger holes, trim with metal snips for a neat border.
Sanding edges prevents sharp pokes around opening edges.
Drilling mesh backsplash allows lights, switches, and fixtures to properly fit while maintaining the sleek accent wall look.
How to Attach a Mesh Backsplash Around Outlets and Switches
Outlets, switches, and fixtures will likely need openings cut into your new mesh backsplash. Carefully fitting mesh around them results in a seamless look:
Turn Power Off
Always turn off power at the breaker before working around electrical. Test with a non-contact voltage tester to be sure.
Remove Cover Plates
Unscrew and take off existing outlet/switch cover plates prior to backsplash installation.
Measure Opening Size Needed
Account for both the electrical box and room needed for the cover plate to fit properly.
Cut Wall Opening in Mesh
Refer to hole cutting tips. Make opening 1/8″ bigger than your measurements for a snug outlet fit.
Test Fit Mesh Opening
Confirm your custom cut allows outlet/switch to sit flush within the opening before adhering mesh.
Install Mesh Sheet
Affix the mesh sheet with the pre-cut opening aligned to the outlets and switches as marked.
Reattach Cover Plates
Screw outlet and switch cover plates back into place over the mesh.
Caulk Around Openings
Seal any gaps between plate edges and mesh with a coordinating colored caulk or grout.
With the right preparation and measurements, cutting mesh around fixtures results in a polished, built-in look.
How to Apply Grout to a Mesh Backsplash
For mesh with wider openings, grout helps create a smoother appearance:
Choose the Right Grout
Use an epoxy or latex-based thin grout meant for tile joints under 1/8-inch. Match grout color to your mesh.
Prepare grout per manufacturer directions. Applying it right after mixing ensures adequate working time.
Force grout diagonally into mesh gaps using a rubber grout float or plastic applicator in small sections.
Allow grout to dry completely, generally 24 hours. Mist occasionally with water to slow drying.
Polish Off Haze
Use a soft, dry cloth once fully cured to buff off any residual grout haze on the mesh surface.
Apply a grout sealer to help protect it from moisture and staining. Allow to fully dry.
When done properly, colored grout fills in the voids around mesh strands for a cohesive appearance.
How to Clean and Maintain a Mesh Backsplash
With the right gentle cleaning methods, your mesh backsplash will maintain its beautiful look:
Use Non-Abrasive Cleaners
Avoid harsh bathroom/kitchen cleaners or anything acidic. Use a mild dish soap and water solution or specific metal cleaners.
Soft-Bristled Brushes or Sponges Only
Rub gently with a soft-bristled brush to dislodge dirt and grime from mesh holes. Don’t use anything that could scratch.
Rinse Thoroughly After Cleaning
Make sure to wipe away all soap residue or cleaning chemicals which could build up on the mesh over time.