How to Install a Peel and Stick Backsplash

Installing a peel and stick backsplash is an easy and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. With just a few tools and materials, you can transform your existing backsplash or bare wall into a stylish new focal point. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly install a peel and stick backsplash.


A peel and stick backsplash, also known as self-adhesive backsplash tile, is a great DIY project for renters or homeowners on a budget. Peel and stick tiles come in a variety of materials like ceramic, metal, glass, or stone. They have an adhesive backing so no grout or special tools are needed for installation.

Compared to traditional tile backsplashes, peel and stick is much more beginner-friendly. The project can usually be completed in just one afternoon. Peel and stick tiles are also removable, so they won’t damage or permanently alter your walls. This makes them a great temporary upgrade if your rental or home is due for more permanent renovations down the road.

Benefits of Using Peel and Stick Backsplash Tiles

There are many benefits that make peel and stick backsplash tiles a smart choice:

  • Easy installation: No need to deal with mortar, grout, or special tools. Just peel off the backing and stick the tiles directly onto your wall.
  • Removable: Won’t damage your walls, so it’s ideal for renters or temporary upgrades.
  • Affordable: Peel and stick tiles cost between $5-$10 per square foot. Much cheaper than ceramic or stone tile.
  • Variety: Choose from tons of materials like glass, marble, metal and more. Lots of colors and patterns available.
  • DIY-friendly: An easy project for beginners. No need for professional installation.
  • Fast project: Peel and stick backsplash can be installed in just an afternoon.

What You Need

Before starting your peel and stick backsplash installation, make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Peel and stick backsplash tiles
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Adhesive caulk
  • Grout pen (for grout lines)
  • Primer/sealer
  • Silicone caulk and caulk gun
  • Sponge and bucket
  • Paper towels or clean rags

Optional supplies:

  • Trim pieces like bullnose edges
  • Backsplash edge strips

Preparing Your Backsplash Area

Proper preparation of your backsplash area is crucial for achieving the best end results. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Clean the Surface

Thoroughly clean your existing backsplash area or bare wall where you plan to install the peel and stick tiles. Remove any old caulk, soap film, grease, or dirt. The surface should be free of debris and dust so the tiles can properly adhere.

Step 2: Make Any Needed Repairs

Check the area for holes, cracks, chipped tiles, or grout lines that need repairing. Fill any holes and smooth over damaged spots with caulk or drywall joint compound. Ensure the surface is as smooth as possible.

Step 3: Prime/Seal the Surface

Most peel and stick tiles require applying a primer or sealer to the target surface area before installation. This helps the adhesive stick properly. Apply a thin, even layer using a paintbrush or paint roller. Allow the primer to fully dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 4: Mark Your Layout

Plan how you want your tiles laid out. It’s standard to start full tiles at the bottom and have any cut edges at the top. Use a level and pencil to lightly mark your layout on the wall. This helps guide installation.

How to Install the Backsplash Tiles

Follow these steps for properly installing peel and stick backsplash tiles:

Step 1: Cut Tiles If Needed

If your layout requires any perimeter tiles to be cut, measure and trim them to size before starting. Use a utility knife and straightedge. Peel off backing and set cut tiles aside.

Step 2: Peel Off Backing

Working one tile at a time, peel off the adhesive backing from each. Try not to let the sticky surface fold over and touch itself to avoid losing adhesion.

Step 3: Press Tiles to Wall

Starting at the bottom according to your layout, firmly press tiles into place on the wall. Rub the entire surface of each tile securely as you go. Remove any trapped air bubbles.

Step 4: Continue Until Complete

Keep working tile by tile until you reach the top. Use a level often to ensure your rows stay straight. Wipe away excess adhesive as needed with a damp cloth.

Step 5: Grout and Seal

Use a grout pen to fill in grout line spaces. Wipe away excess. Once all tiles are installed, apply a thin bead of caulk around the perimeter and let dry. Lastly, apply sealer.

Tips and Tricks

  • Stagger tiles bricklike instead of a grid pattern for better adherence.
  • Only do sections of 3-5 tiles at once so adhesive doesn’t dry out.
  • Use painter’s tape strips to keep rows straight and evenly spaced.
  • Install a backsplash edge trim for a finished look and to cover edges.
  • Use a grout release film if applying real grout over peel and stick tiles.


What’s the best surface to install peel and stick on?

The best surfaces are smooth, primed, and moisture-free. Drywall, painted walls, or water-resistant walls like AquaPanel are ideal. Avoid porous surfaces.

Do I need special tools?

The only tools you need are a utility knife, level, caulk gun, grout pen, sponge, and basic cleaning supplies. Optional tools would be a trimmer for cutting mosaic sheets.

How long does peel and stick backsplash last?

With proper installation on suitable surfaces, peel and stick backsplash can last 3-5 years or longer before needing replacement. Avoid moisture and clean with non-abrasive cleaners.

Can you apply peel and stick over existing tile?

In most cases, yes. Just make sure the existing tile is well-adhered, grease-free, and lightly textured. Use a tile primer first for best results.

Is peel and stick waterproof?

Most peel and stick tiles are water-resistant but not 100% waterproof, so they are not suitable behind sinks or in showers. Look for specialty WP options if needed.


Installing a peel and stick backsplash is an easy DIY project that can make a big impact. With the right prep work, tools, and technique, you can create a stylish new backsplash in just an afternoon. Just take your time, properly prime the surface, and firmly adhere the tiles. And be sure to keep the area moisture-free. Utilizing peel and stick backsplash tile is an affordable way to update your kitchen or any room.