Installing backsplash edging is an easy way to give your backsplash a finished, professional look. The edging helps protect the edges of the backsplash tiles and provides a clean transition from the backsplash to the countertop or wall. With a few simple tools and materials, you can add backsplash edging yourself and save on installation costs. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps for installing backsplash edging correctly. We’ll cover how to choose the right edging, prep the area, cut the edging, adhere it, and grout it for a flawless finish. With these tips, you’ll have stylish backsplash edging that completes your kitchen or bath backsplash design.
Choose the Right Backsplash Edging
The first step is selecting the right material for the edging. Here are some of the most common options:
- Metal: Aluminum and stainless steel edging offer a sleek, modern look. Stainless steel is more durable. These work well for both contemporary and classic kitchens.
- PVC: PVC edging comes in various colors and patterns to match your tiles. It’s affordable, waterproof, and easy to install.
- Bullnose tiles: Using bullnose tiles for edging provides a built-in finished edge. The curved shape has a smooth surface.
- Wood: Wood trim adds a rustic, natural look. Good options are poplar, pine, or oak. Use exterior-rated wood in humid areas.
- Tile: You can create edging using leftover tile pieces. This provides an integrated look.
In addition to the material, consider the look you want for the edges:
- Low-profile: For a subtle, seamless transition, low-profile edging has a height of 1/4 inch or less.
- Standard: Many edgings fall into the standard range of 3/8 to 1/2 inch heights. This works well for most applications.
- Bold: For a dramatic accent, choose a taller edging around 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches high.
- Straight or bullnose: Bullnose edging has a rounded lip while straight has a flat edge. Choose based on your preference.
Prep the Backsplash Area
Start by cleaning the backsplash area thoroughly where you’ll install the edging. Remove any debris, old caulk or adhesive, grease, and dirt so the edging adheres properly.
Do a dry run before attaching the edging. Hold pieces in place where they will be installed. Make sure they fit properly around outlets, corners, and edges. Mark areas that need custom cutting.
Using sharp tile cutters or snips, measure and cut your edging to size for each section. Cut miters at 45 degree angles for inside and outside corners. If using bullnose tile, you can grind the edges smooth with a diamond pad.
Choose the adhesive designed for your edging material. Many metal or PVC edgings use silicone. Prepare the adhesive according to package directions. Place in a caulking gun if needed.
Install the Backsplash Edging
Run a continuous bead of adhesive along the area where you’ll attach the edging. Follow the product specifications for the amount. Use non-sag silicone if applying to vertical surfaces.
Press in Place
Carefully press the edging into place in the adhesive. Apply firm, even pressure. Use a small J-roller or grout float to ensure solid contact with the backsplash.
Fill any interior corners with adhesive to prevent moisture from getting in. Wipe away any excess. Remove adhesive on tile faces right away with a damp cloth.
Let the adhesive fully cure following manufacturer directions. This is typically 24-48 hours. Don’t grout or caulk until the edging is completely bonded in place.
Apply End Caps
For edging pieces meeting at corners, measure and cut end caps to fit over the exposed ends. Apply silicone and press into place. Let dry completely.
Grout and Finish the Edging
Mix non-sanded grout in a color to match your tiles or edging. Apply grout along the seam between the tiles and edging using a grout float.
Clean Excess Grout
Let the grout sit for a few minutes before wiping away the excess. Use a damp sponge and grout haze remover. Rinse sponge and re-wipe until clean.
Apply Grout Sealer
Once dry, seal the grout lines with a penetrating sealer. This prevents staining and damage. Apply with a small brush and wipe excess.
Caulk Corner Joints
Use a silicone caulk to fill the corner seams between edging pieces. Tool the caulk with your finger for a smooth finish. Allow to fully cure.
Polish and Clean
Give metal or wood edging a final polish with a soft cloth. Use denatured alcohol or wood polish. Rinse tiles and edging well to remove haze and residue.
Tips for Installing Backsplash Edging
Make Precise Cuts
Use a miter box guide when cutting edging at 45 degree angles. Make small adjustments for perfect inside and outside miters.
Allow Expansion Space
Leave a 1/16 inch gap between edging ends for expansion and contraction. Don’t butt joints tightly.
Seal Wood First
Seal cut edges of wood edging with waterproof wood sealant before installing. This prevents water damage.
When joining edging pieces, stagger the seams instead of lining up at corners. This provides more stability.
Check with a level that edging is even. Shim any low spots with adhesive before it dries.
Smooth Bullnose Corners
Use a diamond sanding pad to soften any sharp bullnose edges at inside corners.
Consider Dark Grout
For metal or PVC edging, match the grout color for a less visible seam. Dark grout hides better.
Backsplash Edging Maintenance
Here are some tips for keeping your backsplash edging looking like new:
- Clean using gentle, pH-neutral cleaners and soft cloths. Avoid abrasives.
- Re-seal grout every 1-2 years to protect from staining and damage.
- For metal edging, apply car wax occasionally to boost shine and repel water.
- Check wood edging for cracks in the sealant. Re-seal as needed to prevent water issues.
- Don’t use excessive force or pressure when cleaning near edges.
- Immediately wipe up any water, oils or food to prevent buildup of grime.
With proper care, quality backsplash edging can last for many years while giving your backsplash a beautifully finished look.
Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Backsplash Edging
What tools do I need to install backsplash edging?
You’ll need basic tools like a tape measure, pencil, level, tile cutter, snips, utility knife, J-roller, grout float, sponges, buckets, caulk gun, and grout sealer. Use a miter box for angled cuts. Have silicone and non-sanded grout on hand.
What blade is best for cutting aluminum/metal backsplash edging?
Carbide-tipped blades make the cleanest cuts in metal edging. You can use hacksaw-type blades or a chop saw with an abrasive metal cutoff blade. Go slow to avoid bending thin aluminum.
Should I use liquid nails or silicone for PVC backsplash edging?
Use silicone adhesive to install PVC edging. Silicone provides better flexibility and adhesion than liquid nails. It won’t damage PVC materials.
How do I install backsplash edging around electrical outlets?
First turn off power. Measure and cut edging pieces to fit around the outlet. Keep gaps minimal. Seal around edges with silicone. The edging should cover the outlet screws.
Should backsplash edging overlap the countertop?
It’s best to have edging stop right at the countertop edge. Don’t overlap the countertop more than 1/8 inch if possible. This provides the cleanest transition.
How long does silicone adhesive take to fully cure?
Most silicone adhesives cure in 24-48 hours. Don’t grout until it’s fully cured or the edging may shift. Some accelerate drying times, but it’s best to allow 48 hours.
What angle should I cut the miter joints on backsplash edging?
Cut the edging at a 45 degree miter to seamlessly join at inside and outside corners. Make minor adjustments as needed for precise fitting miters.
Can I use sanded grout instead of non-sanded for backsplash edging?
Use non-sanded grout, which provides better spreadability in the joint and won’t scratch metal or PVC edging. Match the color as closely as possible.
How soon can I get the backsplash area wet after grouting?
Wait at least 72 hours before exposing the grouted edging to moisture. This allows it to fully cure so sealing and bonding is complete.
Installing backsplash edging gives your backsplash a polished, upscale look. While the process requires careful measuring, cutting, and installation, the results are well worth the effort. Proper prep work, the right adhesive, and attention to detail will ensure your edging adheres flawlessly for long-lasting beauty and protection. With a few basic tools and materials, you can complete this project yourself and enjoy the satisfaction of transforming your backsplash with this finishing touch.