Installing a beautiful backsplash can transform the look and feel of any kitchen or bathroom. However, a backsplash isn’t complete without proper trimwork to finish off the edges for a polished, professional appearance. Learning how to properly install backsplash trim may seem daunting for DIYers, but with the right materials, tools, and techniques, you can achieve beautiful results.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through everything you need to know about installing trim for a tile, glass, or other backsplash. We’ll cover how to measure and cut trim pieces, how to miter corners, as well as best practices for adhesive installation. With a little bit of patience and our step-by-step instructions, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to complete this detail-oriented trim finishing process. The end result will be a stunningly complete backsplash that looks like it was professionally installed.
Tools and Materials Needed
Installing backsplash trim can be done with just a few key tools and materials on hand. Here’s what you’ll need to complete the project:
- Tape measure
- Miter box with backsaw or compound miter saw
- Utility knife or tile cutter
- Drill with driver bit
- Trim applicator gun
- Backsplash trim designed for backsplashes – aluminum, stainless steel, etc.
- Adhesive designed for trim and backsplash installation
- Finishing nails
- Painter’s tape
Preparing the Work Area
The first step with any trim project is proper preparation of the work area. Follow these tips for getting set up:
- Clear the countertop or any surfaces around the backsplash area to give yourself plenty of room to work and measure.
- Have a step stool or small ladder ready if the backsplash is high on the wall.
- Use painter’s tape along the countertop, edges of the splash, and any other adjacent surfaces to protect from adhesive drips.
- Clean the backsplash surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease, or debris that could impede adhesion.
- Ensure the backsplash area is completely dry before beginning installation.
Advance preparation and organization will make the installation process go smoothly.
Measuring and Cutting the Trim
Once your workspace is ready, it’s time to measure each wall and corner of the backsplash area to determine what size trim pieces you need.
Follow these steps for precise measurements:
- Begin with a corner and use the tape measure to measure both adjoining walls from the corner. Note the measurements.
- For the side wall, take measurements from the corner to any stops like windows, cabinets, or appliances where the trim will end.
- For the top wall, measure from the corner to the other side.
- Repeat the same measuring process on the opposite corner and remaining sides.
- Add all your measurements together to determine the total lineal footage needed. Provide an extra 6 inches for cutting mistakes and margin of error.
Once your backsplash trim lengths are measured, follow these tips for cutting the trim:
- Use a miter box and backsaw to cut the trim pieces to length. Take your time to cut evenly and smoothly.
- For professional results, you may choose to cut the trim with a compound miter saw outfitted with a finish blade.
- Always cut trim pieces slightly longer than measured to allow for adjustments during installation. You can shave off any excess with the utility knife.
- To measure for corner miter cuts, put two trim pieces together in a corner. Mark where they intersect, measuring at a 45 degree angle.
- Cut the trim ends at the marked angle using the miter box or miter saw.
Careful measuring and cutting of the trim pieces will save time and frustration during installation.
Installing the Trim
Once all pieces are measured and cut, you’re ready to install the backsplash trim. Follow these steps:
Dry Fit the Trim
- Begin in a corner, dry fitting trim pieces without adhesive to ensure proper fit.
- Cut small amounts off the ends if needed for a tight seam.
- Where corners meet, ensure the interior edges of the trim meet correctly. Adjust or recut as needed.
- Mark areas on the wall where you will need trim adhesive with painter’s tape or a pencil.
Dry fitting first allows you to validate the cuts and identify any problem areas before final installation with adhesive.
Apply the Adhesive
Adhesive selection is important for a durable finish. Use a flexible, waterproof adhesive designed for backsplash tile and trim for best results.
- Apply adhesive to the marked areas on the wall and the back side of the trim piece using the applicator gun.
- Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions for dry time before placing trim on the wall.
- Press the trim piece firmly to the wall starting in the corner. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
- Use a hand roller or weighted object to apply even pressure along the entire piece for maximum adhesion.
- Attach small finish nails through the trim into the wall studs for extra support. Use painter’s tape on the drill bit to avoid scratching the trim.
- Allow several hours for the adhesive to fully cure before moving on.
Take care to properly adhere trim so spacing remains even and pieces don’t move later on.
Cut and Adhere Remaining Pieces
- Follow the same measuring, cutting, dry fitting and gluing process for each subsequent trim piece.
- Where two flat pieces meet in a corner, miter cut the adjoining ends at 45 degree angles for a tight seam.
- Carefully level and align flat trim pieces evenly. Irregular gaps will be obvious.
- At corners, apply adhesive to both trim pieces. Slide them together so interior edges align cleanly.
- If any excess length remains on the final trim pieces, cut with the utility knife for an exact fit.
- Use finishing nails and adhesive to attach any final pieces along the top or sides.
Meticulously measuring and cutting each piece produces flawless finished trimwork.
Seal Edges and Clean Up
Adhesive can seep out along trim edges as it cures. Finish the job with these steps:
- Run a utility knife along trim edges to sever any oozed adhesive.
- Apply silicone sealant along all edges and seams for water protection and clean results.
- Wipe away any excess sealant or adhesive with a clean, damp rag before it dries.
- Carefully remove all painter’s tape from edges and surfaces.
- Clean the finished trim one last time with a damp cloth and mild cleaner.
Taking time with final cleanup will allow the trim to fully cure and give you a pristine finish.
Tips for Successful Installation
Installing backsplash trim requires care and diligence, but these pro tips will help you achieve stunning results:
- Take time to carefully measure and double check before cutting trim or adhesive application.
- Always miter cut border corners at 45 degree angles. Coping trim takes skill and should be avoided.
- Apply adhesive in small sections before placing trim for best coverage and adhesion.
- Use a hand roller tool to flatten the trim and push out any air pockets or gaps in the adhesive.
- Remove any squeezes of adhesive immediately with a damp cloth to prevent drying on the surface.
- Move slowly, have patience, and take breaks to avoid rushing through steps.
- If using multiple boxes of trim, lay out and arrange all pieces together prior to installation for consistent spacing and fit.
- Leave a very small 1/16” gap between trim and countertops, cabinets, or walls for expansion and caulk later if desired.
- Invest in quality carbide saw blades to avoid jagged or splintered cuts when cutting through metal trim.
- Apply painter’s tape to the drill bit when installing finish nails to avoid scratching or damaging the trim.
With careful prep and patience during installation, you can achieve professional trim results!
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Even if all steps are followed correctly, small issues can arise when installing backsplash trim. Here are some common problems and solutions:
Uneven or irregular gaps:
- Ensure the wall surface is completely flat. Use shims if needed before installing trim.
- Take extra care aligning pieces to be level and spaced evenly.
Trim not lying flat:
- Look for any bumps or debris under the trim and flatten or remove them.
- Check for plumb walls and use shims if the trim has no surface to adhere firmly to.
Trim corners not mating cleanly:
- Confirm perfect 45 degree miter cuts and recut if imperfections are causing gaps.
- Ensure adjoining trim pieces align to a perfect 90 degree corner both vertically and horizontally.
Adhesive not adhering:
- Remove any dust, grease, or soap residue with alcohol on the backsplash and trim.
- If using very glossy tile, lightly scuff the surface first to enable better adhesive grip.
Trim edges lifting up:
- Ensure adhesive had time to fully cure beneath the trim before moving on.
- Use a hand roller or weighted object to increase contact pressure along all edges after application.
Carefully following installation steps and using high quality materials will prevent most trim issues. But if problems do arise, these troubleshooting tips can help get your project back on track.
Maintaining the Finished Look
Once installation is complete, just a few simple maintenance practices will keep your new backsplash trim looking like new for years to come.
- Use soft, non-abrasive cleaners only to clean the trim. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Rinse any cleaner residue promptly and dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
- Immediately wipe up any splashes or messes on the trim to prevent stains.
- Re-apply silicone caulk along edges every 1-2 years or anytime cracking appears.
- Treat metal trims occasionally with a specialty trim polish to restore luster and prevent tarnishing.
- Take care not to bang, dent, or scratch the trim when working around the backsplash area.
With proper care, your fresh new backsplash trim will maintain its clean, finished look and prevent water damage behind the backsplash. Install it correctly, and enjoy your stunning, professionally finished accent for years of beauty in your home!
Adding coordinating trim is the finishing touch that takes your backsplash from do-it-yourself to designer-quality. While the process requires precision, with the right tools and preparation, you can achieve beautiful results. Cutting precise lengths, carefully mitering corners, and methodically adhering each trim piece will create a polished look. Pair your trim completion with sealing and cleaning for a final backsplash presentation sure to impress. So don’t be intimidated to tackle trim installation on your next backsplash project. Follow our techniques and tips for success to enhance your backsplash with a couture, designer detail.
FAQs About Installing Backsplash Trim
Q: What tools do I need to install backsplash trim?
A: The basic tools you need are a tape measure, pencil, miter box with backsaw or compound miter saw, utility knife, drill, trim applicator gun, and silicone sealant. Painter’s tape and a hand roller are also very helpful for smooth installation.
Q: What material should I choose for backsplash trim?
A: Popular options are stainless steel, satin nickel, aluminum, copper, and composite materials that match the backsplash. Consider color, durability, and moisture resistance for the location.
Q: What kind of adhesive should be used to attach trim?
A: Adhesive designed for backsplash tile and trim installation provides the best bond. Avoid all-purpose adhesives. A flexible silicone adhesive is recommended for durability.
Q: How do I cut inside and outside corner miter seams?
A: Create tight corner seams by cutting adjoining trim pieces at precise 45 degree angle miters. Take time with measurements and cuts for accuracy.
Q: What should I do if my trim has gaps between pieces?
A: Confirm the wall is completely flat. Carefully align trim, applying pressure after gluing. Use shims if needed to create an even surface for the trim.
Q: Why does my trim have uneven edges lifting up?
A: This occurs when adhesive fails to adhere properly. Ensure the backsplash is smooth, clean, and dry first. After applying trim, use a hand roller to flatten and improve adhesion.
Q: How can I avoid getting adhesive on the visible trim surfaces?
A: Apply painter’s tape on the edges to prevent oozing adhesive from getting on the front trim surface. Remove tape immediately after installation.
Q: Will my backsplash look unfinished without trim?
A: Trim provides a clean, polished look. But trim can be avoided if desired, using caulk between the backsplash and wall edges.
Q: How do I clean and maintain backsplash trim?
A: Use mild, non-abrasive cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals. Re-caulk edges every 1-2 years. Use polish to restore metal trim shine and prevent tarnishing.
Installing trim is an essential finishing step to professionalize any backsplash project. With careful prep and installation and proper long-term maintenance, quality backsplash trimwork will enhance your space for many years. Follow our tips to help you achieve beautiful results trimming out your backsplash like a pro.