How to Install Bathroom Sink Backsplash

Installing a backsplash behind your bathroom sink is an easy DIY project that can add style and protect your walls from water damage. With some planning, the right materials, and a few simple tools, you can create a gorgeous backsplash that transforms the look of your bathroom.

Selecting Materials for Your Bathroom Sink Backsplash

When choosing materials for a bathroom backsplash, you’ll want to consider your design aesthetic, budget, and how easy the material is to clean and maintain. Some top options include:


Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles allow you to create a custom look. Glass, metal, and mosaic tiles are also options. Tiles come in endless colors, shapes, sizes and textures. Choose a water-resistant grout. Tile is easy to clean but can chip or crack.

Stainless Steel

Modern and sleek, stainless steel backsplashes are waterproof and easy to clean. Durable and stain-resistant, they work well behind sinks. Stainless can show scratches or dents over time. Consider brushed or textured finishes.


Glass tile or solid glass panels create shine and depth. Glass is hygienic, waterproof, and sophisticated. Tempered glass options can be very durable. Glass can break if hit hard and may require special drill bits.

Natural Stone

Marble, granite, slate or travertine can be installed as a backsplash. Natural stone offers uniqueness, but is porous. Seal the stone to help protect it from stains and water damage. Stone is heavy, so consider thinner sliced options.


Affordable and available in many patterns, laminate backsplashes are easy to install and water-resistant. Wipe clean with soap and water. Over time, laminates can peel, swell or become brittle with excessive water exposure.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Marker or pencil
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Grout and grout float
  • Tile cutter (if using tile)
  • Drill (for stone or glass)
  • Adhesive and trowel
  • Backsplash materials – tile, metal, glass, etc.
  • Backerboard (if walls need reinforcement)

Preparing the Area Behind the Sink

Proper prep is crucial for good backsplash installation. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove existing backsplash if there is one. Scrape off old caulk and adhesive.
  2. Clean the wall area thoroughly and repair any damage to drywall or plaster.
  3. Measure the space to calculate how many full backsplash tiles/sheets you’ll need. Plan the layout.
  4. Install backerboard if walls are not in good condition. This provides a water-resistant base.
  5. Apply painter’s tape along the edges of the installation area. This helps keep areas tidy.

Installing the New Backsplash

Once prep is complete, it’s time to install the new backsplash:

  1. Mix up adhesive or thinset mortar according to package directions. Apply to the backsplash area with the trowel, using enough to fully coat the back of the sheets/tiles.
  2. Press backsplash sheets or tiles into place, using spacers for consistent grout lines. If cutting is needed, measure and cut with tile cutters or a glass cutter.
  3. Allow adhesive to fully dry (at least 24 hours). Remove painter’s tape and spacers.
  4. Mix grout and apply between the backsplash joints using a grout float. Let dry slightly and then wipe clean.
  5. Apply a bead of caulk between the backsplash and wall, sink, faucet and any adjoining areas. Smooth with a damp sponge. Allow to fully cure.
  6. Clean the backsplash well with a pH neutral cleaner. Buff dry. The backsplash is now complete!

Caring for Your New Backsplash

  • Always use a soft sponge or cloth when cleaning. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
  • For ceramic or glass tile, use a specially formulated tile cleaner. Avoid bleach or ammonia-based cleaners as these can discolor grout.
  • Re-seal natural stone annually to protect from stains. Use a stone-safe sealer.
  • Immediately wipe up any water splashes or spills to prevent damage over time.
  • Do not let soap, lotions or cleaners sit or dry on the surface. Rinse thoroughly.
  • If grout becomes stained or mildewed, use a grout whitening product to refresh it.
  • Re-caulk if caulk beads become cracked or loose. This prevents moisture from seeping behind.

With the right backsplash installed well, your new backsplash should stay beautiful for years. Enjoy your updated bathroom! Let us know if you have any other questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Bathroom Backsplashes

What is the best backsplash for behind a bathroom sink?

The best backsplash materials for behind bathroom sinks are those that can withstand splashes and moisture, like glass, tile or stainless steel. Tile is a great choice – it comes in endless options and cleans easily with the right sealants.

How do I cut tile for a backsplash?

Use a manual tile cutter, available at hardware stores. Measure and mark where cuts need to be made. Position the tile in the cutter, lining the mark up with the cutting wheel. Apply pressure on the handle and run the cutter across the tile to score it. The tile can then be snapped cleanly along the cut line. Practice first on scrap tiles.

What size tile is best for a backsplash?

Smaller tiles like 2×2 inch, 3×6 inch or 4×4 inch are commonly used. Larger tiles may make cutting and fitting them more difficult. Mosaic sheets are also popular, offering variety within one sheet. Choose whatever size and shape fits your design vision best.

Should I seal my natural stone backsplash?

Yes, sealing natural stone is highly recommended since it is porous. Use a penetrating sealer made for natural stone. Reapply yearly or as directed. Sealing helps prevent stains from soaps, oils and daily use. Unsealed stone can absorb liquids, leading to permanent damage.

Can I install a backsplash directly over drywall?

It’s not recommended. Drywall alone usually can’t withstand prolonged moisture exposure. Install cement backerboard or another moisture-resistant material first to create a more durable surface for applying backsplash adhesive, grout and caulk.

What’s the easiest backsplash to install for a beginner DIYer?

Self-adhesive vinyl tiles or metal sheets offer the easiest installation for beginners. Peel and stick materials require less prep work, no grout or thinset mortar mixing, and have few specialized tools needed. Just ensure the surface is clean before applying.


Installing a backsplash behind a bathroom sink can completely change the look of your space. With some careful planning and preparation, plus the right backsplash materials chosen, you can create a stunning focal point and protect your walls. Tile, glass, natural stone, metal and laminates all make great backsplash options. Follow safe installation steps like prepping the area, applying adhesive, proper cutting, grouting and sealing. Maintain your backsplash by routine cleaning and re-sealing as needed. Get creative with patterns, textures and colors to design a bathroom sink backsplash you’ll love seeing everyday.