Installing a copper sheet backsplash can add a beautiful, rustic accent to your kitchen. Copper’s warm, reddish tones provide a nice contrast to cabinets, countertops, and appliances. A copper backsplash is also very durable and easy to maintain. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a copper sheet backsplash in your kitchen.
Choose the Copper Sheets
Copper sheets come in a variety of sizes and finishes. Consider the look you want to achieve and measure the area you need to cover to determine how many sheets you need.
- Natural finish sheets have a soft patina that develops over time.
- Polished or brushed copper has more shine and reflects light well.
- Pre-patinated copper has been treated to develop patina before installation.
Copper sheets are sold in standard sizes like 12×12 inches or in 4×8 feet sheets that you can cut to size. Have a supplier cut sheets to fit your pattern if needed.
Prepare the Surface
Proper preparation is key to getting copper sheets to adhere correctly.
- Remove existing backsplash and scrub the wall to remove any grease, soap residue, or grime.
- Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle and sand smooth.
- Clean the surface with denatured alcohol to remove any remaining dirt and oils.
- Apply painter’s tape around the edges and along the countertop to protect surfaces.
The wall surface should be as smooth and clean as possible for best results.
Use a high-quality construction adhesive specifically designed for metal backsplashes. Apply the adhesive directly to the back of the copper sheets following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Spread the adhesive evenly over the entire backside of the sheet using a notched trowel. Make sure to apply enough adhesive to completely coat the back of the copper tile. Too little adhesive can cause tiles to fall off later.
Mount Copper Sheets
Before mounting, lay out the pattern of the sheets and make any necessary cuts.
- Start installation in the corner and work outward.
- Press sheets firmly into the adhesive starting from the center and smoothing outward.
- Use a soft rubber mallet to gently tap sheets into the adhesive to ensure a good bond, being careful not to dent the copper.
- Use a J-roller tool to press out any air bubbles or gaps.
Continue mounting sheets, wiping away any excess adhesive as you go. Check sheets regularly to make sure they are level and evenly spaced.
Clean and Seal
Once all sheets are securely mounted, clean the surface with a soft cloth and mild cleaner to remove any remaining adhesive.
Apply a thin layer of beeswax or furniture wax using a soft cloth. Rub in wax thoroughly. This helps protect and preserve the copper finish.
For an antique patina, you can apply a patina gel following the manufacturer’s instructions. Wipe on gel, let sit for a few minutes, then buff off residue. Repeat to achieve desired patina.
Maintaining Your Copper Backsplash
- Use a gentle, copper-safe cleaner and soft cloth to clean the backsplash when needed.
- Reapply beeswax or patina gels periodically as needed to maintain finish.
- Avoid using harsh abrasives or cleaners containing ammonia, bleach, or acid.
- Dry any water or moisture off copper quickly to prevent spotting.
With proper care, a copper sheet backsplash will develop a gorgeous patina and provide beautiful rustic charm to your kitchen for years to come. The rich, warm finish provides a lovely accent that is sure to impress.
Frequently Asked Questions About Installing a Copper Sheet Backsplash
What type of adhesive should be used?
Use a premium-grade construction adhesive made specifically for bonding metal. Liquid Nails and Loctite adhesives work well. Avoid multi-purpose adhesives.
What is the best way to cut copper sheets?
Use tin snips, a table saw with a fine-tooth metal blade, or have sheets cut to size by your supplier. Avoid using household shears which can bend or warp copper.
How are copper sheets finished?
Copper sheets can have a natural, brushed, polished or artificially patinated finish. Consider the look you want before purchasing sheets.
Should the wall be primed first?
Priming is not necessary, but the wall should be cleaned, spackled and sanded to create a smooth surface for bonding.
What’s the best way to achieve an antique patina finish?
Wiping a patina gel onto cleaned copper and letting it sit for a few minutes will produce an aged, antique look. Remove residue and reapply as needed.
How far apart should copper sheets be spaced?
Copper sheets can be installed flush against one another or spaced 1/16″ to 1/8″ apart. Use plastic spacers while mounting to achieve consistent gaps.
In summary, installing a copper backsplash involves proper planning, surface preparation, adhesive application, careful mounting of sheets, and sealing/patinating the copper once installed. With the right materials and some patience, you can add beautiful, rustic copper charm to your kitchen backsplash. Be sure to properly care for and maintain your new copper backsplash so it develops an elegant patina over time.