Installing a laminate countertop backsplash is an easy DIY project that can completely transform the look of your kitchen. Laminate backsplashes provide an affordable, stylish alternative to ceramic tile or stone. With just a few tools and materials, you can create a custom laminate backsplash in a weekend.
Benefits of Laminate Countertop Backsplash
There are many benefits to using laminate for your kitchen backsplash:
- Affordable – Laminate sheets are inexpensive, especially compared to ceramic tile or natural stone. A laminate backsplash can cost a fraction of other materials.
- Easy to Install – Laminate backsplashes don’t require special skills or tools. Just measure, cut, glue and install with basic DIY abilities.
- Durable – Modern laminates are very durable and resistant to scratches, stains and heat. They can last many years with proper care.
- Customizable – Laminate comes in many colors, patterns, textures and finishes. You can create a customized backsplash.
- Low Maintenance – Laminate backsplashes are easy to clean and care for. Just use warm water, mild soap and a soft cloth.
Shopping List for Materials
Gather these supplies before starting your laminate backsplash project:
- Laminate sheets (enough to cover your backsplash area)
- Contact cement or construction adhesive
- Silicone caulk and caulk gun
- Spacers or shims
- Router with flush trim bit (optional)
- Denatured alcohol
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Straight edge
Make sure to get laminate sheets made specifically for countertops or backsplashes. Purchase a coordinating laminate edge banding strip to finish the edges.
Step-by-Step Installation Guide
Follow these steps to install a seamless laminate backsplash:
Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials
Be sure you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand before starting. Have your countertop cleared off and disconnect any electrical outlets in the backsplash area.
Step 2: Measure & Cut the Laminate
Measure the length and width of your backsplash area. Leave 1/4″ clearance on all sides. Carefully cut the laminate to size using a circular saw or jig saw. Use a utility knife and straightedge to trim any irregular edges.
Step 3: Dry Fit the Laminate
Place your cut laminate sheet against the backsplash area to test the fit. Use spacers to create the 1/4″ expansion gap. Make any necessary adjustments before final installation.
Step 4: Prepare the Surface
Make sure the backsplash area is clean and free of debris. Fill any cracks or uneven spots with filler. The surface must be completely smooth. Wipe the entire area with denatured alcohol.
Step 5: Apply Contact Cement
Apply a layer of contact cement to both the back of the laminate sheet and the backsplash surface area. Allow cement to become dry to the touch.
Step 6: Mount the Backsplash
Carefully align the laminate sheet. Once positioned, press firmly across the entire surface to adhere the laminate. Use a J-roller to eliminate air bubbles.
Step 7: Trim Excess
Use a router with a flush trim bit to remove any excess laminate along the edges. Make sure edges are smooth. Carefully trim around any outlets or other openings.
Step 8: Apply Edge Banding
Measure and cut laminate edge banding strips to size. Apply contact cement and firmly press into place along the unfinished edges. Trim flush.
Step 9: Caulk Seams
Use clear silicone caulk to seal all seams and edges surrounding the laminate backsplash. Smooth the caulk with your finger for a neat finish.
Step 10: Finish Installation
Allow caulk to fully cure for 24 hours. Reconnect any electrical outlets and reinstall switch plates. Wipe down the backsplash one final time. Enjoy your new laminate backsplash!
Tips for Installing Laminate Backsplash
- Carefully measure and allow for exact clearance to get a perfect custom fit.
- Make sure the surface area is completely clean before applying contact cement.
- Allow contact cement to become tacky before mounting the laminate. Don’t let it become totally dry.
- Work slowly and carefully when applying the backsplash sheet to avoid bubbles and wrinkles.
- Use a J-roller or hand roller to smooth out the laminate and improve adhesion.
- For easier installation, consider using an adhesive film instead of contact cement.
Common Questions about Laminate Backsplash
What kind of laminate works best for backsplash?
Look for laminates designed specifically for countertop and backsplash use. These are made to resist moisture, heat, stains, and impacts better than standard laminates. Postform and rigid laminate sheets both work well.
Should I seal the edges of the laminate backsplash?
Yes, it’s recommended to apply silicone caulk along the top and side edges where the backsplash meets the wall. This prevents moisture from getting underneath and helps hide any imperfect cuts.
What’s the best way to cut laminate sheets?
Use a circular saw or jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade suitable for laminates and plastics. Make sure to cut with the decorative side facing up to reduce chip-out. Use a utility knife and straightedge to trim and score as needed.
How do I create inside corners on the backsplash?
Inside corners require laminate edge banding cut to size. Apply contact cement to the corner and edge banding. Use a J-roller to adhere the edge banding tightly into the corner. Trim any excess.
Can I mount my laminate backsplash right over existing tile?
Yes, laminate backsplash can be installed directly over most existing backsplash materials, as long as the surface is smooth, clean, and securely adhered. This avoids the hassle of scraping off old backsplash tile.
Installing a laminate backsplash is an easy, affordable DIY project. With proper planning, tools, and materials, you can transform your kitchen in a weekend. Just take your time, measure precisely, and follow proper contact cement procedures. Enjoy your beautiful new laminate backsplash!