How to Install Metal Trim for Tile Backsplash

Installing a metal trim is an excellent way to give your tile backsplash a clean, finished look. The metal trim, also called an edge band, covers the edges of the tile, creating a modern, streamlined appearance. Installing metal trim is a relatively easy process that can be accomplished over a weekend with the right tools and materials.

Benefits of Installing Metal Trim

Metal trim offers several benefits when used with a tile backsplash:

  • Provides a smooth, seamless transition between the tile and the wall or countertops. This gives the backsplash a polished, built-in look.
  • Covers up the rough tile edges, giving the installation a neater overall appearance.
  • Comes in various finishes like brushed nickel, bronze, and chrome to match your décor.
  • More durable than plastic trim molding and resistant to cracking and warping.
  • Easier to clean than porous grout lines. Food and grime can be simply wiped away.
  • Offers a modern, contemporary aesthetic that works with many kitchen and bathroom styles.

Options for Metal Trim Material

When selecting your metal trim, you have several material options to choose from:

Stainless Steel

  • Has a shiny, mirror-like look in silver color. Provides an ultra modern vibe.
  • Can show fingerprints, splatters, and water spots unless treated with a fingerprint-resistant coating.
  • Lower cost option compared to others below.

Anodized Aluminum

  • Has a matte finish that resists fingerprints and smudges. Available in various metallic colors.
  • Durable, corrosion resistant, and widely available.
  • Cost is moderate – more than stainless steel but less than bronze or nickel.

Brushed Nickel

  • Warm, gray metallic look complements stainless steel appliances.
  • Resilient finish hides scratches and fingerprints well.
  • One of the most popular choices for a modern backsplash.
  • Pricing is moderate to high.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

  • Has a rich, darker bronze color that works with black, brown, and beige color schemes.
  • The oil-rubbed finish looks antiqued and masks imperfections.
  • One of the more expensive metal trim choices but provides a unique, rustic look.


  • Mirrored brightness like stainless steel but with a hint of blue.
  • Can look sterile and clinical if overused. Best in small amounts as an accent.
  • Budget-friendly option for a sleek, contemporary feeling.


  • Has a yellow gold tone that creates an elegant, glamorous aesthetic.
  • Available in multiple shades from soft champagne to bold goldenrod.
  • Works with both traditional and modern spaces, depending on finish.
  • One of the higher priced metal trim options.

Once you decide on the look you want, check trim availability in that material. Brushed nickel and stainless steel tend to have the widest range of options.

Tools and Materials Needed

Installing metal trim is straightforward with the right tools on hand. Here is what you’ll need:


  • Tile cutter – for cutting metal trim to size
  • Snips – to cut metal trim for corners and outlets
  • Miter box – for angled trim cuts
  • Tile spacers – to evenly space trim
  • Tile leveling system – keeps tiles even as the adhesive dries
  • Rubber grout float – for applying adhesive
  • Razor knife – detail trimming and scraping
  • Tape measure and ruler
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses and work gloves


  • Metal trim strips – amount needed depends on backsplash size
  • Mastic adhesive or silicone caulk
  • Grout – color to match or contrast trim metal tone
  • Grout sealer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Denatured alcohol – for cleaning surface before applying trim
  • Sponges and buckets – for grout application
  • Rags and paper towels

Purchase a little extra trim than what you calculate needing in case of mistakes. Having spare pieces comes in handy.

Preparing the Surface

Proper prep before installing the metal trim will ensure it sticks well and looks great:

  1. Remove existing trim or countertop backsplash. Use a pry bar and hammer to detach any old trim or backsplash currently in place. Scrape away old caulk or adhesive with a putty knife.
  2. Clean the area thoroughly. Use denatured alcohol to wipe away dirt, debris, and grease from the surface. Ensure the tile edges and wall area are free of contaminants for best adhesion.
  3. Make any needed adjustments. File down any bumps or uneven tile edges with a rotary tool. The metal trim should lie flat against the surface.
  4. Fill any gaps or holes. Use silicone sealant or thinset mortar to patch any spaces between the tile and wall. Let patching materials fully cure before moving on.
  5. Use painter’s tape. Apply strips of painter’s tape along the wall above the backsplash. This helps create a straight installation line and protects the wall from adhesive drips.

Thorough surface prep leads to a smooth, seamless finish with no bumps or gaps under the trim.

How to Measure and Cut Metal Trim

Carefully measuring and cutting the metal trim to fit is crucial for a clean-looking installation. Follow these tips:

  • Use a pencil and ruler to mark cutting lines. Remember to account for the width of the trim when measuring.
  • Cut the trim face up with aviation snips to avoid scratching the visible surface. Use a miter box and tile cutter for angled pieces.
  • Cut pieces a little longer than measured, then shave them down for an exact fit.
  • Dry fit all trim pieces before permanently adhering them. Make any adjustments before attaching with adhesive.
  • For outlet areas, measure and cut L-shaped pieces to cover exposed edges. Snip small relief cuts so the trim can bend cleanly.
  • For inside corners, cut the end at a 45° angle so the pieces join attractively.

Taking time to size the metal trim precisely results in a polished, seamless installation.

How to Attach the Trim

With the tile surface prepped and trim pieces cut, you’re ready for attachment:

  1. Apply the adhesive. Use a grout float to spread a layer of mastic adhesive or silicone caulk along the backsplash edge where the trim will be placed.
  2. Position the trim. Press the metal trim firmly into the adhesive, keeping it aligned with the tape line. Use tile spacers to ensure even gaps between pieces.
  3. Secure trim with fasteners (optional). For extra support, drill through the trim into the wall and insert short screws with washers.
  4. Allow adhesive to cure. Let the mastic or caulk fully harden and dry as directed, usually 24-48 hours. Avoid getting the trim wet during this time.
  5. Remove painter’s tape. Once cured, carefully peel away the tape from the wall above the metal trim.
  6. Clean any adhesive residue. Use a plastic scraper and denatured alcohol to remove any leftover adhesive or caulk.

Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions closely for drying times. Rushing this step can lead to loose tiles or grout cracking later on.

How to Grout Metal Trim

Grouting fills the gaps evenly between trim pieces with a smooth, uniform substance:

  1. Mix the grout. Prepare grout per package directions, using enough to fully pack the trim gaps. Let stand 5-10 minutes so it becomes workable.
  2. Apply grout. Use a rubber float and spatula to press grout into the crevices around the trim. Scrape off excess.
  3. Wipe cleanly. Once semi-dried, use a damp sponge in a circular motion to remove haze and polish the metal surface. Rinse sponge frequently.
  4. Seal grout (optional). Apply grout sealer 1-2 hours after grouting for extra moisture protection and stain resistance.
  5. Allow to fully cure. Let the grout dry 24 hours before use. Avoid wetting the grouted areas during this period.

Choose a grout color that matches or complements the metal finish. Contrasting shades can provide an eye-catching accent.

Tips for a Successful Installation

Follow these tips and tricks for getting professional metal trim results:

  • Go slow when cutting – rushing leads to imprecise sizing and pieces that don’t fit right.
  • Apply painter’s tape in perfectly straight lines for a tidy look.
  • Use tile spacers when setting the trim to keep consistent spacing for grout lines.
  • Mix a small initial batch of grout to ensure you have the right consistency before grouting the whole area.
  • Dampen the sponge frequently when cleaning grout haze to prevent scratching the metal finish.
  • Seal grout once fully cured for optimal stain protection and water resistance.
  • Keep the thinset adhesive layer thin and even – clumps can prevent the trim from adhering correctly.
  • Ensure trim meets neatly in corners. Any gaps will be obvious once grouted.
  • Let all adhesives and grout fully cure before exposing the area to moisture.

With attention to detail and proper technique, installing metal trim can give a tile backsplash a crisp, cohesive look.

FAQs About Installing Metal Trim

What type of mastic adhesive works best for metal trim?

An adhesive designed specifically for metal like Loctite Power Grab Ultimate is recommended. Avoid multi-purpose mastics. Silicone caulk can also be used effectively.

What causes the trim edges to lift up after installation?

This is usually caused by not letting the adhesive cure fully before grouting. Grouting too soon can loosen the bond. Insufficient adhesive or a dirty surface can also prevent proper bonding.

Why is my metal trim developing rust spots?

Rusting is caused by using steel-based trim in wet areas. Stainless steel or aluminum metal trim will resist rusting. Make sure to seal grout and use caulk in corners to prevent moisture penetration.

Should metal trim be installed before or after the tile?

Tile should be installed first, then metal trim added after. The tile provides the flat surface that the trim mounts onto. Trying to install tile up to pre-existing trim is very tricky.

How much overlap should corner pieces have for metal backsplash trim?

Corner joints should overlap the two trim pieces by 1/4 to 1/2 inch to allow enough surface area for strong adhesion. Cut one piece longer to create this overlap.

Can metal trim be used on the ceiling as an accent?

Yes, metal trim can be applied to ceilings or used horizontally to border tile installations. Adhesive and grout suitable for vertical applications will work. Follow the same installation process.


Adding sleek metal trim puts the perfect finishing touch on tile backsplashes. With some careful planning, measuring, cutting, and grouting, you can execute this project yourself and enjoy the stylish, pulled-together look metal trim provides. Use top quality adhesives and grout, allow proper drying time, and focus on the details for trim that looks professionally installed. In just a weekend, your kitchen or bath can have showstopper backsplash trim you’ll appreciate every time you enter the room.

How to Clean Metal Backsplash Trim

Once your new metal trim backsplash is installed, keeping it looking like new requires proper regular cleaning. Metal trim is easy to wipe down but needs occasional deeper cleaning to maintain its shine and prevent buildup. Here are simple methods for cleaning metal backsplash trim:

Supplies Needed

  • Mild dish soap or glass cleaner
  • Soft microfiber cloths
  • Non-abrasive sponge or scrub pad
  • Toothbrush for grout lines
  • Squeegee window cleaner tool
  • Stainless steel polish or rubbing compound
  • Painter’s tape

For Routine Cleaning

  • Wipe down trim daily using a damp microfiber cloth and mild detergent. This removes splatters, water spots, and fingerprints.
  • Rinse trim with clean water and wipe again with dry soft cloth.
  • Vinegar- or ammonia-based cleaners help disinfect and remove grease.
  • Rub gently in direction of grain lines to avoid scratches.
  • Keep grout lines clean using toothbrush and soapy water.

For a Deeper Clean

  • Make paste of baking soda and water and apply to trim. Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Gently scrub with a non-abrasive sponge or soft brush.
  • Use squeegee tool to rinse thoroughly. Polish dry with microfiber cloth.
  • For tarnished brass or bronze, make paste with lemon juice and baking soda. Scrub and rinse.

To Make Metal Shine

  • Apply small amount of stainless steel polish, brass cleaner, or metal rubbing compound.
  • Rub lightly in direction of grain using microfiber cloth. Avoid applying pressure.
  • Rinse completely and buff dry for mirror-like shine.
  • Use painter’s tape to cover adjacent surfaces and avoid splatter.

Preventing Damage

  • Don’t use abrasive scrub pads or brushes, which can scratch metal.
  • Avoid acidic cleaners like vinegar and lemon long-term.
  • Blot spills quickly to avoid staining grout lines.
  • Re-seal grout periodically to protect from moisture and staining.
  • For stainless steel, apply food-grade mineral oil occasionally to protect from water spots.

Regular gentle cleaning keeps metal backsplashes looking new. With the right supplies and techniques, you can easily maintain the brilliance of your trim.

How to Repair Damage to Metal Backsplash Trim

Even with proper care, metal backsplash trim may occasionally get damaged. Luckily, many common issues with metal trim can be fixed fairly easily:

Supplies Needed

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer spray paint
  • Metal spray paint in trim color
  • Painter’s tape
  • Rubbing compound
  • Rag and rubbing alcohol

For Scratches

  1. Clean and dry the scratched area thoroughly.
  2. Lightly sand scratches using extra-fine sandpaper. Sand in direction of grain lines.
  3. Carefully wipe away sanding dust with a dry rag.
  4. Apply thin coats of matching metal spray paint until scratches covered.
  5. Let dry fully between coats. Use painter’s tape to mask off unaffected areas.

For Tarnish or Discoloration

  1. Try rubbing compound first to remove tarnish on metals like stainless steel or chrome.
  2. If needed, sand affected spots lightly to expose fresh surface.
  3. Clean and dry sanded areas completely.
  4. Spray on thin coats of primer, allowing drying between coats.
  5. Spray on metal paint in matching trim color to cover discoloration.

For Rust

  1. Sand rusted areas thoroughly to remove rust and expose bare metal.
  2. Wipe clean then apply metal primer to the sanded spots. Allow to dry.
  3. Spray on layers of metal paint to cover any remaining discoloration from rust.
  4. Consider replacing trim if corrosion reoccurs – moisture may be penetrating grout.

For Loose Trim

  1. Remove loose section of trim. Scrape off old caulk or adhesive.
  2. Clean trim and surface area then re-apply adhesive. Secure with fasteners if needed.
  3. Use small dabs of matching caulk in trim joints if gaps appear.

With a little time and effort, metal trim damage can often be minimized for a like-new appearance. Prevent further issues by sealing grout and limiting moisture exposure.

How to Remove Metal Backsplash Trim

There are times when you may need to remove metal trim from a backsplash, such as when redoing a kitchen or changing styles. Removing metal trim carefully avoids damaging the underlying tile. Here is the process:

What You’ll Need

  • Putty knife
  • Rag
  • Paint scraper
  • Safety glasses and work gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Grout removal tool
  • Utility knife

Steps for Removal

  1. Use a sharp utility knife to score through any caulk sealing the trim to the wall.
  2. Wedge the putty knife under the trim edge and gently twist and pry. Work slowly across the length.
  3. Once loosened, pull the trim strip away from the wall. Remove screws first if used.
  4. Use a paint scraper to remove any residual adhesive or grout from the tile surface.
  5. Apply rubbing alcohol to a rag and wipe away remaining adhesive residue.
  6. Use a grout removal tool to gently scrape out old grout between tiles if re-grouting.
  7. Inspect tiles for any damage once trim is removed. Replace cracked or broken tiles.
  8. Clean the exposed tile edges and wall surface thoroughly before installing new trim.

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t rush prying off trim – go slowly to avoid tile cracks or chunks.
  • Don’t use a screwdriver or hammer – this can dent and scratch tile edges.
  • Don’t pull tiles off with the trim if avoidable – re-adhere any that detach.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals to remove adhesive – abrasives can damage tile or the wall surface.

Removing metal trim properly prepares the area for a fresh start with new trim or a completely different backsplash design.

How to Cut Tile Around Outlets for Backsplash

When tiling a backsplash, dealing with outlets can be tricky. The key is making clean, precise cuts so tiles fit neatly around receptacles and switches. Follow these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Tile nippers
  • Goggles and work gloves
  • Pencil
  • Electrical tape

Cutting Tile Around Receptacles