Installing Schluter trim is an excellent way to add a clean, modern finish to your backsplash. Schluter trim provides a smooth transition between the countertop and backsplash, allowing you to achieve a seamless look. While Schluter trim installation is straightforward, proper preparation and attention to detail are required for best results. This guide will walk you through the steps for installing Schluter trim on a backsplash.
Things You’ll Need
Before starting the Schluter trim installation process, make sure you have the following materials:
- Schluter trim pieces – usually aluminum or stainless steel in various widths and finishes
- Tile adhesive or thinset mortar
- Grout float and grout for filling in trim joints
- Tile spacers
- Utility knife or nippers
- Painter’s tape
- Tile cutting tools like a wet saw
- Sponge and bucket
Ensure the trim pieces you get match the finishes and color scheme of your backsplash tile and countertop. Get enough to go around the entire perimeter you want to trim out.
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
Proper surface preparation is key to getting the Schluter trim to stick to the wall and countertop edges. Thoroughly clean the backsplash area and counter edges with soap and water to remove any dirt, debris, or oils. The surface should be completely dry before installing the trim.
Use painter’s tape to mask off the countertop surface about 1/16″ to 1/8″ from the edge. This protects the countertop finish from thinset mortar squeezing out when setting the trim. The tape also acts as a visual guide for placing the trim.
Make sure the backsplash and countertop surfaces are as even as possible. Any significant unevenness could prevent the trim from sitting flush.
Step 2: Cut the Trim Pieces to Fit
Measure and mark the required lengths for each piece of Schluter trim you need. Cut the trim to size using a chop saw with a fine-tooth blade or score and snap the pieces using tile nippers. Keep the cuts straight and the ends square.
Where two pieces of trim meet at a corner, miter cut the ends at a 45° angle so they join up nicely. Measure and test fit all trim pieces before permanently installing them.
Step 3: Apply Adhesive and Position the Trim
With the surface prepped and trim pieces cut, you’re ready to install the trim. Apply a generous amount of tile adhesive or thinset mortar to the back of each trim piece using a notched trowel. The teeth ridges on the trowel ensure maximum adhesive coverage.
Carefully press the trim into position against the taped edges of the backsplash and countertop. The tape helps center the trim where you want it. Ensure the pieces are fully seated, level, and properly aligned. Immediately remove any adhesive oozing out.
Allow the adhesive to cure fully per manufacturer instructions before grouting or removing the tape. Usually, this takes about 24 hours. Gently remove the painter’s tape after curing.
Step 4: Grout the Trim Joints
Mix up unsanded grout per package directions. Apply grout along the joints where the trim pieces meet using a grout float. Push the grout fully into the crevices, removing any excess as you work.
Let the grout dry slightly for 10-15 minutes. Then buff and clean the entire trim surface with a damp sponge to remove haze and leftover grout. Rinse the sponge frequently. Allow the grout joints to cure completely, usually about 48 hours.
Step 5: Seal the Trim and Finish Up
Once grouted and fully cured, apply grout sealer to the trim joints using a small paintbrush. This prevents moisture from penetrating the grout and causing discoloration issues. Allow the sealer to dry per the product instructions.
You can now caulk along the top edge where the trim meets the counter. Use a flexible, color-matched silicone sealant. Tool the caulk bead with your finger or a caulk tool for a smooth finish.
That completes the Schluter trim installation process! Properly installed trim adds a wonderfully clean finish to any backsplash. Be sure to clean only with non-abrasive detergents and soft cloths to maintain the trim’s pristine appearance. Enjoy your new, professionally finished backsplash.
Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Schluter Trim on Backsplashes
Here are some common questions about working with Schluter trim on backsplash installations:
Can I Use Schluter Trim on Both the Bottom and Top of My Backsplash?
Yes, you can install Schluter trim along both the countertop and bottom edges of a backsplash for a fully finished look. This works best if your countertop material and height allows it.
What Type of Tile Thinset Should Be Used to Install Schluter Trim?
Use a polymer-modified thinset mortar rated for both tile and natural stone. This type of adhesive has higher flexural strength to handle any normal movement.
How Do I Cut Inside and Outside Corners with Schluter Trim?
Miter cut the Schluter trim at a 45° angle using a chop saw or tile nippers for perfect inside and outside corners. Take precise measurements and test fit the pieces before permanently installing.
What Should I Do if My Wall or Countertop Surface is Uneven?
Grind or fill any significant unevenness in the surface with patching compound before installing Schluter trim. Minor variations can be compensated for by applying a thicker layer of adhesive mortar on the back of the trim.
Is it Okay to Install Schluter Trim Before My Backsplash Tile?
It’s best to install the tile first and then add the trim. But you can install trim prior to tiling if needed. Just be extremely careful to not damage or dislodge the trim pieces when working on the backsplash.
How Long Does the Adhesive and Grout Need to Cure Before Finishing Up?
Allow 24 hours for the tile adhesive to cure before grouting or removing tape. Let grout cure for 48 hours before sealing or putting the backsplash into service. Follow all manufacturer drying recommendations.
Adding Schluter trim is a great way to get a clean, built-in look for your backsplash tile installation. With attention to detail and proper planning, the trim can be easily cut, secured, and grouted for flawless results. Use the steps outlined here to help avoid missteps. And as always, take your time and refer back to the manufacturer’s instructions whenever needed. Enjoy the finished look!