A backsplash protects the walls behind kitchen counters and sinks from water damage, grease splatter, and stains. While tile is a popular backsplash choice, sheet backsplash offers a budget-friendly and easy-to-install option with a variety of styles to choose from. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to successfully install sheet backsplash in your kitchen.
Selecting the Right Sheet Backsplash Material
When choosing a sheet backsplash, consider the look you want as well as how easy the material will be to clean and maintain. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Plastic laminate sheets like Formica are inexpensive, easy to install, and come in solid colors and patterns. They’re scratch and stain resistant but can be prone to peeling over time.
- For a modern, sleek look, stainless steel backsplash can be installed in sheets. It’s easy to clean, durable, and heat resistant. However, it shows fingerprints and water spots readily.
- Beaded board panels give a cottage or beach house feel. The raised wood grain pattern hides imperfections well. Keep in mind moisture can warp real wood over time.
- Faux tin backsplash panels mimic the look of traditional tin tiles. Made of plastic, they install like other laminates and are budget-friendly.
- Hardboard panels made of compressed wood or cane fibers are durable and moisture-resistant. Look for tempered versions designed as backsplash.
- Peel-and-stick smart tiles let you achieve a ceramic tile look quickly. They come in varying quality, so check reviews before purchasing.
- Mosaic sheets are made of materials like glass, metal, or plastic. Available in tile patterns, they create a high-end backsplash finish.
How to Install Sheet Backsplash
Once you’ve selected the ideal backsplash material for your kitchen, it’s time to install it. Follow these steps for proper sheet backsplash installation:
Step 1: Prepare the Wall
Thoroughly clean the wall surface where you’ll apply the backsplash using a degreaser to remove any dirt or oils. Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle so the area is as smooth as possible. Remove any outlets or switch plates in the backsplash area (you’ll reinstall them later).
Using painter’s tape, mask off the area surrounding where the backsplash will go on the wall. This helps keep the edges clean during installation.
Step 2: Cut the Sheet Backsplash to Size
Most backsplash sheets come in standard sizes like 4 x 8 feet. Use a tape measure to determine the dimensions you need to cut for your backsplash area. Mark the measurements on the backside of the sheet.
Using a utility knife and straightedge, carefully score the sheet multiple times. Snap the panel along the score mark to cut it to size. Use tin snips for stainless steel sheets.
For inside corners, make an angled cut so the sheets fit together cleanly. Grind cut edges smooth with sandpaper so they don’t have sharp burrs.
Step 3: Apply Adhesive
Apply adhesive evenly across the back of the backsplash sheet using a notched trowel. Water-based adhesives like liquid nails work well for most plastic laminate sheets. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for any product-specific application guidelines.
If using backsplash panels with peel-and-stick adhesive, remove the adhesive’s protective backing. Ensure no bubbles or debris are trapped underneath.
Step 4: Press the Sheet in Place
Carefully lift and position the backsplash sheet on the wall in the desired location. Starting at the top, gently press the sheet to the wall using a J-roller, removing any air pockets.
For peel-and-stick sheets, use a soft plastic smoother to firmly adhere the backsplash to the wall, working from top to bottom while removing bubbles.
Use painter’s tape to hold panels in place if needed while the adhesive dries. Follow dry times listed on the product instructions.
Step 5: Seal Edges and Joints
Once fully bonded, inspect the edges and seams of the backsplash installation. Apply silicone caulk to seal any gaps or uneven joints between sheets or at corners. Tool the caulk smooth for a neat finish.
For laminate sheets, you can also install backsplash trim pieces at seams or where the backsplash meets the countertop for a polished look.
Step 6: Finish Up
Remove the painter’s tape from the surrounding walls. Reinstall any electrical outlet covers or switches removed before installation.
Finally, thoroughly clean the new backsplash to remove any adhesive residue or dirt from the installation process. Use the manufacturer’s recommended cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth.
Now you can enjoy your fresh new sheet backsplash! Be sure to properly care for it by promptly wiping up spills, avoiding abrasive cleaners, and cleaning with soft materials. With proper installation and maintenance, your backsplash will maintain its good looks for years to come.
FAQs About Installing Sheet Backsplash
Still have some questions about installing sheet backsplash in your kitchen? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Is it hard to install sheet backsplash?
Installing sheet backsplash is a relatively easy DIY project as long as you carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to thoroughly prep your wall surface and use the recommended adhesive and tools for the best results.
What’s the best way to cut sheet backsplash?
To ensure clean cuts, carefully score the sheet material multiple times with a utility knife where you need to cut it. Use a straightedge as a guide. Snap the sheet backward to break the scored section. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper. Tin snips work best for cutting stainless steel sheets.
Should I seal the edges of sheet backsplash panels?
Yes, sealing the edges and seams between backsplash sheets with silicone caulk gives a watertight finish. This prevents moisture from getting behind the panels and damaging the wall over time. Apply caulk smoothly for the best appearance.
What do I do with electrical outlets in the backsplash area?
Remove any outlets, switches, or receptacles from the backsplash installation zone before starting. Once the backsplash is securely installed, reattach the outlets or switches over the sheet, checking for clearance.
Can I apply sheet backsplash directly to drywall?
In most cases, yes. Ensure the drywall is in good condition without flaking or bowing. Wipe it down with a degreaser and let it fully dry before applying adhesive and the backsplash. Be sure to follow the specific product instructions.
How do I clean and care for sheet backsplash?
Use the gentlest cleaners possible formulated for your material like glass, plastic laminate, or stainless steel. Soft sponges or microfiber cloths are best for preventing scratches. Immediately dry any water to avoid moisture damage. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive pads.
Professional Installation Recommendations
For complex backsplash projects, specialized shape requirements, or large surface areas, it may be beneficial to hire a professional installer. They can:
- Provide experience with challenging layouts and intricate cuts
- Have the right power tools for smooth cuts in thick materials
- Install with uniform caulk lines and tight seams between sheets
- Include finishing touches like trim pieces at edges or accent lighting
- Offer custom designed patterns, shapes, and mosaics
While hiring a pro costs more upfront, it saves you time and frustration compared to the DIY process. And their workmanship expertise leads to a higher quality, long-lasting backsplash installation.
Transform Your Kitchen with Stunning Sheet Backsplash
Installing sheet backsplash is an achievable weekend project for DIYers that can completely transform the look of a kitchen. With fewer grout lines to clean than tile and an array of colors and materials to choose from, sheet backsplash is an easy route to stylish walls. Use this comprehensive guide to install your sheet backsplash like a pro and enjoy your fresh new kitchen!