Installing a stick on backsplash is a relatively easy and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. A backsplash protects the walls behind a sink or stove from water damage and stains, while also adding visual interest to your kitchen design. Stick on backsplashes come in a wide variety of materials like metal, glass, marble, and ceramic tiles. They have an adhesive backing so they can be applied directly to the wall surface without any messy mortar or grout.
If you want to refresh your kitchen’s style with minimal fuss and expense, a stick on backsplash is a great DIY project to tackle. With some careful prep and planning, you can achieve a high-end backsplash look in just a weekend. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of how to install stick on backsplash tiles from start to finish.
How to Choose Your Stick on Backsplash
Before getting started with the installation, you need to select your stick on backsplash tiles. Here are the main factors to consider when choosing a product:
The material you select impacts the overall look, durability, and cost. Some popular options include:
- Metal: Aluminum or tin tiles have a sleek, contemporary look. They are waterproof and easy to clean.
- Glass: Provides a glossy, luminous finish. Glass tile is non-porous but can chip if struck.
- Faux stone: Realistic stone appearance at a lower cost. Durable and scratch-resistant.
- Ceramic or porcelain: Traditional backsplash material that comes in endless colors/patterns. Resists moisture and stains.
- Marble or granite: Elegant veined look. Heat and scratch-resistant. Pricier than ceramic.
Smaller mosaic tiles (1 inch square) have a fine, intricate look. Larger tiles (4 inches) create a bolder statement and are faster to install. Standard sizes range from 1 inch to 6 inches.
Consider complementary colors and styles that will match your existing kitchen decor. Opt for neutral earth tones for a subtle look or vibrant patterns to make a bold statement.
Since the backsplash is installed around sinks and stoves, it needs to stand up to moisture and grease. Be sure to choose an adhesive material rated for kitchen use.
Ease of Installation
Prefabricated sheets with adhesive backing are the easiest to install. Individual tiles allow more customization but take more time.
How to Prepare the Surface
Proper prep work is crucial for the stick on tiles to adhere correctly. Follow these steps:
Clean the Surface
Use a multi-surface degreaser to remove any oil, grease or soap residue from the installation area. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.
Detach sinks, stoves or other appliances from the wall to gain full access to the backsplash area.
Evaluate the Wall
The surface should be smooth, dry and free of imperfections so the tiles can adhere evenly along the entire area.
- Scrape/sand off any loose paint or wallpaper.
- Fill any cracks or holes with spackle and let dry completely.
- Remove old caulk and re-caulk around edges, windows or trim. Let cure 24 hours.
Prime the Surface
After ensuring the surface is clean and smooth, apply a primer coat to aid adhesive bonding. A high quality acrylic primer designed for tile is recommended. Allow the primer to dry fully before installing tiles.
How to Measure for Your Backsplash Area
To determine the amount of stick on tiles needed for the project, you’ll need to measure the backsplash installation area.
Use a measuring tape to determine the width in inches across the top and bottom of the backsplash area. Write down both measurements.
Measure from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets. For best results, measure at several points along the installation area and record the longest height.
Calculate Square Footage
Multiply the width by the height to determine the approximate square footage. Round up to account for tile cuts and waste.
Having accurate measurements ensures you purchase enough tiles to complete the project with good coverage.
Tips for Installing Stick on Backsplash
Follow this step-by-step guide for properly installing adhesive backsplash tiles:
Start at the Bottom
Begin the installation along the bottom row above the countertop. This helps keep the tiles aligned and prevents slippage.
Cut Edge Pieces
Measure and cut any edge tiles to size using a utility knife or wet saw. These edge tiles will determine the placement of the first whole tiles.
Peel off the adhesive backing about 2-3 inches from the edge as you install. Try not to remove the entire backing at once.
Use a smoothing tool or roller to apply even, firm pressure across the entire tile surface to maximize bonding strength.
Place small spacers between tiles to help maintain even grout line width. Remove spacers before applying final tiles.
Work in Sections
Complete one section of tiles across the width before moving upwards row by row. This prevents tiles from slipping out of alignment.
Seal Around Edges
Apply a thin bead of clear silicone caulk around all edges and seams between the backsplash and wall or countertop.
Slow and steady focus pays off for achieving a professional-looking finished installation!
Helpful Tools and Materials for Installation
Having the right tools and supplies on hand will make installing stick on backsplash tiles much easier. Here is a checklist of items to have ready:
- Trim pieces (for edges)
- Adhesive or mastic
- Trowel for applying adhesive
- Utility knife and extra blades
- Tile spacers
- Rubbing alcohol to clean surface
- Smoothing tool or grout float
- Silicone caulk and caulk gun
- Paper towels or clean rags
- Tape measure
- Masking tape (for tricky areas)
- Wet saw (for cutting coping/edge tiles)
Step-by-Step Installation Guide
Now let’s go through the full process from start to finish:
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
Ensure the wall surface is cleaned, primed, and ready for tile according to the preparatory steps outlined above.
Step 2: Plan Your Design Layout
Map out the tile layout pattern following the specific design you want. Many stick on tiles come in pre-assembled sheets for quicker installation.
Step 3: Measure and Cut Edge Pieces
Take careful measurements and cut L-shaped edge/coping tiles for the perimeters and corners. Use a wet saw for clean cuts.
Step 4: Apply the Adhesive
Spread the adhesive evenly across a section of the wall using a notched trowel. Apply only enough that can be tiled within 15-20 minutes.
Step 5: Place the First Tile Sheet
Following your layout, press the edge tiles firmly into the adhesive as your starting point. Use spacers between tiles.
Step 6: Continue Laying Rows
Work in rows, pressing each sheet or individual tile firmly before moving upwards. Check alignment frequently.
Step 7: Roll the Tiles
Use a hand roller or grout float to apply even pressure over all tiles. This ensures maximum adhesion.
Step 8: Finish the Perimeters
Measure, cut, and install any remaining edge tiles needed along the sides or around electrical outlets.
Step 9: Apply Silicone Caulk
Run a bead of caulk along all seams and edges between the tiles and wall/counter. Smooth carefully with a finger.
Step 10: Clean Up
Use a diluted vinegar solution to remove any adhesive smudges or residue from tile surfaces. Allow to cure 24-48 hours.
And that’s it – stand back and admire your elegant new backsplash! Proper prep and careful attention to detail will result in an eye-catching kitchen focal point.
Tips for Maintaining Your Stick on Backsplash
Follow these recommendations for keeping your new backsplash looking like new:
- Use a gentle cleaner specifically designed for your tile material. Avoid abrasive cleansers.
- Rinse with only water and soft cloth; harsh chemicals can degrade adhesive.
- Re-apply caulk if cracks appear between tiles and wall.
- Avoid direct high heat on stick on tiles from appliances.
- Wipe spills quickly to prevent staining of grout lines.
- Consider sealing grout annually to protect from moisture and grime.
With proper care, your backsplash can maintain its beauty and function for many years before needing to be replaced!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about installing stick on backsplash tiles:
Can I Install Stick on Backsplash Over Existing Tile?
It is not recommended to install stick on backsplash tiles directly over existing tile. The surface must be smooth and properly prepped for the backsplash adhesive to bond effectively.
What About Outlets or Switches?
Simply measure and cut tiles to fit around any electrical boxes or plumbing fixtures. Remove outlet covers temporarily if needed to slide the tile into place.
Should I Use Grout With Stick on Tiles?
Grout is not required for most stick on tiles since there are no joints to fill. Some products have built-in grout lines between each tile piece.
Can I Use Stick Ons in a Bathroom?
Yes, stick on tiles can be used for kitchen backsplashes as well as tub/shower surrounds. Be sure to select a product rated as waterproof.
Do I Need Special Tools?
While specialty tools can help, you can install stick on backsplash with just a few basic DIY tools like a utility knife, caulk gun, and grout float.
How Long Does Installation Take?
Plan on at least 2-3 hours for a small backsplash project. Larger areas with cut-outs or special shape designs will require more time.
Updating your backsplash with stick on tile is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to refresh the look of a kitchen or bath. With some careful prep and patience during installation, you can achieve a high-end designer look in just a weekend. The range of colors, patterns, and materials available means you can find the perfect option to suit your unique style. Just follow the techniques outlined to properly attach the tiles to ensure they will stay beautiful and functional for years of enhancing your home.