Installing a stick on backsplash is an easy and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. With just a few tools and some time, you can transform your backsplash from drab to fab in a weekend. Stick on backsplash tiles come in a wide variety of materials like metal, glass, and ceramic so you can find the perfect look for your kitchen. We’ll walk you through the entire process of installing stick on backsplash tiles, from preparing your backsplash surface to grouting the finished product. With our step-by-step instructions, you’ll gain the confidence to tackle this project yourself and save the high cost of professional installation.
Materials Needed for Installing Stick On Backsplash Tiles
Before starting your stick on backsplash tile project, you’ll need to gather the necessary materials. Having all your supplies in one place will make the installation process go faster and smoother. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
- Stick on backsplash tiles – Calculate the square footage of your backsplash area to determine how many tile sheets you’ll need to purchase. It’s better to have extras than to come up short halfway through installation.
- Extra tiles – Get a few extra tiles sheets to account for corners, outlet covers, miscuts, and breakage.
- Tape measure
- Utility knife – For cutting tiles and sheets to size
- Tiling spacers – For consistent grout lines
- Mixing bucket – For premix thinset and grout
- Notched trowel – For spreading thinset adhesive
- Grout float – For applying grout between tiles
- Sponges – For cleaning off excess grout
- Microfiber cloths
- Safety gear – Gloves, goggles, knee pads
- Thinset mortar adhesive
- Painter’s tape
- Drop cloths – For protecting floors and countertops
- Painters tape
- Denatured alcohol – For cleaning the surface
- Sandpaper – For scuffing up glossy surfaces
With all your materials purchased and prepped, you’re ready to start installing your stick on backsplash tiles!
Preparing Your Backsplash Surface
Before applying any tiles, you need to make sure your backsplash area is properly prepped. Taking time to prepare the surface will ensure the tiles adhere tightly. Follow these steps:
Clean the surface thoroughly – Use a degreasing cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or oils from the backsplash area. Grease and residue can prevent the thinset from binding.
Sand glossy surfaces – If you have a glossy backsplash like ceramic tile or laminate, scuff up the surface with 120 grit sandpaper. This helps the thinset grip.
Fill any holes or imperfections – Use spackle to fill any holes, cracks, or uneven areas so your backsplash will have a smooth surface. Let patching compounds fully dry before moving on.
Wipe with denatured alcohol – As a final prep step, use a clean rag dampened with denatured alcohol to remove any remaining dust or residue. Let the surface dry completely.
Your backsplash is now ready for stick on tile installation!
How to Measure and Cut Stick On Backsplash Tiles
Since most backsplashes contain outlets, corners, and irregular edges, you’ll need to measure and cut your stick on tiles to fit. Here’s how to customize your tile sheets:
Measure your backsplash area – Use a tape measure to measure the length and height of your backsplash. Draw a detailed layout mapping out the exact dimensions.
Measure and mark cuts – Hold your tile sheet up to the area and use a pencil to outline cuts needed for corners, edges, and around outlets.
Cut tiles with a utility knife – Place your tile on a scrap piece of wood. Use a straightedge as a guide to cut through the tile sheet with a sharp utility knife.
Cut holes for outlets – Use the utility knife to cut a circle slightly larger than the outlet plate. You want the outlet to fit flush within the tile.
Make small precision cuts – For small precision cuts, use a pair of scissors rather than the utility knife.
With all your tiles cut to size, you can start applying them to the backsplash.
Applying Thinset Adhesive to Backsplash
Before placing any stick on backsplash tiles, you need to apply a thinset adhesive. This mortar provides the strong bond the tiles need. Follow these steps:
Choose the right thinset – For stick on plastic, metal, or glass tiles, use a latex-modified thinset. This type of thinset has more flexibility.
Mix thinset – Mix up thinset mortar adhesive according to package directions until you have a thick, pasty consistency. Let it slake for 10 minutes.
Load notched trowel – Load the notched side of your trowel with a heaping amount of thinset.
Apply thinset – Holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle, apply thinset firmly to the backsplash surface, combing in one direction.
Apply even layers – Cover the entire backsplash area, applying thinset in manageable sections. Strive for even coverage without gaps or bare spots.
Work quickly – Don’t allow thinset to dry on the wall before applying tiles. Once mixed, thinset is usable for 2-4 hours.
Once your thinset is spread, it’s time to stick on the backsplash tiles!
How to Apply Stick On Backsplash Tiles
Applying the tile sheets is one of the easiest parts of installing a stick on backsplash. Follow these trouble-free steps:
Insert spacers on bottom row – Place tile spacers along the bottom edge to create consistent grout line spacing.
Peel off backing – Remove the double-sided tape backing from your first tile sheet.
Press onto thinset – Starting at the bottom, firmly press the adhesive tile sheet onto the prepared thinset.
Use sweeping motion – To remove air pockets, use a sweeping side-to-side motion pressing from the center outward.
Continue sticking tiles – Repeat steps to adhere each tile sheet side-by-side, using spacers to maintain even grout lines.
Press with grout float – Use a grout float to apply pressure and ensure all tiles are flat and firmly embedded.
Let the thinset cure according to manufacturer directions before continuing with grouting.
Grouting Stick On Backsplash Tiles
Grout fills the spaces between tiles, adding a finished look to your backsplash. Follow these tips for flawless grouting:
Choose sanded grout – For joints wider than 1/8″, use sanded grout. It’s stronger and resists cracking.
Mix grout – In a bucket, mix grout powder with water to a thick peanut butter consistency. Let it slake for 10 minutes.
Apply grout – Using a rubber grout float, spread grout over the tiles to fill all joints. Apply diagonally to prevent dragging grout out.
Wipe away excess – Once applied, hold the float at a 90° angle and scrape diagonally across tiles to remove excess grout.
Clean with damp sponge – Use a damp sponge to wipe tiles clean and shape joints. Rinse sponge frequently to remove grout residue.
Allow to dry – Let grout dry completely according to manufacturer instructions. Typically 24-48 hours.
Apply caulk – Once dry, use silicone caulk to fill any gaps along the edges or corners. Wipe away excess.
Let the caulk fully cure before using your new backsplash! Proper grouting ensures your tiles will have a professional finished look.
Tips for Installing Stick On Backsplash Tiles
To help your project go smoothly, keep these handy tips in mind:
Stagger tiles– When applying tile sheets, offset and stagger them so the seams don’t all align. This strengthens the installation.
Press from center out – When pushing tiles onto the thinset, press outward from the center to avoid trapping air underneath.
Clean as you go – Be diligent about cleaning up excess thinset and grout throughout the process to minimize mess.
Use 1/8″ grout lines – For the best appearance, use 1/8 inch tile spacers to create uniform grout line width.
Seal natural stone – If using real stone tiles, apply a stone sealer first to prevent staining and discoloration.
Check thinset expiration – Don’t use thinset mortar past its expiration. Pot life is shortened once opened.
With the right techniques and materials, you can install a stick on backsplash tile project in just a weekend. The finished result will add instant style to your kitchen!
Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Stick On Backsplash Tiles
As you take on an stick on backsplash tile project, these common FAQs can help provide answers:
Do I Need to Remove My Old Backsplash Before Installing Stick On Tiles?
In most cases, you can install stick on backsplash tiles right over an existing backsplash. As long as the old surface is clean, flat, and structurally sound, the peel and stick tiles will adhere tightly.
How Long Does Thinset Take to Dry Before Grouting?
Thinset adhesive needs ample time to cure before grouting can be done. This ensures a strong bond to the wall. Exact dry times depend on the product used, but typically thinset requires 16-24 hours drying before grouting stick on tiles.
Can I Use Regular Grout for Stick On Tiles?
For stick on tiles made of plastic, metal, or glass, it’s best to use a flexible, latex-modified grout. Unlike regular rigid grout, latex grout allows for subtle expansion and contraction of the tiles. This prevents cracking.
Do I Need to Seal My Stick On Backsplash Tiles?
Sealing is only necessary for porous tile materials like natural stone. Non-porous tiles like ceramic, metal, or glass do not require any sealing. Make sure to check your tile manufacturer recommendations to determine if a sealer is needed.
Can I Install Stick On Tiles on Textured or Uneven Surfaces?
It’s possible to install stick on backsplash tiles on slightly textured surfaces, but the wall should be as smooth as possible. Use spackle to fill any holes or imperfections larger than 1/8 inch so tiles lay flat. Irregular surfaces make it hard to achieve full adhesion.
With the proper prep and installation techniques, you can install beautiful, long-lasting stick on backsplash tiles that will enhance your kitchen’s style. Just take your time, follow the steps, and don’t be intimidated to tackle this rewarding DIY project. In a weekend, you can totally transform your cooking space with the look of trendy backsplash tiles at just a fraction of the cost.