How to Mount Stainless Steel Backsplash

Installing a stainless steel backsplash in your kitchen can add a modern, sleek look while also being very practical and easy to clean. With some simple tools and materials, mounting a stainless steel backsplash is a DIY project that can dramatically transform the look of your kitchen. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to mount stainless steel backsplash.

Choose the Right Stainless Steel Backsplash Material

Stainless steel backsplashes come in various forms including:

  • Stainless steel tiles – These are small rectangular tiles usually 12″x12″ or 12″x24″. They have a grid-like look when installed.
  • Stainless steel sheets – These are large sheets of stainless steel, typically 4×8 feet that can be cut to size. They create a smooth, industrial look.
  • Brushed vs polished – Brushed stainless has a matte look while polished is very reflective. Brushed is more popular for hiding fingerprints.
  • Gauge – Thicker gauges (18+ gauge) are more durable and dent-resistant. Thinner gauges are easier to cut and install.
  • Grade – 304 and 316 are the most common grades. 316 has more corrosion resistance if located near saltwater.

Gather the Necessary Materials

You will need the following supplies to install a stainless steel backsplash:

  • Stainless steel backsplash sheets or tiles
  • Metal snips for cutting the stainless steel
  • Silicone adhesive for sticking the backsplash to the wall
  • Screws and washers for added support
  • Drill with bits for drilling into the wall
  • Level to ensure an even installation
  • painters tape
  • sandpaper
  • rags and stainless steel cleaner

Prepare the Wall Surface

Installing over drywall or plaster walls is ideal as the backsplash can be adhered directly to the surface. Ensure the wall is:

  • Clean – Wipe away any dust, oils or debris so the backsplash adheres properly.
  • Smooth – Sand down any bumps or inconsistencies on the wall surface.
  • Dry – Eliminate any moisture on the walls before installing.
  • Painted – Consider painting the wall a dark color so food splashes don’t show.
  • Protected – Tape off countertops, cabinets or outlets below the backsplash area.

Measure and Cut the Stainless Steel Backsplash

  • Measure the overall length and height of the backsplash area. Leave a 1/16″ gap between the backsplash and countertop.
  • For stainless steel sheets, cut them to size using metal snips. Wear gloves to avoid sharp edges.
  • For stainless tiles, lay them out first to map out the pattern and minimal cuts needed.
  • Cut the sheets to fit around outlets, switches or other obstructions.
  • Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges. Wipe clean with a rag afterwards.

Apply Adhesive and Mount Backsplash

  • Clean the back of the stainless steel so the adhesive sticks properly. Wipe with stainless steel cleaner.
  • Apply a zig-zag pattern of silicone adhesive to the back of the sheets or tiles.
  • Carefully press the backsplash to the wall. Use a level to ensure it is straight.
  • Use painters tape to hold the sheets in place for at least 24 hours as the adhesive dries.
  • For added support, use screws with washers to affix the lower part of the backsplash above countertops.

Seal Seams and Polish

  • For stainless steel sheets, seal all seams with silicone adhesive to prevent moisture getting behind.
  • Use a non-abrasive polish and rag to buff and shine the stainless steel once fully mounted.
  • Clean with stainless steel spray cleaner and soft cloth to maintain its luster over time.
  • Be gentle when cleaning to avoid scratching or damaging the finish.

Stainless Steel Backsplash Maintenance

Stainless steel backsplashes are designed to be durable, corrosion-resistant and easy to clean but proper care is still required:

  • Use a specially formulated stainless steel cleaner and soft cloth when cleaning. Avoid abrasive pads.
  • Rinse with water immediately if any corrosive substances like juices or salts contact the surface.
  • Use a stainless steel polish occasionally to maintain the shine and finish.
  • Avoid using magnets, as they can scratch the stainless steel finish.
  • Be careful when cleaning not to damage the surface with sharp knives or scouring pads.

With the right care, a stainless steel backsplash can stay looking pristine and modern for years to come. The reflective, sleek look is perfect for contemporary kitchen designs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mounting Stainless Steel Backsplash

What tools do I need to install a stainless steel backsplash?

You will need basic tools like a tape measure, level, screws, drill, silicone adhesive, metal snips for cutting the stainless steel, sandpaper, rags, stainless steel cleaner, and polish. painter’s tape can also be helpful.

What is the best way to cut a stainless steel backsplash?

It’s best to use metal snips designed specifically for cutting stainless steel. Make sure to wear gloves as the cut edges can be sharp. You can also use a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, but metal snips provide more control.

How do I attach a stainless steel backsplash to the wall?

Start by ensuring the wall surface is clean, dry, smooth and painted. Apply a zig-zag pattern of silicone adhesive to the back of the stainless steel. Carefully press it onto the wall while using a level to keep it straight. Use screws along the bottom above the countertop for added support.

What thickness of stainless steel is best for backsplash?

18 gauge and 20 gauge stainless steel are common thicknesses used for backsplashes. 18 gauge is more durable and dent-resistant while 20 gauge is easier to cut and work with during installation.

How much does it cost to install a stainless steel backsplash?

The cost can range greatly depending on the material chosen and how much professional installation is required. DIY installed stainless steel tile can cost between $10-$25 per sq. ft. Professionally installed stainless sheets typically range from $25-$50 per sq. ft.

How do you clean fingerprint smudges off a stainless steel backsplash?

Use a specially formulated stainless steel spray cleaner and a microfiber cloth to gently wipe away fingerprints and smudges. Avoid abrasive scrubbing as this can damage the brushed or polished finish. Rinsing with water and drying also helps keep it spotless.

Can you mount a stainless steel backsplash over existing tile?

It is possible but more difficult. The wall surface must be made as smooth as possible, which may require filling grout lines and smoothing bumps. Adhesive and screws may not adhere as well over the grout. It is ideal to install over a smooth, painted surface.