How to Put Backsplash on Vanity

Adding a backsplash to your bathroom vanity can completely transform the look and feel of your space. Not only does a backsplash provide an eye-catching focal point, but it also protects your wall from water damage and splashes. Installing a backsplash on your vanity is a relatively easy DIY project that can be completed in a weekend. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to put backsplash on vanity.

Selecting Your Vanity Backsplash Material

The first step is choosing the right backsplash material for your vanity. There are lots of options to pick from, each with their own look, durability, and price point.


Tile is one of the most popular choices for vanity backsplashes. Ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone tile all make excellent backsplash materials. Tiles come in an endless array of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes so you can create a customized look. Tile backsplashes are durable, easy to clean, and water-resistant. The grouted joints between tiles can accumulate grime, but a good sealant will help protect the grout. Tile offers a high-end, built-in look for vanities.

Marble or Quartz Slabs

For a luxurious, natural stone look, marble or quartz slabs make beautiful vanity backsplashes. The veining and patterns in the stone create depth and visual interest. Unlike tile, stone slabs don’t have grout lines that can get dirty. Polished granite, marble, and quartz have a glossy look that oozes elegance. Hone-finished stones offer a matte appearance. Stone backsplashes can be pricey, but provide timeless beauty.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel makes a modern, industrial chic backsplash. Often used in commercial kitchens, stainless steel is sleek, durable, and easy to clean. It offers a reflective, chrome-like shine that works well with contemporary bathrooms. Stainless can be purchased in tile form or as large sheets to be cut to size. Compared to other materials, stainless steel backsplashes are very budget-friendly.

Glass Tile or Mosaic

For a shimmery, eye-catching backsplash, glass tile is a great choice. From bold colors to intricate mosaics, glass tile comes in many striking styles. The glossy finish has a liquid-like look when installed. Glass tile is less porous than ceramic and natural stone, making it very water-resistant. It’s also easy to clean. Glass tile backsplashes make a dramatic design statement.


Wood bathroom backsplashes offer warmth and natural beauty. Materials like bamboo, teak, maple, and oak can be used to create a spa-like atmosphere. The wood grains and variation in coloring add natural interest. Most wood backsplashes have a water-resistant finish to withstand moisture. This rustic material provides a nice textural contrast to polished stone countertops.

How to Prepare the Vanity for Backsplash Installation

Once you’ve selected your backsplash material, it’s time to start prepping the vanity. Proper preparation is crucial for a successful installation.

Clean the Wall Surface

It’s important to start with a clean foundation. Use a multi-surface cleaner to wipe down the wall above the vanity, removing any dirt, oils, or soap residue. Let the wall dry completely so your backsplash adheres properly.

Remove the Faucet/Plumbing

If you have a widespread faucet, it will likely need to be uninstalled so the backsplash can be slid behind it. Turn off the water supply and disconnect the pipes and supply lines before carefully removing the faucet. Place it safely aside until the backsplash is installed.

Take Down Mirror/Sconces

Any mirrors, sconces, or other fixtures should also be taken down prior to backsplash installation. Use caution when removing mirrors and place them somewhere safe. Detach any wiring connected to sconces or light fixtures above the vanity.

Cover Countertops

Protect countertops and sink surfaces from potential damage during the installation process. Cover them with rosin paper or plastic drop cloths. Tape down the edges of the coverings securely.

Fill Any Gaps or Holes

Examine the wall for gaps, holes, or uneven spots. Fill small voids with spackle or joint compound, allowing it to dry completely. Sand any bumps smooth. Larger gaps may need backer board or plywood patches. The surface should be as even as possible.

Paint Color Matched Grout Lines

If using tile, draw faint lines representing grout joints on the wall with a pencil. This helps ensure your grout lines will align evenly. Use colored pencil in a shade that matches your grout for a more accurate guide.

How to Install a Tile Backsplash on Vanity

Tile is one of the most DIY-friendly backsplash materials. Here are the step-by-step instructions for tiling a vanity backsplash.

Step 1: Measure and Mark Tile Layout

Measure the backsplash area and, using a level, mark a straight horizontal line where you want the top row of tile to sit. Measure and mark vertical lines to follow for evenly spaced tiles and grout lines.

Step 2: Cut Tile (If Needed)

If your layout requires partial tiles around the edges, measure and mark tiles to be cut. A wet saw with a diamond blade is ideal for cleanly cutting tile. Use safety goggles and gloves when operating a tile saw.

Step 3: Apply Thin-Set Mortar

Apply a thin, even layer of thin-set mortar to the wall area using a notched trowel. Apply only as much as can be tiled over in about 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: Press Tiles into Mortar

Following your tile layout, firmly press tiles into the mortar starting at the bottom. Push out any air pockets or excess mortar. Use tile spacers between tiles for even grout line width.

Step 5: Allow Mortar to Cure

Let the thin-set mortar cure for 24-48 hours without disturbing the tiles. Check that tiles are securely attached and evenly aligned.

Step 6: Apply Grout Between Tiles

Mix grout according to package directions and apply gently over the tiles, pressing into grout lines. Allow it to sit for a bit before wiping away excess grout with a damp sponge.

Step 7: Seal Grout

Once grout has cured per product instructions, apply grout sealer using a small foam brush. Let the sealer penetrate, then wipe away any excess.

Step 8: Reinstall Plumbing Fixtures

Carefully reinstall the faucet, supply lines, and drain assembly. Reconnect and turn on water supply to check for leaks around the faucet.

Step 9: Seal Tile Surface

Use a sealant designed for your tile type and apply an even coat across all tiles and grout lines. Buff off any excess for a streak-free finish.

Step 10: Reinstall Mirror and Decor

Your tile backsplash is complete! Now simply rehang your mirror and any decorative fixtures like sconces or artwork. Admire your handiwork!

How to Install a Marble or Quartz Backsplash

Natural stone like marble, granite, and quartz make a sumptuous statement in a bathroom. Here is how to install a full slab backsplash on your vanity.

Step 1: Measure Backsplash Area

Measure the overall dimensions of the backsplash area. Most stone is sold in standard slab sizes like 30” x 72”. Purchase a slab at least as large as your vanity backsplash area.

Step 2: Make Any Cuts

Use a wet saw with a diamond blade to cut the stone slab to the exact height and width needed for your backsplash area. Cut slowly and wear proper eye and ear protection.

Step 3: Build Support Shell

Because stone is very heavy, it requires a sturdy support structure. Build a “shell” using 2×4 lumber just wider and taller than the stone slab. Ensuring it is level, secure it to wall studs.

Step 4: Apply Mortar to Shell

On the face of the support shell, apply a layer of mortar that will contact the back of the stone slab. Use enough to fully support slab but not too thick.

Step 5: Lift and Place Slab

With an assistant, carefully lift and place the stone slab onto the mortar, pressing gently to adhere. Immediately wipe away any excess mortar.

Step 6: Allow Mortar to Cure

Let mortar fully cure for 24-48 hours undisturbed. Check that slab is secure on the support shell and evenly positioned.

Step 7: Seal Stone Surface

Apply multiple coats of natural stone sealant, allowing proper drying time between coats. This protects the stone from stains and water damage.

Step 8: Apply Perimeter Sealant

Run a flexible silicone caulk around all edges where the stone meets wall or countertop. Tool into any voids. Allow to dry completely.

Step 9: Reinstall Plumbing/Fixtures

Carefully reinstall plumbing fixtures, mirrors, artwork and anything removed prior to backsplash installation.

Step 10: Admire Your Work!

Your natural stone backsplash provides timeless, luxurious style to your vanity. Be sure to keep sealants maintained. Enjoy your elegant new focal point!

How to Install a Stainless Steel Backsplash

For contemporary styling, stainless steel makes a sleek, modern backsplash. Here is an overview of how to install a stainless steel backsplash on your bathroom vanity.

Step 1: Measure Precisely

Take exact measurements of the backsplash area including height, width, corners, faucet holes, etc. This allows you to order the correctly sized stainless sheet.

Step 2: Clean and Sand the Wall

Wipe down the wall surface with cleaner and sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper. This helps the adhesive adhere properly.

Step 3: Cut the Metal to Size

Order stainless steel cut to your precise measurements. Use tin snips to trim any additional edges if needed. File edges smooth.

Step 4: Drill Any Faucet Holes

Using a carbide drill bit, drill holes in the stainless sheet for widespread faucet handles, spout and mounting bolts if needed. Deburr holes smooth.

Step 5: Apply Construction Adhesive

On back of metal sheet, apply a thick zig-zag bead of quality construction adhesive designed for metal. Follow adhesive manufacturer instructions.

Step 6: Press Sheet on Wall

Carefully lift and place the stainless sheet onto the wall, pressing firmly to adhere and squeezing out any bubbles in adhesive. Use a J-roller to smooth.

Step 7: Fasten Sheet Securely

While adhesive cures, use small screws top and bottom to securely fasten the sheet metal to the wall, countersinking screws. Fill over screws with adhesive, smoothing flush.

Step 8: Reinstall Plumbing Fixtures

Once adhesive has cured, reinstall plumbing fixtures, mirrors, art and anything removed prior to backsplash installation.

Step 9: Seal Perimeter Edges

Caulk along top and side edges where metal meets wall with a flexible, mold-resistant silicone. Tool caulk into voids. Allow to dry completely.

Step 10: Buff Surface

Use a stainless steel polish and soft cloth to buff metal to a brilliant shine. Your modern metal backsplash instantly elevates your vanity’s style!

How to Install a Glass Tile Backsplash

Glass tile backsplashes make a glittering, dazzling statement. Here’s a quick guide for installing glass tile on a vanity backsplash.

Step 1: Assess Glass Tile Type

There are paper-faced, mesh-backed, and clear film-backed glass tiles. Mesh or film may need removing prior to setting. Assess your tile.

Step 2: Mark Tile Layout

Measure area and mark a level line where tile will start. Mark vertical lines for tile spacing. Indicate any tile cuts.

Step 3: Spread Thin-Set Mortar

Apply a layer of thin-set mortar using a notched trowel. Comb in straight lines in direction tile will be laid.

Step 4: Set Tiles in Place

Press tiles into mortar, using spacers for even grout line width. Don’t butt glass tiles; leave a paper-width distance.

Step 5: Allow Mortar to Cure

Let mortar cure fully—at least 24 hours. Inspect tiles for good adhesion and proper positioning.

Step 6: Mix Grout

Prepare grout by mixing with additive for impervious materials like glass per instructions. A grout float will apply grout smoothly.

Step 7: Spread Grout

Work grout gently into grout lines using a rubber grout float. Take care not to scratch glass. Allow grout to cure per product instructions.

Step 8: Seal Grout Lines

Use a small foam brush to apply grout sealer, following product directions. Buff off any haze or excess.

Step 9: Polish and Seal Glass

Use a specialty glass cleaner to gently polish tiles to a sparkling shine. Apply a quality glass tile sealer for longevity.

Step 10: Admire Your Work!

Your glass tile backsplash catches and reflects light beautifully in your bathroom space! Enjoy the radiant beauty.

How to Install a Wood Backsplash

Wood backsplashes bring natural warmth and rustic charm to a bathroom vanity. Here is an overview of installing wood backsplashes.

Step 1: Select Material

Choose a naturally water-resistant wood like teak, bamboo, or an engineered composite. Softer woods require thorough sealing.

Step 2: Measure Precisely

Take detailed measurements of the backsplash area including outlet and plumbing punctures so wood can be sized accurately.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

Use a circular saw and carbide blade for straight cuts and a jigsaw for curves or openings. Sand cut edges smooth.

Step 4: Create Plumbing Openings

Drill plumbing openings for widespread faucets, soap dispensers, etc. using a hole saw and wood bit.

Step 5: Seal All Surfaces

Apply waterproofing wood sealant like spar urethane to all sides of the wood pieces using brush or sprayer. Allow to dry fully.

Step 6: Attach Support Braces

On back of wood, attach horizontal support braces with waterproof adhesive and screws to provide rigidity and stability.

Step 7: Apply Construction Adhesive

Run a thick bead of construction adhesive along top and bottom backsplash edges. Press wood firmly to the wall.

Step 8: Attach Mechanical Fasteners

While adhesive cures, use finishing nails or decorative wood screws to mechanically fasten the wood pieces to the wall.

Step 9: Fill Holes

Fill any nail holes or voids with color-matched wood filler. Allow filler to dry completely then sand smooth.

Step 10: Apply Protective Finish

Once fully installed, brush on an additional layer of waterproof sealant. Allow to dry thoroughly before use.

Now step back and enjoy the warm, organic beauty your new wood backsplash adds to your vanity space! Be sure to properly care for and maintain your wood.

Tips for a Successful Vanity Backsplash Installation

Installing a backsplash on your bathroom vanity greatly enhances both form and function. Follow these tips for the best results on your backsplash project:

  • Carefully measure the installation area and order materials to fit your precise size needs.
  • Proper preparation of the wall surface is critical—fill any voids, remove outlet plates, and ensure an even surface.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for specialized adhesives, mortars, grouts, and sealants recommended for your material type.
  • Allow all mortars, thin-sets, grouts, adhesives, sealers and caulks to fully cure as directed before use and final polishing.
  • Remove existing plumbing fixtures like faucets carefully to avoid damaging water supply lines.
  • Use painters tape and rosin paper to protect vanity countertops and sink surfaces from damage during install.
  • Wipe up any thin-set, grout or adhesive from tile or stone surfaces immediately to prevent hard staining.
  • Hire a plumbing professional if you don’t feel comfortable removing/reinstalling faucet and drain assemblies.
  • Work slowly and use specialized tools like wets saws and hole saws to make clean, accurate cuts in materials.
  • A quality clear silicone caulk provides water protection along the edges yet remains subtle against most backsplash materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some other popular backsplash options besides those mentioned?

  • Metallic or faux tin backsplashes add an antiqued, old-world look. Penny tile mosaics offer vintage charm. Peel-and-stick vinyl and pre-grouted panels provide budget-friendly options. There are also recycled glass, travertine, onyx, and metal tin options.

What blade and saw is best for cutting different backsplash materials?

  • Porcelain tile saws with diamond blades cut ceramic tile and stone cleanly. Carbide blades are suitable for most metal backsplash sheets. A fine-tooth wood blade cuts wood or bamboo backsplashes neatly. Glass requires a specialty wet saw with a continuous rim diamond blade.

Should I seal natural stone backsplashes?

Yes, sealing is highly recommended. It helps prevent staining and etching from splashes. Re-apply stone sealants regularly. Impregnating sealers penetrate below stone surfaces for the best protection. Topical sealers add a protective coating but require more frequent reapplication.

How do I cut curves or openings in wood backsplashes?

Use a jigsaw with a fine-tooth wood or metal blade to cut curves and openings in wood backsplashes. Clamp pieces securely and cut slowly following pencil lines. Use a 6-32 carbide grit blade for clean cuts in thin hardwood veneers or bamboo.

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout with glass tile?

Use unsanded grout. It provides a smoother finish and prevents scratching the delicate glass tile surface. Make sure to