How to Put Outlet Covers Over Backsplash

Having electrical outlets positioned over a backsplash area can create an unsightly appearance and make cleaning difficult. However, there are ways to conceal and protect these outlets while still meeting electrical code requirements. This guide will provide tips on how to properly cover outlets located over backsplash surfaces.

Assessing the Electrical Outlets Over Backsplash

Before deciding on a solution, take time to assess the placement and condition of the outlets in question.

  • How many outlets are located over the backsplash area? Identifying the number will help determine if you need single covers or a long, continuous cover plate.
  • What is the orientation of the outlets? Some may be placed vertically while others horizontally. Choose covers to suit each orientation.
  • How much space do you have to work with? Measure to see if standard sized covers will fit or if you need something more compact or customized.
  • Are the outlets in good working order? Test them to ensure you can simply swap out the cover plate, not the whole outlet.
  • Do they meet electrical code requirements? Check grounding, GFCI outlets by sinks, etc. Fix any issues before covering.

Thoroughly going through these factors will guide you in selecting the proper backsplash outlet covers.

Choosing Appropriate Covers for Outlets Over Backsplash

There are a few options when it comes to covers that conceal outlets positioned over backsplash while still meeting code.

Metal Covers

Sturdy stainless steel or aluminum covers are popular choices. They are moisture-proof and provide a sleek, modern look. Measure carefully and opt for horizontal or vertical orientations to suit your existing outlets. These screw into place securely.

Plastic Covers

Plastic outlet covers are affordable and come in a variety of colors. Make sure to choose rigid plastic that is not flimsy. Clear plastic blends in well over most backsplashes. Plastic is easy to wipe clean.

GFCI Covers

For outlets located by sinks, GFCI outlet covers provide protection from shocks. Choose options with LED grounding indicators and meet current electrical standards. Weatherproof covers add further water protection.

Custom Cover Plates

For multiple outlets or unique spacing issues, custom cover plates can be ordered to fit over entire sections of backsplash. Stainless steel plates look modern and seamless. Get precise measurements and outlet placements for the best fit.

Be sure to only install covers meant for wet areas in kitchens and bathrooms. Avoid oversized covers that may tempt placing combustibles like towels on top.

How to Install Outlet Covers Over Backsplash

Once you have the right type of outlet covers for your backsplash situation, install them carefully by following these steps:

Turn Off Power

Shut off power to the outlet at the breaker box before beginning. Test with a voltage tester to be sure. Working on outlets that are live risks shocks.

Remove Old Cover Plate

Unscrew the screws on the edges of the old outlet cover using a Phillips head screwdriver. Carefully remove it to expose the outlets and wiring.

Clean Surface

Use a multi-surface cleaner and lint-free cloth to clean the area around the outlets. Remove any grime, grease or flaking paint for better cover adhesion.

Check Outlets

Examine the outlets for any signs of damage, chipping, burned spots or exposed wires. Replace any deteriorated outlets completely before installing new covers.

Measure Space

Use a tape measure to gauge the available space between outlets, orientation (vertical/horizontal), and height from countertop. Compare to new covers to verify fit.

Install New Covers

Screw on the new outlet covers using the screw holes on the edges of the plate. Make any minor adjustments needed for proper positioning.

Test Fit

Check that the cover fits snugly without gaps, does not impede plug insertion, and has appropriate room from the counter. Modify if needed before finalizing.

Restore Power

With the new covers secured in place correctly, turn power back on at the breaker box. Test the outlet function with a lamp or other appliance.

Verify Code Compliance

Ensure the new outlet covers do not pose any electrical code violations. Adjust as required by regulations.

Following these simple installation steps properly will allow you to safely convert outlets over backsplash into well-covered fixtures. Check occasionally to keep covers secure.

Common Questions about Outlet Covers Over Backsplash

Many homeowners have additional questions when it comes to addressing outlets positioned over backsplash surfaces:

Can I just leave the outlets exposed?

It is not recommended to leave outlets uncovered over backsplashes, especially by sinks. Exposure to water and steam can damage the outlets over time. Proper covers protect users from shocks and create a cleaner look.

Do the covers need to be GFCI?

For standard backsplash areas, typical waterproof outlet covers will suffice. For outlets within 6 feet of a water source like a sink, GFCI outlets or covers are required by code. Consult an electrician if unsure.

What about outlets over tile backsplash?

Outlets positioned on tile backsplashes just require some moisture-proofing and matching the cover plate size to the tile spacing. The covers can attach right over the tile. Extending the outlets through the tile is an option too.

Can I paint the outlet covers to match my backsplash?

Metal or plastic outlet covers can be spray-painted to blend with customized backsplash tile colors and patterns. Use high-quality spray paint formulated for metal or plastic material and avoid spraying near outlet’s electrical components.

Should outlet covers be caulked?

Typically caulking is not necessary for backsplash outlet covers if secured correctly and no gaps exist. Caulk can help seal covers on tile backsplashes or above sinks as an extra moisture barrier if desired.

How do I remove old painted-over outlet covers?

Use a utility knife to score the edges of old painted covers. Slowly work a flathead screwdriver under the edges and gently pry and wiggle the cover free. Take care not to damage the drywall. Use paint solvent on screws.

Finding solutions for covering outlets over backsplashes may take some time and trial-and-error. But properly addressing these unsightly fixtures will be worth the effort for an improved, safer, and more beautiful kitchen or bathroom.


Dealing with electrical outlets positioned over backsplash areas poses functional and aesthetic challenges. With some planning and the right outlet cover choices, these fixtures can be converted from eyesores into assets that enhance the space. Assess your existing outlets, choose covers made for wet areas, and install them securely. Special care should be taken for outlets by sinks to meet codes. Custom or creative covers can transform the look. With a bit of effort, it is possible to put outlet covers over backsplash in a safe and visually pleasing manner.