Stainless steel backsplashes are a popular choice for modern kitchens. A stainless steel backsplash can add a sleek, clean look to your cooking space while also being durable, easy to clean, and resistant to heat and stains. When shopping for stainless steel backsplash, there are a few key factors to consider so you can find the right product for your needs and budget. This guide will cover everything you need to know about where to buy stainless steel backsplash.
Purchasing Stainless Steel Backsplash Panels
One of the easiest ways to install a stainless steel backsplash is by using prefabricated backsplash panels. These come in standard sizes, typically ranging from 4 to 10 feet long and 6 to 18 inches tall. The panels have an adhesive backing so they can be applied directly to the wall. Here are some good places to purchase stainless steel backsplash panels:
Home Improvement Stores
Big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes typically have a decent selection of stainless steel backsplash panels in various finishes and designs. You can buy them individually or in multi-panel packs. The prices are reasonable, often starting under $50 for a 4 foot panel. The advantage of home stores is you can see the products in person before purchasing.
Kitchen & Bath Showrooms
Specialty kitchen and bath showrooms carry higher end options when it comes to metal backsplashes. You’ll find quality name brands like MSI, Smart Tiles, Artisan Manufacturing, and Backsplash.com sold in these showrooms. The products are often thicker gauges of stainless steel with commercial grade finishes. You’ll pay more than the home stores but get quality that will last.
There are many online retailers that specialize in selling backsplash panels. Some popular options include Backsplash.com, Backsplash Outlet, Backsplashes.com, and Kitchen Backsplash Tile Outlet. You’ll find a huge assortment of stainless panels in different metal types, finishes, designs, and sizes. Ordering online gives you more options to choose from and affordable pricing, often lower than big box stores. Just be aware of shipping costs.
Buying Stainless Steel Backsplash Tile
In addition to full panels, you can also install a stainless steel backsplash using individual metal tiles. Backsplash tiles allow you to create customized designs. Here are good options for purchasing stainless steel backsplash tile:
Visit any floor and wall tile store and you’re likely to find metal backsplash tiles inventory. These tile-focused retailers offer a nice selection of stainless steel and other metal tiles from brands like Daltile, Mercury Mosaics, MSI, and Emser. You can see and feel the tiles in person. Check the thickness – aim for at least 24 ga. The pricing per square foot is reasonable, typically between $15-30.
Metal Tile Manufacturers
Buying directly from metal tile brands like MetroDeco, Ivy Hill, and Estoria gives you the best selection but at premium prices. Expect to pay $25-50+ per square foot for high end, thick gauge tiles from these manufacturers. The advantage is access to exclusive designs and finishes. Check for minimum order requirements.
Online Metal Tile Stores
There are several good online retailers that focus specifically on metal backsplash tiles in stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum. Top options include Subway Ceramics, Tilebar, and Backsplash.com. You’ll find a wider variety of metal tile styles and brands compared to local brick-and-mortar tile stores. Be sure to factor in shipping costs in your budget.
Sheet Stainless Steel for Backsplashes
For a seamless look, you can purchase stainless steel in larger sheets and have it custom cut to size. Check these places for stainless sheet metal:
Metal Supply Companies
Local metal supply retailers like MetalsDepot and regional suppliers sell stainless steel sheets for wholesale. You can buy 304 or 316 grade stainless steel sheets to be fabricated for backsplash use. The sheets come in various finishes and standard sizes up to 4×10 feet. Expect to pay $75-100+ per sheet.
Some hardware stores like Ace Hardware and True Value carry smaller 12×12″ stainless sheets that work well for simple DIY backsplash fabrication. This lets you avoid buying large-format sheets. Just note that the metal thickness is thinner, usually 20 ga or less. Prices start around $15-25 per sheet.
Online Metals Retailers
Buying stainless steel sheets online gives you lots of size options beyond what local home stores carry. Top recommended online metal suppliers include OnlineMetals.com, MidwestSteelSupply, and MetalSupermarkets. Expect to pay $50-150 for a stainless sheet 1-4 feet wide. Shipping costs are the main downside.
Designer & Custom Stainless Backsplashes
If you want a completely unique stainless steel backsplash designed to your specifications, consider these made-to-order options:
Local metal fabrication shops can custom cut and form stainless steel backsplash panels or tiles to your exact size and design needs. You provide them with the sheet metal and specs. Expect to pay $200-500+ for fabrication. The result is a one-of-a-kind backsplash.
Etsy Metalwork Shops
Skilled metalworkers on Etsy sell handmade stainless steel backsplashes in fully customized designs. The products are high end specialty pieces with premium pricing starting around $500+, but they enable a truly custom backsplash. Communicate your needs with the shop.
Hire an experienced kitchen contractor or designer to create a fully custom stainless backsplash design for your space. They can fabricate something from scratch to match your kitchen layout and style needs. This is the most expensive option but yields professional, cohesive results.
Factors To Consider When Buying
Here are key factors to keep in mind when shopping for stainless steel backsplash:
- Grade – 304 or 316 stainless steel are the best grades for backsplash use. 304 is the most common – 316 has a bit higher corrosion resistance if you plan to use harsh cleaners.
- Finish – Consider polished, brushed, metallic, or hammered finishes based on your style preferences. Finishes hide fingerprints and marks differently.
- Thickness – For panels, aim for at least 22 ga (0.8mm) thickness. For tiles, 20 ga (1mm) or thicker is best. Thicker metals hold up better over time.
- Dimensions – Measure your backsplash area carefully to determine the size panels or tiles you need. Leave room to trim pieces as needed.
- Design – Panels offer clean, uniform look. Tiles allow you to create patterns and customized looks. Evaluate which option best suits your kitchen.
- Adhesive – Use a high quality adhesive designed for metal backsplash. This ensures strong bond to wall and avoiding future loose tiles or panels.
How Much Does Stainless Steel Backsplash Cost?
Stainless steel backsplash offers style and durability at a reasonable cost. Here are rough price estimates:
- Stainless panels: starting at $50-100 per 4 foot panel
- Stainless tiles: $5-10 per sq. ft. for materials
- Sheet stainless formed into backsplash: $50-150 for materials
- Professional fabrication and installation: $200-500+ for 10 sq. ft space
The total cost of your project will depend on the material you choose, how much surface area you need to cover, and whether you do the work yourself or hire it out. Expect a professionally installed stainless backsplash to cost $2000+ for a larger kitchen. Doing it yourself with panels or tiles saves thousands.
Where to Buy Stainless Steel Backsplash – Final Takeaways
To recap, the best places to buy quality stainless steel backsplash panels, tiles, or sheets include:
- Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes
- Kitchen & bath specialty showrooms
- Online specialty backsplash retailers
- Floor & wall tile stores
- Metal supply companies and hardware stores
- Etsy metalwork shops for custom pieces
Be sure to compare prices both online and locally. Measure your space carefully before purchasing materials. With smart shopping and proper planning, you can install a stunning and affordable stainless steel backsplash in your kitchen.
Stainless Steel Backsplash Styles & Design Ideas
Stainless steel makes for an extremely versatile backsplash material. A stainless backsplash can have a contemporary, rustic, or traditional look depending on the style you choose. This guide covers popular design ideas for stainless steel backsplashes to give your kitchen a stylish focal point.
Contemporary and Modern
Stainless steel has a distinctly modern, sleek look well-suited for contemporary kitchen designs. Here are contemporary backsplash ideas to try with stainless:
Polished or Brushed Finish
Go for a polished or straight brushed finish on the stainless for shiny modern look. This enhances the contemporary vibe versus textured patterns.
Vivid Accent Colors
Use vibrant glass, ceramic, or stone tiles in bold colors like fiery orange, cobalt blue, or acid green to accent the stainless backsplash. Vivid pops of color lend an edgy modern style.
Cut stainless tiles or sheets into triangular, diamond, hexagon, or rectangular shapes to create a mosaic with strong geometric appeal. Line them up in repeating patterns.
Leave “negative space” in the backsplash design to break up the stainless surface. Cut tiles into frames or perforated patterns so wall shows through for modern aesthetic.
Block Panel Layout
Use block style stainless panels stacked vertically for a grid-like look. Go for drama with oversized panels, or smaller panels for sleek high-end vibe.
Install LED lighting strips or pucks behind or within the stainless backsplash to add a futuristic vibe. This strongly reinforces the contemporary style.
Rustic and Farmhouse
Though industrial in nature, stainless can also achieve a “rustic chic” look with these design ideas:
Use a brushed, metallic, or hammered finish instead of polished for a less reflective surface. This imparts a distressed, timeworn look.
Stone and Wood Accents
Incorporate reclaimed wood boards, stone tiles, terra cotta, or brick as accents to add earthy character that plays off the stainless beautifully.
Tin Ceiling Tiles
Arrange metal tin ceiling tiles along with stainless tiles or panels for an appealing “salvaged” aesthetic. Great for farmhouse styled kitchens.
Choose antique blackened stainless steel with darkened gunmetal patina. This finish has an aged, weathered personality perfect for rustic spaces.
Use stainless tiles with visible “rivet” heads or a perforated pattern reminiscent of industrial/nautical metal. Add vintage personality.
Frame out large stainless panels with reclaimed wood beams. The mix of materials has a pleasing rustic-industrial vibe.
Traditional and Transitional
Contrary to common belief, stainless can suit traditional kitchen designs with the right approach:
A lightly textured finish like circular brushing helps stainless look less stark and clinical. It has more character for traditional spaces.
Creamy and Earthy Colors
Pair cream, beige, gray, and terracotta ceramic or porcelain tiles with stainless to soften the look. Avoid stark whites or bold colors.
Incorporate antique brass, bronze, pewter, or copper touches and hardware for a refined but not overly modern aesthetic.
Subway Tile Patterns
Use subway tile design in the accent tiles with a classic staggered brick layout. Combine with stainless for timeless transitional look.
Choose stainless tiles etched with delicate vine, floral, damask, etc. designs for ornamental flair. Designs offset the utilitarian vibe.
Affix antique tin signage, letters, or clips to add character. Just a touch imparts nostalgia.
Here are some budget-friendly tips for maximizing style with stainless steel backsplash:
- Use a mix of low-cost ceramic, porcelain, or glass mosaic tiles along with fewer pricier stainless tiles.
- Choose affordable brushed stainless panels from home improvement stores rather than pricey polished sheets.
- Install stainless only part way up the wall. Paint or do a ceramic tile ledge for the upper portion.
- Frame out panels with wood trim rather than running stainless across entire surface. Use trim to enhance the design aesthetic.
- Look for stainless tile remnants and cut-offs on Ebay, Etsy, Habitat ReStore to save money with smaller-scale project.
With careful product choices and creative design, a stunning stainless steel backsplash can be achieved even on a limited budget. Take advantage of stainless steel’s versatility to create a focal point that matches your kitchen’s style.
How to Install Stainless Steel Backsplash Tiles
Installing a stainless steel backsplash made of individual metal tiles allows you to create a fully custom look. Follow this step-by-step guide to properly install stainless steel backsplash tiles.
Tiling Prep Steps
Before you begin tiling, complete the following steps:
- Gather all materials and tools needed – tiles, adhesive, grout, spacers, tape measure, trowel, grout float, sponge, razor blades
- Thoroughly clean the backsplash installation area and remove existing wallpaper, tiles, or backsplash
- Inspect walls and repair any holes, cracks, or uneven surfaces so tiles can adhere properly
- Mark the center point of your backsplash area and use level laser lines to map out tile placement
- Plan your tile layout – stagger rows, work symmetrically outward from center, minimize small cut tiles on ends
How to Install Stainless Steel Tiles
Follow this process for proper stainless steel tile installation:
Step 1 – Apply Adhesive to Wall
Use a notched trowel to spread a thin, even layer of premium mastic adhesive designed for metal tiles onto about one square foot of wall surface at a time.
Step 2 – Press Tiles into Adhesive
Firmly press each stainless steel tile into the adhesive starting in the center according to your mapped layout. Use tile spacers between pieces for consistent grout line width.
Step 3 – Check Alignment
Periodically lift a tile and inspect to ensure at least 95% adhesive transfer to the back of the tile. Re-set any problem tiles. Remove spacers.
Step 4 – Grout the Tiles
Allow adhesive to fully cure for 24-48 hours. Mix grout per package instructions and apply over the tiles to fill joints. Let grout dry slightly then sponge away excess.
Step 5 – Polish and Seal
Use a soft cloth to polish off any remaining grout haze once dry. Apply grout sealant to protect grout lines and increase stain resistance.
Key Tips for Stainless Tile Installation
Follow these tips for a successful project:
- Clean tiles immediately if adhesive gets onto surface before it dries
- Use release tape on countertop edge for clean tile transitions
- Cut metal L-trim to finish raw tile edges and provide finished look
- Expect slight tile color variation and blend tiles from multiple boxes
- Take time spacing and aligning tiles – misaligned tiles cannot be adjusted once adhesive dries
- Seal grout to prevent staining and maintain a pristine appearance over time
Installing a stainless steel tile backsplash requires careful planning, precision, and patience. With the right process, your dramatic metal backsplash will turn out beautifully.
FAQs About Stainless Steel Backsplashes
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about stainless steel backsplash panels, tiles, installation, and maintenance:
What thickness of stainless steel is best for backsplash?
For backsplash panels, aim for at least 22 gauge steel, equivalent to 0.8mm thickness. For stainless tiles, 20 gauge or 1mm thickness is ideal. Thicker metals hold up better long term.
What stainless steel finish is most fingerprint resistant?
Brushed finish does the best job hiding fingerprints and smudges versus mirror-like polished stainless. A lightly textured brushed finish disguises marks and scratches.
Can you cut stainless steel backsplash with tin snips?
Aviation snips (or tin snips) work well for cutting and shaping thinner gauge stainless panels and tiles. Use fine-tooth snips for smoother cuts through metals.
Is it hard to drill holes in a stainless steel backsplash?
Use carbide drill bits specifically for metal when drilling stainless. Apply light pressure and lubricate the drill tip for easier hole drilling. Stainless is durable but drillable with the right tools.
Can you solder seams between stainless steel backsplash panels?
Yes, soldering is an option for joining seams between adjoining panels. Use solder filler rods formulated for stainless steel along with flux paste. Take care to avoid overheating and warping panels.
What’s the best way to clean stainless steel backsplash?
Use a specially formulated stainless steel cleaner and soft microfiber cloths to clean. Rub gently with the grain direction. Rinse any cleaning solution residue and dry thoroughly to prevent water marks. Avoid abrasive pads or sponges.
Will magnets stick to stainless steel backsplash?
Some types of stainless steel are magnetic. Try a fridge magnet to test if your backsplash holds. If not, use double-sided tape or adhesive magnet squares to hang items from the backsplash.