Install a Peel-and-Stick Backsplash in 6 Steps

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated January 28, 2022
Big kitchen blue cabinet family table kid mom window
Photo: LUMINA IMAGES / Adobe Stock

Peel-and-stick your way to a fresh look

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Sometimes it’s just time to spice up your interior design, and installing a peel-and-stick backsplash is the perfect way to transform your kitchen. This is a doable project for almost any homeowner, and you won’t break the bank. If you’re looking for a fun DIY afternoon, you might be ready to peel-and-stick. 

You can save time, money, and hassle by opting for peel-and-stick backsplash tiles. The average cost to install a kitchen backsplash is about $15 to $40 per square foot, while peel-and-stick backsplash tiles start at about $4 per square foot and go as high as $30 per square foot, depending on the tile material. Keep in mind that peel-and-stick tiles are not as durable as traditional tiles.

Difficulty: 2/5 Saturday skill builder

Time to Complete: 1 hour What You’ll Need:

Tools 

  • Ruler

  • Tape measure 

  • Scissors or box cutter 

  • Screwdriver

  • Towel or cloth

  • Saw or angle grinder (if using glass or ceramic tiles)

  • Pencil or pen

Supplies 

  • Peel-and-stick tile

  • Cleaning solution

How to Install a Peel-and-Stick Backsplash

Green pattern tile kitchen countertop
Photo: Ivan / Adobe Stock

By following the instructions below, you can have a brand-new backsplash by the end of the day. 

1. Pick a Design

When using a peel-and-stick backsplash, you can embrace your creative freedom since there are several types of designs to choose from. Everyone has their own creative process—you might look to social media or your friends for inspiration. 

Even if you have a vision in mind, you should weigh your options because there are many imaginative ways to design your backsplash. For instance, you can opt for a simple brick design or try something fun like scallops or hexagons. 

You’ll also want to consider the type of backsplash material—there is a variety of materials you can use, such as vinyl, ceramic, glass, and metal. Just be sure to purchase a sufficient amount for the square footage of your project and a little extra to be safe. 

2. Cut the Tiles

Peel-and-stick tiles come in sheets. Some are interlocking and don’t require you to cut every piece, while you’ll have to cut others into individual tiles or pieces. If you have any doubt, refer to the instructions that came with the tiles. 

The tool you’ll need to cut the tiles will vary based on the tile material. For instance, you might be able to cut the tile with a box cutter and ruler (for a straightedge). Most of the time, scissors are sufficient for cutting vinyl peel-and-stick tiles. For more robust materials like glass or ceramic, you’ll need an angle grinder. 

You’ll need to cut tile pieces to fit neatly around any outlets, windows, or cupboards. To make it easier, measure the space and then cut the tile according to the measurements. 

3. Prep the Backsplash

Before you get going on the installation, be sure to turn off the power if you’re working close to electrical outlets. You’ll need to clean the backsplash—with a cleaner or water and soap and a cloth—and remove any outlet covers using a screwdriver. Make sure you let the backsplash fully dry before applying your peel-and-stick tiles.

4. Pick a Starting Point

It’s almost time to start tiling! First, pick a starting point on one side of the backsplash. Work from the bottom up and be consistent, so your tiles line up. 

Make it easy for yourself by using a ruler and pencil to mark on the wall where each tile will go before you start sticking. You may need to cut a straightedge on the tiles on each side of the backsplash to line up with the wall. 

5. Peel Off and Apply Tiles

Once you pinpoint your starting place, it’s time to start sticking tiles. All you need to do is peel the paper off the back of each piece and then place the tile onto the backsplash. Press on the tiles firmly—you can use a credit card to press across and remove air bubbles—and make sure they fully adhere to the wall.

Make sure to hold the tile by the edges so your fingers don’t stick to the backing. Keep the sticky side away from any surface other than the one where you’re installing the tiles. 

6. Seal the Backsplash

If you want to show your backsplash some TLC, add a sealant to protect the tiles from water damage. Research the specific type of tile you’re using to determine which sealer is best. If you’d rather leave the application process to a pro, call a handyperson or a local tile installer to assist with your backsplash makeover.

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