How to Apply a Peel & Stick Backsplash for the Kitchen


A peel and stick backsplash can be a quick, easy, and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. These backsplashes come in a wide variety of materials, textures, colors, and patterns, allowing you to customize your space. Installing a peel and stick backsplash is a DIY-friendly project that can be completed in a weekend. With the right preparation and techniques, you can achieve a seamless look that appears professionally installed. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to apply a peel and stick backsplash for your kitchen.

Choose the Right Peel and Stick Backsplash for Your Kitchen

When selecting a peel and stick backsplash, consider the overall aesthetic you want for your kitchen. Here are some popular options:

Tile-Look Backsplashes

  • These mimic the look of real ceramic or stone tiles in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Great for achieving a tiled look without the hassle of grout.
  • Materials like vinyl and PVC are waterproof and designed to resist stains.
  • Many tile patterns available such as subway, hexagon, marble, and more.

Stone-Look Backsplashes

  • Replicate the beauty of natural stone like marble, travertine, slate, and onyx.
  • Mosaics are a popular stone-look choice, providing dimension and texture.
  • Metallic finishes are also available for a glamorous accent wall.

Wood-Look Backsplashes

  • Offer the warmth and character of real wood in easy-to-install planks.
  • Materials like plastic and PVC have the look of woodgrain with more durability.
  • Good choice for rustic, farmhouse, or minimalist designs.

Abstract and Geometric Patterns

  • Graphic prints and shapes for a modern, eye-catching statement.
  • Consider chevron, herringbone, arabesque, or moroccan designs.
  • Bold colors and metallics create an edgy, contemporary vibe.

No matter your design sensibilities, there is a peel and stick backsplash to match. Be sure to choose one that fits with your cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and overall decor.

How to Measure for a Peel and Stick Backsplash

Proper measuring ensures you purchase the right amount of backsplash material needed to cover your wall space. Here are some tips for measuring peel and stick backsplash:

  • Clear the area – Remove anything on the backsplash area to allow for accurate measurements.
  • Measure width – Note the length of the backsplash area from one end to the other in inches. Include sections behind appliances.
  • Measure height – Measure from counter to ceiling to get the total height. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches above counter.
  • Account for outlets and switches – Measure around any outlets, switches, or obstructions to account for cutting.
  • Multiply measurements – Multiple width by height for the total square footage.
  • Add 10% more – Order 10% extra to allow for mistakes, trimming, and pattern matching.

Make sure to measure carefully and precisely for the most accurate yardage. Consider making a detailed sketch of the backsplash area with measurements for reference. Having extra material is better than not having enough.

Prep the Backsplash Area for Installation

Proper prep work is crucial for ensuring your peel and stick backsplash adheres properly and looks seamless. Here are some tips:

Clean the Surface

Soap and water is effective for removing grease and daily grime. For deeper cleaning, use a degreaser. Rinse thoroughly and let dry completely.

Remove Old Backsplash

If replacing an existing backsplash, remove the old one completely with a putty knife or scraper tool.

Fill Any Holes or Imperfections

Use a spackling paste to fill any holes, cracks, or uneven areas for a smooth surface. Sand and wipe away excess.

Prime the Walls

Applying painter’s tape along the edges and priming creates the best base for adhesion. Use a high-quality primer.

Gather Tools and Materials

Have ready a tape measure, utility knife, level, adhesive, smoother, gloves, and painter’s tape.

Proper prep removes debris, smoothes imperfections, and creates a uniform surface profile. Take your time to get the area ready for installation.

How to Cut Peel and Stick Backsplash

Cutting the peel and stick material accurately is important for proper fitting and alignment. Follow these tips for making straight, clean cuts:

  • Use a sharp utility knife and steady straightedge as a guide. Many materials can also be scored and snapped.
  • For outlet cutouts, carefully trace the shape and cut with the utility knife. File edges smooth.
  • For corners and edges, lay material in place and trim as needed for a precise custom fit.
  • Take care when cutting near countertops, cabinets, and appliances. Leave small gaps for expansion.
  • Use touch-up paint or finishes to cover any cut edges that expose unfinished material.
  • Work slowly and make shallow cuts in multiple passes for the cleanest edge.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation when cutting in enclosed areas. Outdoors is ideal.

Avoid forcing or tearing the material which can cause cracks or uneven seams. Take your time and change utility knife blades frequently for best results.

How to Adhere Peel and Stick Backsplash

Follow these tips for properly adhering the backsplash material to the wall:

  • Thoroughly read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.
  • Start in a corner or less visible area in case of mistakes. Dry fit first before removing adhesive backing.
  • Use a hard plastic smoother to apply even pressure across the entire surface to maximize adhesion. Remove air pockets.
  • Use painter’s tape strips to hold pieces in place until fully set if needed. Remove tape slowly.
  • For tile patterns, carefully align grout lines for a seamless look. Wipe away excess adhesive along grout lines.
  • Apply firm pressure from the center outwards to edges to create a strong bond and reduce lifting.
  • Use a utility knife to trim edges and seams for flush alignment between pieces.
  • Allow at least 24-48 hours drying time before cleaning, sealing, or using the backsplash.

Take your time when applying the adhesive backsplash and ensure proper pressure is applied over the entire surface area for optimal adhesion and visual appeal.

How to Finish Peel and Stick Backsplash Edges

Finishing the edges of the newly installed peel and stick backsplash creates a polished, seamless look:

  • If gaps are visible, use a silicone sealant that matches the color of the grout or backsplash. Let dry completely.
  • Run a bead of clear silicone caulk along where the backsplash meets the countertop to prevent water intrusion.
  • Use caulk to fill around outlets, corners, seams, and trim for impermeable protection.
  • For a tile backsplash, purchase matching acrylic grout or caulk and apply neatly into the grout lines. Wipe away excess.
  • Cut trim pieces to size and adhere around edges and openings for a finished look. Consider bullnose trim for rounded edges.
  • Paint any exposed edges with a coordinating color to blend seamlessly with cabinets or walls.
  • If lifting occurs over time, carefully run a thin bead of construction adhesive or caulk along the problem spot and firmly press the material back into place.

Take time smoothing caulk and grout lines for a polished look. The finishing touches help the backsplash appear professionally installed and integrated into your kitchen design.

Cleaning and Caring for Peel and Stick Backsplash

Peel and stick backsplashes are designed to be low maintenance, but proper cleaning maintains their attractive appearance:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for approved cleaning methods. Harsh chemicals may damage certain materials.
  • For routine cleaning, wipe down with a soft sponge or cloth and a mild soap and water solution. Rinse off soap residue.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners, scrubbing pads, or anything that can scratch or discolor the backsplash over time.
  • Be extra careful around cut-outs for outlets and around edges and seams which are vulnerable.
  • Immediately clean up any food, grease or oil splatter to prevent staining. Soft scrub cleaners can help remove stuck-on messes.
  • Reapply caulk or grout if cracks appear. Loose edges can be resecured with adhesive.
  • Protect the backsplash when doing other work in the kitchen to prevent inadvertent damage.

With proper care and cleaning, a peel and stick backsplash will maintain its high-quality appearance and water resistance for many years of daily use.

FAQs About Applying Peel and Stick Backsplash

Does a peel and stick backsplash look cheap?

Peel and stick backsplash materials have improved tremendously in recent years. When high quality materials like ceramic tile, stone, or metal are used and properly installed, results can look very comparable to traditional backsplashes. Taking care with alignment, seams, and edges makes a big difference in appearance.

How do I make seams invisible on peel and stick backsplash?

Carefully align patterns and grout lines when applying adhesive backsplash to make seams less visible. Use a seam roller or silicone sealing compound to flatten seams. Trim edges with a sharp utility knife for a tighter fit. Finish with caulk or grout that matches the backsplash color. Take time with alignment and finishing for invisible seams.

Can you put peel and stick backsplash directly over existing tile?

It is not generally recommended to install peel and stick backsplashes directly over existing tile. The grout lines and texture will likely still show through. It is best to completely remove old tile, smooth the wall, and prime before applying the new backsplash. Some adhesives may work on existing tile, but results are not ideal.

How long does peel and stick backsplash last?

Quality peel and stick backsplash materials typically last 3-5 years or longer with proper installation, care, and cleaning. Vinyl options last the longest. Exposure to moisture, grease, and frequent cleaning shortens lifespan. Avoid cheap, thin materials and improper installation. Inspect routinely for loosening edges or damage and make repairs as needed.

Can you put peel and stick backsplash in bathroom?

Most peel and stick backsplash products can be installed in bathrooms since they are waterproof and mold/mildew resistant. However, bathroom walls tend to get more wetness so select a vinyl material rated for bathroom use. Avoid porous papers or woods. Make sure surface and edges are completely sealed with caulk. Clean frequently to prevent soap scum buildup. Allow to dry completely between showers.


Applying a peel and stick backsplash is an approachable DIY project that can completely transform the look of a kitchen. With some careful planning, prep work, precise cutting, proper adhesion, and finishing touches, you can achieve a designer-quality backsplash in your home. A peel and stick backsplash allows you to experiment with fun colors, patterns, textures, and designs. Just be sure to thoroughly research materials, follow manufacturer guidelines, and take your time during installation for lasting results. With a bit of skill and effort, you can enjoy a stylish new backsplash that appears seamlessly custom.