How to Install Your Own Stainless Steel Backsplash Sheet

Posted on: 06-09-2022

***These are TIPS provided to help simply the installation of backsplashes that do not have mounting holes. The installation outcome is YOUR responsibility. If you have ANY hesitations about doing this yourself, please consult a contractor, tile installer, or handyman. Read these tips ALL the way through PRIOR to installation so you can adequately prepare.***

In the past couple of decades, stainless steel has become one of the most popular options available for appliances, and just about anywhere a clean, shiny, durable space is required. People have even started using the stuff in their home kitchens to add masses of appeal, increase the resale value, all while making sure that cleanliness is a top priority. After all, there is no paint to wear off and it won't rust.

Here are our TIPS to help make your life easier. We are not responsible for the individual outcome of your installation. That is your responsibility, as each and every one is different. The first thing to do when receiving a backsplash by mail is to check for shipping damage or other defect.

Pre-flight Warmup

Make sure your RTV Silicone or Fast-Grab Construction Adhesive is at room temperature for a couple hours beforehand to ensure the product flows more easily, and to ensure it spreads. Adhesive that's too cold may not spread, resulting in unsightly ridges or bumps on the front of your backsplash.

Double check that you have all the necessary supplies and tools BEFORE you start the actual installation process. The outcome will be that much better, and you won't be scrambling while trying to hold something in place. Double check measurements, including any custom cutting such as around cabinets, placement of outlets, light switches, etc.

Removal of The PVC Protective Film

All backsplash panels arrive with a protective PVC film on the finished side to ensure there is no scratching during fabrication, shipping, and installation.

The film should be removed AFTER installation to ensure you have a perfect surface. Having said that, keep these pointers in mind.

One of the easiest methods to remove the film is to start at a corner and work your way across. Do NOT pull directly away from the backsplash at a right angle. Rather, remove the film by pulling parallel with the backsplash.

If you have a hemmed piece, It's recommended that you peel the film from the back of the hems to ensure you can remove the rest of it after installation. If you mount the backsplash without having done so, clean removal of the film is going to be very difficult.

If you have mounting holes, you can mount the backsplash, and as you remove the film, simply loosen each screw as you get to it. Re-tighten once your past the screw and have cleanly removed the film.

Preparing The Installation Surface

Be sure to turn off ALL breakers supplying electricity to switches and outlets on the wall where you'll be applying the stainless backsplash. To check whether an outlet or light switch is still live, I use a Fluke 1AC A1 II or equivalent voltage detector. You simply hold the tester against a outlet or light switch and it will light up and beep if there is still live voltage present.

If you have outlets where the backsplash is to be mounted, remove the 6-32 screws that attach the wall plates to the outlet(s) and light switch(es) with a flat head screwdriver, and remove the wall plates. In some cases you may need to either tap the plate or use the flat screwdriver to loosen them as they can become stuck on over time.

Depending on how clean everything is, you'll need to use a detergent or even something stronger to get the wall clean. I prefer Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner, and you can purchase a bottle on the Simple Green website for under $6. Make sure all traces of detergent have either been rinsed or wiped off, as it will keep adhesive from sticking.

Ensure the wall is sound and that any drywall or tiles aren't excessively broken or crumbled as this will interfere with the adhesive. Smaller holes are fine as a 22 gauge backsplash is sturdy enough to cover a hole up to a couple of inches in diameter. Also make sure the wall is FLAT to ensure the backsplash panel installs FLAT. If necessary use drywall compound or grout to level it. Sand with at least 100-grit sandpaper to remove any ridges or bumps and to provide a rough surface for better adhesion. Once you have prepared and sanded the wall surface, you're almost ready to apply adhesive.

Wipe the wall with a damp cloth to remove any dust and let it dry a few minutes. This is obviously important so don't skip this step. A layer of dust will keep the silicone, tape, contact cement, or construction adhesive from sticking as it should.

If possible, fasten a short wooden block to the wall at the lower edge of where the backsplash sheet will be located to act as a temporary shelf for the backsplash to rest on. Then, position the sheet where it will be permanently located and make light pencil marks on the wall at the sides and top of the backsplash to aid with alignment when mounting. Believe me, this step will simplify your life and ensure the installation goes more smoothly.

Mounting Your Backsplash

At this point you should have a prepared surface and can proceed with the actual installation process. Remember that adhesive or silicone you were warming up? Well, make sure to have it at hand now.

Ordered with Mounting Tape: If you ordered your backsplash with the mounting tape, you need to apply an RTV Silicone Adhesive in addition to the tape. Apply a bead 1/2" away from the perimeter tape, toward the inside. Also, apply a vertical bead every 3", making sure to stay 1/2" away from any vertical strips of mounting tape. NOTE: Do NOT make a silicone or adhesive bead that is larger than 1/4" as you'll have trouble applying enough pressure on the sheet to spread out the adhesive or silicone underneath. An excessively large bead can leave ripples and bumps in the sheet.

Ordered without Mounting Tape: Apply your silicone or construction adhesive around the perimeter, being careful to stay 1/2" from the edge. Apply vertical beads of silicone or adhesive every 3".

At this point If you fastened a block to the wall, simply rest the bottom edge of the sheet on it and hold the stainless steel sheet at an angle so only the bottom edge of the sheet contacts the wall. Also make sure any cutouts in the stainless steel sheet line up with your toggle switches, electrical outlets, and anything else. Tilt the sheet toward the wall until the entire sheet is against the wall.

Regardless of whether you used mounting tape, silicone, or construction adhesive, tape the stainless steel sheet into place with 10" long pieces of 2" painters tape every 6". Use Scotchblue™, Painters Mate™, or something equivalent. Then, using both palms, apply pressure (STRAIGHT ON so the sheet doesn't slide) over the entire surface of the sheet to help the adhesive stick better. This may take a few minutes but is well worth the effort, and helps ensure the backsplash doesn't fall off the wall later. You can also use a 4" roller to ensure complete adhesive contact. The tape should be left on for 24 hours.

Once the tape has been applied for 24 hours you may remove it and the temporary wooden block used for mounting. The backsplash should now be securely mounted.

Material List

  • Electrical tester (Fluke 1AC A1 II or equivalent)
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Grease-cutting cleaner (Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner or equivalent)
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Scrub brush
  • Old towels
  • Old rags
  • Paper towels
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Caulk gun with clear RTV Silicone Adhesive
  • phillips screwdriver
  • 2" Scotchblue painters masking tape or equivalent

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