How to Install Peel and Stick Tiles Like a Pro

One of the many eyesores in my kitchen was the Caledonia granite backsplash and matching countertops. While I think having the same backsplash and countertops look stunning with certain stone slabs, all that grey speckled granite on my walls AND counters just looked dated and bleah.

This is totally “meah,” right?

To break up the monotony, the simplest and cheapest way for me to update it was placing peel and stick tiles over it. (This hurt me, knowing how expensive granite is. And now COVERING it? Tsk.)

What are peel and stick tiles?

The tiles are essentially self-adhesive, water resistant sticker sheets measuring a square foot each (12 inches by 12 inches). They’re relatively easy to remove so this is a great solution for renters or those looking for a temporary and affordable upgrade like me.

I sourced a couple different brands and ultimately went with a black subway tile from Tic Tac Tiles. A box of 10 costs $40.

How easy is this DIY?

On a scale of 1 (hanging a framed art piece) to 10 (building a dresser), it’s a 3.5.

This is on par with hanging wallpaper, if not easier, because the product is much smaller and easier to handle. If you like puzzles or Tetris, you will LOVE this project.

I spent a couple of afternoons installing the tiles, and these are best practices I picked up.

Recommended tools

Degreasing spray
Optional: White paint pen (medium tip)

Clean the surface before hanging

I used an all-in-one degreasing spray, knowing that oil and liquids have landed on the granite backsplash at some point in time. Giving the walls a good scrub ensures that the tiles are sticking directly on the wall and not on dirt or oil.

The tiles on the left show the original grout lines. The ones on the right have been painted.

Consider painting the grout lines

Unfortunately, the black subway tiles come with light grey grout lines. I used a white paint pen with a medium tip to color over the existing lines to make the grout pop more. (It took me about one Netflix movie to color 30 tiles.)

Cut the tiles before hanging

A ruler is your best friend during this process. Measure and remeasure before cutting the tiles, especially if you live in an old house like me and have uneven walls. When cutting around outlets, double check your work and confirm you’re cutting from the correct side of the tile.

Consider cutting out the “overlap here” squares

I understand Tic Tac Tiles is trying to make the installation process a bit easier for us to match the tile pieces together with the “overlap” squares, but I cut them out to ensure that EVERY inch of each tile sticker is attaching directly on the wall.

You can see in the middle where I had to Frankenstein the tiles together so the sticker sheets would meet.

Start only on one end of the room

I made the mistake of starting from both ends of the room, and guess what? When I met the tiles in the middle, they wouldn’t match up properly and I had to Frankenstein individual tiles together. (Fortunately, where I really botched things is hidden by a dish rack.)

Peel only a few inches off the top of the backing first

Like peelable wallpaper, only peel off 3-4 inches off the top of the sticker sheet at first. Carefully attach it straight onto the wall before removing the backing off the remainder of the tile and smoothing it out downward with your hand.

Sticker remnants were used to cover the edges of the existing granite backsplash.

Don’t throw away any tiles

I hate wasting product, so I saved all the cut tile remnants as I was moving along. I used the leftover remnants to fill in holes and to cover the sides and tops of the existing granite backsplash.

In total, I used exactly 35 sheets of tiles. I’m really pleased with the outcome thus far, and hope the product withstands the limited times I spend cooking in the kitchen. Fingers crossed!

Do you have any experience with peel and stick backsplash?

Before (above) and After (below).
Before (above) and after (below).

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