Does Peel And Stick Backsplash Damage Walls?

A backsplash can always add a touch of luxury to a room. If you're renting or looking to save some cash without a full renovation, peel and sticks could be a friend or foe. We've researched for you and looked into reviews to find out if peel and stick backsplashes will damage walls. 

Before installing a stackable backsplash to your wall, always check with your landlord. Peel and stick backsplashes do have the ability to damage certain walls. Because there is a strong adhesive on the back, the peel and stick may take off some paint if removed the wrong way. However, more high-end peel and stick materials will be less likely to cause damage.

With a range of materials from vinyl to stone, there are plenty of style options to best fit the room you're redecorating. There are a handful of things to keep in mind, such as the location's moisture content, the preexisting wall texture, and how much time you'd like to put into the project. We will go in-depth through each material available and where they'll work best. Peel and stick backsplashes are a great option for those looking for a quick fix on an outdated space.

A brand new kitchen interior with brown wooden cabinets, Does Peel And Stick Backsplash Damage Walls?

Do peel and stick tiles really work?

One of the fastest-growing easy install options for home renovations, peel and stick tiles will stick fast if applied correctly. It will take some patience to align everything correctly, but it will give you a pleasing result. These types of tiles do have one drawback; they do not fare well in high moisture and high heat areas. That means if you have a gas stove or get a little messy washing dishes, you might need to skip those areas.

Installation is on a beginner's level and can be achieved with the following tools: a sharp utility knife, laser level, and a tape measure. These tools will be able to work with the vinyl and gel sheets. However, if you're looking for a nicer finish, the metal and stone sheets are for you. On the upside, they will look more realistic; on the downside, you'll need more tools. Whenever you're dealing with thicker materials, you'll need heavy-duty tools such as a specialized cutter. Most home improvement stores have rentals available, so you don't have to purchase something you don't frequently use.

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What can peel and stick tile stick to?

The best surface for adhering to these tiles is a clean, smooth, and flat wall. If you have any sort of textured walls, the sticker's back won't be able to fully connect since it won't have the maximum grip. You'll need to do a little more work in terms of laying peel and stick over real tile.

Peel and stick sheets are rather thin, and if you lay them over a grout dip, it'll show through. To avoid this, fill out the grout lines and create a flush surface. Also, because there isn't real depth to the sheets' grout lines, those previous grout lines could end up looking tacky. You will also want to avoid placing peel and stick on freshly painted walls.

How do you prepare a wall for peel and stick backsplash?

Once you have the wall selected, and grout filled in if necessary, it's time to prep. To begin, you'll need a strong degreaser or a dish soap with a degreaser in it, a sponge, sanding paper, and freed schedule for one to two days. Start by washing the wall with a degreaser even if there isn't any visible grease; if the surface gets touched, there will be grease. Degreasing the surface ensures that the glue is sticking directly to the wall and nothing else.

Next, sand down any uneven bumps or previous spackle coverups. Vinyl and gel sheets can show larger blemishes underneath. Finally, let the wall dry. Give it a few good hours or even overnight if you aren't in a rush. As soon as the wall is dry, you'll be able to start applying your tile of choice.

Always measure twice and cut once. Use your ruler or level to create straight lines on the wall before application. Don't forget about electrical sockets and wonky corners. 

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Are peel and stick tiles waterproof?

When it comes to water, peel and sticks work best in minimum contact. This means that they are not meant for showers and, surprisingly, laundry rooms. The heat and steam from both of these rooms will cause the glue to loosen, and the sheets can curl at the edges. Since there is no real grout or thick finishing sealant around the edges, any water that gets behind the peel and stick will cause it to lose its efficiency. That's not to say you can't use them around your kitchen sink; you'll just have to be diligent in cleaning and drying the area.

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How long do peel and stick tiles last?

Depending on how well maintained the tiles are, peel and sticks can last for months or years. Maintenance includes regular wiping down and keeping it dry. It doesn't appear that the current sheets on the market are UV protected, which can lead to fading if your tiles receive a lot of sunlight. Wall areas near the stove will need to be watched carefully. Any type of sauce or grease that ends up on the tile will need to be cleaned as soon as possible. 

How do I remove the peel and stick tiles?

Here comes the tricky part, especially for renters. Peel and stick cannot be peeled off quickly. To remove, you will need to go slowly and use a directable heat source, such as a hairdryer. By first warming the stickers and gently peeling from the edges in, you'll be able to get a cleaner pull. The heat reactivates the adhesive and loosens the hardened glue from the surface.

Without adding heat to the process, you will end up tearing off the drywall and paint on the original surface. Unless you plan to repaint or retile, take your time removing peel and sticks.

How much peel and stick backsplash do I need?

How many sheets you need will depend on what space you'd like to update. Will it be one section of the kitchen or fully wrapping around? A good place to start would be drawing a birdseye view of the space and then taking measurements.

Measure the width and height of the wall and write it down in an easy-to-read manner. In case you have cabinets of different heights, mark these as different areas. This way, you'll be able to compare your measurements to the dimensions of the sheet instead of guessing while running back and forth to remeasure. Typical sheets are 12 inches by 12 inches, which equals one square foot. As a tip, always buy a few extra sheets as a backup for any miscuts.

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What types of peel and stick tiles are there?

One of the great aspects of peel and stick technology is that it's not just limited to vinyl material. While vinyl will be the most inexpensive option and the easiest to install, you run the risk of having a tacky finish if done too fast or improperly. Metal and stone varieties of peel and stick are the more expensive options, but if you're ready to put a little more sweat into it, you'll still come out below the cost of a professional contractor. 


Typically made out of PVC, vinyl sheets will be the most accessible and affordable option. Vinyl cuts the easiest, only requiring a sharp knife, but will need to be dried regularly. Sheets designed to look like tiles or bricks will only have the illusion of depth; there is no real surface texture.


Composed of metals and composite materials, metal peel and sticks have more dimension and strength to them. They still come in multiple color options, as well as varying sizes. They are installed the same as vinyl and can be cleaned with soapy water. The biggest difference is that metal sheets can only be cut with tin snips.


Made from natural stone, you'll be able to select from a handful of colors and textures. There is still no need for grout, but a clear silicone caulk may be used for extra protection. Tin snips are also required to trim these sheets to size. 

Final thoughts

Peel and stick backsplashes make a worthwhile improvement to your walls when done correctly. Since it has an adhesive backing, there's no need to worry about grout or applying mortar to hold it --plus, this can be completed in one weekend! Measuring twice and cutting once will save you from headaches down the road, especially if you're installing the more expensive material sheets. All in all, peel and sticks are a notable way to inexpensively upgrade your home.

Looking for more inspiration in your kitchen? Check out these articles:

17 Gorgeous Kitchens With Light Wood Cabinets

17 Awesome Kitchen Sink Ideas

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