How to Install Decorative Plastic Backsplash Panels

Written by larry simmons
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How to Install Decorative Plastic Backsplash Panels
Plastic backsplash panels can mimic many surfaces, including tin. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Decorative plastic backsplash panels are a cost-effective alternative if you're looking to install a backsplash to protect your walls and add to the look of a room without the cost of expensive tin or ceramic tile. The panels come in a large variety of styles and colours and are easy to cut and install. There's no need for large amounts of adhesive, and once in place the plastic is easily maintained, with a washable surface that resists moisture and staining.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • pH-neutral cleanser
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Degreaser
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Plastic panels
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Double-sided tape

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  1. 1

    Shut off the electricity from the home's main circuit breaker panel to the wall outlets where you're installing the backsplash panels.

  2. 2

    Clean the surface of the wall thoroughly using a pH-neutral cleanser. Use a sponge to remove light dirt and debris, and a scrub brush to remove any ingrained dirt. Use a degreaser if the surface contains tough-to-remove oil.

  3. 3

    Remove the wall plates surrounding electrical sockets and switches using a screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Create a test layout using the panels against the backsplash area. Arrange the panels so that as many full panels as possible are used in the backsplash pattern. Partial panels should be located to the sides or bottom of the pattern where they will be less noticeable. Mark the centre of the backsplash area on the wall with a pencil as a guide for placing your first plastic panel.

  5. 5

    Measure the backsplash space and cut the partial panels as needed. Mark the cutting line on the panel with a marker using a straightedge. Cut the panel along the marked line with a utility knife.

  6. 6

    Test the panel pattern on the wall by holding the panels in place and marking the edges. Make any adjustment cuts necessary before placing the panels permanently onto the wall. Mark outlet locations and cut small holes in the panels with a utility knife.

  7. 7

    Place strips of double-sided tape along the wall for each row of backsplash panels. Use three strips of the tape, one placed at the panel base, one at the top of the panel, and the third along the centre of the panel row.

  8. 8

    Place the panels onto the walls using the marks made during the test fitting as guides. Remove the paper backing on the double-sided tape and press the plastic panel firmly into place using the tape as an adhesive. Remove the plastic film from the front of the panel after placement.

  9. 9

    Add an additional strip of tape along the edge of the joint where separate panels meet. Place the tape onto the bottom panel joint edge, remove the protective paper and then press the overlapping edge of the next panel over the tape, holding it in place and continuing the panel patterns. When overlapping four panels, cut a notch on two of the overlapping corners to keep the panels from forming a bump due to the extended height of the overlapping area. Cover the entire wall, extending the outlet holes where needed by cutting the small holes outward to the edges of the outlets.

  10. 10

    Slide a piece of J-trim onto the exposed cut edges of the panels at the edge of the panelled surface to create a smooth finished transition between the backsplash panel and adjacent surfaces.

  11. 11

    Replace the outlet covers and then restore the electricity to the outlets.

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