14 Pros and Cons of Peel and Stick Tile Backsplash

One of the best home remodeling inventions of the last decade is the peel-and-stick backsplash. Most of the products are intended for use in the kitchen, but there are also some bathroom choices available at DIY stores and similar locations. It is an adhesive-backed square that mimics the look of tile, made from one of several different materials, that is incredibly easy to install. You don’t need to worry about any of the messy substances that occur when using the traditional products.

This product might be considered innovative, but there are some concerns about it looking cheap or tacking if someone is expecting the real thing. It can be an affordable investment if you choose the right peel-and-stick products. You might also discover that the final product lacks the same character as the real deal.

If you are in a position where your home would benefit from the installation of a new backsplash, then these are the pros and cons to consider when looking at peel-and-stick products.

List of the Pros of a Peel and Stick Backsplash

1. You have a wide variety of materials from which to choose.
When you decide that a peel-and-stick backsplash is the best option to choose for your kitchen’s needs, then there are a variety of different materials from which to choose. Tiles are made with metal, vinyl, glass, gel, or stone. Pricing begins at $8 for a set of eight panels with vinyl, or you can pay about $12-$20 per square foot for the other selections. If you opt for faux ceramic tiles made from three-dimensional gel, high-quality brands are charging between $6-$12 per piece for those items.

2. Renters can use this material because the items are removable.
If you cannot or do not want to install a permanent backsplash in your home, then the peel-and-stick design is the perfect solution. Because the material is removable, renters are typically not in violation of their lease when using this item. It may even help them to save some money because the product can protect the walls in the kitchen. Because there are several different pattern, color, and material options from which to choose, it is simple and easy to transform your space without risking a security deposit.

3. It is easier to install peel-and-stick items in your kitchen.
If you want to install regular tile for your backsplash, then you’d need grout, mortar, tile spacers, and plenty of other tools (not to mention time) to finish the installation. When you choose the peel-and-stick option, then all you need to do is measure your space and peel off the backing. Then the product sticks to your wall. Some products come with individual tiles, but you can also find options that include an entire sheet. If you want a quick upgrade that isn’t expensive, there aren’t many choices that meet the value definition of this product.

4. There is no discoloration over time when choosing this option.
If you choose to install a peel-and-stick backsplash using real materials, then there is no real risk of discoloration over time with this product. As long as you are taking good care of the materials over time, which includes regular cleaning and maintenance, then this weekend DIY project can provide years of dividends. Some vinyl options can struggle to provide this advantage, especially if it is an entry-level product, so it is helpful to invest as much as you can afford into the materials so that it feels like a renovation instead of a quick fix.

5. You can add depth to your kitchen or bathroom with this product.
One of the primary criticisms of peel-and-stick backsplash is that the product lacks depth or dimension once correctly installed. Although that issue may apply with many vinyl options, the items that use real materials will prevent the work from looking cheap or like your copping out on a project. They look and feel like a real tile, especially when you follow the correct installation procedures for them. Some items in this category might even raise the value of your property.

Try to shop for sales with the high-quality metals, glass, and ceramics for your peel-and-stick backsplash so that you can get a great deal that won’t break your budget.

6. It is easier to coordinate your interior design with the peel-and-stick option.
When you choose to create a peel-and-stick backsplash with real materials like stone, metal, or glass, then it is much easier to coordinate your interior design with high-end cabinets and appliances. The natural fade-resistance of this product will keep your spaces looking consistent so that your other investments won’t seem like they’re outshining the rest of the work. Consider this advantage if you already have the rest of your kitchen finished and need a backsplash in place to help coordinate the look.

7. Less demolition work is necessary with this backsplash.
When you have access to vinyl or real materials for your peel-and-stick backsplash, then there is less demolition work necessary to complete the project. Although you’ll still need to do some prep work, the adhesive can install over other materials with ease. This advantage also means that the product is easier to replace in the future when compared to the traditional mortar and grout used to install traditional tiles.

List of the Cons of a Peel and Stick Backsplash

1. It might look real, but peel-and-stick backsplashes are a convenience option.
Because you’re not installing real tile for your backsplash, the peel-and-stick option can sometimes make your kitchen upgrade look cheap. There are thin kits on the market right now that might give your walls some protection, but it will not provide you with the same depth that brick or tile would give you in the same situation.

2. Peel-and-stick tile can be just as expensive as regular tile.
If you want to install an option that has depth and character in your kitchen, then the high-quality peel-and-stick tiles are going to cost you up to $20 per square foot. Once you hit that price range, you’re not really saving any money on the product compared to permanent brick or tile. That means you pay for the convenience and ease of installation unless you’re choosing a cheaper option which may not meet your full expectations.

3. Adhesive can wear down and cause damage to your wall.
The adhesive that manufacturers place on the back of the peel-and-stick tile can wear down in the kitchen over time. This issue is especially prevalent in homes where there is high moisture content due to cooking, cleaning, and general work. Unless you’re using a product that contains a permanent adhesive, you are increasing the risk that the tiles will fall off of the wall. Should that issue occur, you could do damage to the surface behind it as well. That means renters might be using their security deposit after all.

4. It can be an indication that you cut corners in the home.
The modern home buyer is smart and savvy. Prices are at all-time highs in some markets, which means people have become much better at spotting the quick fixes and cheap upgrades that try to mask problem areas of the home. If someone sees a peel-and-stick backsplash, even if you’re using a high-quality option, then they might start inspecting the rest of the home with a closer eye to see if you cut any other corners.

This option can add value to your living environment, but it may be necessary to perform a permanent upgrade if you plan to sell in the near future.

5. You will still need special tools to cut the tiles to the correct size.
If you decide to use a vinyl peel-and-stick backsplash, then sharp scissors or a box knife can be enough to cut the correct shape out for the unique measurements of your kitchen. Should you opt for real materials that come with a permanent adhesive, then you’ll need a special tool to cut the item to the correct size. Most tile retailers will offer these tools in kits that are sold alongside the final item, but you’ll need to budget this expense in as part of the project.

There is no going back if you make a mistake with the trimming process either. If you are not familiar with tile work at all, then you might want to practice cutting some items with the tools before you begin the peel-and-stick backsplash project – including vinyl.

6. Peel-and-stick tiles made from real materials still need grout.
If you decide to use real materials for your peel-and-stick backsplash, then there is an excellent chance that you’ll still need to have grout available to finish the work. The spaces which exist between the different chips and shapes is usually bare, which means you’ll need to do a DIY grouting effort to finish the installation process. This work is fairly simple to apply, especially with the ready-made grouts that are available at most retail locations, but it can also be a messy job if you are unprepared for it.

7. It requires a flush wall surface to be an effective installation.
A peel-and-stick backsplash becomes a tricky proposition if your wall is not completely flush along the entire surface. Older homes tend to see some bowing in the structure over time, creating weak spots that can cause the adhesive to prematurely fail. If your measurements show that the wall in the kitchen or bathroom is not completely square, then smaller, traditional ceramic tiles or small peel-and-stick options using real materials are the better choice to use to avoid damage.

Verdict of the Pros and Cons of Peel and Stick Backsplashes

If you don’t like the idea of using permanent tiles to create a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom, then the peel-and-stick options are a suitable alternative to consider. Although vinyl can sometimes look cheap since it can lack the dimension of real stone, ceramics, or glass, it is also an affordable way to add a layer of protection to your space.

The pros and cons of peel-and-stick backsplash show us that if you choose the option that best meets the needs of your budget and time, then it is possible to create a beautiful space without the hassle or expense of using real tiles to complete the work.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.