Upscaling your bathroom can give your house a new lease of life, but you don’t have to spend a fortune. Installing a vanity backsplash – or replacing the old one – is sometimes enough to give a fresh look to your interior. The task is so easy that even inexperienced DIY enthusiasts can complete it without trouble. Whether you want to install a marble backsplash, granite, or backsplash tile, this guide will teach you how to do it.
How To Install Vanity Backsplash
Things You Will Need
- Pre-cut backsplash/tiles
- 120-grit sandpaper
- All-purpose cleaner
- All-purpose construction adhesive
- Silicone caulk
- Caulking gun
- Painter’s tape
- Damp cloth
- Utility shears
- Paper towels
- Tile cutter (optional)
- Notched trowel (optional)
- Grout (optional)
- Tile spacers (optional)
- Tape measure
1. Measure Your Space
The first thing to do before installing your vanity backsplash is to decide what kind of backsplash you want. Traditionally, bathroom backsplashes are as wide as the vanity and have a 4-inch height. However, there are many other vanity backsplash ideas you could use.
For instance, you could install an 8-inch backsplash for a custom look or even opt for a vanity top-to-ceiling backsplash to give your bathroom a luxury touch.
If you want to install a wall cabinet above the vanity, it is a good idea to close the gap between the vanity top and the bottom of the cabinet with a backsplash. You may also want to run the backsplash across the entire wall for an original design.
Once you decide how you want to install the bathroom vanity backsplash, measure the width and height to calculate how much marble, granite, or tile you need.
If you want a marble or granite backsplash, have it cut to dimension beforehand. If you want to install a tile backsplash, make sure to buy sufficient materials to cover the entire surface.
2. Prepare The Surface
Installing a backsplash on an uneven wall is never a good idea. Solid panel backsplashes, including those made of marble, quartz, or granite, are easier to install on uneven walls compared to tile – you can simply use more adhesive to fill the gaps. However, the backsplash might not adhere properly and fall off.
If you decide to tile on an uneven section of the wall, the corners of the tiles could stick out, resulting in an undesirable effect. For these reasons, it is crucial to level the wall before installing the backsplash.
You can do this in a number of ways. The easiest is to sand off the imperfections with 120-grit sandpaper. Alternatively, you can install new drywall or backer board.
If you decide to hang new drywall or backer board, ensure that all materials you use in the bathroom comply with the building code.
3. Clean The Surface
Once you level the wall, it is essential to clean any traces of dust and grease. Use an all-purpose cleaner to wash the entire surface. Rinse with a damp cloth and let the wall dry completely before proceeding.
4. Install The Backsplash
Installing bathroom vanity backsplash is easy, but the method varies between solid panel backsplashes and tile.
How to Install Marble Vanity Backsplash
A marble vanity backsplash is the easiest to install (the method is the same for other solid-panel types, including granite, glass, and quartz backsplashes).
Simply apply all-purpose construction adhesive on the backside of the backsplash. Apply the product in a circular pattern in the center of the panel and at the ends.
Align the backsplash to the vanity top, making sure the edges of the backsplash match the edges of the vanity. Then, install the marble backsplash on drywall by pushing the panel against the wall. Wipe away any excess adhesive with a rag.
How to Install Vanity Tile Backsplash
Installing a bathroom vanity tile backsplash requires a bit more skill compared to solid panels, but the process is still easy. Follow the steps below:
- Work out the tile layout: Determine the best way to lay the tiles to ensure that you use as many full tiles as possible with minimum cutting – this will make your backsplash look better. You should also determine the tile pattern (vertical, horizontal, brick, herringbone, diamond, etc.).
- Seal the surface: You can skip this step if you’re installing new tile on a wall that was previously tiled. If it is new drywall, seal the surface with an appropriate primer.
- Apply the adhesive: Mix the tile adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the wall and level it with a notched trowel. Work in small sections at a time and only apply adhesive to the next section once you’ve tiled the previous one.
- Lay the tiles: Apply the first row of tiles pushing each tile against the wall. Use moderate pressure and make sure all tiles are aligned perfectly before moving to the next. It is recommended to start from the middle of the vanity toward the edges to achieve an aesthetically-pleasing design. Use tile spacers to ensure an even spacing between the tiles.
- Fix the edges: Once you’ve applied all tiles, cut the necessary tile pieces and finish the backsplash edges. Let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hours.
- Grout between the tiles: Once the adhesive has dried, remove the tile spacers and mix the grout as instructed on the package. Apply a generous quantity of product to fill the gaps, then remove excess grout with a damp rag before it dries.
Top tip: When choosing the grout color, try to match it with the color of the tiles if you want to maximize the space or pick a contrasting shade to enhance the visual effect. Dark grout is preferable to white if you don’t want it to show dirt easily.
5. Seal The Backsplash To The Vanity Top
Once you have installed the backsplash, it is crucial to seal the area between the backsplash and the vanity top with silicone caulk. The silicone will repel water, preventing it from leaking behind the vanity.
One thing to keep in mind is that silicone caulking is very hard to remove from surfaces. Thus, you should protect the vanity top and backsplash with painter’s tape. Apply the tape to the vanity top where it meets the backsplash, leaving a 3/8-inch gap between the two pieces of tape.
Holding the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle, seal the seam between the backsplash and vanity. When you’re done, dampen a paper towel and draw it along the caulk bead to press it into the seam.
You can now remove the painter’s tape and allow the caulk to dry for at least 24 hours before using the vanity.
Do you still have questions? Here are a few answers to some of the most common doubts.
What type of adhesive can be used to install a backsplash?
The best adhesive for vanity backsplash is the one that matches the material. All-purpose construction adhesive is perfect for a solid-panel backsplash. You can use it for backsplashes made of marble, granite, quartz, or other types of stone. For a tile backsplash, use a quality tile adhesive.
Can silicone be used to install backsplash?
No, silicone cannot be used to install a backsplash. However, you need silicone to seal the seam between the vanity top and the backsplash. Otherwise, water might leak behind the vanity and cause mold or mildew issues. Moisture trapped behind the vanity could also affect the material, causing the vanity to swell or rot.
What to do when vanity has no backsplash?
No building code requires homeowners to install a vanity backsplash. Thus, you may find that the bathroom in your new house doesn’t have one. While a vanity backsplash isn’t required, installing one is always a good idea to prevent water from leaking behind the vanity or infiltrating the bathroom wall. Simply follow the steps above to install the backsplash you want.
Whether you want to upgrade your bathroom or install a vanity backsplash in a new bathroom, we hope this guide can help you achieve your purpose. No matter what kind of backsplash you install, remember that it is crucial to seal the seam between the vanity top and the backsplash to prevent leaks and mold problems.