The Truth about Peel and Stick Tiles
Recently we had a surge of customers asking what our thoughts were on peel and stick back splash tiles.
For someone on an extremely limited budget or someone in a rental property self-adhesive wall tile might seem like a great idea. Just stick the stuff up there and then take it down when you move or when you’re tired of it.
We’ve seen quite a bit of the peel and stick backsplash tiles and peel and stick floor tile over the years on different jobs. We’ve also talked with quite a few customers about the pros and cons so let’s answer some of the common questions about whether they’re a good option.
Q – Would you say installing peel and stick tiles is a good choice for the homeowner?
Ron – I know it seems like a great idea. Just peel and stick and voila! You have yourself a brand spanking new back splash.
But the truth is there are several issues that I have seen come up over and over again.
One issue was in a rental property. A renter had used peel and stick tile backsplash over drywall thinking they could be removed when they left.
They removed them all right but they also completely destroyed the dry wall which then had to be repaired before new tile cold be installed adding an unnecessary and expensive step.
Q – What about going over old existing tile with peel and stick?
Ron – This really does seem to be the best scenario but even still you’re going to have a huge job on your hands getting all the adhesive off when it’s time to remove them.
Also, very few kitchens are perfectly square in every inside or outside corner so installing around an “off” corner can throw the level of the tile off. Not cool having tile that’s un-level in your kitchen. They often call the peel and stick tile “smart tile” but in this case it’s really not so smart.
Q – What about the peel and stick flooring, or luxury vinyl tile – pro’s and cons?
Ron – I have demoed a ton of that type of tile and I will tell you what happens with it over time. First of all, the adhesive often breaks down. Then you have tiles popping up, or loose.
It’s really challenging to install self adhesive vinyl tiles completely tight. If you have even the slightest gap in between the tiles dirt will collect in those gaps over the years and there is no way to get it out. I have pulled out some pretty disgusting stuff.
I would say the only pro to the so called luxury vinyl tile is seen in the look of a new floor after the first month after installation.
Q – If someone still wanted to install the peel and stick tiles what kinds of tools or supplies are needed?
Ron – First of all, many people find the adhesive doesn’t stick well and the tiles fall off so be sure to prep the wall, or floor properly. Even if you think your walls are clean there’s always grease in every kitchen so really scrub that wall. Same with a floor. Use a grease cutting cleaner like dawn dishwashing detergent.
Also, if you’re installing self adhesive wall tile don’t paint the wall and then immediately install tile. The paint needs time to cure for at least a month. Otherwise those tiles are just going to fall off.
Tools that you will need for smart tile installation:
- Sharp knife
- Straight edge
- Tape measure
- TSP or grease cutting cleaner
Q – If you could break it down into peel and stick back-splash pros and cons – what would they be?
- Super cheap
- Easy to install
- Quite a large variety of designs
- Super cheap quality
- Not a long term solution
- Adhesive breaks down over time
- Really challenging in areas that aren’t perfectly square.
- Pieces don’t always fit together well.
- Looks cheap
- Looks fake
Ron – Ceramic or porcelain tile are really made to look good for the long term. If you choose a tile that is neutral – meaning not a trendy color or shape, you’ll be able to enjoy it for many, many years to come. It’s not going to fall off the wall when your boiling your spaghetti or pop up over time. Once it’s down, it’s down.
I usually recommend to customers, or friends that they save their money until they can afford to install ceramic tile. Installing a peel and stick tile backsplash or peel and stick floor tile really a very short term and unwise solution.
Why not try a DIY tile project yourself? Save some money on installation costs, find a REAL tile that you like and install something that will last.
As far as tile projects go, installing a backsplash is really one of the easiest.
You can find thousands of how to videos on You Tube. If your kitchen isn’t huge you can probably get it done in a weekend.
For the DIY’er I recommend that they head over to Lowe’s or Home Depot and look for a larger tile. Backsplash tiles with tiny piece are a pain in the butt, even for experienced tile installers. You might think that mesh on the back of the tile makes installation a breeze but that’s not the case – trust me on this one.
Rent a tile saw from either Home Depot or Lowe’s for a minimal charge and you’re good to go. You’ll be so glad you make the investment in something that will last and that will add to the value of your home not subtract.