Introduction

installing a solid-surface backsplash
Photo: William P. Fuller
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If installing a traditional tile backsplash feels a little out of your DIY league, putting up one made from a single sheet of solid surface material may just be your saving grace. As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows here, shaping, cutting, and gluing up this inexpensive stock material—available from companies such as Swanstone, which makes the beadboard backsplash shown here, in a variety of colors and patterns—is a weekend project most amateurs can conquer with confidence. And when you have your sleek backsplash in place, you'll think it such a stylish protector from splashes and splatters you'll wonder why you ever considered tile in the first place.
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    Tools List

    • hot glue gun
      Hot Glue Gun

    • four-foot level
      4-Foot Level

    • circular saw
      Circlar Saw

    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw fitted with metal cutting blade

    • drill
      Drill/Driver fitted with with 3/8-inch masonry drill bit

    • utility knife
      Utility Knife

    • caulk gun
      Caulk Gun

    • hammer with nailset
      Hammer and Nail Set

    Shopping List

    1. Solid-Surface Wall Paneling. Look for 1/4-inch-thick material, available in large sheets at home centers or through distributors. Get the widest sheets you can find to minimize joints.

    2. All Purpose Kitchen Cleaner, such as Formula 409 or Fantastik, to clean grease off the wall and prepare it for adhesive.

    3. 1/4-Inch Plywood, aka luaun, to make the template.

    4. Painter's Tape

    5. Construction Adhesive to adhere the backsplash to the wall.

    6. Tack Cloth

    7. Heavy-Duty Double-Stick Tape to hold the panel in place while the adhesive sets.

    8. All-Purpose Caulk to seal seams between panels and against cabinets. Get a color to match the solid-surface material, or else use clear.

    9. 1x3 Pine Lumber to cap any exposed edges.

    10. 1 1/2-Inch Finish Nails

    11. Paint to coat any molding detail to match the backsplash material.