Step 6: Dry Fit and Shim the Backsplash

dry fit and shim the backsplash
Photo: William P. Fuller
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Tip the panel into place and check the fit. Using a level on the face, check that the piece is plumb. If not, tap shims behind the edges where necessary. Also check that seams between two panels match up flush and shim them as necessary.

With the panel perfectly plumb and the shims in place, mark the shims at the edge of the panel. Using a utility knife, cut the shims to length. Run a bead of construction adhesive on the back of the shims and stick them in place directly to the wall.
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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.