Ideas for the Kitchen: Stainless Steel Backsplash

Install a stainless steel sheet behind your range for a sharp look and easy cleaning.

Install a stainless steel backsplash behind the range quickly and easily with construction adhesive. Buy the sheet precut to the exact size you need.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Install a stainless steel backsplash

A stainless backsplash is a striking complement to stainless appliances. It's also durable, easy to clean and a cinch to install.

The edges will be sharp, so wear gloves and protect the surfaces in your kitchen. On the back side of the panel, use a caulk gun to apply a bead of heavy-duty construction adhesive (Loctite PL 400 is an example) across the entire panel surface. Use a wide putty knife to spread the adhesive evenly (Photo 1).

A cleat beneath the panel will support the backsplash as the adhesive cures (Photo 2). Position the panel carefully and then press it firmly against the wall. Starting at one end, use a clean, soft rag to smooth the backsplash into place and remove any air bubbles. When you're finished, remove the protective plastic coating.

Buying sheet metal
You can order a stainless steel sheet online (one source is discountsteel.com) or from a local metal shop (about $50). You'll need to know the size, gauge and finish. A thickness of 20 or 22 gauge is best for this project. Handle it carefully to prevent denting it. To match your appliances, order a “304-#4” brushed (sometimes called satin or architectural) finish and ask to have the edges smoothed or deburred so the panel doesn't arrive razor sharp. Most shops will do this for free or for a nominal cost. The panel will arrive with a protective plastic coating. Don't remove this until you've installed the panel on the wall.

Homeowner comment:
“Stainless steel isn't cheap, but we wanted something to match the range and to protect the wall from heat and grease. Ordering and installing it ourselves kept the price low, and it really looks sharp.”
Steve Johnson

Steel Accessories Top It All Off

The Johnsons used IKEA's Grundtal stainless steel rails and accessories to add affordable and stylish off-the-counter storage to their new kitchen. The screw-in rails match the existing appliances and are available in three lengths. The Grundtal line also includes the spice rack shown and much more. Visit ikea.com.

Stainless steel rail
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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Caulk gun
  • Drill/driver, cordless
  • Putty knife

You'll also need leather gloves.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Stainless steel sheet
  • Construction adhesive