Guide for Glass Backsplash Removal and Installation

The demolition part of kitchen remodeling is easier than the installation side, and you’ll get an overview of each here. The goal is to help you decide if DIY removal and/or installation is right for you, and if not, to give you information you can use to discuss the project with those you hire.

backsplash installation

Removing Old Backsplashes

It’s likely that new drywall will be installed on the kitchen wall that will receive the glass backsplash, so there’s no need for extraordinary care in removing the old backsplash.

Turn off power to the area first. Then, remove any outlet or switch covers on the backsplash.

Use a pry bar to remove the old material. We recommend starting from an outlet opening, if possible, and working out from there. It’s the best way to limit unnecessary damage to wall space not covered by the backsplash.

Installing a Glass Backsplash

Only those with experience cutting and installing glass should consider DIY glass backsplash installation. Here is what is involved.

Tools and supplies for glass backsplash installation include:

  • Gloves, goggles and a dust mask for safety
  • Glass panels
  • Glass cutting tools
  • Suction cups for positioning the glass into place
  • Silicone adhesive to glue the glass to the prepared wall surface
  • Glass coating finish and spray equipment
  • Trim and fasteners to finish the edges
  • Two extra helpers

Step by Step Glass Backsplash Installation

Here is an overview of the installation process.

Step 1: Cut the glass sheets to fit, or have this step completed by your local glass supplier. You may want to have holes for outlets, light switches, vents and other obstacles pre-cut too. Otherwise, you’ll have to do it onsite with glass cutting tools.

Step 2: If you’re coating the glass, now is the time to do it. Use the coating and applicator while wearing goggles and a dust mask for protection. Spray on the coating in a dry area with no wind or floating debris.

Step 3: Apply a small bead of silicone to panel edges that meet walls and cabinets. Push the glass panel into place, making sure the silicone adheres to the wall.

Note: Many installers skip the silicone, since they don’t want any chance for it to show through the glass.

Step 4: Install trim along the edges of the panel, and fasten the trim to upper cabinets, walls or the ceiling.

Step 5: Use silicone caulk to seal any holes, such as around a vent pipe, that dirt might fall through and get behind the glass where it is nearly impossible to remove.

Step 6: Follow these steps for all the remaining glass panels.

Step 7: Seal the seam where the glass meets the countertop with a very small bead of clear silicone caulk. It is essential that the seam be completely sealed so that moisture, water, tiny insects, etc., cannot get behind the glass and be trapped.

Glass Kitchen Backsplash FAQ

This Q&A about glass backsplash installation covers several other important topics.

Who should I call about glass backsplashes?

Contact local glass companies to see if they are in the backsplash business. Countertop contractors should have contacts too. Or, you can use a quick, free service that provides you with no-obligation estimates from prescreened contractors where you live.

How much do DIY installation tools and supplies cost?

If you’re not going to coat the glass, the tools and supplies will cost $75 to $150 depending on the quality of the tools you choose.  If you’re going to coat the glass, expect to pay $200 or more for the additional equipment and coating required.

How much can I save with DIY installation?

The cost of professional installation is $8 to $15 per square foot based on the complexity of the work. That’s your potential savings minus the cost of tools you need to buy. Of course, if you break a panel or two or miss-cut a few, you’ll quickly lose the money you would have saved. See our full glass backsplash price guide for more details.

Are glass backsplashes resistant to heat and impact?

They will be if you select glass for the project that is tempered properly. Ask your glass supplier about your options for glass types.

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