A Smart Tiles Product Review – The Budget Way to Backsplash

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The kitchen backsplash was the first thing to go from the budget when the renovation began running over on some of our projects. It's an easy enough thing to DIY, but given that I have not one, but TWO walls of my kitchen in need of some detail, it was going to be expensive either way.

Here are some of the looks I was lusting after on Pinterest.

kitchen ideal 2


Photo Credit: Young House Love (Click for Source)
Photo Credit: Young House Love

I wanted something simple, clean, and white, with a little bit of shine to it to add some sparkle to the kitchen. I was getting bids from contractors for 9-$1300, not including tile. This number is high because of the sheer size of both walls of backsplash.

Given that I am hoping to sell the home soon (think within the next year) and try to funnel more cash into my savings, I started looking at other lower-cost options. This is where Smart Tiles comes in.




Simple, clean, white. 🙂

Just as a refresher, here is what I was working with before. It would have looked a lot better if I'd just continued painting that entire wall back when I painted the whole kitchen blue, but since I've wanted a backsplash from day one, I used that ugly gap of yellow to motivate me into action.


What are smart tiles?


Smart Tiles are essentially a very thick, heavy sticker that sticks to the wall and looks like a tiled backsplash. It doesn't look like tile, but it is a heck of a lot better than looking at a blank painted or unfinished wall. Smart tiles peel and stick to the wall. Just do have to make some cuts if there are outlets, but for the most part, installation is incredibly easy. 



Are smart tiles removable?


Smart Tiles are removable. It is very easy to remove Smart Tiles peel and stick from the wall when you're ready to install a true tile backsplash or simply want a change.

Depending on how rigorous you were during installation, they may pull up some paint upon removal, so plan to keep paint nearby if you're going to leave the wall unadorned. 



Are smart tiles heat resistant?


I was so pleased with Smart Tiles Peel and Stick that I ordered more and put them on the wall behind my stove. The answer, “are smart tiles heat resistant?” is yes – to a point. They stayed put for less than a year on the stove side. I'm pretty sure it was my industrial-grade range hood that made it hard for them to stay to the wall. Can't say whether it was due to the heat or not. 



How to install smart tiles?


I mean, really you just peel and stick. Then if you need to make cuts to allow for outlets, you use a box cutter and follow the instructions provided in the packaging. 

  • Peel and stick tiles for backsplash (kitchen, bathroom, RV, fireplace and more)
  • No grout, no glue, no special tools, and no mess
  • Lightweight and thin (1/16 in.), easily installed directly over existing tiles or smooth surface
  • Gel-O will never yellow with time

It says you can install over existing tile, but I installed mine just on a painted wall. 


My experience using Smart Tiles

backsplash before

Above, the before of my sink wall. 


I chose the Plain Subway White. At first, when I got them in the mail, I was unimpressed. Honestly, they looked really flimsy (and cheap) in the packaging.


photo of the tile




But once I applied the tiles to the wall and the light began to hit it, it actually looked GOOD. And not at all like peel and stick tile.

I know, I know. I should really learn to clean up my kitchen counters before I take photos.

WHY didn't I know about these when I had a rental? Super easy to use. They're perfect because all you have to do is unstick them once you're done.



photo (49)



The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Smart Tiles Peel and Stick


    • Even though Smart Tiles provides some great tutorials on their website for installation, I still had trouble with the corners and outlets. And in my kitchen, there are four outlets and a weirdly uneven window sill (pictured above.) I had to do a lot of cuts and some of them came out better than others.
    • I also had a problem with the tiles and my stove sidewall. Even after letting them “set in” for a day or so, the tiles would not hold up to my industrial-grade exhaust hood. They didn't come off completely, but they did begin to buckle so I'll have to find something different to do for that wall.
    • But with that said….for the price point of this product and the time, it takes to install (about 2.5 hours, again, because of all the cuts I was making) you really can't beat this product. Especially if you're on a budget. I'd recommend it to anyone who just had one wall with few outlets or cuts to make, or for people in rentals.


The thing I could not get over though is how the light reflects off of the tile, making it look like the real deal. I was very excited once I got it up on my wall. Here it is again. Now that I actually have something nice on the wall. Now, the crackly paint on the windowsill is driving me mad. I'll have to do something about that next.



kitchen backsplash after

subway tile long shot


Here are a few before and afters. Loving how my DIY Roller shade looks in the photos.


backsplash before and after

kitchen before and after 2

Total cost for project: $0. I received this product as compensation for my review, but if I were to purchase Smart Tiles the cost would have been around $300. Definitely more economical (and less of a headache) than a full-on tile install.


How to clean smart tiles?


You can clean smart tiles the way you'd wipe off any wall or surface. You can simply wipe with soap and water, or with a mild chemical cleaner. 


Where to buy smart tiles?



There are three primary places where you can buy Smart Tiles:

  • Online (@ SmartTiles.com)
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Amazon


  Click to explore SmartTiles options. They also have lots of different colors and options available here. 




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    • suse
    • January 18, 2017

    I saw these and it said $7.99 and gave the dimensions (about a ft. sq.). At that price, this isn’t a bargain for me. :/ Subway tile at Lowes is about 40 cents — at 3×6 — you would need 8 tiles to make a sq. ft. . . .($4, plus grout). What am I missing? Thanks!

    • Spencer Thomas
    • May 25, 2015

    U need to caulk the space between the smart tiles and the counter – as well as space between the cupboards and tiles – this will make a huge difference – making it look even more real .
    smart tile peel and sticks after I caulked

    1. Reply

      You are right! That looks great! What about around the outlets?

  1. Reply

    This looks really great! I am in a rental now and there is no backsplash (just a little extra counter material up on the wall). Our area to tile is very small and I am actually considering this as an option. It would make it look so nice!

      • Lauren Bowling
      • August 6, 2014

      I definitely recommend. Just be damn sure when you stick it that you don’t want to move it. It’s easy to remove, but doesn’t look as seamless once you stick-unstick-and stick again. Feel free to email if you end up ordering and have any questions!

  2. You did a lovely job on the diy peel & stick tile. The after photos are really stunning, definitely can’t tell the difference from a distance. Now you’ve got me thinking about possibly doing this to add a pop up color in my little apartment. Again, great job!

    • Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans
    • July 31, 2014

    Next time I’m renting, I’ll look into these. They look great!

      • Lauren Bowling
      • August 5, 2014

      Thanks Lisa! I am still very happy with them!

  3. Reply

    It looks very good! I’m sure you’re really pleased with the look of it!

      • Lauren Bowling
      • July 30, 2014

      Thanks Deb! I am pleased 🙂

  4. Reply

    I’m impressed! To be honest I didn’t think they would look that good but it turned out quite well! We recently did out backsplash too but next time I’ll consider these.

    • Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank
    • July 28, 2014

    They look so easy to use! I’m redoing a bathroom and thinking about something like this to save money.

      • Lauren Bowling
      • July 30, 2014

      I think around a sink area would be great.

    • Matt
    • July 28, 2014

    Looks awesome! Especially that last “before and after” pic!

      • Lauren Bowling
      • July 30, 2014

      Thanks Matt!

    • Michelle
    • July 28, 2014

    Wow it looks great. I love those tiles!

      • Lauren Bowling
      • July 30, 2014

      Classic, white, subway tile. Plain and simple can be great!

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