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