Renovating your home can quickly become overwhelming when you are unsure of what order to do each project.
Doing everything in the best order reduces the amount of work and prevents big mistakes. Many homeowners want to know if they should install their backsplash before the countertops when it comes to the kitchen.
Usually, NO! The backsplash should not be installed before the countertops. A countertop needs to be placed in an exact position, whereas the backsplash has more flexibility, so it is typically much more comfortable to install the countertops first. Some people do install a bolder backsplash first.
Keep reading to learn more about why the countertops should be installed first, as well as why there is an exception where some homeowners install the backsplash first.
What are the benefits of installing a backsplash before a countertop?
There are several benefits to installing a backsplash before a countertop:
- Protection of walls: A backsplash can protect the walls behind a countertop from spills and splashes, which can prevent damage to the walls and make cleaning them easier.
- Ability to make necessary cuts and adjustments: By installing the backsplash first, you can make any necessary cuts and adjustments to the backsplash before the countertop is installed. This can help ensure a proper fit and a more seamless overall look.
- Easier access to electrical and plumbing connections: Installing a backsplash before a countertop can make it easier to access and work on any electrical or plumbing connections that may be located behind the countertop.
- Aesthetics: By installing the backsplash first, it gives you the freedom to align the backsplash with the countertop for a seamless look.
- Easier to clean: Installing the backsplash first allows you to access the wall behind the countertop while installing the countertop , making it easier to clean the wall after installing the countertop.
Why Should You Install the Countertops Before Backsplash?
Installing countertops before backsplash has several advantages. Here are the main reasons why you should consider this approach:
- Aesthetics: Aligning the backsplash with the countertop is crucial for creating a seamless and cohesive look in your kitchen. By installing the countertops first, you’ll have a better idea of the exact measurement and shape of the area where the backsplash will go. This ensures a perfect fit and a polished final look.
- Proper Fit: By installing the countertops first, you can ensure that they fit properly before installing the backsplash. This eliminates the risk of having to make adjustments to the countertops after the backsplash is already in place, which can be time-consuming and costly.
- Easier Clean-Up: Installing countertops before backsplash makes the process cleaner. During the countertop installation, dust, debris and other materials may fall behind the counter, which would be hard to reach and clean after the backsplash is installed.
- Flexibility: If you decide to change the countertops in the future, it will be much easier to remove the backsplash and reinstall it after the new countertops are in place, rather than having to remove and replace both the countertops and backsplash at the same time.
Overall, installing countertops before backsplash is a wise choice as it helps to ensure a perfect fit, a polished final look, and a more manageable and efficient installation process.
Where Should a Sink Be Placed on a Countertop? (Step by Step)
When You Could Install the Backsplash Before Countertops
Although it usually does make more sense to install the countertops first, in this one scenario, it can be better to install the backsplash before the countertops, especially if an expert is doing all of the work. You could have the backsplash installed first in the following situation:
If the Backsplash is the Visual Lead
Starting with the backsplash is possible if you would rather have a more visually intricate backsplash paired with a simpler countertop. Many contractors will install a stone backsplash before the countertops to ensure that everything lines up visually.
Suggestions for Installing Countertops and Backsplash
In addition to the information above, the following advice should be considered as you are in the process of creating your dream kitchen.
These tips will help you with your renovation project:
Be Sure to Plan Ahead
While most people install the countertops before the backsplash because it creates less work for them, you will want to decide if the countertops or the backsplash will be your visual focus before you make any other choices.
Once you have your complex design for one and your more straightforward design for the other, you can have the more visually exciting element installed first.
If the simpler one does not quite match, you can choose a different subtle backsplash or countertop that will fit.
Use Caulk Between Countertop and Backsplash
You will be using grout for the majority of installing the countertop and the backsplash, and it is tempting to seal the seam between them with more grout, but it is better to seal this seam with caulk. Caulk is less likely to crack in this area from stress, though you will want to find a silicone or water-based caulk that matches your grout color.
Factors to consider when deciding on installation order
Material of the countertop and backsplash: The type of material used for the countertop and backsplash will play a significant role in determining the installation order. For example, if the countertop is made of granite or marble, it may be necessary to install the backsplash first to protect the walls from any damage during the countertop installation. On the other hand, if the countertop is made of laminate or solid surface, it may be best to install it first to ensure a proper fit before installing the backsplash.
Type of installation (e.g. tile vs. solid surface): The type of installation will also affect the order of installation. For tile backsplashes, it is often recommended to install them before the countertop as it allows for easier cutting and adjustments to be made. For solid surface backsplashes, it may be best to install them after the countertop to ensure a seamless look.
Personal preference and design considerations: Ultimately, the decision on installation order will also depend on personal preference and design considerations. Some homeowners may prefer the look of a seamless countertop and backsplash, while others may prefer a contrasting look. It’s also important to consider the overall design and flow of the kitchen, and choose the installation order that best fits with the desired aesthetic
Installing the backsplash first allows for protection of the walls and easier access to electrical and plumbing connections, but may make it more difficult to align the backsplash with the countertop.
Final recommendation on the best approach based on the factors discussed. The best approach depends on the specific materials, design considerations and personal preference. It’s recommended to consult with a professional installer or designer before making a final decision.
What are the drawbacks of installing a countertop before a backsplash?
The drawbacks of installing a countertop before a backsplash include:
- Difficulty in aligning the backsplash with the countertop for a seamless look.
- Difficulty in making necessary cuts and adjustments for the backsplash, as it’s harder to access the wall behind the countertop.
- It may be more difficult to protect the walls during countertop installation if the backsplash is not yet in place.
- If any issues arise with the countertop, such as cracking or warping, it may be harder to fix them without potentially damaging the already installed backsplash.
- If you are installing a tile backsplash, it might be more difficult to make accurate cuts for outlets, switch plates and other fixtures.
- It may also be harder to make sure that the countertop fits properly before installing the backsplash.
Can the backsplash be installed after the countertop is already in place?
How does the material of the countertop and backsplash impact the installation order?
The material of the countertop and backsplash can impact the installation order in several ways.
- If the countertop is made of a porous material, such as granite or marble, it’s better to install the backsplash first. This will prevent any liquids or spills from seeping into the countertop and causing stains or damage.
- If the backsplash is made of a fragile material, such as glass or ceramic tile, it’s better to install the countertop first. This will prevent any accidental damage during the installation of the backsplash.
- If the countertop and backsplash are made of different materials, it’s essential to consider the expansion and contraction rate of the materials. If they have different rates of expansion and contraction, it is better to install the countertop first, so the backsplash can be adjusted accordingly.
- Some materials, like solid surface or Quartz countertop, require a sealant to be applied before the backsplash installation.
- If the countertop and backsplash are made of the same material, it can be installed in any order, as long as the installation process is done properly.
It is important to consult with a professional installer or designer before making a final decision on installation order. They will be able to advise you on the best approach based on the materials you have chosen and the specific installation requirements.
Is it better to install a backsplash before or after a countertop from the point of view of aesthetics?
From the point of view of aesthetics, it is generally considered better to install the countertop before the backsplash. This allows for a seamless look and ensures that the backsplash aligns perfectly with the countertop, creating a cohesive and polished appearance. However, it’s also important to consider other factors such as the material of the countertop and backsplash, type of installation, and personal preferences, before making a final decision.
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