How to Tile Over a Plastic Laminate Backsplash

Can I tile over a Formica backsplash? -Larry

It’s possible to tile over a plastic laminate backsplash if the backsplash has square, rather than molded or rounded, edges. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Clean and dry the backsplash to remove any dirt or grease.
  • Sand the plastic laminate with coarse (50-80 grit) sandpaper, so the tile adhesive will adhere to it. An orbital sander works great for this, but be careful not to damage the countertop or wall.
  • Wipe down the backsplash with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
  • Cover the countertop with Kraft paper or plastic sheeting, held in place by painter’s tape, to prevent the tile adhesive from adhering to it.
  • Apply thin-set adhesive to the backsplash with a notched trowel, then tile the backsplash.
  • Allow the tile adhesive to cure overnight.
  • Apply grout, sponge off any excess, and allow to dry.

Good luck with your project,


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8 Comments on “How to Tile Over a Plastic Laminate Backsplash”

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  • Diane Woiak Says:
    September 27th, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    I used a flush cutting tool.and sawed the back splash off flush with countertop. Put 22 inch porcelain tile on old Formica counter and up paneled backsplash.used an adhesive rated for exterior,wood, glass, tile, plastic..(in a caulking tube) ran some good silicone caulk in the jpints as I put them up butted together with no caulk. Trimmed front edge of counter with oak trim sealed with spar urethane. None of this considered “correct” but looks great. No problems in a place allowed to freeze up several cold north Winters. I had a tiny kitchen so wasn’t risking a lot. I’m so happy, going to try same technique in the bathroom that has that awful white pastic with gold veins from the 70s

  • Ann Pancoast Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 11:52 am

    How to install backsplash with subway tile to thin wood used in manufactured home dated 1978?
    This tile is being installed on a small wall behind the stovetop only.

  • Kate Says:
    October 1st, 2015 at 8:51 am

    What if your formica extends from the countertop to the backsplash and it has a rounded edge? Is there ANY way to put in a different backsplash without having to rip it off?

  • Nick Says:
    September 10th, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I am putting stacked stone onto a laminate wall. Is sanding with 50-80 grit enough to allow grip? I am using Granirapid cement adhesive. It is only going up the wall 120cm or 47″.
    Should I create deeper gaugues into the laminate?
    many thanks

  • Rosetta Carter Says:
    December 16th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    We took off the plastic backsplash but the paneling goes all the way up behind the cabinets, can’t get it off unless we take the cabinets down. We put the marble strips up over the paneling, can’t we-

  • Deborah Says:
    May 18th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    My question is the same as Cheryl’s. I want to tile over laminate backsplash. The laminate runs below and behind the cabinets and appliances. Input and experience is greatly appreciated.

  • Cheryl Cox Says:
    January 2nd, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Hi, I want to put a backsplash in my kitchen, right now the kitchen has paneling on the walls and above the counters..What can I put over paneling? I don’t know how to remove the paneling because it runs behind the cabinets. Please help I am living in a home from the 70’s and would like to update. Thanks, Cheryl

  • gary hardin Says:
    February 25th, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I recently purchased a fixer upper. With the help of my son-in-law the work is progressing steadily. We leveled the floors the way you did on your daughter’s first home episode. But I have a 3/4 basement with a 1/4 crawl space. Do I need too sealed off the crawl space from the basement when the work is completed? Thank you.

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How to Tile Over a Plastic Laminate Backsplash