Stainless steel makes a beautiful, fashionable, durable, commercial quality surface that is easy to clean. It excels as a backsplash material for countertops and wall cabinets. Available at many home centers and hardware stores, it is relatively easy to obtain, although in some locations it may need to be special ordered. Even though stainless steel is very hard, you can drill and cut it, with patience. It is better to install stainless steel backsplash material before the countertops and wall cabinets are installed but it is possible to install it after the fact, as well.
- Make certain your walls are square where they meet each other and the countertop.
- Make sure the wall surfaces are clean, intact, and thoroughly dry.
- Mark the location of every wall stud on the countertop frame or countertop and above the top of the new backsplash on the wall below the wall cabinets or even on the bottom panel of the wall cabinets.
- Measure for the new backsplash material and either purchase a large enough piece at your home center or hardware store or special order it cut to fit.
- You can also cut a template out of cardboard to fit the new backsplash and take that with you to purchase the piece you need or order it.
- If the piece you purchased needs to be cut to fit, do that now. Use a pair of heavy-duty sheet metal shears designed for stainless steel or cut it with a very fine tooth saw blade designed for stainless steel and a saw like a jigsaw, supporting the piece completely along its length.
- Lay the new piece of stainless steel in position and mark out the location of each fastener, using a prick punch or scribe.
- Pay close attention to the corners where two pieces of backsplash material meet. If your walls are square the stainless steel should meet in a perfect joint but that is rare.
- Trim the edges of the stainless steel to meet at the corners or install a piece of corner trim and butt the stainless steel backsplash pieces up to it.
- Drill the fastener holes slightly larger than the size of your fasteners.
- You may want to apply an adhesive caulk like liquid nails to the back of the stainless steel before placing it in position.
- Install the fasteners with trim washers.
The key to cutting and drilling stainless steel successfully is to cut or drill with a very sharp blade or drill bit and turn it very slowly, the slower the better. Use a good lubricant for stainless steel, as well.
Protect the stainless steel surface where you are going to cut or drill in case your tool slips. Use painters masking tape and remove it as soon as you are through cutting or drilling. However, you can leave it in place while you drive in your fasteners just in case the screwdriver slips, too.
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