RV Kitchen Backsplash Modification

Quinco & Co. Inc. Smart Tiles - RV Mods - Truck Camper AdventureIf you’ve been following our Instagram feed this is one modification that will come as no surprise. This quick and easy modification will not only protect your kitchen walls, but will also add a touch of elegance to the interior of your truck camper.

The backsplash modification using the Home Depot peel and stick Smart Tiles was a popular mod in the RV community a few years ago. We liked the idea and looks of this mod back then, too, but Mike and I decided to hold off over concerns we had about the product. Our main concerns were about the product’s ability to remain adhered in Arizona’s triple digit heat and its durability over time. With strong ratings in the three years the product has been out, and the need for a backsplash in our new camper, we decided the time was right for this RV modification.

Manufactured by Quinco & Co. Inc., a Canadian company, the Smart Tiles product is made of an adhesive substrate topped with a multi-colored gel component called Gel-O (the gel is what gives each tile its three-dimensional effect). The product is marketed and sold through Home Depot though you can also purchase it on Amazon.com. The product is sold in thin sheets, 10.20 inches long by 9.10 inches high. Prices vary between $7.50 to $10 a sheet. Each sheet covers a surface area of .64 square feet and is incredibly light and easy to cut. A sharp pair of scissors can be used, though we recommend using a razor knife and a straight edge to make all of your cuts instead. Additional tools that you’ll need for this project include a large cutting board, a tape measure, and a pencil for marking your cuts.

Installing each Smart Tiles sheet was incredibly simple and took only minutes. The instructions recommend starting at the bottom and working your up the wall. A small amount of overlap is needed when applying the sheets to get the right look and spacing between individual tiles. The hardest part was ensuring that each sheet was square with the wall since it had to be done by eye. You’ll want to make sure the walls are cleaned before starting the project. We used rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth and they worked well in getting the walls prepped for this mod.

Are there any lessons to be learned from this job? Just a few. The age-old advice of measuring twice and cutting once applies. Mike actually went to the extreme and measured three or four times before making his cuts. Applying each sheet can be a bit tricky as well as each sheet is very sticky and grabs at the slightest touch. Fortunately, the sheets are easy to pull up and readjust in order to get them positioned just right.

Quinco & Co. Inc. Smart Tiles - RV Mods - Truck Camper Adventure
The kitchen before the modification.
Quinco & Co. Inc. Smart Tiles - RV Mods - Truck Camper Adventure
A single Smart Tiles sheet before installation.
Quinco & Co. Inc. Smart Tiles - RV Mods - Truck Camper Adventure
The kitchen after the backsplash fully installed. Looking good!

As you can see by the photos, the backsplash looks great. At first, we kept the backsplash confined to the side wall only, but after a few days, Mike and I agreed that the project looked unfinished and that the tiles should be applied to the back wall as well. For the entire project, we used six sheets of the Smart Tiles product for a total of $60 for the entire project. We are thrilled with the look and we really can’t complain about the price. The tiles look like a professional installed them and it didn’t take that long to do, perhaps an hour not including cleanup. For a camper that doesn’t have a lot of “foo-foo,” this is a quick and easy way to add a touch of elegance without making the interior too dark and gloomy.

About Karen Smith 3 Articles
Karen hails from Washington state where she lived until she married her active duty U.S. Navy husband. Along with her husband, Mike, and four boys, Karen has lived in six states on both coasts and in Naples, Italy, where she mastered her culinary skills in Italian cooking and developed a love for Mediterranean architecture and home decor. She enjoys home improvements and family time as well as RV'ing, studying ancient American cultures, and reading. She currently makes Arizona her home.