Countertop Or Backsplash First: What To Start With?

Kitchen Countertop or Backsplash first
By | February 21, 2024
5 min read

Backsplash or countertops – what to choose first? As homeowners, we are constantly striving to make our living space as comfortable, practical, and beautiful as possible, and time and time again we face the problems that follow this desire. Something wears out, something in our interior bugs us, and something goes out of fashion, and we strive to keep up with modern trends. However, the question of what to give preference to always remains relevant. We can even spend years remodeling our kitchen or bathroom, simply “stuck” on selecting colors and designs that will harmonize with each other.

That is why it’s essential to always understand where to start. If you are currently going through the “nine circles of hell” of choice and are wondering “Should you do backsplash or countertop first”, then today we will do everything to make your life easier. In this article, you will find the answer and get advice from our professionals.

Backsplash Or Countertop First?

Does the backsplash go on before or after the countertop? It’s simple: countertops should be installed before the backsplash. Why? Our experts gave the top reasons:

  1. Countertops have been considered the focal point and centerpiece of any space for decades. If you’ve decided to install a high-quality counter, you’re probably looking to enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your kitchen or bathroom. Choosing the design of the countertop first will allow you to build on your focal point when selecting other elements to ensure that everything is in harmony with each other.
  2. When your countertops are in place first, it leaves room for more creativity with the backsplash. With a multitude of options ranging from tiles to glass panels, the backsplash can complement or contrast the countertop material. Having countertops installed first allows you to choose a backsplash that perfectly matches or complements your surface, leading to a cohesive design.
  3. Choosing a backsplash is actually much easier than figuring out what kind of countertop you want in your home.
  4. The boundaries between the countertop and the wall are often uneven. If you’re replacing your countertop, the new one will almost certainly not be exactly the same thickness as the old one, so you’ll be left with a huge gap or no gap at all. In addition, the countertop may not be 100% flat, so your tiles will look crooked. Pre-installed countertops allow for accurate tailoring of the backsplash to the unique contours of the countertop, ensuring a perfect fit and appearance.
  5. Pre-installing countertops prevent any potential need for the readjustment of a pre-existing backsplash, which can lead to unwanted expenses and material damage.
  6. Installing the backsplash after the countertops helps to protect the latter from potential damage during the process.
  7. In the case of countertops and sinks, the final touch is the seam between the two materials. If you don’t get the seams right, your project can turn into an eyesore. If you install the backsplash first, the distance between the two may be uneven, making it difficult to seal the seam.

Why Some Prefer Backsplash First

Can you install the backsplash before the countertop? As we mentioned above, in most cases, it’s best to install the countertops before the backsplash in your kitchen. However, there are situations where installing the backsplash first might make more sense for your specific needs. It ultimately depends on what you want to be the focal point of your kitchen. While countertops are typically the main stylistic feature, it’s not the only approach you can take.

There are times when a particular backsplash really speaks to you and you love it. In these cases, if you install the countertops first, the materials might clash and disrupt your vision. Installing the backsplash first allows you to choose a complementary countertop that doesn’t compete for attention. This approach helps highlight the stunning backsplash and ensures your kitchen doesn’t feel too crowded. Staying consistent with the color scheme can also help balance multiple focal points in your kitchen.

KBC Professionals Recommend

Whether you decide to begin with the backsplash or the countertops, what truly matters is the overall cohesion of your kitchen’s design. Here are a few tips to ensure harmony:

  • Choose materials that complement each other in color, texture, and style. Your kitchen should have a consistent theme that ties the elements together.
  • If one feature is particularly bold, consider a more subdued choice for the other to balance the look and feel of the space.
  • Beyond aesthetics, think about the wear and tear both the countertops and backsplash will endure. Opt for high-quality materials that are not only beautiful but also durable and easy to maintain, that will stand the test of time and the rigors of use in the kitchen.
  • Always have your space professionally measured to ensure that whichever component you choose to install first is cut to the correct dimensions.
  • Select durable and high-quality materials that will withstand the test of time and the rigors of kitchen use.


When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, deciding where to start with your remodel can be a bit of a catch. Do you do backsplash first or countertop? While both are important elements of your kitchen’s design, they serve different purposes and can have different impacts on the overall look and feel of your space.

Our experts recommend starting with the countertops. This is because the countertops are the primary surface where you’ll be preparing and cooking food, so it’s important to get them right. Choosing the right type of countertop material can also affect the durability and functionality of your kitchen. For example, granite countertops are heat-resistant and easy to clean, making them popular for busy kitchens.

Ultimately, whether to start with the countertops or the backsplash will depend on your personal preferences and priorities. If you want a more cohesive look and feel to your kitchen, it may be best to start with the countertops. But if you want the backsplash to become the centerpiece of your kitchen, then you shouldn’t go any further.

Kitchen & Bath Center has all the materials and experience necessary to help you create the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams. Whether you need a new countertop, backsplash, or both, our experts will help with all your needs.

Founder and owner of Kitchen & Bath Center LLC, author of our blog articles. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Saul knows better than anyone how important it is to make the right decision in choosing the best material for your countertop, sink, tile, or cabinet to enhance the appeal and functionality of your kitchen or bathroom. Professional processing and installation are of the utmost importance and this is what we at KBC deliver. Saul shares their knowledge to help everyone who wants to improve their space find the perfect solution for themselves and get all the answers to the questions that naturally arise. Saul will help you leave all doubts behind. Read expert articles from the founder of KBC in our blog.

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