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Acrylic installation guide

Preparation

Check the Surface of the Wall

Firstly you will need to remove any wallpaper, flakey paint, tiles, adhesive etc and then fill any holes or damage using a suitable filler.

You can check the level of your wall using a spirit level. Place the level both horizontally and vertically over several random places on the wall and look along the level to check for gaps. Once identified, fill these gaps and then sand back flat.

If you find that there are extreme dips over large sections of the surface (more than 6mm in depth) it is probably worth considering getting the entire surface re-plastered.

Clean and Seal the Wall

Now the wall is clear you will need to wipe it down with a suitable cleaner such as Sugar Soap as this will remove any remaining dust and grease.

If you did get the wall re-plastered or you are fixing directly on to plasterboard then you will need to seal the surface first. Due to the porous nature of plasterboard and plaster, when you apply the acrylic bonding to the wall, the plaster or plasterboard will suck all the moisture out of the bonding before it goes off and it will not set correctly. A watered down PVA solution will do the job. Once brushed on to the wall and dry, this will seal the wall and also provide a good surface for bonding adhesive.

Fitting the acrylic splashback

Measuring up for an Acrylic Splashback

When measuring draw out a plan on a piece of paper of the area that is going to be covered and also include any obstacles that will require cuts e.g. wall units, cooker isolators, sockets etc. With this plan you can then mark all you measurements down so that you know exactly what cuts need making and where, if you’re not confident in doing the cut outs we do offer this service.

In most cases you will be fitting your splashback to a surface between your worktop area and possibly cupboards above. In this case it is wise to leave around 1mm top and bottom so that there is room for a little movement. These gaps can then later be filled with sealant as you will want to prevent any moisture from seeping under and down the back of the worktop and also any moisture from running down walls and behind the splashback from the top.

Measure the total width and height of acrylic needed and then mark it on your plan (remember to leave 1mm or so top and bottom). Where it needs to cut in round any cupboards or other items, measure this also, again leaving a slight gap for movement.

When it comes to sockets, switched etc you have two choices:

  • Cut around : A gap of 3 – 5mm is left around the cut so that the socket faceplate sits inside it. Sealant is then applied around the inside of the gap to seal the socket faceplate and the edge of the acrylic.

  • Cut behind : The electrical supply to the socket is cut and the socket isolated. The faceplate is then unscrewed and removed to reveal the back box. You then measure the size of the back box and make your cut about 1mm larger (for movement). As the back box is slightly smaller than the faceplate, once fixed to the wall, the faceplate is then screwed over the top of the splashback.

Cutting Acrylic for your Splashback

As stated above, as long and you take your time, cutting your own acrylic splashback can be a relatively straightforward. As long as you use the correct tools for the job e.g. saws, drill bits etc that do not create too many vibrations and you take your time when cutting, then you should be fine.

In respect to the right tools to use, you should stick with the following:

Drills : You should only use drill bits made specifically for drilling acrylic. This are normally pre-ground twist bits. When drilling, make sure that you don’t push the bit through the acrylic as it can burst through the bottom and cause sections to splinter off. Support the drill hole with a piece of timber and drill down into this to help stop any damage of this kind

Saws : Again, there are many specialist blades made for this job, so please make sure you use one of these. You can cut with a hand saw if you wish but using a jig saw set on the fastest cutting speed will produce the cleanest, most uniform cut. Never force the blade through the material as it can overheat and cause the cut edge to melt. Also make sure that vibrations are kept to a minimum as these can cause cracks and splits. Laying the acrylic on top of cardboard while you cut it can help with this If the thickness of your material is over ¼ of an inch then you should also lubricate while drilling and sawing using water as you go. This will help to ensure that it does not overheat and melt.

When cutting long straight lines with a jigsaw, it is a good idea to clamp a piece of batten along the line that you are cutting so that the base-plate of the jigsaw can follow it, ensuring that the cut is straight.

When you purchased or took delivery of your nice shiny piece of acrylic, it should have been provided with masking film covering the large flat surfaces. It is vitally important that you leave this on until the very last minute. The film will help protect the surface until it is ready to be secured to the wall, especially when you are drilling and cutting.

When cutting out areas for sockets etc the best way is to mark out the exact area that needs cutting on the acrylic and then use a jigsaw to cut the area out. In order to get the blade in and down to start cutting you can drill some large holes in each corner and then cut along the line from hole-to-hole until all cuts are made.

When drilling the holes for the above, make sure that you drill them on the inside of (e.g. the section that you are cutting out) and make sure that they do not spill out into the area you want to use and are as close to the outline of the area you want to cut out as possible!

Before progressing onwards, find a second pair of hands to help you position your splashback in place to make sure that it does indeed fit. If not, you can use a suitable small file to make some fine adjustments.

Smoothing and Preparing cut Edges

If you have made any cuts you might now notice that the cut edges are a little rough so we will need to now sort these out.

There are several ways that this can be done:

  • Filing using the flat edge of any suitable, small, half round file
  • Using several different grades of wet and dry sandpaper

If using a file, lay the flat edge on the top of the cut edge of the sheet at around a 45° angle and gently pull it backwards and forwards along the length of the sheet. Do not dwell too long in one place or you can create depressions which will spoil the visual look.

Additionally, it is important that you also hold the file as flat to the edge as possible as if you file at an angle, especially where two pieces are joined together, this will widen the joint and again, spoil the visual appearance.

The filing itself will remove the majority of the major burrs but it is also best to use some wet and dry paper to give it the final finish.

When using wet and dry paper, this will need to be done in several stages using several different grades of paper:

  1. Using around a 100 – 120 grit paper, get a small bowl and fill with clean water. Dip the paper in the water and get it nice and wet. Wrap the paper around a small, flat piece of wood (to use as a rubbing block) and the proceed to rub the paper along the cut edge, keeping the block and paper flat to the edge of the acrylic. Again, do not apply much pressure and stop occasionally to clean the plastic shavings off the paper and also to wet the paper. Continue for several passes, up and down the full length of the edge.
  2. Swap the previous paper for something a little finer now, around 400 grit should be fine. Get the paper wet and then wrap around the block and repeat the above passes over the edge, stopping to clean the paper and re-wet periodically
  3. 3. This time we will be using a very fine paper. Something around 600 – 1000+ grit should be just right. Repeat the previous steps, checking the edge between passes to check progress. Once the edge is pretty much back to its smooth, shinny state you should be done. Again, check your passes regularly as you don’t want to go too far and cause more damage

Once you have got your cuts as smooth as possible using the wet and dry paper you can finish off with a special acrylic polish. This will give it its final "shine". In most cases, T-Cut is ideal for the final polish-up but before you get stuck in please test on an off-cut just to make sure no damage is caused.

Dab a small amount of the T-Cut on an old cloth and using your finger, rub it along the edge. Using a clean cloth, rub off misty residue to reveal your perfectly smooth and shiny edge.

Fixing the Splashback In-Place

With all the prep work done, you are now ready for the final fix. Before you do actually fix the splashback in place, it’s a good idea to perform a few dry runs to make sure it fits and that you know exactly what to do. It’s also a good idea at this point to get someone to help you with this delicate job.

make sure that the electrical supply to all sockets etc on the wall you are fixing to are isolated and that you have removed all socket faceplates and other items that may be in the way.

Before applying any bonding to the rear of the splashback, clean the entire area to remove all traces of dust and grease. Once done you can start applying the bonding adhesive.

Alongside the bonding adhesive you should also use either double sided mirror tape or specialist splashback fixing tape. This should be applied around the edges and also vertically and evenly throughout the splashback. You will also need to make sure that none of the bonding adhesive gets on the tape as this will affect its ability to adhere to the walls surface.

Apply the bonding adhesive in horizontal lines along the length of the splashback, spacing them evenly apart, but ensuring they are no more than 300mm apart. One important thing to note is not too put any beads of bonding too close to the edges as when it spreads, it will seep out if too close.

When ready to go, position the base of the splashback exactly where it needs to be in terms of position but hold the rest of of the wall for the moment at about a 45° angle. With an extra pair of hands to help, starting at the bottom, push the sheet into the wall, working upwards as you.

A piece of batten comes in really hand at this stage as you can use it to run over the surface and apply pressure to ensure the entire area is firmly against the wall. Make sure the timber does not dig in or scag the surface and damage it as you do this.

At this point you can also screw the socket faceplates back on as these will help with holding things in place.

If you have adjacent walls and some spare timber around, it might be a good idea to knock up some bracing to keep some pressure on the splashback until the bonding has totally cured. Again, do not apply too much pressure and this could cause damage. Total curing time should be around 24 hours.

Once cured and totally stuck, remove any bracing you have and then you can finally remove the protective film to reveal your amazing acrylic splashback in all its glory!

Repairing scratches in Acrylic

Acrylic by nature is quite soft, and over time it is inevitable that scratches and scrapes will occur. The good thing about acrylic is that these can be repaired using a scratch remover which can be purchased from our online shop, please click here to view.

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