A Smart Choice for Tiles in a RV: Smart Tiles

When J.O and I decided to take on the project of doing a major renovation/redecorating our 5th wheel, we knew that we had wanted to add a backsplash to the kitchen.  Our layout is very open, so the kitchen basically flows into the living room.  I wanted to somehow make it its own space and adding in a tile backsplash seemed like a good fit.  Lower level

As you may have read in our post discussing our entire 5th wheel revamping project, we went with an overall beach theme.  Because used sea glass as accents throughout the living room we wanted our backsplash to have some type of “beach” feel to it as well.  First thought that came to mind was doing a glass mosaic.

We went to various stores to look for something just right and although we found a lot of beautiful designs, we kept running into the same issues over and over again.  Weight and flexibility.  Installing things in a RV or 5th wheel poses for a few obstacles:

  1. 1.  You have to consider the added weight your putting in (hello, gas milage)
  2. 2. You have to remember that you’re not dealing with a stationary object.  This is a homestead that moves.  Things will crack under pressure, so flexibility is important.

With these two things in mind, we decided against tiles.  I was really bummed because I did not want to do a wallpaper border like I had before and I didn’t want just paint.  We did a little bit more research and ended up finding the perfect solution: SmartTiles.

Smart Tiles is a company out of Canada and their product is pretty cool.  It’s a peel and stick, three dimensional, made out of gel, faux tile product.  Each sheet is just under a square foot in size and is made to look like glass tile mosaic’s.  Since they are made out of gel, they are super flexible (Yay!), you can use a scissors to custom cut edges, they are really light weight (30 sheets weighs 5 pounds) and best of all the ACTUALLY look like glass tiles!  I read up a little more on them and found out that they can also be removed from a surface by simply heating them with a hair dryer.

We decided to give it a while and ordered 30 square feet directly from their website, www.thesmarttiles.com.  We read that some Home Depot locations carry them, but we were unable to find any.  With shipping, the cost averaged out to around $11/sqft.  We found out that our product was on backorder for a month, so we just had to wait.  When it finally came in (after a wrong order was sent to us), I had my mom ship the tiles out to us in California right away.

I couldn’t believe how easy these babies were to install.  I washed all the walls and let them dry.  Then, I  literally peeled off the backing, made sure the tiles were lined up straight and then pressed and smoothed the sheet onto the wall.  Due to the fact that our windows have rounded corners, I had to do a lot of measuring and cutting, but that was more tedious than difficult.  Plus, if I cut too much out, I was able to cut in a smaller piece to fill in the gap; you can’t even tell!

Once all the tile was up I simply screwed back in our curtain hooks and hammered a nail in the wall for our clock, right through the gel tile!

I’m really happy with how it turned out.  The kitchen is certainly it’s own space now and yet it still flows with the rest of the living room.

Before and After of the kitchen

Before and After of the kitchen


You can hammer a nail right through them!  Easy decorating

You can hammer a nail right through them! Easy decorating

Behind Stove with Smart Tiles

Behind Stove with Smart Tiles

Corner Area Complete with Smart Tiles

Corner Area Complete with Smart Tiles

I can’t recommend this product enough for anyone that wants to do a quick and easy, yet dramatic DIY update!  It’s so perfect for RV’s, boats, campers, and 5th-wheels and so easy to do!  The entire project took me about 4 hours and all I needed was a scissors and my hands. IMG_3264


A Smart Choice for Tiles in a RV: Smart Tiles — 51 Comments

  1. Pingback: Renovating our 5th Wheel Camper: a DIY | Follow the High Line Home

  2. you are a genius!!!! Might want to try in the kitchen here!
    c what you did daughter-in-law. Kathy and I think it looks great, but I m now retired and this looks like another project she has on her list for me.

  3. Really enjoyed your detailed experience. .
    We recenty purchased a Class C.. Making changes to put my touch throughout. The carpet has got to go…..

  4. Wow this is an awesome idea! We’re in Canada too, have these tiles held up over the cold winter? Where did you end up ordering them from in the states? I have a cousin who might be able to ship them up if Home Depot is having problems getting them in stock. Thanks for the help!

    • We haven’t had ours in winter weather yet, but our brother has them in his Wisconsin home and they have held up just fine! We ordered ours directly from the smart tiles website.

  5. Thanks for posting your experience! I was looking at SmartTiles for our fifth wheel and now I am convinced I must buy them :)

  6. Absolutely love what you did with the kitchen. So many clever space saving ideas too. Do the knives and spice cans stay put when you’re traveling? Did you get the knife magnetic strip and cans from Ikea?

  7. Great job on the trailer! Everything looks beautiful. You made a comment that these gel tiles can be easily removed with a hair dryer….so I am wondering how the tiles are holding up behind your stove top. Does boiling water or simmering soup etc cause the tiles to “bubble” or anything?
    Thanks :)

    • Great question! We have had no bubbling what-so-ever! I’m thinking that when they advertise that they can be removed with a hair dryer, they want you to hold the dryer close to the material for an extended period of time.

  8. My question: ? Um.. I do not want to cover the entire area of my back splash.. just halfway – so… How would a ‘raw edge’ look? Do they make a trim piece for edges? Thanks

    • It probably wouldn’t look bad. The way the tile slabs are designed, each edge looks like caulking. You could just cut it so that the edge was the tile. I think they might make edging pieces though too

  9. Love the tiles, and would love to do this in mine however I have a question. Perhaps you didn’t encounter this but I have a section that has a molding piece where wall sections join and the corner have something similar and was wonder how to tile over or I wonder if they can be cut out so that wall is smooth? Also wonder how well these stand up in Arizona heat.

    • You could cut the a section on the tile to lay on top of the molding. It would be raised a little from the rest of the wall, but I don’t think it would be bad. You could always fill in the gap (if any) with a silicone caulk. We haven’t been in the az heat, but they hold up great over our stovetop and oven!

    • Very easy to clean! We have had no problems with them falling off! We have been in both HOT and COLD climates (CA & MN) and they have stayed on wonderfully! YOu have to make sure that your wall is very clean before you put them on

  10. Did are motorhome in February in theses. I put some super (tuff as nails) glue behind it in a few spots so it would hold up in our Calif heat, has held up very well. Also did the bathroom over sink. Looks so nice. Got them on line from home depot.

  11. How do the tiles hold up in the heat if they come off so easy with a blow dryer? I went to home depot today to look at the different kinds of tiles this sounds a lot easier and better than doing it the way I had planned.

    • I’m not sure. Maybe they come off with a hairdryer because of the direct high heat? but, we’ve never had any problems, and they were VERY easy to instal!

  12. Please…..Please….read the instructions for installation behind an rv stove! Please be careful Heat buildup from oven and clearances are often too close from burners. Fire hazard of the worse kind if they catch fire.

      • I have these behind my stove in my 5th wheel and they did warp a bit from the heat of the stove (I notice…nobody else will) but now I lean my glass cutting board (which I have sitting on the stovetop when not in use) against the tiled wall while cooking and I it is a perfect solution to prevent fire.

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  14. I am just saw your post about the Smart Tiles. Now that you’ve had them up for several years-are they still sticking well to the walls? Has the gel tiles changed color at all? Any yellowing or melting of the tiles? Would really appreciate hearing from you.

    • Hello! NOe, we have had nothing but great luck with our smart tiles. They have stuck on the walls, not even starting to peel (we are in a very humid area too) and no discoloration. They are still very shiny! We love them!

  15. We live in a park model in Arizona for the winter. When we leave in May will the tiles stay on the wall during the arizona summer heat?

  16. I saw those peel and stick back splash tiles in Lowe’s just recently. My first impressions was, “who would put this expensive product in their kitchen. Why wouldn’t you just do the real thing ($12sq ft)?” In an rv, that makes sense!

  17. How has the adhesive stood up to heat over time?? Any pulling away? Also what was the material you were adhering it to, direct to metal or wallboard etc?

  18. I have what I guess is vinyl wallpaper in my 2007 5th wheel and the usual double sided 3M tape that a lot of people use to put up lightweight wall hangings, hooks, etc does not stick AT ALL to this wallpaper. Did you have any adhesion problems or need to do any particular surface prep beyond cleaning it first?

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