Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

How to Install a Wood Planked Kitchen Backsplash (in your RV)

Looking to update your kitchen backsplash on a budget? We considered various options when it came time to update the kitchen in our tiny home on wheels, including smart tiles, wallpaper, tin, and copper.

In the end, my heart kept bringing me back to a wood planked option, which you may already know if you’ve seen our kitchen remodel or holiday tour.

If you’re looking for affordable ways to add rustic charm or farmhouse style to your kitchen, regardless of size, this wood planked backsplash is one way to do just that.

Not only was it fairly simple to install, but it was pretty affordable too. We considered using reclaimed wood, flooring, or even options like Stikwood but ultimately decided to use tongue and groove because it was within budget, lightweight, and easy to install. All in all, it cost us less than $50! The cost may be less or more for you depending on the size of your kitchen, and what supplies you already have on hand. Luckily, we had everything we needed with the exception of the wood and sealer.

For those that are new here, we recently left our sticks and bricks home to spend a year traveling in our RV. You can read more about us here. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure here.


RV Wood Planked Kitchen Backsplash


While I was pretty set on creating a wood planked backsplash from the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I should paint it white or go for a more rustic look. I felt painting it white would help brighten the RV and create a pretty contrast next to the wood counters we would be installing. Then again, the wood could create warmth and bring in more of that cabin-vibe.

Ultimately, we decided to install the planks natural so we could see what they would look like before making a final decision.

The Inspiration

I love the mix of wood and white, it’s rustic, yet modern. Here are a few inspiration photos:

Sources: 1. Hanley Development / 2. Sans for Saint /3. Austin Lineberry – New River Building Co. via HGTV/ 4. Houzz

As a refresh, here’s a before photo of our kitchen when we first purchased our RV:

RV Kitchen Remodel Before Photo | MountainModernLife.com


mountainmodernlife.com

This list may seem long, but you may already have a lot of these items on hand.

  • Tongue and Groove Wood Planks
  • Trim/Moulding
  • Mallet
  • Measuring Tape + Pencil
  • Level
  • Square
  • Stain Blocking Primer
  • Paint + Rollers + Waterproof Sealer
  • Nail/Wood Filler
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Nail Gun

Tip: If you don’t have a lot of power tools or want more of a shiplap appearance you may want to consider using strips of plywood. You can measure what you’ll need ahead of time, and then most hardware stores will cut the plywood down into strips for you. This way you’ll have all of your wood cut to size ahead of time. Or you could use peel and stick flooring that you can cut with scissors instead.

Here’s a photo of our kitchen during the renovation process. You may recall we painted the uppers, then discovered a nasty water leak and had to remove them. We even had to update some damaged wood, which you can see by the new wood we added to the bottom of the left upper cabinets.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Here are a few more photos before we installed the backsplash. You can see that the outlet covers are already removed.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Ignore the half painted wall, I was trying to get a sense of how it would look once that area was painted white…

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Removing the Window Frame

The first thing we did was remove the frame from the kitchen window.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Measure, Cut, Nail, Repeat

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We eventually brought our compound miter saw over to the RV to make it easier to do our cuts, but it got dusty real quick. We wound up setting up a tarp and vacuumed every so often to keep the work area clean.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We then started from the bottom, of the left corner of our kitchen. Installing the first piece of tongue and groove was easy. All we had to do was measure, cut, line up our tongue and groove using a level, and nail it into place (tongue side down).

You can buy tongue and groove in various sizes and wood types. We used pine because it’s affordable and lightweight, and opted for the longer packs so that we could cut them down to size.

I’ve read that you can use liquid nails to install a wood backsplash, but since we’re in a RV, we decided nailing it would be better in case we ever want to remove it.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Next, we lined up our second board, connected it into the groove, and then used a pencil to outline the shape of the window on the back.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Using our Jigsaw, we cut along our outline and then lightly sanded the board before nailing it into position on the wall.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We weren’t too concerned about the cut being super perfect, because you can’t see the edge when the window frame is installed.

This is what the backsplash looked like with the first two boards in place.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We then continued to measure and mark on the back of our tongue and groove boards so that they lined up to the window.

Here’s a photo showing more progress:

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We then had to use our table saw to rip down the top piece so that it would fit.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

After the first wall was finished, we moved onto the second wall, starting with the bottom and working our way up.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

After the planks were all attached, it was time to install the window frame back in place.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!
Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

(Most of the ) Trim installed

Here is our pine wood planked kitchen backsplash installed, with nearly all the trim in place. We did end up installing a new corner trim piece because the old trim didn’t go down far enough.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

At this point we were really excited and loved the warmth that the wood brought into the RV. We even installed the outlet covers to get a more “finished feel”.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

While it was tempting to leave it as is, I had plans to bring in wood accents in other areas of the RV, including our wood countertop, so we decided painting it white was going to look even better.

Fill, Prime and Paint

I went ahead and filled in all of the nail holes, then sanded the planks down before priming.

Don’t skip priming unless you want to waste extra coats of paint! The last thing you want is to keep layering on paint because the knot holes start to bleed through. Also, if you know for sure you want to paint your planks, you may want to consider priming them before you install, although I don’t think it was any more difficult to paint them afterwards.

I also recommend using nail filler vs. wood filler, or some sort of filler that is at least white or light colored. This is especially the case if you realize you need to fill in more holes after you prime, otherwise the wood/orange colored filler could bleed through your paint. Not fun. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Then after 2 coats of primer, I caulked around any awkward areas. I did this before painting to make sure it would all match. Then it was onto two coats of white paint – the same paint we used on our upper cabinets, walls, and ceiling.

Seal

As for sealing the backsplash, I’ve read that some people will use Polyacrylic, or some sort of marine varnish. We used Spar Urethane.

We decided to hold off on adding the corner trim moulding until we had the countertops installed and finished up, which is why you don’t see that finished in the photo below.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

Now we have a wood planked kitchen backsplash that adds rustic modern charm to our RV, and in my opinion looks better than the boring wallpaper border that was previously there.

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!

We created our wood countertops for less than $100, click here to see how we did it!

mountainmodernlife.com

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful.

Laminate Flooring Backsplash | Bower Power

Inexpensive Planked Backsplash from Plywood | A Beautiful Mess

Peel and Stick Vinyl Flooring Planked Wall | Remodelaholic

Wood Planked Backsplash | My Fabulous Life


You can find all of our RV-related posts here.

Prefer videos? Be sure to visit our video page or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.


You can find all of our RV-related posts here.

Prefer videos? Be sure to visit our video page or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

You can find all of our RV-related posts here.

Prefer videos? Be sure to visit our video page or subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

mountainmodernlife.commountainmodernlife.com

Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!
Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!
Easily install a wood planked kitchen backsplash in a RV! This is the perfect way to add rustic modern or farmhouse style to your tiny home on wheels!
4 Comments
  • You did a beautiful job and it brings extra light to your RV.

    January 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • nancyk
    Reply

    In my experience, Urethane always makes everything a little yellowish. I LOVE Polycrylic. (I also love Deft but I have to really air everything out before my husband gets home and accuses of me of trying to kill him).
    But it looks like it didn’t make your white paint yellow at all? This looks much better than the previous wall paper.

    January 30, 2017 at 2:45 pm

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