The kitchen backsplash is placed on the kitchen wall between the countertops and the wall cabinets. It protects the walls and especially the areas behind the range, the sink, and the places where you prepare food, from stains. Your backsplash will stain, but the appropriate materials for it are generally easy to clean and maintain and they are a much better option than just a plain painted wall or wallpaper.
The kitchen backsplash also has aesthetic value. With appropriate colors, patterns or textures for a backsplash you can improve the visual appeal of your kitchen, without difficulty and at a reasonable price.
Some backsplashes are only about 4 inches (10 cm) high and are usually a continuation of the countertop. These are not effective, because if you do not cover the entire area up to the wall cabinets with a backsplash, significant parts of the wall remain unprotected. With a standard backsplash, a height of about 18 inches (46 cm), you cover the entire area between the countertops and the wall cabinets and you give a finished look to your kitchen.
You can place your backsplash just behind cut areas in your kitchen, such as the range and the sink, thus drawing attention to them; but a better option is to place a backsplash along the entire length of the room, thus achieving a unified look.
Kitchen backsplash materials
The following materials are popular variants for a kitchen backsplash. Many of them are used for kitchen countertops as well, which means that your backsplash and countertops can be made of the same material. The materials are strong, durable and generally easy to clean and maintain. I say normally, because some tiles, stone or metal may require periodic maintenance (sealing or polishing), according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
1. Ceramic and porcelain tiles: these tiles exist in various colors, patterns and textures and can imitate natural stone as well.
2. Metal and metal laminate: with a stainless steel sheet backsplash you give your kitchen a modern and simple look. In addition, its neutral color matches many other colors.
You can use other metals as well, such as copper, zinc, tin, copper or nickel. Some of the metals will change their appearance over time if you don’t maintain them, and this effect may appeal to you.
As a cheaper variant you can use metal laminate. This is similar to a plastic laminate, but it is covered with a metal layer.
3. Natural stone: an exceptionally fine material with a unique pattern for each of its layers, making your backsplash different from anyone else’s. It is also extremely durable.
You can use various types of stones. For example granite, marble or limestone.
4. Solid surface: synthetic material, existing in a variety of colors, patterns and textures. It can also imitate natural stone.
5. Glass: with a backsplash made of glass sheets you will, once again, give your kitchen a modern and simple look. And, if you have beautiful pictures on the wall, they can still be seen through the glass, while being protected from damage.
Some other, not so traditional, materials for backsplashes also exist, such as cork, but are used more rarely or have yet to gain popularity.
Cork, in particular, is a naturally woven soft material. You can pin notes and recipes on it, but I think it is not very appropriate for the main areas in the kitchen, like the range and the sink, because you will find it difficult to clean.
Kitchen backsplash design
If you want a simple look, choose a backsplash with the same design as your countertop.
If you are looking for a more vivid effect, choose patterned tiles. For example, you can use square tiles, placed on a diagonal with contrasting colors, like a checkerboard.
If you have a small kitchen, choose a mirrored backsplash or one with a large pattern. For example, you can use several small accent tiles along with large tiles with a simple design. In this way, you will make your room stand out greater.
If you want more light on work surfaces, such as the range, sink and countertops, choose a light backsplash, because light tones and shiny surfaces reflect light well.
Since the backsplash is between the countertops and the wall cabinets, it’s a good idea to match both the colors and the texture of the countertops or wall cabinets, with the color being the most important As far as the shape of the backsplash is concerned, some of the above materials, in addition to the standard tiles, also exist as sheets. With the sheets there will be no gaps to be filled with grout and this means you will be able to clean the backsplash more easily. (Grout, which fills the gaps between tiles, collects dirt over time and requires periodic cleaning.)
If you choose standard tiles, let the larger ones predominate over the smaller ones, because then there are fewer gaps to fill with grout, and therefore less to clean. As for the grout, the darker its color, the less dirt is visible on it.
Price of a kitchen backsplash
The price of your backsplash will be determined by factors such as…
- the size of the area the backsplash covers.
- the material used.
- the design.
In general, a backsplash made of ceramic or porcelain tile will be cheaper than one made of stone or metal. However, if you have your tiles custom made, it can be very expensive.
Installing a kitchen backsplash
To be sure of the quality of your kitchen backsplash installation, I recommend that you hire the services of a professional.