Often thought of as an accent piece, a kitchen backsplash is much more than that. A good quality backsplash can help make kitchen maintenance easier by protecting your walls from damage due to heat, grease, moisture and food splatter. Aesthetically, a backsplash adds pizzazz and can even bring harmony to the different elements of your kitchen. Whether you want your backsplash to blend in, accentuate or stand out, there is a backsplash for you.
There is a dizzying array of backsplash materials, sizes and designs to choose from.
How to Choose a Backsplash?
Some Things to Consider When Designing Your Kitchen Backsplash
- How likely is the material to fade?
- Is it easily scratched?
- Is it likely to chip, or break?
- Will it stain or become discolored?
- Does it require regular maintenance? (other than cleaning?eg: periodic resealing)
If aesthetics are just as important as functionality to you, then the extra maintenance required for some types of backsplashes may not bother you. But if you like maintenance to be easy and quick, that may be a clue to the kind of backsplash material you choose.
Maintaining Your New Backsplash
Happily glass, ceramic, and porcelain tiles don’t need a lot of maintenance to keep the tiles in good condition. Cleaning them on a regular basis should be enough. A simple mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water sprayed onto the tiles and gently wiped clean with a cloth should do the trick.
How to Clean Grout Lines
- Using hot water and a towel, clean off surface dirt.
- Take a teaspoon of dish soap, a half cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide. Mix together.
- Apply to grout with a spoon. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Gently, use a brush to scrub the grout lines.
- Wipe clean.
Kitchen backsplash materials, like natural stone tiles, need regular cleaning. To clean stone, it’s best to use a cleaner specific to the particular stone, with a non-abrasive scrub pad. This will assure that no scratches or fibers will appear.
Also, because most natural stone is porous, sealant should be applied periodically to stop food, grease, dust etc from getting into the porous material. Sealing should be done upon installation and annually after that. Not sealing the backsplash can result in fading, discoloration and stains that are permanent.
The Best Backsplash Materials for Your Kitchen
Only you can determine what type of backsplash is best for your kitchen. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones:
Ceramic tiles are made with a mix of clay and then fired at high temperatures to create a huge variety of colors and patterns.
Ceramic tiles are one of the most popular choices of all the available backsplash material options. And no wonder. They are easily available and come in a myriad of styles, colors, shapes, patterns and textures to choose from. Some types are relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to install. The popular subway tiles and mosaic tiles are popular versions of ceramic material.
- Easy to clean
- Easy to replace
- Lots of variety to choose from
- Can be inexpensive
- More intricate designs can get expensive
- Repairs may be necessary over time, so consider purchasing a few extra tiles
Processed similarly to that of ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles however use a more refined clay which is fired at a higher temperature. This makes porcelain more durable and thicker than ceramic. With this added quality, the cost is higher than ceramic but upkeep and maintenance is easier. Also, porcelain tiles have the advantage of mimicking the look of wood, glass or stone at a lesser cost than tiles made of those actual materials.
- Durable, and easy to maintain
- Less porous than ceramic, tougher, so can be used in an outdoor kitchen
- Can mimic other more expensive materials
- Is more expensive than ceramic
- Has less variety in colors, patterns, shapes etc. than ceramic
This nonporous material makes an easy to clean, attractive backsplash. Glass is more expensive to install than ceramic or porcelain but is probably one of the easiest backsplashes to clean. This option has many color choices that won’t fade, stain or discolor over time.
Choosing glass tiles also gives you the choice of different reflectivity levels. Choose between frosted, matte, iridescent and glossy.
Most experts agree that installing glass tiles is not a DIY job unless you are experienced working with glass.
- Easy to keep clean
- Shapes, sizes, colors and patterns are in abundance
- May add resale value to your property
- It’s reflective quality can make your kitchen appear brighter and bigger
- Installing can be cumbersome
- Glass tends to be fragile
- Might be wise to buy some extra tiles at time of purchase as finding replacement tiles may be difficult
(tiles or slabs)– Natural and Engineered
A number of natural stone tiles or slabs are available for a kitchen backsplash. Some of these include granite, slate, travertine, and marble. The quality and type of stone and its design will determine its cost.
If you want a high end look, natural stone is a popular choice. Part of what makes natural stone so desirable is that no two slabs of stone are the same. Each color, texture and pattern of the stone will make every backsplash unique.
Although cleaning and proper maintenance are important, natural stone tends to be more durable than ceramic, glass or porcelain tiles.
Most types of natural stone must be resealed to prevent damage.
Some Characteristics of the Individual Natural Stone Tiles
Travertine comes in many earthly colors, and many different finishes.
Textures range from rough to a highly finished sheen like marble. Brushed or tumbled travertine gives a more antique look.
Always use an alkaline solution when cleaning travertine as acids will eat into the stone.
- Sophisticated and chic appearance
- So many colors and textures to choose from
- Highly reflective: adds brightness to a kitchen
- Price point is more reasonable than marble
- It is easy to replace
- Installation costs tend to be lower
- Travertine is highly porous so even too much water can damage it
- Acid type foods and liquids can stain and discolor travertine
- Should reseal annually to discourage stains and discoloration
- Cost of this stone can be fairly high: but best to buy the highest quality of travertine
When people think of kitchen countertops they often think of granite. It tends to be one of the most popular choices for backsplashes as well. It tends to be more durable than many other natural stone types.
- More durable than most of the other natural stone materials
- Easy to clean
- It’s lovely neutral tones means it can blend in with many kitchens
- It is both repairable and replaceable
- It can tolerate high temperatures and acidic foods
- More expensive than many other natural stone types
- Some staining may occur- always wipe off food right away with a non abrasive cloth
- Important to reseal annually
Of all the natural stone types, marble is perhaps regarded as the most elegant and luxurious. It is timeless and can go well with a traditional kitchen design or an ultra modern look.
Cleaning should be done regularly due to its light color. It shows stains easily.
- It’s beauty is unmatchable
- Marble adds brilliance and lightness to a kitchen
- Easy to clean – use warm water and a touch of dish soap or baking soda and water for stubborn stains
- Prone to scratches, etches and stains
- One of the most expensive of all the natural stone types
- Should be resealed once a year
Slate can be an excellent choice for a backsplash. Not only does it give a timeless look to a kitchen that will go with many décor styles, but it is non-porous!
- Slate is waterproof and fire resistant
- It can be used outside, it’s a very durable stone
- Tends to be easy to clean
- Slate tends to be brittle and can chip
- It can stain so make sure to reseal annually
- Tends to be on the more expensive side
Quartz has now become very popular for countertops and backsplashes. And it’s easy to see why. Because this stone is engineered, it is nonporous.
Resins and natural stone, mostly quartz, make up an engineered stone. Quartz tends to be more durable than natural stone and easier to maintain. As well, quartz is available in patterns and colors that are uniform, which makes purchasing the same item again much easier.
- Easy to keep clean
- Heat, stain, and scratch resistant
- No sealing or special care needed
- Not as unique or natural looking as natural stone
- Damage over time may occur due to too much heat
- The cost is similar to natural stone
For kitchen and bathroom remodeling, call Sunshine Sunrooms. Our team will work with you to create exactly what you are looking for! Quotes are available! Give us a call at 972-243-5390 or contact us online.