How to Choose the Perfect Backsplash

The humble backsplash has come a long way. Once upon a time, its purpose was purely functional: a tiled area behind the stove and sink to protect kitchen walls from stains and splashes. Today the availability of all manner of materials in a wide array of finishes means your backsplash can make more of a statement. To help you decide which material would work best for you, we offer expert advice on the 10 most popular backsplash materials.

Stainless Steel

Pros: Stainless steel is not only affordable; it’s known for its heat-resistant and hard-wearing properties. It’s also easy to clean.

Cons: Although easy to clean, stainless steel can be difficult to keep looking pristine. It is not scratch resistant — although minor scratches enhance the look over time — and can dent.

Glass

Pros: Strong and durable, glass is also easy to clean and install, being either screwed or glued to the wall. While glass backsplashes used to be expensive, the good news is that prices have decreased dramatically in recent years.

Cons: Make sure you choose a color you and your family are happy with.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Pros: While tiles are easier to clean than most other materials, and therefore lend themselves perfectly to a backsplash, this is not the only reason they are ideal for the job. With such a range of shapes, sizes, colors and patterns, tiles give you the freedom to put your own creative stamp on your room without compromising on practicality.

 

Cons: The sheer volume of styles and finishes can be overwhelming. Consider how the space will be used to ensure your choice works with your lifestyle.

Engineered Stone

Pros: Engineered stone is durable, scratch resistant and nonporous, meaning it won’t stain. It’s easily cleaned with warm, soapy water and comes in a wide range of different colors to suit all tastes. It’s supplied in large panels, resulting in fewer or no seams on a larger wall run.

Cons: Installation of an engineered stone backsplash must be done by a specialist.

Granite

Pros: Granite is easy to clean, very hard wearing and available in a range of different colors.

Cons: Among the costlier backsplash options, granite is porous, so it needs sealing to prevent staining.

Polished Plaster

Pros: It’s easy to maintain and needs minimal care once installed — simply wipe it down.

Cons: Although polished plaster is fairly hard wearing, accidental chips cannot be repaired.

Mirrored Glass
Marble

Pros: Toughened so it’s strong and durable, mirrored glass is also easy to clean. And because panels are available in lengths up to around 10 feet, it’s possible to create a seamless look.

Cons: Mirror can’t be used behind a gas range, because continuous expansion and contraction of tempered glass created by an open flame can, over time, cause visible cracks to form behind the glass,

Pros: Marble slabs id like naturally occurring pieces of art, because no two slabs look exactly the same. Choosing marble for a backsplash is fun - trips to the stone yard are always an adventure.

Cons: Cost can be an issue, depending on the marble you source. What’s more, marble can get stained easily. You have to accept marble for what it is - It’s beautiful, but not maintenance free.

Composite
Laminate

Pros: Composites are nonporous, easy to care for, hygienic and durable. Joints are inconspicuous, providing a seamless surface.

Cons: Composite materials such as Corian can be scratched, but very often scratches can be sanded out. Also, Corian is not heat resistant, so you can’t install it behind a gas cooktop.

Pros: Easy to keep clean and water resistant, laminate is a hard-wearing and affordable choice for a kitchen backsplash.

Cons: Laminate is not suitable for use behind a gas range because of the open flames.

excerpt from Houzz

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