Choosing a Backsplash for your Kitchen

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2019-01-18 14:27:02

Backsplashes play a very important role in kitchen design, and they also have the functional and practical role of protecting the kitchen wall from splashes and splatters. But when it comes to choosing materials for a backsplash, there are so many options the choices can quickly become overwhelming. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that backsplashes need to coordinate with or complement the cabinets and countertops, bringing those elements together to create a seamless look and style for your kitchen. We'll discuss a few of the most popular choices for backsplash materials, along with pros and cons for each.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are some of the most popular and versatile backsplash materials available. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be arranged in many different patterns such as straight or stacked, diagonal, running bond (brick style), herringbone, basketweave, and more. The design options are endless when it comes to these materials. Ceramic and porcelain tiles can resemble materials such as brick, stone, or wood, or feature designs with everything from geometric and abstract patterns to flowers and animals. They can be combined with other types of tiles such as glass to create accents that provide contrast and interest.

Though ceramic and porcelain tiles are both suitable for kitchen backsplashes, porcelain is more durable and much less porous than ceramic. Both materials are easy to clean, but the grout should be sealed following installation and then twice a year to help keep the grout looking its best. Ceramic tiles are more affordable than porcelain, but they are more porous and more likely to absorb food or grease splatters. For that reason, splatters should be cleaned immediately. Ceramic tiles are also more susceptible to scratching than porcelain.

Glass tiles are also a popular option when it comes to backsplash materials, and they are available in an array of colors, shapes, sizes, and even textures. Like ceramic and porcelain tiles, glass tiles can be arranged in many different patterns, or can include contrasting accents to break up a pattern or give neutral tiles more visual interest. Glass tiles are durable, easy to clean, mold and mildew resistant, and don't absorb stains. They can be scratched, so care should be taken when cleaning to avoid abrasives. Glass tiles reflect light, so they are a great option for smaller kitchens or kitchens that don't get a lot of natural light.

Stainless steel backsplashes are becoming increasingly popular in modern style kitchens, either in the form of tiles or panels. Like glass, stainless steel reflects light, making it a great option for small or dark kitchens. Stainless steel is water resistant and stain resistant, although like glass and ceramic, it is not immune to scratches. It is easy to clean, but can be challenging to keep free of fingerprints or water splashes, especially on solid stainless steel panels. Stainless tiles are available in different textures that can be more forgiving when it comes to revealing fingerprints and water marks. Stainless backsplashes can be combined with other backsplash materials such as glass or ceramic tiles to provide contrast, or used as a focal point in one area of the kitchen alone, such as above the range or sink.

Natural stone backsplashes such as travertine, marble, and granite can give kitchens a very rustic or polished look, depending on the type of stone used. Travertine, for example, comes in different finishes from honed (smooth) to tumbled (rustic looking). Natural stone pairs especially well with countertops that are either the same material and pattern, or with countertops that have a contrasting level of variegation (such as a granite countertop that shows very little variegation paired with granite backsplash tiles that do have variegation and pattern). Otherwise, the materials can compete for attention and create a very busy look. Natural stone backsplashes require sealing due to the fact that they are porous and can absorb moisture and food splatters. All except tumbled travertine are smooth and relatively easy to clean, but care should be taken to avoid abrasives that could scratch, especially with marble. Tumbled travertine is more resistant to scratches and blemishes than honed or smooth travertine, but tumbled is more difficult to clean due to the rough texture that gives it its rustic appeal.

If you're considering a kitchen remodel, we can help you choose the backsplash that is best for your lifestyle, but that also coordinates beautifully with your cabinets and countertops. Just give us a call to get started!

choosing a backsplash for your kitchen


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