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How to choose your kitchen backsplash

November 17, 2016

The kitchen backsplash used to be purely functional—protecting splatters, stains, and chips from damaging your wall. With kitchens getting more design attention than ever before, you have more choices for making a splash with your backsplash. In fact, you have more options in materials, color, and style in backsplashes than the countertops themselves. What will work best for you—your style preferences, kitchen design, budget, and upkeep? Here is a guide to kitchen backsplash choices, so you can weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Tile The increased popularity of decorative kitchen backsplashes has driven manufacturers to provide greater versatility. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are available in colorful patterns, as well as the look of natural stone or wood. You also have a broader range of shapes and sizes when choosing a tile backsplash. Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Resistant to heat, water, and scratches
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively simple to install
  • Chipped tiles are easy to replace
  • Wide variety of colors, designs, sizes, and shapes
Cons:
  • Not resistant to chipping
  • The choice of white tile and grout will get dirty in an active kitchen
Stainless Steel The polished shine of stainless steel looks great with a modern kitchen and the matching appliances, so it’s a natural choice as a kitchen backsplash. Like your stainless steel appliances, however, it’s not as “stainless” as you might like! Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Heat-resistant
  • Easy to clean with warm water and a soft cloth (and mild dish detergent for greasy areas)
Cons:
  • Not scratch-resistant
  • Dents can’t be repaired (but add character)
Granite You love it on your kitchen countertop, so why not use granite for your backsplash as well? The uniqueness of each slab make every space a one-of-a-kind. Plus, you can choose from the polished or honed finishes, for the shine or matte look you want. Pros:
  • Durable
  • All-natural beauty
  • Easy to clean
  • Wide range of colors
Cons:
  • Porous, so requires occasional re-sealing to prevent stains
  • Expensive
Marble The beauty of this natural stone adds the look of luxury to any room in your home. Whether or not you have a marble countertop in your kitchen, a marble backsplash makes a definite statement. Pros:
  • Natural beauty
  • One-of-a-kind uniqueness to every slab
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Not stain-resistant
  • Requires regular re-sealing
Polished Plaster The texture of a polished plaster backsplash can range from smooth to rough, depending on how it is applied—and that step can be done yourself! Once you’re satisfied with the texture, you can apply one or more colors. Pros:
  • Relatively easy to apply yourself
  • Easy to maintain
Cons:
  • Chips easily
  • Difficult to repair
Composite Solid surface materials, like Corian, are manufactured from a composite of resin and minerals. Prior to the surge in popularity of granite countertops, composite was all the rage. The durability, color choices and easy care lend it wonderfully to a backsplash choice! Pros:
  • Wide variety of colors
  • Can be molded to angles and curves
  • Seamless surface prevents cracks where dirt and germs can collect
  • Non-porous and hygienic
  • Durable
Cons:
  • Not scratch-resistant
  • Not heat-resistant (e.g., can’t be installed behind a gas cooktop)
Laminate Perhaps your most affordable choice, a laminate backsplash can add the color or texture of natural stone or wood, thanks to the advances in the manufacturing of this popular material. Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Wide range of color choices
  • Easy to clean
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable
Cons:
  • Not heat-resistant (e.g., shouldn’t be installed behind a cooktop or stove)
  • Water can seep into cracks if the laminate isn’t properly installed

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