I’ve often told people that this may be one of the most difficult decisions during selections for a “new” kitchen. Depending on the layout of your home this can be one of the most visible features. During a family (or otherwise) gathering everyone congregates in the kitchen. This is where several hours of the week are spent cooking, preparing and cleaning up from meals. This, the powder room and the master bathroom, are the key features people are looking at when purchasing a home, but no pressure!
My biggest advice is look at the total picture, when selecting materials form and function are the key ingredients for a beautiful kitchen backsplash.
- Contrast: if the floor is dark, cabinets light, countertops are darker then the backslash should be lighter. Remember that you have upper cabinets as well and that you don’t want a cave like situation with dark cabinets and a dark backsplash.
- Flow: if you have a busier granite then the backsplash needs to be a more calm style, this could include subway tile, a 4” granite backsplash with painted wall above or generally less patterned tile to show off the beauty of your countertops (this is where layout comes in again with a large island I would suggest something interesting on the countertops and less pattern on the backsplash).
- Function: if you are a chef in the kitchen and you want to cook elaborate meals which occasionally pop, boil over or are generally messy, then I would suggest something with little to no texture, something that is non-porous and as small of grout joints as possible.
- What does that mean?
- Split face natural stone, brick and tumbled natural stones are beautiful, but think about wiping them down with a paper towel… If you picture a ripped mess that evokes a scrub brush then maybe this is not the material for the area behind the stove or the sink… These materials are best highlighted in dry areas where scrubbing is less likely to be necessary.
- Natural stone and clay style brick are very porous, in the kitchen there are sauces, smells and grease that even sealing a stone may not ward off. Just keep in mind your layout and lifestyle when deciding on these materials, people do it all the time, but maintenance can be a time consuming factor in this selection.
- Mosaic tile, “but everybody’s doing it”… With the popularity of quartz, backsplashes have become more interesting the converse is true from the granite statement above, when your countertops are more consistent or subdued then a more interesting backsplash is more appropriate. Again keep in mind your layout and the way you use your kitchen when you think about cleaning all that grout…
- Grout… grout comes in a multitude of colors and many manufacturers are promoting a pre-sealed grout these days, although when doing it yourself keep in mind cleaning every few feet of install is key, it is a great idea to use the pre sealed grout, this delays additional maintenance and provides a non porous material especially for more messy areas.
- What does that mean?
Tile manufacturers are using HD technology to create porcelain tile that looks like just about anything these days, you can find a marble, travertine, slate, wood etc lookalike which often has the depth of natural materials and is much easier to maintain.
Glass manufacturers have also come a long way with technology, the pattern is often built into the back side of glass tile which gives you the appearance of a 3D tile and yet is a smooth surface to keep clean.
Natural stone is beautiful and will always remain a classic look and stand the test of time. If you diligently seal your natural stone backsplash every year before Thanksgiving then feel free go with it! With the everyday chaos and instant gratification world we live in we prefer to recommend a lower maintenance option.
Happy shopping my friends! We are always just a phone call away to steer you in a direction that best meets your needs!