5 fixes for a boring backsplash

Wood backslpashes are gaining popularity. (Dreamstime)
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Wood backslpashes are gaining popularity. (Dreamstime)

The right kitchen backsplash goes a long way in protecting your kitchen walls and cabinets. And it can also add substantial style to your space. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of five popular backsplash materials to help you choose the best backsplash for your kitchen.

1. Ceramic and porcelain tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are a popular choice. Tiles are versatile and practical — and both ceramic and porcelain tiles are fired at high temperatures, creating a hard surface that is largely stain- and scratch-resistant. Traditional subway tiles can be used to create striking patterns and shapes. Square tiles may be stacked in straight lines for a surprising and modern look. And the zigzags of the herringbone pattern add a dynamic touch that creates movement within the space. Geometric and scalloped tiles are also popular and attractive options.

Tile also comes in a number of versatile colors and designs — including bold brights; pastels and muted tones; marbled designs; metallic, ultra-glossy finishes; and artistic/handmade designs.

2. Glass

Toughened or tempered glass is a great choice if you’re aiming for a streamlined finish. It’s strong, durable and easy to clean. Glass can be purchased in large panels, which makes it more hygienic than tiled backsplash options with seams. It does tend to show water spots and smears, but a regular polish will keep it looking great.

Mirrored glass is another popular backsplash choice. You can choose from a variety of hues — from silver to rose gold — which will give your kitchen a polished, contemporary feel. This can be particularly effective in traditionally styled kitchens, making the space feel larger. However, mirrored glass should not be used behind a gas range, as the open flame can cause visible cracking over time.

3. Stone

Stone is timeless and appealing, making it a great choice if you’re planning to sell your home in the future. The downside to natural stone is that many options are porous and can therefore be damaged by exposure to water, acid or pigment. For this reason, some natural stone options (marble and granite, for example) will need to be sealed before installation and again every few years thereafter. Cleaning products will need to be chosen carefully as well, as some chemicals can damage or discolor the surface of the stone.

Engineered stone is currently most popular. It not only offers a sleek, high-end finish, but it is also robust and heat- and scratch-resistant. It’s also nonporous, which is a great benefit when compared with stain-prone natural stone.

4. Metal

If you’re looking for something a little different, you might consider a metal backsplash. Pressed metal panels are quick and easy to install, and they’re also long-lasting and durable. You can choose from a range of pressed patterns, and you can even have them powder coated in the color of your choice.

Stainless steel is practical and affordable — particularly if you’re looking for an industrial vibe. It’s heat-resistant, hardwearing and easy to clean. However, it is also prone to scratches and dents. Copper, brass and bronze are other options. Hammered copper is trending right now — and we love the look!

5. Wood

Wood may not be an obvious choice, but this material is seeing an upswing in popularity. Choices vary from rustic reclaimed boards to smooth hardwood planks. These aren’t the easiest backsplashes to clean, but any marks simply add to their vintage character. An exposed wood backsplash will need to be treated and sealed to make it water-resistant. And regular oiling and waxing will keep it looking its best. Alternatively, you can place a clear glass panel in front of the wood to keep it protected.

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