How to Choose the Perfect Backsplash for Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Backsplashes not only add pattern, texture and color but they also protect your walls.Find out which material is right for your kitchen or bathroom (yes backsplashes go in bathrooms as well) below!

Backsplashes have 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 materials in a wide array of material, styles, colors, and finishes means your backsplash can make more of a statement and enhance your decor. To help you decide which material will work best for you, we explain the pros and cons of the most popular backsplash materials.

 

Porcelain & Ceramic Tiles

Tiled backsplashes are a popular choice, as they offer versatility, practicality and style. Thanks to advances in printing technology, ceramic and porcelain tiles can be produced to resemble natural stone and wood, but with none of the associated performance challenges. The tiles are resistant to scratches, heat and water, and should be reasonably easy to install and cheap. And while they are durable, should a tile become chipped or damaged, you simply need to remove it and lay another. {See how to Replace a Broken Tile Here}

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 now available, 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 exactly how the space will be used to ensure your choice works with your lifestyle. While pristine white tiles and matching grout may look perfect in a modern, low-use kitchen, they are not the most practical choice for a busy family space. Here at Flooring Creations, we offer a FREE decor consult to help you narrow down all of those choices and select the best material for your home in regards to practicality, aesthetics, and price.

 

Quartz (Engineered Stone)

Also referred to as quartz composite, engineered stone is made of crushed quartz mixed with resin. High-performing engineered stones are heat and scratch resistant as well as extremely tough.

Pros: Quartz 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.

Cons: Installation of an engineered stone backsplash must be done by a specialist. It is certainly not a DIY job.

 

Granite

Granite is still a favorite for backsplashes, working equally well in traditional and contemporary settings. What’s more, no two slabs of natural stone will ever look exactly the same, so you are guaranteed a unique look.

One of the main factors that will determine the appearance of your granite backsplash is whether you opt for a honed or polished granite. Shiny polished granite is popular for traditional and country-style kitchens. Alternatively, honed granite has a matte finish that’s much more textured yet understated, so it’s the ideal choice for a contemporary kitchen.

If you choose honed granite, test some samples with water and oil, as certain variations of the stone can show wet marks longer.

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.

 

Marble

Nothing beats the natural beauty of a marble backsplash, which never fails to bring a luxurious look to a kitchen. It’s important to be aware, however, that marble is porous, so it needs sealing and periodic resealing to prevent staining. It also gets scratched more easily than other materials.

Pros: Because no two slabs look exactly the same, marble is naturally occurring pieces of art. Choosing which marble to use is immense fun. A trip to the stone yard is always an adventure for the designer and the client.

Cons: Cost can be an issue, depending on the marble you want. What’s more, marble can get stained easily. You have to accept marble for what it is, it’s beautiful, but not maintenance free. However, lots of marbles have wonderful streaks and patterns that tend to help hide any areas of staining.

 

Travertine:

Travertine is a type of limestone. It naturally forms around hot springs in layers and is removed from these areas to be processed into slabs. Travertine has a natural variegated pattern that contains multiple colors. This is caused by mineral compounds and other impurities that naturally permeate the stone.  In terms of finish, travertine is available polished, honed, brushed or tumbled. Polished and honed travertine tiles are both smooth in texture, but polished travertine is shiny, while honed has a matte or flat finish. Brushed travertine has a subtle texture that is not shiny, while tumbled is more like natural stone, with a rough texture. Overall, a travertine backsplash would look great in a traditional, or rustic decor style. 

Pros: The natural stone appearance is timeless and attractive than manufactured materials such as concrete. The travertine walls and flooring have been known to outlast the building itself. Travertine withstands weather extremes and temperature extremes of hot and cold, which makes it great for a backsplash in the kitchen due to the high temperatures from the stove, and it also works in the bathroom where it get’s hot and steamy from the shower, or cold for those of us who like cold showers. 

Cons: Travertine is composed of calcium carbonate, which is highly reactive to vinegar, orange juice and other weak acid food substances encountered in the kitchen. Because of this, travertine may not be suitable for kitchen countertops where it may be exposed to acidic foods on a regular basis, however as a backsplash it’s not going to regularly be in contact with acidic foods so it’s not that big of a deal. A good sealer will protect it to a certain extent, but if it is not sealed adequately or often enough, or the sealer is scratched or worn off, making it more susceptible to damage. If it is used in the kitchen, a filled travertine tile is preferable to an unfilled surfaces

 

Mosaic of a Glass, Tile, Stone or a Combination of Them

There’s something aesthetically satisfying about a collage comprised of many small tiles that form one intricate yet cohesive pattern. Mosaics give a nice visual pop to any room they are used in, especially in tight spaces or as a border detail with contrasting larger tiles.

Pros: Mosaic tiles are versatile, since you can install them in almost room in your home; the only limits are those set by your creativity. You can use mosaic tiles for backsplashes, on countertops, showers and entryways. When you visit one of our stores, you’ll see that there is a lot of options available in mosaic tiles. You can create your own patterns by combining sections of pre-meshed glass, marble, granite, travertine or slate. Each combination of glass and stone will reflect the surrounding light in the room in different ways. The biggest benefit of using mosaic glass tiles are the great look that can be achieved with a proper installation. Glass tiles or a mix of glass and natural stone can be arranged in simple or intricate patterns. Because of the nature of glass mosaic, it is very luminescent and reflect light to brighten a room. Being non-porous, glass mosaics are resistant to stains, mold and mildew; you also don’t have to worry about grime staining glass tile. They are very easy to clean, and can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Cons: During installation, mosaic tiles are slightly more susceptible to chipping or cracking because of their size and the flexibility of the mosaic’s backing. This means you will have to handle mosaic tiles with a little more care. However, if one of the small tile on the mosaic is damaged you can cut it out and replace it with a spare piece, and no one will be able to tell.

Tell us: Do you have experience with any of these materials, and which would you recommend? Share your thoughts in the Comments.