A backsplash is the material added onto a wall behind a sink or counters in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Traditionally it is used to protect a painted wall from cooking splatters and moisture. But a backsplash also often serves as an additional design element that adds interest, beauty, and a chance to express your personal style. Keeping this in mind, here are some questions to consider when designing a backsplash,
Where do you want a backsplash and how high do you want it to be?
While it may not be required by code (check with your general contractor or local building department) it is recommended that a backsplash be installed in any wet or cooking areas to protect the surrounding walls and to keep moisture from getting between your cabinets and the walls. So deciding on the location is your first consideration. Next you need to decide how high up the wall you want it to go. Do you want a 4” tall backsplash that is usually a continuation of the countertop material, something that covers the entire wall between the counters and the cabinets, or, in some cases, do you want it to go all the way to the ceiling?
Do you want your backsplash to blend in with your cabinets or countertops or do you want it to stand out visually?
Backsplashes should coordinate with the style of the kitchen or bathroom they are in. And it is generally best to select your cabinets and countertops before you decide on your backsplash. Depending on the materials you choose, it can either focus your eye on beautiful cabinets and countertops or take center stage. Or, you can design it to focus visual attention on certain areas of your kitchen, like a cooktop or sink.
What materials will you use?
While tile is the most popular material, choosing the actual material is where the fun begins. Here is a few common and not so common materials used for backsplashes. In making your selection, keep in mind the look of each type of material, along with the maintenance required and your budget. Also remember that heavily textured materials, while beautiful, are difficult to clean.
- Natural stone, like travertine or granite, can be installed as slabs or in tile.
- Ceramic and porcelain tile is generally easy to clean (remember the purpose of a backsplash!) which makes it is a natural choice. Many different types of tile are available from Daltile, Marazzi Tile and other suppliers. You can use them alone or in combination with each other or other materials. Traditional subway tile, in the 3” x 6” size or in the popular larger formats, can be laid in a variety of patterns and is very popular right now.
- Glass can be used in the form of mosaics or glass subway tiles. It can also be used in a solid slab to create a clean, minimalist look. And sea glass and recycled glass are green options for a backsplash.
- Metal can be used to create a clean, industrial backsplash or one that has a traditional feel. Stainless steel is the most common metal used, but copper and other metals are also available. Metal is beautiful, but can be challenging to maintain.
- Using wood planks or beadboard for a backsplash is a non-traditional use for a traditional kitchen material. It may present maintenance challenges.
- Using chalkboard paint creates a fun, affordable and casual backsplash.
There also many websites showing a variety of backsplash design ideas, like HGTV, Southern Living, Houzz, and Pinterest. With so many options available, designing a backsplash is another way that you can create a new home that combines functionality with beauty, and truly reflects your style and personality. If this is your goal, Utah home-builder DaVinci Homes would love to help you make your dream a reality.
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