If you're up to your elbows in a kitchen remodel, it can feel like the project will never be finished.
Once you get the walls up, the floor done and the cabinets installed, there's finally light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations! If you're ready to choose and install a backsplash, you're almost there!
Though it's a relatively small piece of your overall design, a great kitchen backsplash provides a focal point for the room and adds a pop of color or texture for visual interest. It also has a job to do — namely, protecting your walls from water damage and food stains — so it's important to choose the right materials for the job.
Before you rush out to choose a backsplash on looks alone, here are some questions to ask as you consider your options:
1. What's my budget?
A backsplash is an area where you can splurge on unique materials and a bold look, but you can just as easily keep it simple with classic porcelain tiles. White, four-inch squares or subway tile is a look that stands the test of time and definitely won't break the bank. Glass tiles, natural stone and intricate mosaics will all cost more, but you may be able to afford the splurge if your area is small. Figure out your square footage so you can easily compare prices as you shop.
2. What's my style?
Are you building this kitchen for you, or are you looking to improve your home's resale value in the near future? The sky's the limit when it comes to your own tastes, but the best tile for the kitchen you want to sell are neutral in color. You can add some texture with ledger stone or small mosaic panels, but choose shades like tan or gray that will go with everything.
3. How messy am I?
Be honest with yourself: Are you a messy cook? If you're likely to see a pot of tomato sauce boil over or splash water around when you do the dishes, you want a backsplash that will work as hard as you do. Choose tiles with a glossy, non-porous finish that you can easily wipe clean. If your love the matte look and uneven texture of ledger stone, try adding a high-powered exhaust fan that vents to the outside to keep your tiles from getting greasy and sticky over time.
4. Am I in a rush?
If you have your heart set on a certain color and material for your backsplash, are you willing to wait for it? If you're willing to special-order your tiles, you can have anything you want. If you need to finish your kitchen quickly, it's best to stick to tiles that are commonly in stock — those white porcelain subway tiles are a classic choice! If you're in a hurry, look for tiles that don't require any special treatment or sealing to save you a step on installation as well.
If you're having trouble deciding, purchase a few sample tiles to look at them in the space before ordering. Once you find what you love, you're this close to finally completing the kitchen of your dreams!
About the Author
Elizabeth T. is a professional writer with experience writing online catalog copy, trade magazine articles, landing pages for home decor and construction company websites, and how-to articles on dozens of fresh DIY topics. Elizabeth has renovated two homes and has extensive experience in DIY carpentry, soft goods and home decor projects. She has also worked as a designer and organizational consultant for individuals and schools.