Kitchen Splashback – Ideas, Advice & Options Explored
A kitchen splashback is usually one of the last elements to be installed in a new kitchen. As well as being practical, it can add a pop of colour, a sense of luxury or introduce some texture to your kitchen.
With lots of options on the market, it can be hard to know what to choose.
In this post, I’ll go over the main options for kitchen splashbacks, talk about their pros, and cons as well as answer some frequently asked questions about the topic.
Let’s get into it!
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What Is A Kitchen Splashback?
A splashback (sometimes called a backsplash) is a material installed on your wall behind your countertop that acts to protect the wall from any cooking splashes, spills or any general kitchen mess. They are typically made of materials that can be wiped down and cleaned with ease.
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Kitchen Splashback Ideas
There are lots of ideas and material options available when it comes to kitchen splashbacks. I’ve highlighted some of the most popular kitchen splashback choices I’ve designed over the years.
There is literally an endless array of colours and sizes of kitchen splashback tiles available. Most tiles are made out of durable porcelain, which has been used for this purpose for thousands of years. You can go with a clean metro tile in a single colour or opt for a multi-colour pattern.
The splashback can be installed during your kitchen renovation project or as a later upgrade. If you are a confident weekend DIYer, tile can be tackled with the right tools. However, if you want a professional finish that will last as long as your cabinets, think about hiring a contractor.
It can take from around a day or two to a week for the entire job as you need to wait for the mortar and grout to dry between each step. This can be a budget-friendly upgrade or can empty your account when you import custom tile designs.
Average Cost Range for Kitchen Tile Material:
£15 to £50/sq. m.
Average Labour Cost for Splashback Tiling:
£25/sq. m. or £200 per day
Pros of a Tile Splashback:
- An endless variety of colours, sizes, and designs are available
- Durable porcelain can last for decades when properly installed
- Can be installed as a DIY project
- Low-priced materials can be sourced
- Custom tiles are also available
Cons of a Tile Splashback:
- Installation can take up to a week
- A poor installation job will result in loose and cracking tiles
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Are you looking for something with a little more life in it than traditional tile? For a truly modern look, think about using large panes of tempered coloured glass.
Glass is easy to keep clean, will maintain its colour, and reflects natural light to brighten the kitchen. You have fewer design options available unless you spring for a custom glass mosaic, in which case the labour costs will also skyrocket.
Average Cost for Glass Kitchen Tile Materials:
£15 to £60/sq. m.
Average Labour Cost for Glass Splashback:
£25/sq. m. for pre-cut mosaics or £200 to £300 for glass pane installation.
Pros of a Glass Splashback:
- Unique and beautiful colours
- Brightens the room by reflecting light
- Easy to clean and sanitise
- A cost-effective option instead of traditional tile
- Available in pre-cut mosaics, standard tiles, and single-piece options
Cons of a Glass Splashback:
- Easier to damage materials during installation
- Not as many colour or design options available
- Professional installation is recommended
Do you love the look of a kitchen all in white with matching floors, cabinets, counters, and walls? Using the same countertop material for your splashback is a great way to unify the design. It is particularly effective when working with stone or other solid-surface materials such as quartz.
Your countertop installation company will cut the splashback at their shop after taking precise measurements at your home. This is an approach best used when having your worktops replaced to ensure a perfect match.
Custom countertops can demand a week or month of lead time, so this isn’t an option as a weekend project.
Average Cost for Worktop Material Splashback:
Pricing will vary based on the cost of the initial slab.
Pros of a Countertop Splashback:
- Seamless contemporary design
- The same contractor will install both the worktop and splashback
Cons of a Tile Splashback:
- A pricey upgrade for only custom kitchen remodels
- Must be installed at the same time as the worktop
- It may take up to a month to have the room measured, the material cut, and installed
Do you love the look of an industrial kitchen? A stainless steel splashback will lend that trending look to your project at an affordable price and can be installed as a DIY project.
You can order a standard-sized sheet that is just 1mm thick or pay a little extra for a piece that is the same thickness as your wall tile.
It is easy to clean and can be thoroughly scrubbed. It won’t crack or discolour and can be applied over existing tiles or paint with no need for messy demolition. You just need an appropriate adhesive to stick it to the wall and seal the edges with silicon.
Average Cost for Stainless Steel Splashback:
£50 to £125 depending on the size and thickness of the piece.
Pros of a Stainless Steel Splashback:
- Modern trending design
- Easy to install
- Simple to maintain
- No demolition needed
- Will never crack or stain
Cons of a Stainless Steel Splashback:
- It can be dented
- It can get scratched
- Industrial design is not hugely popular and may become dated
If a glittering chandelier always makes you smile, adding a mirrored splashback will speak to your love for glamour. It is a stunning complement to your contemporary kitchen design. It can make a small kitchen feel larger as it reflects a duplicate of your clean worktops.
This will be a luxury splashback, as you will need the mirror cut to a custom size and professionally installed. Mirrors can break which would require a complete replacement, so look for toughened glass mirror to be on the safe side.
Average Cost for Mirror Splashback:
£400 and up including installation.
Pros of a Mirror Splashback:
- Gorgeous and glitzy
- Can make the kitchen feel bigger
Cons of a Mirror Splashback:
- Mirrors can scratch and crack
- Most expensive option
- Professional installation required
Peel & Stick Tiles
Are you dressing up a rental unit or your very first kitchen? You can add a splashback for just a few pounds and a couple of hours of work. Peel & Stick tiles come in designs that look like mosaic tiles but are just printed vinyl.
If the wall is properly prepared, these tiles can last a few years before fading. They are scrubbable and instantly provide a finished look to your kitchen. Best of all, when you get tired of the look, you can switch it up with something new.
Average Cost for Peel & Stick Tile Splashback:
£15 to £20 for enough tiles to complete your project.
Pros of a Peel & Stick Tile Splashback:
- Inexpensive option to get a designer finish for your kitchen
- Installs in an hour or two
- Can be cleaned
- Easy and inexpensive to change them out when fashions fade
Cons of a Tile Splashback:
- Look and feel like a vinyl applique
- Can be scratched and torn
- Colours tend to fade
For just about £10, you can pick up a small can of paint at the corner store and erase years of kitchen use in about an hour. When you can’t eliminate any new stains, just give the wall another coat. Look for a high gloss/high-quality paint or one designed for use in kitchens for easier cleaning.
Most homeowners prefer a tiled splashback over paint because you can really scrub the tiles. Paint can cling to grease and dirt, which can leave you staring at stubborn grime.
Average Cost for a Painted Splashback:
£10 to £20 for paint and supplies.
Pros of a Painted Splashback:
- Easy and inexpensive DIY kitchen improvement
- Add a fast new coat when needed
- Paint in any colour that you desire
Cons of a Painted Splashback:
- Harder to keep clean
- Not as professional appearance as a tiled splashback
What Is The Easiest Kitchen Splashback To Install?
The easiest kitchen splashback to install will likely be peel-and-stick tiles or simply painting the splashback area with harder-wearing kitchen paint. These can be done by any competent DIY’er.
Splashbacks such as glass, mirror or countertop materials will usually need to be professionally templated and installed. Especially if they are full-length splashbacks and require cut-outs for sockets and switches.
Should Your Splashback Match Your Countertop?
Your splashback does not need to match your countertop. Having a splashback offers the opportunity to introduce new colours or textures to your kitchen. However, having a splashback that matches your countertop is a growing trend and another option for your kitchen design.
There’s no right or wrong answer or choice when it comes to your kitchen backsplash. It’s whatever you like the look and feel of most.
Should A Kitchen Splashback Be Installed Before The Countertop?
No. The countertop must be installed first. Then any measurements for the backsplash can be taken from the countertop upwards to the underside of any wall cabinets.
The splashback will then be installed and sit on top of the back of the countertop to create a better seal against the wall.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about kitchen splashbacks and which is the right choice for you and your kitchen.
With lots of options on the market and no right or wrong answer, your kitchen splashback can be a stand-out statement piece or a discreet and practical solution.
The choice is up to you and your design and style preferences.
So, what type of splashback will you add to your new kitchen?
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.