Quartz Backsplash In A Kitchen – Pros, Cons & Expert Advice
A kitchen backsplash (splashback) is more than just a protective layer for your walls. It’s a key element that can significantly influence the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your kitchen. Among the myriad of choices available, the quartz backsplash has emerged as a popular pick.
But is it the right choice for your kitchen?
In this post, I’ll explore the quartz backsplash, discussing its benefits, drawbacks, and other crucial factors that will help you make an informed decision.
Let’s get into it!
Is Quartz Good As A Kitchen Backsplash?
Yes, quartz is an excellent choice when considering a kitchen backsplash (splashback).
Its non-porous nature makes it stain-resistant, an essential feature for a kitchen area prone to spills and splashes. Additionally, quartz offers robust durability against scratches and chips, ensuring your backsplash remains in top shape through years of daily use.
As well as this, quartz’s design versatility with a huge range of colours and patterns accommodates various kitchen styles, be it modern minimalist or rustic traditional.
Additionally, quartz is relatively low maintenance compared to other materials. It doesn’t need to be sealed like natural stone, and it’s easy to clean using just warm water and mild soap. This makes it a practical and appealing choice for homeowners who prefer a stylish, yet fuss-free, kitchen environment
However, while it’s largely heat-resistant, excessive direct heat could pose a potential problem, although this is less of an issue for backsplashes than countertops. And, while it has good stain resistance, it’s not stain-proof. Heavy hitters such as beetroot and turmeric can cause staining on quartz.
But overall, quartz combines function and aesthetics beautifully, making it a compelling choice for your kitchen backsplash.
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Pros of a Quartz Backsplash
- Stain Resistance: Quartz is a non-porous material, which makes it resistant to stains. This feature is especially important in a kitchen environment, where spillages from foods and beverages like pasta sauce or red wine are commonplace. Unlike other materials that might absorb these substances and become stained, quartz backsplashes are much better at protecting against permanent stains. Although, remember that quartz isn’t stain-proof. Resistant, not proof!
- Durability: Quartz is a very durable material. It can withstand daily use, including accidental bumps and scratches that might occur while moving pots and pans around. For instance, while chopping vegetables, if your knife accidentally slips and hits the backsplash, quartz is unlikely to chip or scratch, preserving its seamless finish.
- Variety: Quartz offers a wide array of design possibilities. Available in an impressive range of colours, patterns, and finishes, it can cater to all types of kitchen aesthetics. For example, a pure white quartz backsplash would complement a contemporary, minimalist kitchen design, while a quartz pattern resembling natural stone could lend a rustic charm to a country-style kitchen.
- Low Maintenance: Unlike natural stone materials, quartz does not need to be sealed and is relatively easy to clean. Day-to-day maintenance only requires a wipe-down with warm water and mild soap. And unlike tiles, there are no grout lines to worry about cleaning! Which is always the worst part.
- Consistent Design: Due to the way quartz is manufactured, it allows for more uniformity and consistency in pattern and colour compared to natural stones. This can help in achieving a sleek and harmonious look in your kitchen. For example, if you desire a backsplash that matches your quartz countertop perfectly, it’s entirely feasible, creating a seamless transition and consistent aesthetic.
Cons of a Quartz Backsplash
- Heat Sensitivity: While quartz is generally heat-resistant, it’s not invincible. Prolonged or extreme heat exposure can potentially damage the surface. For example, if a hot pan is accidentally placed against the backsplash, it may leave a mark. However, in the context of a backsplash, this is typically a minor concern as compared to countertops.
- Cost: Quartz can be more expensive than some other backsplash materials. The cost of quartz backsplash often reflects its quality, durability, and the aesthetic appeal it brings to your kitchen. However, if you’re working with a tight budget, the upfront costs may be a significant factor in your decision-making process.
- Installation: Quartz is a heavy material, and installing a quartz backsplash will likely require professional help. While this ensures a secure and correct fit, it can add to your overall renovation costs. DIY installation is not usually recommended for quartz due to its weight and the precision needed in the installation process.
- Seams Visibility: For larger kitchens, or where variously sized pieces are needed, quartz backsplashes may have visible seams. Depending on the colour and pattern of the quartz, these seams can sometimes be quite noticeable.
- Limited Authenticity: While quartz can mimic the look of natural materials like marble or granite, it lacks the unique natural variations of these stones. If you value the one-of-a-kind patterns and inherent imperfections that come with natural stone, quartz may not satisfy that desire.
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Is It Expensive to use quartz as a backsplash?
A quartz backsplash can be expensive, but it really depends on a number of factors and what you’re comparing it to.
The cost of using quartz as a backsplash can vary widely, and it’s often considered to be a more premium choice compared to other materials like ceramic tile or laminate. And certainly more expensive than nothing at all!
Factors influencing the price include (but are not limited to) the type/colour of the quartz, the complexity of the installation, the specific brand you choose, and the region where you live.
However, if you’re already opting for a quartz countertop, it may make practical and economical sense to go for a quartz backsplash at the same time. This way, templating, fabrication, and installation can all be carried out in one go. This approach optimizes the use of material and labour, potentially leading to cost savings.
Alternatively, purchasing tiles, hiring a professional tiler, and dedicating additional days to the tiling process might seem less expensive upfront, but the costs can quickly add up.
Another important thing to remember is that while the initial cost might be higher than some other materials, quartz often pays off in the long run. Its durability, low maintenance (no grout lines to clean!), and timeless appeal can contribute to the overall value of your home.
Furthermore, the aesthetic appeal it can bring to your kitchen, especially if you’re using quartz for your countertops as well, can make it a worthwhile investment.
That being said, it’s important to consider your budget carefully and weigh the cost against the benefits Quartz offers. If you’re on a tight budget, there might be other affordable options that still provide a good level of durability and aesthetic appeal.
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How Thick is a Quartz Backsplash?
Most quartz backsplashes are made from slabs that are 20-30 mm (3/4 – 1 1/4 inch) thick.
Personally, I’ve used 20mm thick quartz backsplashes for most of my kitchen design projects over the years.
However, the thickness of a quartz backsplash can vary depending on your specific design preferences and the manufacturer’s offerings. Most quartz backsplashes tend to align with the thickness of the countertops for consistency and aesthetic appeal.
Commonly, quartz countertops, and by extension, backsplashes, come in three standard thicknesses:
- 12 mm, which is approximately 1/2 inch.
- 20 mm, which is approximately 3/4 inch.
- 30 mm, which is approximately 1 1/4 inches.
Of these, the 20 mm and 30 mm options are most commonly used for kitchens due to their superior durability and substantial visual appeal. Thicker slabs are available but less common and may be more expensive.
It’s essential to consider the thickness when planning your installation, as it affects the cost, adhesive needed, and the amount of support or reinforcement required.
How are Quartz Backsplashes Installed?
Installing a quartz backsplash can be a more complex process than you realise. It normally requires professional help due to the weight of the material and the precision needed for the installation. Here’s a general outline of the process:
- Measurement and Templating: The first step is to accurately measure the area where the backsplash will be installed. This includes the length and height of the wall, as well as the space around any outlets or fixtures. These measurements are then used to create a template for the quartz slab.
- Fabrication: Using the template as a guide, the quartz slab is then cut to the appropriate size and shape. This process should be done with precision to ensure a perfect fit on your wall. Fabrication also includes the finishing of the edges of the backsplash, which could be anything from a simple polish to a more elaborate bevel, depending on your preference.
- Preparation: Before the installation, the wall surface needs to be prepared. It should be clean, dry, and flat to ensure proper adherence of the backsplash. Any existing backsplash or wall treatment will need to be removed.
- Installation: The quartz backsplash is then applied to the wall using a strong adhesive. The adhesive should be applied evenly to prevent any gaps or bubbles. After the backsplash is positioned correctly, it’s firmly pressed onto the wall. The installers may use temporary supports to hold the backsplash in place while the adhesive sets.
- Sealing: Once the adhesive has cured, any gaps between the backsplash, the countertop, and the wall are sealed with a silicone caulk to prevent moisture from getting behind the backsplash. The colour of the caulk is usually chosen to match the quartz to make it less noticeable.
- Finishing Touches: Finally, the protective film on the surface of the quartz is removed (if there was one), and the backsplash is cleaned of any adhesive or caulking residue.
What Is A Full Height Quartz Backsplash?
A full-height quartz backsplash is a style of kitchen backsplash that extends from the countertop all the way up to the undersurface of the kitchen cabinets, or in some cases, up to the ceiling.
This design provides a continuous, seamless look that enhances the aesthetic appeal of the kitchen while offering added wall protection against spills and splashes. Full-height quartz backsplashes are particularly favoured in (but not limited to) contemporary kitchen designs for their sleek and modern appearance.
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Should Your Backsplash Match Your Countertop?
There’s no strict rule that your backsplash must match or, for that matter, contrast your countertop. It’s all about personal preference and the overall style you’re hoping to achieve in your kitchen.
Some people prefer a coordinated look, while others enjoy a more eclectic vibe by mixing and matching materials.
Matching Backsplash and Countertop: If you prefer a seamless, unified look, matching your backsplash to your countertop can provide a sleek and minimalistic appeal. This is commonly seen with quartz or other solid surface materials and can make a kitchen space feel larger and more cohesive.
Contrasting Backsplash and Countertop: If you’re inclined towards a more dynamic look, choosing a backsplash that contrasts with your countertop can add visual interest and depth to your kitchen.
This could involve contrasting colours, patterns, or even materials. For example, a bright, patterned tile backsplash could pop against a solid-colour quartz countertop, or a simple, white subway tile backsplash could provide a clean contrast to a darker, veined quartz countertop.
Consider factors like style, colour and pattern, and material when making your decision. Ultimately, it’s all about achieving the aesthetic YOU want in your kitchen.
Is Quartz Good for a Backsplash Behind a Stove?
Yes, quartz is an excellent choice for a backsplash behind a stove.
Its non-porous nature makes it resistant to stains and easy to clean, ideal for an area that’s frequently exposed to splashes and spills from cooking.
While quartz is not completely heat-proof, it can withstand reasonably high temperatures that typically occur in a kitchen setting. However, it’s still advisable to avoid direct contact with extremely hot pots and pans to prevent potential heat damage.
Ultimately, a quartz backsplash provides a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance solution for the area behind your stove.
There you have it! Some pros, cons and advice if you’re considering having a quartz backsplash in your kitchen.
Quartz backsplashes offer numerous benefits, including durability, low maintenance, and a wide range of colours and patterns. However, they can be more expensive and require professional installation.
Whether you’re planning a full kitchen remodel or just updating your backsplash, a quartz backsplash can enhance the beauty and functionality of your space for years to come.
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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.