Until the 1990s, wall tiles were the most popular way to protect kitchen walls from splashes of grease or water.
However, tiles can be difficult to clean and, over time, the grout tends to discolour.
Enter the modern splashback (or “backsplash” if you’re reading this in the US). A smooth, stylish and easy-to-clean solution to protect your walls.
What is a splashback used for?
A kitchen splashback is a wipe-clean screen fitted to your kitchen wall to protect it from splashed grease, water or other kitchen mess. It also provides protection from heat and condensation.
Splashbacks are most often fitted behind hobs and sinks as an essential element of the kitchen. But they are also a useful addition behind any worksurfaces, whether for protection or aesthetics.
As well as being a practical addition to a kitchen design, many are also highly decorative. They can be subtle style enhancements or dramatic statement pieces.
The essential qualities of a splashback are:
- Easy to clean.
- Heat resistant.
- Looks good!
Smooth stone, such as quartz, granite or Corian, can give continuity with worksurfaces made in the same material. Thanks to its sleek looks and practicalities, it’s the most popular choice for splashbacks.
Toughened glass is often used as a splashback, taking many forms.
The back of the glass can be painted to match the colour scheme of your kitchen.
Mirrored glass can give a feeling of a larger space, perhaps with a smoky tint or a distressed look for a vintage effect.
A transparent glass splashback can also be positioned to protect an existing feature wall, such as exposed brickwork or original Victorian tiles.
If it’s an outside wall then you could even consider creating a glass window as your splashback, giving you a view of the world outside.
Like glass, acrylic offers a variety of colour and mirrored options. Acrylic is cheaper than glass and harder wearing. However, acrylic doesn’t have enough heat resistance to be used behind a hob and, for this reason, we don’t fit them.
For a modern, industrial feel, metal splashbacks can be used, for example in steel or copper. However, they can be a little more difficult to clean.
Decorative natural wood veneers, faced with glass or acrylic, can create a wonderfully organic splashback.
So, no more tiles?
Splashbacks won’t suit every kitchen design.
If you have very traditional tastes or want your kitchen to be in keeping with your old, character home, then tiles might still be the best option.
You just have to be prepared to spend a little more time cleaning them and whitening that grout!