Do you need a backsplash – Kitchen Expert Reveals the truth

Backsplashes can make a dramatic difference in your kitchen, by improving its look, and modernity. In the kitchen, they fill the gap between the cabinets and the countertop, spanning the length of the entire countertop, but can extend up the ceiling if the kitchen has no wall cabinets.

Done correctly, backsplashes can protect the walls behind the sink from water damage and grease splatter, while also providing aesthetics and a more finished look for your kitchen.

But do you need a backsplash? You need a backsplash because it adds character to your kitchen, while still protecting your walls against water damage and grease splatter. When installed properly, backsplashes can also add aesthetics to a kitchen and improve the general its general look.

Experts also agree that installing a backsplash in your kitchen is an excellent way to improvise the look and space, without the need to spend a lot of money. Tim Koehler of Kitchen Express, a division of Koehler Family Enterprises, Inc, for instance, says that installing a backsplash in your kitchen can help you protect the back of the countertop from grease that can splash behind the sink, and from water.

What can I use instead of a backsplash?

There are many reasons why, as a homeowner, you can opt for your kitchen to forego backsplash installation. Luckily, deciding against a backsplash for your kitchen can end up being a good decision, because there are many alternatives available that you can use to address the space between your kitchen sinker and the wall cabinet. If you fear the grouting that is involved but want the look of tiles, I recommend the Art3D 10 sheet Peel and Stick Tile Backsplash that is available on Amazon (click here).

Now, if your final decision is to do away with the backsplash, you will still need to make your kitchen look as exquisite as possible, add character to the kitchen, while still being able to keep it as modern as possible. If that is your choice, then consider some of these alternatives, which you can use instead of a backsplash.

  • Vinyl wallpaper

This option gives you a wide range of colors and patterns to choose from for your kitchen. Vinyl wallpaper is also durable and one of the least expensive alternatives in the market today. It is also a great option for people who want to keep their kitchen as colorful as possible. Vinyl wallpapers also come in different types such as fabric-backed vinyl, paper-backed vinyl, vinyl-coated paper, and digitally printed vinyl, which gives you an opportunity to be creative with your walls.

  • Metal (mostly copper or stainless steel)

Having matte stainless steel or a trendy copper instead of backsplash in your kitchen can also add character to your kitchen, keeping it looking amazing, while still maintaining a sense of modern design.

  • Stone slabs or panels

Stone slabs are cut as thin as 5 mm, and backing is added to reinforce them. When installed correctly, stone slabs are cheaper, durable and can change the character of your home.

  • Glass

Glass installation is also another suitable alternative to the backsplash. They are easy to install and can also serve the same purpose as a backsplash.

  • Thermoplastic

If you are looking for a metallic finish that is brushed with nickel and bronze, you should consider thermoplastic as the alternative to a backsplash. The option is also cheap and durable and will meet all the needs that would require a backsplash to be solved. Although they tend to have a limited temperature, research has shown that they are easy to rework, resist humidity and do not need curing when used as backsplashes.

Is a backsplash required by code?

Backsplashes can improve the aesthetics of your bathroom or kitchen, where they are installed. However, that is not the only reason they are installed, with many people opting for them to protect walls from getting damaged by mold, mildew etc.

However, there is no law that states that you must install backsplashes in your kitchen and bathroom. Although some experts state that they improve the look and feel of the kitchen and bathrooms and to also protect against wall damage. Another reason experts recommend backsplashes is due to the amount of water that is splashed to the walls when washing in the kitchen.

Lee Wallender, a home remodeled with over 20 years of experience in the field, puts it best when describing the necessity of a backsplash for your kitchen and bathroom, by saying that backslash in your kitchen or bathroom is not necessary, but highly recommended due to the amount of water and abuse kitchen walls get.

Although not codified, backsplashes are mostly necessary for two places when building a house. Your kitchen, just above the sinker, and the bathroom sink, where most of the washing happens.

In the kitchen, backsplashes should be installed behind the countertop, stove and sink, and their main purpose is to protect the walls from food and moisture splashes that occur on the countertop when preparing food or washing utensils.

In the bathroom, a backsplash is also recommended, but it is possible for one to do without them. When installed in the bathroom, a backsplash helps protect the wall behind the sink from rot, mold, and mildew.

Does a backsplash add value to your home?

An easy addition you can make when remodeling your home is adding backsplashes to your kitchen and bathroom. The remodel project is usually cheap but can make an entire room, kitchen, or bathroom look different.

But does backsplash add value to your home? Many developers struggle with whether the addition of a backsplash adds value to a home. For starters, the amount of money spent on installing a backsplash, plus the amount of work, may end up not being covered by the amount your home value rises with. Make sure that you grout correctly, I recommend SimpleGrout that is pre-mixed. Click here to see the current pricing on Amazon.

This means that the value for renovations and installation of new backsplashes far outweighs the benefits, which ends up costing more overall. Fortunately, backsplash installation can cost just a few hundred dollars, and although the value of the home increase may not be big, in most cases, it covers the costs and allows developers to break even.

Also, there are very many ways of how a backsplash can add value to your property. This includes:

  1. By making a room look more complete: most clients looking for a property are quick to notice additional remodeling touches such as backsplash, which they can interpret as a well-maintained house, and hence boost their willingness to pay for money. It also shows that previous owners took good care of the property, hence the hefty asking price.
  2. Protecting walls: Backsplashes can help you maintain your walls, and the value of your property. If left unattended and with no protection, water from sinks can damage the walls, causing your property to go down. Therefore, adding backsplashes not only adds value to your property, but it also helps maintain the value of your property.
  3. Improves aesthetics of the house: Some homebuyers are attracted to a property because of how it looks, both inside and outside. Installing a backsplash can help improve the aesthetic of a house, leading to an increase in value and demand.

Unsurprisingly, not all home remodelers agree that the addition or improvement of your kitchen backsplash will increase its value. This includes Jeff Shipwash, owner of Shipwash Properties LLC, who calls backsplashes expensive and rarely adds value to the property. Jeff argues that foregoing the backsplashes may end up not hurting your ROI, but you still can install them.

Here is a video that explains the trends in backsplashes:

Should you backsplash the whole kitchen

Backsplashes are ideal for many homes, and although their purpose is primarily functional to protect walls against water damage when built with care and an eye toward aesthetics, they can be beautiful and practical at the same time.

However, one question that is not clear for many people installing backsplashes is “where should the kitchen backsplash start and stop?” Luckily, the answer depends on the type of design, purpose and aesthetics you are looking for. There are no limits to how creative your backsplash installation should be, how long it should be, or how short it should be. Below are some of the guidelines you need to follow when determining the size of your backsplash, where to place them, and where to start and stop your backsplash.

  1. Place backsplashes in areas where splashes of water and food are likely: one of the primary purposes of backsplashes is to protect walls against water and grease damage that splashes from kitchen sinks. Therefore, when working on your backsplash, ensure that it covers the areas more likely to be splashed with water and food.
  2. The backsplash should be between upper and lower cabinets: Your backsplash should run between the upper and lower cabinets of your kitchen. In cases where the lower and upper cabinets do not align, it is recommended to end your backsplash in line with the uppers, so you can still get a crisp vertical line.
  3. Avoid placing backsplash behind the fridge: Unless you can see the wall behind your fridge, it is not recommended for a backsplash to be installed where your fridge rest.

Besides the three general guidelines, there are also other considerations you need to make before installing a backsplash. This includes:

  1. Whether to run backsplash to the ceiling: Many homeowners prefer to run their backsplash to level with the bottom of their upper cabinets. However, the rule of thumb is not codified, and as a homeowner, you can decide to run your backsplashes all the way up to the ceiling, and it would still be appropriate.
  2. Whether upper and lower cabinets are aligned: In situations where the upper and lower cabinets are not aligned, a decision must be made about where to start and stop a backsplash. You can decide to stop the backsplash where the upper cabinets end. Another option is to align your backsplash with the base cabinet, then run the backsplash all the way to the ceiling. Whichever decision you make, make sure it fits well with your interior decor.

Here is a table derived from users on forums on which style of material is best for a backsplash:

Which style of tile is best for a backsplash?Percentage of Total Responses
Ceramic is great for a backsplash, easy to handle14%
Subway tiles that are ceramic since they are timeless 36%
Quartz tiles work well when you have quartz countertops29%
Clear glass tiles that have a white backing are another option for backsplashes21%

Do you need a backsplash behind the stove?

One of the main purposes of installing a backsplash is to protect the walls and prevent them from getting damaged. This includes protecting the walls from food and water splatters, and hence it is important for homeowners to place backsplashes in strategic areas where they will serve their purpose and protect the walls.

One of those places is the area behind the stove, where you do most of the cooking at. This area is one of the most abused areas, because not only does it handle the heat when cooking, but it is also prone to the splatter of water and food as it is boiling or during cooking.

As homeowners, the question of whether we need a backsplash behind a stove becomes important, because failing to account for the damage that can be caused to that area can make your kitchen walls damaged, and result in extra costs when repairing the area. Therefore, in most cases, the area behind your stove should have a backsplash.

There are many factors that you should also consider before installing a backsplash in the area behind the stove, including accounting for heat coming out of your stove, the distance between the upper and lower cabinets and the type of materials you will need for your backsplash.

For starters, installing materials that are not heat resistant, or that conduct heat fast and heat up is not always a promising idea. This is because the heat coming out of your stove is not lost, but transferred to the wall through the backsplashes, which can also lead to damage.

Installing a porous backsplash in the area behind the stove is also a bad idea and can also result in damage to your walls. Therefore, you should always consider non-porous material for your backsplash in areas behind your stove. In cases where you have already installed a porous backsplash, you will need to apply a sealant to both the backsplash material and the grout to avoid damaging your walls.

Therefore, all factors considered, it is recommended that you install a backsplash in areas behind your stove, but you should also consider other factors such as the material used and the aesthetics you are going for.

Do you need a backsplash in the bathroom?

If you don’t have a pedestal sink that sits against your bathroom wall, chances are you need a backsplash, not only for its aesthetic character but also for the protection it offers your walls protection against mold, rot and mildew. Your bathroom is also able to look more finished, with eye-catching aesthetics if a backsplash is installed.

Besides the functional purpose of installing a backsplash in your bathroom, it also offers other benefits such as:

  1. Easy cleaning: It is easy to clean walls with backsplashes without damaging them. This is because you will only need a sponge, or a rag to wipe up and down when the backsplash becomes dirty.
  2. Extra wall safety: Walls that have been damaged by water can compromise your bathroom’s structural integrity. To avoid this, installing a backsplash protects your walls from the risk of mildew and mold, while sealing the walls behind them, thereby protecting them.
  3. Allows freedom of creativity: As a homeowner, you are given freedom of creativity in determining how the aesthetics and texture of your bathroom should look like. It also gives you an opportunity to add a personal touch to your house design and remodeling, you also have the freedom to choose the types of materials that will look good in your bathroom.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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