Choosing Your Kitchen splash back
Splash backs in the kitchen are more than just an eye-catching design feature, a splash backs purpose is to protect the walls and panels around your kitchen from food & water splatter and should be heat resistant to protect behind hobs and benchtop appliances.
While splash backs provide a service in your kitchen that doesn’t mean to say they have to be dull necessities, the splash back these days is an import design feature and the right splash back can enhance your kitchens look in a spectacular fashion.
There is a range of materials to choose from and the colour and texture possibilities are discussed here.
A splash back has a purpose to protect the walls and to provide a fire-resistant surface behind hobs and appliances and so this limits the range of materials you can choose from.
It is worth noting early on in any renovation of a kitchen, if you are going to have a gas hob, installing fire resistant gib on the wall behind the hob before your new kitchen is installed is a wise move.
Your builder can advise on this and some splashback materials specify fire resistant gib lining to meet building regulations.
The most common Splashback materials for kitchens in New Zealand are Toughen glass and Laminam, Stone, stainless steel and Tiles.
I am only going to discuss Glass splash backs, Laminam, Tiles and Stone believing Stainless steel as a splashback is self-explanatory and while there are other materials suitable for use a splash back these four outlined, are the most common.
Painted Glass Splash backs:
Colours are an exciting part of designing a glass splash back - the colour options for glass are unlimited!
Whether you are after a subtle blend with your splash back or the introduction of a colour that you want to continue throughout the home, the depth and vitality created by back-painted glass offers you endless options with a surface that is easy to clean and very durable.
Glass splash backs are made with toughened glass to withstand heat and create a very strong surface suitable for every day food splashes, to withstand heat and are suitable for most cleaning products.
Painted glass splashbacks can come in standard sizes for a cost-effective option, generally in two sizes for behind hobs 600mm wide x 750mm high or 900mm wide x 750mm high.
However, most clients choose a custom-made splashback that not only goes behind the hob but extends around the all the walls that need protecting.
Glass is an easy clean surface and relatively easy to install and probably the most common splashback material in New Zealand currently.
Please remember that you must choose your cutouts for power points, switches etc. before the glass is toughened, so when discussing your splash back with your Kitchen designer make sure you think carefully through how many power points or switches you are going to need on the various walls and where you would like them located, as once the glass is toughened & Installed it cannot be modified.
Just another point to be aware of is that some patterned splashbacks come in smaller sheet sizes and so you may not be able to have a pattern extend in one direction without a join, so it pays to check this early on, as joins can look unsightly in a patterned glass splashback.
Some of the types of glass splash backs available are as follows:
Digital Print Glass Splash backs:
Digital images printed onto glass offers you the opportunity to have a stunning piece of artwork in your kitchen or bathroom with its versatility acting as a splashback as well as artwork. Printed glass creates a beautiful and inspiring focal point for kitchens, bathrooms and commercial interiors.
Effects Glass combine a variety of colours and finishes painted onto a range of textured and obscured glasses for a truly original glass finish. Glass effects textures include wood grain and a stone look, along with uniformed lines and patterns, all offering the benefits of a smooth glass face.
Digital Print Pictures on Glass:
For something a little different with amazing colors and depth, high resolution pictures and photos can be printed directly onto the back of glass, which, when looking through the front of the glass at the picture, the depth and the colours are portrayed vividly.
Laminam Splash backs:
Laminam is a full body porcelain tile and is an attractive and versatile product that comes in a variety of finishes ranging from an industrial stone look to the textured tile finish. Laminam comes in big sheets that enable minimal joins leaving a sleek finish that is very easy to keep clean. It comes in 6mm and 3mm thickness and the thinner layer requires fire resistant gib behind a gas hob to meet regulatory requirements.
Laminam is becoming a very popular alternative to Glass, in that it has a very natural unique look with a textured surface that reflects the colours and light in your kitchen. If you are really looking for something special consider Laminam, it’s a favorite amongst kitchen designers looking for something different to give that special effect.
Tile splash backs:
There was a time when tiles were pretty much the only option available to homeowners when selecting something to create a kitchen splashback.
There are literally thousands of tile design and style combinations to choose from, with popular trends including a herringbone or subway style layouts. Replacing old or outdated tiles is usually a fairly cheap and simple process if you want to change up the look, but keep in mind that grout can be more difficult to clean and can stain over time – especially behind cooktops.
Ceramic and porcelain are the most common choices for kitchen splash back tiles. Ceramic tiles are readily available and are cost effective. They are made from a mixture of clays that are baked at high temperatures. The tiles are then glazed to make them hard and resistant to water. The glaze can be gloss or matt finish depending on the look you’d like to achieve.
Porcelain tiles are like ceramic tiles but have been fired at even greater temperatures. This makes them virtually non-porous and so they won’t require an additional glaze to protect them. Porcelain tiles are much tougher than ceramic tiles and will therefore carry a higher price tag.
Glass tiles are available in a huge range of colours and, because of their luminous quality, they are a great way to bounce light around the room. They are naturally non-porous and stain-resistant and are an interesting alternative to conventional glass splash backs. Look out for mirrored glass tiles for something unique and dramatic.
Tiles can give a very traditional look to a kitchen. The latest Kitchen trend is to carry the tiles across the complete wall and to the ceiling, giving a spectacular look to your kitchen.
Note the grout needs to be sealed and regularly cleaned to keep your beautiful tile splash back looking new.
Large tiles can make for an attractive centerpiece.
Small tiles are great to achieve a classic look.
Patterned, textured or differently shaped tiles add interest.
With the benefits of colour continuity, toughness and an easy-to-clean, grout-free finish makes a stone splash back an elegant and practical option. Choosing an engineered stone or granite splash back also streamlines the installation process as the benchtop and splashback are fabricated and installed together by your stone supplier, meaning fewer trades to deal with and quicker completion.
A stone splashback is the ultimate in luxurious finish for new kitchens and taking the stone across the wall and to the ceiling in one sheet creates a seamless spectacular finish to complement the look of your kitchen.
Products available for this purpose are;
Pacific quartz: Pacific Quartz is an extremely durable and practical man-made stone that can be used anywhere in your home. It is modern, low maintenance and a good aesthetic choice for any commercial or residential application.
Caesar stone: Combining the beauty and strength of quartz - one of nature’s strongest minerals. It’s beautiful, resilient with subtle soft colors for a timeless effect.
Eurostone : Eurostone bench top surfaces are also made from quartz, one of the earth’s hardest, most resistant, and abundant minerals. Eurostone stone benchtops and splashbacks are one of the hardest surfaces for kitchen application.
Silestone: Is an excellent surface for kitchen benchtops, bathrooms, floors and wall cladding using the minimum number of joints. It offers beauty and a wide range of colours, extraordinary textures and outstanding properties.
Granite: Granite is the hardest building stone available with a particularly dense grain, making it very difficult to stain. It takes a highly polished finish which will endure even in severe environments. It can also be finished in a variety of other ways like honing or leathering. There is a broad spectrum of granite colours ranging from nearly pure white to black. The rich colours of granite make it an ideal choice for benchtops & splashbacks.
Dekton: Dekton is the new ultracompact surface of Cosentino. A material made of porcelain, glass and quartz. Given the zero-porosity, it’s become a versatile and high resistant option for kitchens and bathroom surfaces.
Choosing your kitchen splashback is as important as any other decision in your kitchen and the advice of your Kitchen designer is invaluable.
Ask about the various splashback showrooms in your area, to see all the options available and take your time, a splash back can make or break your new kitchen.
Pairing your splash back with your benches:
Choose your splash back after you’ve selected the right benchtop and fittings for your Kitchen space.
In general, you’ll have fewer options for your benches and islands, so matching your splash back to your bench – instead of the other way around – is a smart idea.
As a rule of thumb, if you choose a statement splash back that draws the eye, go for a more muted counter top – and vice versa. Too much colour or pattern in one room, and your different kitchen elements will be fighting for attention.
Splash backs are generally templated and installed some weeks after your kitchen benchtops have been installed and so are the last piece of your kitchen installation, so a degree of patience is required, but a beautiful splashback is the icing on the cake!