Splashbacks are a feature that is designed to both look good and serve a purpose. They are used in areas where water is found – such as the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry, and they protect the wall underneath from damage. They are also found near the stove. Splashbacks also make the surface easier to clean, an invaluable function in the kitchen where food splatters are an everyday fact of life.
Splashbacks are anywhere from 400mm to 600mm high usually, and they are as long as required. Whatever material you choose for your splashback, you should ensure that there is at least 200mm clearance between the splashback and the nearest stove burner or hotplate. If the distance is less, ensure that the splashback material is non-combustible. The joints in the splashback need to be sealed.
Choosing the Splashback
There are some things that you will need to consider when you are choosing a splashback. Firstly consider your budget, as some materials are markedly more expensive than others. Think about the style of your home – there is no point using a contemporary material if the rest of the room or home has a country feel. If the splashback is to be installed in the kitchen, ensure that it can stand up to the pressures of heat, food splatters, and stains.
A splashback is a long-term addition to your home so you want to be careful when choosing the colour. Be aware that the colour will date your splashback, so it may be best to choose a neutral colour that can be jazzed up with accessories. Natural, earthy colours are also extremely popular.
There are several different materials that can be used for splashbacks. These include:
Glass – glass is becoming one of the most popular materials for splashbacks and for good reason. It is stylish, comes in a huge range of colours, and is very hygienic, as there are no crevices or joins for mould to grow in. glass splashbacks are also easy to clean and maintain. These splashbacks can be expensive, however.
Tiles – are still the most common choice for splashbacks and come in a range of colours, types, and styles. Tiles that can be used for splashbacks include ceramic, mosaic, glass, and recycled glass. In price, tiles range from cheap to expensive, depending on the type that you choose and the look that you are after.
Stainless steel – creates a contemporary look in the kitchen, and brushed stainless steel is the most popular option. The brushed steel shows up marks less easily than the traditional reflective steel. Splashbacks are cut to a standard size, making installation easy. Stainless steel splashbacks cost less than you might expect but you will have to clean them using a special stainless steel cleaner, so they are higher in maintenance than other types of splashbacks.
Acrylic – acrylic splashbacks are available in a range of colours and are very versatile and durable. Corian is popular for splashbacks and it has the advantage of being able to continue down to form the benchtop as well.
Laminate – is a great budget option for splashbacks, and they have the advantage of being able to reproduce a wide range of looks, from solid colours to imitation granite and marble finishes. Laminate works best on flat walls, and laminate splashbacks can be bought from kitchen stores and installed yourself. Alternatively, you can have it installed for you.
Manufacturer Laminex® has developed Metaline®, an aluminium-based product that comes in a range of colours. Like acrylic, it resembles glass and contains a special flame retardant system, making it ideal for installation behind gas and electric stoves.
Stone – is an excellent product that is very durable and looks fantastic, but it is by far the most expensive option. Ensure that the stone surface is sealed if using it as a splashback as many types of stone are actually porous, and thus may absorb unwanted residue.
Mirror – this is similar to a glass splashback but be aware that, because of the mirrored surface, it will not be able to resist the everyday rigours of the kitchen as well as toughened glass can. The advantage, however, is that it can really open up a small space.
Paint – is by far the cheapest option, and one of the most versatile but you must ensure that you get a paint that is of high-quality and designed specifically for use in wet areas.