If you’re looking for a money-saving DIY project, install laminated thermoplastic panels. Cut these molded-plastic materials with scissors and mount them with caulk or double-sided tape. There are lots of styles and colors; this one mimics oiled bronze.
Pro: Moisture- and stain-proof; easy to install; good DIY project; lots of textures and colors; easy to clean
Con: Susceptible to heat; improperly applied adhesive may cause panels to loosen
Cost: Kit with 18 sq. ft. of backsplash, trim, outlet covers, & tape is $150
Credit: ©2012 ACP
A top choice for appliances and sinks, stainless steel extends its repertoire with eye-catching countertops and backsplashes. This gleaming backsplash is brushed stainless on a plywood backing. Making a stainless steel backsplash is an art, and fabrication is a large part of the cost. Cleaning it is also an art!
Pro: Heat- and moisture-resistant; great-looking; spills wipe up easily
Con: Fingerprints can be tricky to clean; expensive; modern look isn’t for everybody
Cost: $100-$250 per square foot, installed
Credit: Croma Design Inc.
A favorite material since ancient times, marble makes elegant backsplashes and countertops. It’s susceptible to staining, so once a year protect it with a quality stone sealer — $20 for 1 oz. treats 50 sq. ft.
Pro: Timeless good looks; readily available; durable; non-toxic
Con: Can be pricey; not a DIY job; stains easily if poorly maintained
Cost: $20-$200 per sq. ft. for a custom marble backsplash including installation; save money with marble tiles at $10-$20 per sq. ft.
Credit: Benjamin Dhong Interior Design / Jose Picayo, photographer
Made from metal and porcelain, this vintage marquee display from the 1950s makes a cool backsplash — it’s durable, moisture-resistant, and easy to clean. You’ll find salvage building materials at your local ReStore, salvage yards, and on Craigslist.
Pro: Adds one-of-a-kind personality to your kitchen; easy to clean; salvage-hunting may yield a bargain
Con: Finding backsplash-worthy salvage takes time; quirky look not for everybody
Cost: $200 and up
Credit: Room designed by Stimmel Consulting Group, Inc.
Painted a contrasting color and splashed with under-cabinet lighting, an inexpensive beadboard backsplash is the center of attention. Pre-finished beadboard comes as plywood or fiberboard panels. Plastic (PVC) planks are good near sinks. Seal seams and joints with quality waterproof caulk.
Pro: Inexpensive; easy to install; PVC is moisture-proof
Con: Not as durable as hard-surface; may warp or blister if exposed to high heat
Cost: $15-$30 per 4-by-8-ft. sheet; PVC panels are about $2 per sq. ft.
Credit: Divine Kitchens, LLC
Ceramic tile comes in limitless styles, colors, and shapes, and a tile backsplash pairs with any countertop surface. A moderately skilled DIYer can tackle a tile project.
Pro: Stands up to moisture, heat, and grease; easy-to-clean; widely available
Con: Custom tiles can be pricey; cleaning grout gets old
Cost: $1 to $250 per square foot; installation adds $5-$10 per sq. ft.; custom tiles start around $30 per sq. ft.
Credit: The Rookwood Pottery Co.
A mirrored backsplash looks like you can see through the wall. It’s a classy treatment that’s not too over-the-top. Mirrors reflect lots of light, so your countertop workspace is doubly bright.
Pro: Resists scratches and repels stains; reflects light; style-on-a-budget value
Con: Constant vigilance to keep clean; susceptible to heat; brittle material in a high-traffic area
Cost: Mirror is $8-$15 or more per sq. ft. installed, depending on complexity of the job
Credit: Brooks & Falatico, architects / Terry Pommett Photography
Want a blast of easy-care color for your kitchen? Back-painted glass comes in thousands of custom colors. The color layer coats the back of ¼-inch tempered glass, giving each hue incredible depth and luster. Fabricators use large sheets of glass that minimize seams, and a qualified local glazier completes installation in 2-3 hours.
Pro: Fantastic colors; tempered glass is easy to clean, resists heat and scratches
Con: Can be expensive; brittle material in high-traffic area
Cost: $20-$80 per sq. ft. installed
Credit: GlassKote USA, LLC
Backsplashes made with tumbled marble, limestone, and travertine tiles have an Old World look. With their tiny pits and crevices, tumbled stone tiles should be resealed once a year with a quality, low-sheen stone sealer ($20 for 1 oz. treats 50 square feet). Some companies offer tumbled tiles treated with filler for an un-pitted surface.
Pro: Durable; timeless good looks; heat-resistant
Con: Needs periodic maintenance; lots of grout lines to keep clean
Cost: $6 to $75 per sq. ft.
Credit: Divine Kitchens, LLC
Granite backsplashes often are paired with granite countertops for a seamless look. The appeal of granite is universal, and it blends with any kitchen decor. Pre-finished granite backsplash pieces reduce the need for yearly upkeep.
Pro: Durable; impervious to moisture; naturally beautiful; local varieties hold costs down (no added shipping); pairs with countertops to create seamless look
Con: Needs periodic maintenance; exotic granites are expensive
Cost: 61-by-4-inch pre-finished granite backsplash is $80
Credit: Divine Kitchens, LLC
Sure, your backsplash has a practical side. But that doesn’t mean it has to look like a kitchen workhorse. Hand-painted murals and designs start with plain white ceramic tiles. Once the painting is complete, the tiles must be glazed and fired in a kiln.
Pro: Adds unique art to the kitchen; durable finish resists stains and heat
Con: Pricey; unusual artwork may affect resale
Cost: $200-$300 per sq. ft., including tile; installation adds $5-$10 per sq. ft.
Credit: David H. Mitchell & Associates, interior design / Rebecca Cross, artist
Subway tile has been around for more than a century. For a timeless, classic look, you can’t go wrong with it. And the price is right, too — it runs $2 to $8 per sq. ft. Plus, subway tile meshes with any style from modern to traditional. Tip: Use gray or tan grout. It will mask dirt.
Like the idea of a timeless, classic kitchen? Here’s how to remodel your kitchen so it won’t go out of style.
Credit: Jordan Mogck
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