Jean McClelland: Adding a backsplash can spice up your kitchen

HUNTINGTON – Giving a kitchen a new look may be as simple as installing a new backsplash between the counter and cabinet.

The choices are infinite and the only restraint will be the budget. From vinyl wallpaper to granite, one only need to decide on the material and color to begin this project.

The first step before making a choice is to measure the desired area to be covered. Basically you need the square footage to figure out how much product you should buy. If you are not handy with home projects and you have hired a professional they will take care of this detail for you.

There was a time when choosing backsplash material was pretty much limited to tile or an inexpensive reproduction. Today the choices are infinite and creative. It is interesting to note that on an episode of HGTV’s “Texas Flip and Move” a designer made use of old license plates to panel the walls between the cabinets and counter. This probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s liking, however, it does reinforce the idea anything goes.

Choosing a tile backsplash is economical and the variety from which to choose is generous. Ceramic tile comes in all colors, sizes and designs and always looks appealing. It is pretty easy to install, particularly if you follow steps listed by one of the do it yourself sites on the Internet. Most of those sites will even list the tools necessary to do the job. If you have to buy a bunch of tools you might investigate hiring someone who is already equipped to install your tile.

Glass is becoming quite popular in the backsplash world. It allows a body to be creative and make a statement with their choice. It is shiny and sparkly which gives depth to the walls and expands the space as it reflects the light. There is also a method available in this genre that will allow one to paint a color and design on the wall and cover it with transparent tile to get a one-of-a-kind look. Finally, glass won’t mildew and it is considered a ‘green’ product. On the downside it is more expensive, hard to install and difficult to repair.

Metal backsplashes can be the most expensive to buy and install unless you buy the prefabricated metal laminate panels at the big box stores. Whether it is stainless steel, copper or tin, it will be easier to clean and keep up than the glass and ceramic versions. It will have an interesting appearance, however, it is not resistant to dings and dents that usually can’t be fixed. Some of the metals like copper will change color as oxidation takes place so you should make sure that look is what you want. Installation is costly because it has to be cut exactly and there can be no mistakes to give a decent appearance.

By far one of the more expensive options is granite and that is one of its big drawbacks. It is a natural stone product so it should last a very long time with proper care. Proper care means it needs to be sealed every now and then and it is subject to staining. Even so, it is beautiful and offers a look like no other product.

A backsplash will spice up your kitchen and update its look. It can be reasonably priced or over the top. Part of the cost will be installation, so if doing it yourself is an option consider it as a cost saving measure. If you can’t tolerate the imperfections a homeowner installation might render, hire a professional and consider it money well spent.

Click here to read the original Herald-Dispatch article.

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