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Choosing the Right Backsplash Tile

The backsplash is an important focal point in any kitchen. It gives you a chance to make a real “wow!” statement. But you’ve got some practical considerations to think about, too. You need something that can stand up to the heat coming from your stove and oven. You need something that will withstand splatters from whatever you’re cooking. And yes, you need something that will draw attention to your show-stopping backsplash.

From a practical perspective, consider that natural finish backsplashes like marble, granite or limestone require a bit more care and maintenance than less porous surfaces. Unless the finish on these natural products is highly polished, sealed and maintained, their porous surfaces can be more absorbent. Grease can cause discoloration; certain liquids can stain or discolor the tile. If you do choose to use a natural product, make sure you have a discussion about care and maintenance with your tile or countertop/backsplash provider so that you understand the features and benefits.

Less porous backsplash alternatives are ceramic, porcelain, glass or even metallic tiles. Ceramic and glazed porcelain are very popular in traditional-style kitchens, or those wanting a warm, homey feel. Their glazed surface means stains wipe away easily, and they offer a vast variety of colors, textures and sizes. Some are hand-painted and others offer coordinating listello and deco tile inserts which offer personalized character and interest.
For a more modern or contemporary twist, look to glass or metal tiles. Glass offers the same easy-to-clean benefits of ceramic with just as many customization options. Choose from tiny mosaic tiles for a glittering, rich look or a classic subway tile. Glass can be tinted in a variety of colors or painted. In metal, tin and copper are especially popular, but just like with copper cookware, this backsplash will require regular cleaning to keep its shiny, bright finish.

Whatever backsplash tile you use, make sure it’s installed using a strong grout. Since the tile is exposed to heat and moisture in your kitchen and is fighting against gravity, you’ll need something that really clings to the wall. As always, your best bet is to work with an experienced tile contractor to make sure you get the best installation experience. Tish Flooring, an Indianapolis flooring and tile store, would love to help.