In this article we will be discussing countertop backsplashes. We will not be talking about tile backsplashes but instead we will be focusing on the options available if are you are going to be using a matching surface to the countertop deck.
With stone backsplashes, your options are a standard backsplash and a full backsplash. With stone based products (i.e. granite countertops, quartz countertops), the industry standard backsplash is 4” high; custom sizes can be made depending on design preferences. Sometimes people factor in light switch heights, wall mirrors, or other items around the kitchen or bathroom to determine the height of their backsplash. Stone backsplashes can be cut around light switches if necessary. In most cases, the thickness of the stone backsplash will match the thickness of the horizontal surface.
With full backsplashes, the splash will go all the way up to the upper cabinets of the kitchen. This height is typically +/- 18” but can be custom made if necessary. In order to do a full height backsplash correctly, it normally requires that a second trip be made to install the backsplash. The reason for this is that the deck of the countertop should be installed to get the most accurate measurements. That template will then need to be cut and installed separately. It is important with granite that the backsplash be cut from the same lot of material so that there will be no color variation. Keep this in mind when considering adding on a granite splash at a later date; this is not recommended.
Solid Surface Backsplashes:
With solid surface products (i.e. Corian®, Hi Macs®), you have more options available to you because of the versatility of the product. Like with stone, you have the option of a standard backsplash and a full height backsplash, but you also have the option of making the standard sizes to be loose or coved. The standard height for solid surface backsplashes is 3” but it can be custom cut to different heights as well. Customers who have a very crooked back wall should opt for a loose backsplash in solid surface because the material is slightly flexible and can follow a wall that is not straight (this is not possible with stone). However, if they have a relatively straight back wall they can chose to cove the backsplash which means the splash and the deck will be connected, meaning their will be no gap between the two surfaces. Many people want this look in a bathroom area where there tends to be more water run off.
A tile acceptor is also possible with solid surface and not in stone. A tile acceptor means that the backsplash will be coved slightly and will come up just enough to meet the lowest tile and grout. This small height of splash between ½” and 1” prevents any water from getting to the bottom of the grout and tile and should help with the overall life of the tile.
Like with the stone, the solid surface backsplash can also be at full height. Again, due its flexibility, there should be fewer issues with the solid surface if the wall is not perfectly straight. The thickness of the solid surface backsplash is ½”