WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR WALLS?

Alright, so you’ve picked out your beautiful new counters, but what are you going to do with the walls they go up against?

There are three main options: tile, a small backsplash of the same stone as your counters (we’ll call it 4” Backsplash), or going all the way up to the cabinets with the same stone as your counters (we’ll call this one Full-height Backsplash). Each has its pros and cons.

 

TILE

Doing a tile backsplash all the way down to the counters is definitely the most modern look. This should be installed after the counters!

Upsides:

  • It generally contours to walls nicely, so you don’t need a large grout or caulk line at the bottom
  • It protects your walls and cabinets without taking up too much counter space, under half an inch with the backing glue (mastic).
  • While there are tile options that are extremely expensive, most are affordable.
  • There is a nearly infinite amount of options in terms of color, texture, material, and design.

Downsides:

  • All those options can make for a challenge in terms of finding one you love that works in your kitchen.
  • While tile is generally affordable, the installation can be expensive if you need to hire a professional.
  • The grout needs to be periodically resealed, so there’s a little bit of maintenance to tile.

 

4” BACKSPLASH

Usually this is done up to about 4” or high enough to meet up to tile already installed. This used to be a standard in kitchens, but is no longer as popular. 4” is still done on almost all vanity counters.

Upsides:

  • Once the counters are installed, the kitchen is basically done and fully functional.
  • It’s waterproof with no maintenance required to keep it that way.
  • In terms of hiring someone to do the work, it’s the least expensive option (unless the counter top material is extremely expensive).
  • Design is easy as it definitely matches the counters!

Downsides:

  • Cannot match the contour of the walls. We can cut counters to deal with walls that aren’t straight (straight walls are about as common as winning lottery tickets in our experience), but the backsplash will just be flat. It’s going to be much longer than pieces of tile, so there will likely be gaps as the stone backsplash will just sit at the high spots on the wall. These gaps won’t always be small. So either an awful lot of caulk or some sort of trim to hide this gap might be necessary.
  • If you’re doing this and tile, then the overall cost will be much more expensive as you have to pay for the extra stone, tile, and tile installation.
  • It’s going to sit on top of the counters and be as thick as the counters, usually about 1-1/4”, so it’s going to take up some counter space.

 

 

FULL-HEIGHT BACKSPLASH

If you want drama, this is definitely a great option. Basically, the counters are going to just extend on up the walls. This can create an extremely bold look with a stone with lots of color and veining or a calmer, almost spa feel, with a more muted/consistent stone.

Upsides:

  • Design is easy as you only need to make one decision!
  • Very easy to clean/maintain

Downsides:

  • It’s an expensive choice as not only is there much more stone to purchase, but it’s also a very laborious/challenging installation from the fabricator’s perspective.
  • While it can look stunning, it is also a lot of one thing, so you have to have the right space for it.
  • Little things, like needing a new microwave, can turn into an expensive and complicated endeavor as you might have to have a fabricator modify the backsplash.
  • It also takes up over an inch of counter space.

 

So, what’s the right choice for you? That’s going to depend on what you like and what you’re using the space for. As much as Granite Busters sells stone, we recommend tile to the majority of our customers as the finished look most often turns out the best and matches what most ultimately want.

4” backplash is a great option if you’re doing a bathroom, are very traditional in your style, or are trying to sell a home and want to minimize your investment. Doing full-height is a good option if you are heads over heels for a stone, want to make a bold statement, and if the budget is not of particular concern.