Determining backsplash size when installing cabinets

When mapping out the details of a kitchen remodel, most homeowners want to make their task as easy as possible. They’re able to do this by buying pre-fabricated assembled kitchen cabinets that are of industry-standard sizes. They also opt for the types of counters and countertops you can just walk into a store, pick up and take home in the same day. The fact that they don’t require much effort is certainly appealing. On the other hand, cabinets may be custom-built when certain creative elements are desired. Generally a professional is brought in on such cases. Either way, we’re left to determine what’s to be done about the backsplash. This is where anyone can get stumped. It’s easy to pick a backsplash that outshines everything else in the room, but is that what’s wanted?

The intended function of the backsplash design is simply to protect the wall from water. Often, it is attached to the countertop and covers the wall up to where the cabinets start. That’s always been the main purpose they serve, but they’ve evolved into so much more. Believe it or not, the right – or wrong – backsplash can make or break a kitchen’s design. It’s basically become a fashion statement. And there are plenty of materials to help determine exactly what you want to say. Anything from hardwood to granite to tile and laminates may be used. Often for the sake of cohesive style, the same backsplash substance is also used for the countertop. Most commonly laminate material is chosen for both components as it can be the most affordable and convenient, particularly since they are (usually) installed together.laminate

It’s interesting to note that the average laminate backsplash is only four inches tall. But you can design it to be any height, really. As mentioned previously, it’s a very common option to employ full length backsplashes to run from the countertop to the bottom of the cabinets, however long that may be. This method works best if you install the backsplash before putting the cabinets in.

Perhaps the most-used and easily applied laminate backsplash is simply a single piece of it that is glued to the wall, its vertical edge inserted into a small metal trim piece that is connected to the countertops horizontal laminate. The metal trim extends to the top and both sides.

Another popular backsplash material is laminated wood. It is created by tiling one by four inch sheets of laminated pine wood and attaching them to the wall using construction adhesive (round-top manufactured laminate wood backsplash sheets are also available).wood panel

For those who prefer a bit of craftsmanship in the kitchen, hardwood backsplashes are the answer. They too are typically four inches high although you can get them in any size. These are used most often connected to hardwood fascia that serves as the countertop front, providing the matching appearance between it and the cabinets. A hardwood backsplash is nailed to the wall, not glued, with a power finish nailer. It is not waterproof and does not shield the wall from moisture. Ironically, you need to protect hardwood backsplashes by keeping them dry as possible. This is why water resilient finishes of good quality are sold and applied before installation.

Unlike the previously mentioned types, a granite backsplash is often used at six inches (though the four inch rule still applies). It’s an expensive option and the addition of two inches will increase the cost noticeably. Obviously, the choice of a granite backsplash usually corresponds with a granite countertop. Granite backsplashes (and countertops) should be installed by professionals only.livingspqasckaslj

Nearly always full length, extending from the countertop to the cabinets, the tile backsplash has the unique option of determining their height by the dimensions of the tile. Tiles available in two inch high configurations can be combined to meet the four inch high standard (a four inch tile can stand alone, obviously).

So whether you’re doing a remodel and determining the sizes for your own preferences or working with a kitchen in which the sizes are set and not open to modification, you do have the option of applying the backsplash material of your choice. Have fun with it, a visionary choice can make the kind of positive impression you hoped for.

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Justin C.
Skydiver, ramen eater, music blogger, Saul Bass fan and screen printer. Operating at the intersection of art and mathematics to craft meaningful ideas that endure. My opinions belong to nobody but myself.