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Glass Backsplashes

One of the most popular materials for backsplashes these days is glass, and for good reason: it’s versatile, attractive, and available in endless choices.

Glass tiles have been a mainstay for many years, and today’s homeowners enjoy a nearly unlimited range of patterns, colors and sizes. Many vendors now offer a wide range of recycled glass tiles, making them a particularly earth-friendly option. Whether you prefer a simple traditional grid-type layout or a fancy custom mosaic, your biggest problem is likely to be choosing from among so many possibilities. (See the tile and mosaic backsplash sections for more information on the advantages and disadvantages common to installations with lots of seams and grout lines.)

More recently, a new option has come to the fore and garnered raves from designers and homeowners alike—solid sheets of glass, custom made for each project so they’re a perfect fit. Particularly in modern kitchens, they offer a sleek backdrop to the counters, cabinets and appliances, working especially well in contrast to stainless steel.

Thousands of colors are available, from clear to translucent to opaque; depending on the finish, the panels may be glued to the wall or mounted with brackets. With clear and translucent panels it’s especially important to ensure that no unsightly debris finds its way between the glass and the wall, because getting rid of it usually requires removing the whole panel.

In addition to being easy to clean with common household cleaners, glass can offer some unexpected benefits—for example, some homeowners report using their glass backsplashes as whiteboards. Also, clear glass can be a godsend for protecting walls whose materials might not be a perfect fit for an environment of moisture and food splatters, e.g. antique bricks, vintage wood, or delicate wallpaper.

The main downside of glass, of course, is that it’s breakable, so if your kids are still in the crockery-throwing stage, it might not be the perfect choice. (Consider Plexiglas in this situation.) Particularly in cooking areas, it’s wise to opt for tempered glass, which is stronger and better able to withstand temperature fluctuations.

If you find yourself drawn to glass, spend some time with your building professional discussing both your aesthetic tastes and your day-to-day lifestyle. Good advice up front can help you choose a glass backsplash that’s a joy to look at—and live with.

While glass tiles have been a popular kitchen backsplash material for years, a new option has garnered rave reviews from designers and homeowners alike—solid sheets of glass custom-made for each project so they’re a perfect fit. Particularly in modern kitchens, they offer a sleek backdrop to your counters, cabinets and appliances, working especially well in contrast to stainless steel. Here’s a little background info to help you decide if solid glass backsplash is the way to go.

Costs

Pricing estimates for backsplash installations vary widely depending on materials used and the cost of labor. Contact a professional in your area for specific backsplash pricing.

Pros

Can protect less durable wall materials, e.g. antique bricks, vintage wood or delicate wallpaper.

Comes with thousands of color and shading options, from clear to translucent to opaque.

Stain- and moisture-resistant.

Cons

May be a complicated material to work with—more so than other materials.

Can crack and break.

Generally cost more than ceramic or vinyl.

Durability

Since a kitchen backsplash is generally left untouched (except for cleaning), most material options are meant to be very durable. However, glass is breakable, so it's wise to opt for tempered glass, which is stronger and better able to withstand temperature fluctuations.

Maintenance

Glass backsplashes are extremely easy to maintain and can be cleaned with common household cleaners.

Common Questions and Answers

What type of glass is best for a kitchen backsplash?

Tempered glass is best for the kitchen because it’s able to withstand temperature fluctuations.

How are glass backsplashes installed?

The panels can be glued to the wall or mounted with brackets. With clear and translucent panels, it’s important to make sure that no unsightly debris finds its way between the glass and the wall—getting rid of it usually requires removing the whole panel.



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