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Mosaic Kitchen Backsplashes

Most elements of your kitchen design—the appliances, the cabinets, the sinks and countertops—are chosen from a well-defined, commonly available range of vendors and products. A unique backsplash can make the kitchen truly your own, and many homeowners are turning to mosaics for their beauty, versatility and practicality. Mosaics of tile or stone have been popular in cultures around the world for millennia, and the technique adapts readily to nearly every décor.

In general, mosaic backsplashes share the benefits and caveats of other tile backsplashes. The tiles themselves are usually durable and easy to clean, but grout and other porous surfaces have a tendency to trap grime and require more serious upkeep. Labor costs for the project are likely to be higher than with other materials, especially when each tile must be painstakingly cut and placed by hand. Depending on your choices, the tiles themselves can be pricey. If you opt for a custom design, that adds to the cost.

Particularly if you’re venturing into uncharted territory with a one-of-a-kind project, it’s important to work with a trusted professional to ensure that you get every aspect right. However simple or complex the design and materials you choose, they should be pleasing in their own right, and also complement, rather than clash with, your kitchen as a whole.

Most elements of your kitchen design (the appliances, cabinets, sinks and countertops) are chosen from a mass-products range of products. A unique backsplash, however, can make the kitchen truly your own. Many homeowners are turning to mosaics in particular for their beauty, versatility and one-of-a-kind design. Considering a cool mosaic for your own kitchen? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Costs

Because the cost of installing a mosaic backsplash varies widely based on the materials used, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $60 per square foot for materials, with the final cost (including design, fabrication, and installation) ranging between $65 and $350 per square foot.

The best place to start is with the materials—from there you can narrow it down to vendor, design and installation. Ask a kitchen contractor in your area for specific estimates and help with those decisions.

Pros

Tile is heat-resistant, so it can stand the test of time in your kitchen.

Most tiles used for mosaic backsplashes are durable and very easy to clean.

Mosaic backsplashes are extremely versatile and can add color and texture to any kitchen.

Cons

Beware the type of tile used; grout and porous tile tend to trap grime and require more extensive upkeep.

Labor costs for mosaics are likely to be higher, especially when each tile must be cut and placed by hand.

Glass tile mosaic backsplashes can be susceptible to cracking and breaking.

Durability

Since backsplashes are generally left untouched during the cooking process, many materials are considered durable options, including mosaics. The overall durability depends greatly on the materials used (glass tile, for instance, can break but is easy to keep clean).

Maintenance

The maintenance for mosaic backsplashes also depends on the type of material used. Make sure to ask the manufacturer or installer what care your particular mosaic requires.

Common Questions and Answers

Is a mosaic backsplash a good DIY project?

Yes, many people install mosaic backsplashes on their own. If that’s something you are interested in, it’s probably easier find a prefabricated mosaic with a mesh backing that allows multiple tiles to be grouped together on the netting.

What is the best material to use for mosaic backsplashes?

This one depends on the homeowner’s preference. Ceramic and porcelain have several color options, but porcelain requires sealing. Marble and granite are also great, although they too should be sealed. Glass looks beautiful but is more likely to chip and

History

Mosaics have had a long and colorful history beginning as early as 4 B.C. in Greece. They then became popular among the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic peoples. With a wide array of choices available, mosaics continue to evolve with the times.

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