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Stone Kitchen Backsplashes

When considering stone as the material for a kitchen backsplash, it’s important to realize that because the backsplash receives far less punishment than the countertop, there are many more options available. The varieties of stone available on the market today include popular and ubiquitous granite, marble, slate, travertine, limestone, soapstone and CaesarStone®, each of which comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Each of these types of stone has its own set of characteristics, benefits and drawbacks.

Actually, granite is the only stone that has virtually no drawbacks, except that it is somewhat porous and requires annual or sometimes more frequent maintenance with a penetrating sealer to deter stains. Otherwise, granite is superior with its diamond-like hardness, and imperviousness to extreme heat, ultraviolet light, acids and abrasions. Granite is an igneous rock, which means it was once molten and formed with mineral flecks and cooled deep within the earth’s surface.

Consisting of limestone that has undergone extraordinarily intense heat and pressure, marble is luxurious, yet soft and porous, requiring regular waxing and sealing. While not ideal as countertop material, it is fine for backsplashes if not located near a heat source. Similarly, regular limestone has limited countertop use, but may be considered for backsplashes.

A fine-grained, metamorphic stone derived from sedimentary rock shale, slate is usually uniform in color, but veined patterns have been recently introduced from overseas. Slate is a low-porous surface that is heat resistant and less absorbent than even granite, and therefore is ideal for both countertops and backsplashes.

A metamorphosed, igneous stone that feels “soapy”, soapstone is low maintenance and very resilient with a non-porous surface that is smooth and resistant to burning or staining. But it can scratch, so while it isn’t commonly used for countertops, it can make a lovely backsplash.

Finally, CeasarStone®, an engineered stone with 94% quartz and 6% high-performance polymers, is extremely durable, yet very flexible, and suitable for a wide range of domestic, commercial and industrial application.

When it comes to stone kitchen backsplashes, the sky’s the limit. Generally speaking, your backsplash receives far less punishment than the countertops, so there are hundreds of materials available. In addition, the right stone can be an inexpensive way to add an elegant touch to your kitchen. Here’s what you need to know.

Costs

If tackled as a DIY project (which requires intermediate-level skills), you can expect to spend $200 on a stone backsplash for a medium-sized kitchen. You’ll pay a bit more if you hire someone to professionally install your backsplash, if you have a bigger kitchen, or if you use higher-end materials. Speak with a local kitchen contractor for exact price estimates.

Pros

Stone tiles can be installed as a backsplash for half the price of regular slabs of stone.

Slabs of stone can be milled for a custom backsplash, with shapes and edge finishes to fit any home’s needs.

Stone offers a smooth, continuous surface that is extremely durable and easy to clean.

Cons

Slab stone backsplashes come with a hefty price tag.

Stone tiles can trap dirt and grime.

It’s a porous material that must be sealed to avoid stains from water, food and grease.

Durability

Stone is perhaps one of the most durable options when it comes to countertops—and the same goes for a backsplash. However, if you want to keep yours looking great for years to come, it’s imperative to have the backsplash properly sealed.

Maintenance

While it's important to keep up with the maintenance of a stone backsplash, it's relatively easy to do so. Here are a few steps to remember:

  1. Wipe the backsplash down regularly with a clean, damp cloth.
  2. Use either a stone cleaner or a mixture of warm water and pH-neutral dish soap in a spray bottle. Wipe clean with a damp cloth to get rid of excess cleaning product.
  3. Dry with a clean cloth.

Common Questions and Answers

What is the best stone to use as a backsplash?

While there are more options for stone backsplashes than countertops, granite might still be the best choice for both—it’s the only stone that has virtually no drawbacks. Granite is second only to diamonds in hardness, and has the ability to withsta

What is the least porous stone backsplash material?

That would probably be soapstone. It’s low-maintenance and very resilient, although soapstone is susceptible to scratching.



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