Gone are the days when a sophisticated kitchen splashback consisted of a few brown and beige tiles incorporating a twee collection of farmyard animals and corn dollies. The modern kitchen design can now be brought up to a whole new level of aesthetics and functionality with an extensive range of different materials – pressed metals, stainless steel, Perspex, glass, exposed bricks, marble, stone, laminates, acrylics, and of course the next generation of tiles.
The Primary function of a splashback
The primary function of a splashback is to protect the wall from grease and grime, and prevent any build up. It needs to be easily cleaned, and smooth to the touch with minimal crevasses in which dirt and bacteria can hide and fester.
However, 21st century technological capabilities has lifted the humble splashback from its basic function to become an integral part of the whole kitchen design.
Depending on your locality, there may be building or gas regulations that govern what can be used as a splashback – generally they state that no flammable material can be used within a 300mm horizontal or vertical clearance – but whether it is official regulations or common sense that governs your choice, the options that are currently on the market are stunning.
Aiming for the industrial look with a metal splashback
If your taste veers towards the industrial, then a metal splashback will give you the desired effect. Traditionally commercial kitchens use stainless steel, but there are a wide range of different metals, textures and finishings that can be used. Some of these include: copper, hammered copper, brass, hammered brass, antique brass, zinc, aged zinc, and brushed steel.
Pressing and hammering will give textures and patterns without compromising the integrity of the surface. You could even design your own pattern to be pressed into the metal for a truly unique kitchen.
If choosing a metal splashback, you need to be aware that copper, zinc, bronze and pewter are all metals that will oxidise over a period of time, leaving a greenish brown film on the surface, which sounds frightening but is actually part of the charm of using these materials. As well as washing it down with warm soapy water, the surface can also be treated with oil or beeswax to keep help moderate the oxidisation process.
The clean, cool sophistication of glass
Toughened glass is an incredibly popular choice for the modern splashback for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, their smooth, hard surface is stain resistant and very easy to keep clean with warm, soapy water. For that extra bit of buff, a soft cloth and glass cleaner will bring it back to new.
It can also heat resistant – able to withstand high temperatures if knocked by hot pans, or fitted close to hobs and ovens.
Aesthetically, the light reflective qualities of the toughened glass can enhance the overall aesthetic qualities of the finished kitchen.
Available as boards in a variety of different colours including white, glass splashbacks are the perfect choice for the contemporary kitchen.
The Versatility of Plastic Splashbacks
If cost is an issue, and glass or metal splashbacks are coming in too expensive, then there is an amazing array of different plastic finishes that are better priced, but still offer similar aesthetics and functionality. Acrylic, Perspex, recycled PVCu. Care needs to be taken that the splashback is fitted at a safe distance from the hob, as the heat resistance, although more than adequate, is not quite as good as glass or metal. However, it is incredibly easy to install and keep clean, and is available at a lower price point as a more economical option.