Marble, ceramic tile, or metallic—which material is right for you?

By Lauren Wellbank
February 05, 2021
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modern black and silver oven and stove in white kitchen

When it comes to your stove backsplash, the sky truly is your limit—but with all the suitable materials on the market, how can you discern which type is correct for your kitchen's needs? Ahead, two design experts share four questions to ask yourself before you select a brand-new backsplash. Ultimately, you'll want to consider everything from cooking frequency and décor preferences to durability before you make your final selection.

Do you want to highlight or hide your stove?

In the market for a new stove backsplash? Deidre Woollard, a real estate expert at Millionacres, says you should consider your entire kitchen before you select one. "The stove backsplash can be a continuation of backsplashes used in other parts of the kitchen—or it can be a focal point," she says. "It depends on the layout and also on whether or not this is a part of your kitchen you want to highlight." For example, if you have invested in a gorgeous range, you likely want to show it off and will therefore want to select a more eye-catching backsplash design or material.

Do you cook frequently?

If you do a lot of cooking, choose materials that will hold up to a lot of spills and clean-ups. "Obviously, if the owner is a cook, the materials should be very durable and easy to clean and keep clean," explains Bob Skibinski, the CEO of B Homes Design & Development. "If it's just for the look, you can get far more creative." Culinary enthusiasts, he says, should avoid porous materials like natural stone or marble. "Carrara marble is gorgeous and very popular to use as a backsplash and is okay to use if it's sealed properly and maintained regularly," he adds. "However, it will stain eventually and discolor if placed behind the stove."

Grease and splatter are the biggest issues here, which means your backsplash will look newer for longer if you maintain a cleaning schedule. "A good grease-cutting dishwashing soap and a soft cloth can help keep the area clean," Woollard says, so long as you wipe the area down regularly. A sealant will also help: "Use a very good sealer after initial installation and re-apply as the manufacturer of the sealer recommends," Skibinski says.

How often do you want to replace the backsplash?

Woollard says to prioritize durability in this particular area. "Some of the inexpensive solutions that can be used in other areas, such as peel-and-stick or faux-finish vinyl tiles, may not work here," she explains. "You need something that won't come off easily or melt in the heat and steam." If you opt for cheaper materials—or anything not heat tested or water sealed—you'll end up replacing them far more often, as they become damaged and absorb odors and stains over time.

Do you want to go the custom route?

Have you always dreamed of having your monogram or family crest floating above your stove? "You can do a lot of very creative things with ceramic tile," explains Woollard. "You can add a medallion or another type of large tile to create an accent." Metal backsplashes, on the other hand, are also very popular, she notes—especially brass iterations, which are currently trending: "That can be a nice look, especially when it matches the stove hardware." However, she advises that whatever your aesthetic preference, your backsplash should never sacrifice function for fashion.

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