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Kitchen splashbacks

Protect your walls from everyday spillages with a splashback.

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A kitchen splashback may seem like a small detail in the midst of your kitchen renovations, but choosing the right one for your style and budget isn't a decision you should take lightly.

Here we discuss the practicalities of choosing the right splashback for you and your kitchen.

What does a kitchen splashback do?

The primary function of a kitchen splashback is to protect any walls that are prone to splashes from grime or dirt. You'll most commonly find them behind your hob or kitchen sink. You can also use a splashback as a feature wall to your kitchen or give it a revamp.

How much does a kitchen splashback cost?

When it comes to kitchen splashbacks, you've got a large variety of materials to choose from. Stone, stainless steel, acrylic, laminate, glass and tiles are all great choices, but they all achieve very different looks in your kitchen and vary wildly in price.

  • Budget: $45 - $120 per square meter for basic tiles
  • Mid-range: $200 per square meter for premium or complicated tile jobs, laminate and acrylic
  • High-range: $350+ per square meter for glass, stone and stainless steel

Depending on whether or not you choose tiles or another material, you might also have to pay for installation, which can cost between $450 - $900 depending on the difficulty of the job.

How can I finance a kitchen splashback?

If you need a little helping hand financing your renovations, you have a variety of options:

  • Credit card. Your credit card isn't a good option for financing large renovations, but it can be useful for purchasing smaller improvements like a kitchen splashback.
  • Personal loan. If you have a good credit score and can service a loan, you may be eligible for a personal loan. It's worth considering this type of loan if your kitchen splashback is part of larger renovation projects.
  • Mortgage finance. Some mortgage lenders will allow you to access your home equity or withdraw any extra funds you've paid through a redraw facility.

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How long does a kitchen splashback take to install?

With such a variety of kitchen splashbacks on the market, there's no easy answer when it comes to fitting a splashback. A simple acrylic or laminate splashback will take just a few hours to install, while a tiled splashback can take up to three days to finish. If you're forking out on a glass splashback, you'll need to allow up to a week for the installation process to be complete.

How to choose a kitchen splashback installer

There are a few golden rules when it comes to making sure that the tradesman is up for the job. These include:

  • Asking them about their qualifications and experience as a kitchen splashback installer
  • Confirming that they have public liability insurance
  • Seeking out reviews and testimonials from previous customers
  • Collecting and comparing quotes from different companies

How to find tradesmen for kitchen splashbacks in Australia

Nowadays, you can find all of the help you need at the touch of a button. Local market places like Airtasker, Oneflare and Hipages can help you find tradesmen with the right experience near you.

What questions should I ask a tradesman?

Not all tradesmen provide the same level of service or quality. That's why it's worth taking the time to ask a few questions before you settle on the one for you.

  • Do you have the correct license and experience to carry out the job?
  • Will you provide a guarantee if anything goes wrong with your work further down the line?
  • Do you have public liability insurance to cover any accidents that could occur on my property?
  • Can you provide a quote and an estimated time frame for the job?

How to negotiate with a tradesman

Negotiation doesn't come naturally to everyone, but it's an essential skill to master if you want to get the best price for the job.

It's always a good idea to enter into negotiations with some knowledge about the market. To do this, you'll need to carry out research and collect quotes from different companies. This will give you an idea of what the job should cost, and some bargaining power when it comes to negotiating.

Always remember to be polite and respectful when you're negotiating - the tradesman will be looking for a fair price too.

Expert tips about kitchen splashbacks

By Chris Stead, Finder's expert DIY and home renovations writer

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Tiles vs glass splashbacks: what's the difference?

Nothing matches the charm of a tile kitchen splashback, but more and more homeowners are opting for the modern, customisable look offer by a glass splashback. Glass splashbacks can come in all kinds of colours, pictures and patterns, as well as in mirrored form. There are even a few variations in mirror splashback to consider.

Tile splashbacks look great and are undoubtedly the more expensive option. You not only need to buy the tile, but there's also significant installation required. There's the laying of the titles themselves and then they need to be grouted, both of which take time (and are messy, too). Plus, you need to have villaboard rather than gyprock installed on your wall. These materials better withstand the moisture in the tile concrete. If you already have gyprock there, then villaboard needs to be installed over the top, which decreases your bench depth.

Tiles are, however, resistant to temperature extremes and don't show up marks from the likes of splashed water or spitting fat as obviously. Plus, they're stronger to attacks from bumped pots.

Glass splashbacks, on the other hand, are relatively easy to install. They arrive made-to-measure in one singular piece. They're then glued into the space and can go straight up against gyprock. They're not as resistant to temperature change as tile, plus, if you have any power points poking through, they need to pre-cut at a cost. Having a power point in glass is always a bit of a risk, too, as if a cable is pulled out in a lazy fashion, it can pull at the glass and crack it.

Not that tiles are immune to cracking. If you bash either splashback with a heavy pot or pan, expect damage.

As a rule of thumb when deciding between a glass vs tile splashback, look at your bench width. If you've got a thin bench, say around 600mm deep, then tile may be more advisable. Stoves and kettles are likely to be close to the splashback and tile better manages the heat. Plus, they're likely to get banged more. If you've got a deeper bench of 700mm or even 800mm, then glass is very much worth considering due to the cheaper install and modern look.

Can I install a kitchen splashback myself, or do I need to call in a professional?

If you're looking at a glass, stone or tile splashback, then you'll need a professional. Glass requires precise cutting, especially if there are power points involved, and expert transportation and gluing. Whereby cutting in and laying tile or stone, much like a bathroom, is a specialist trade.

Laminate or metal splashbacks are a slightly different prospect. As long as you have the tools to cut the material to size, or can order it in made-to-measure, then you can give it a go yourself without major risk of causing serious damage.

The art is in getting your glue thickness even across the distance and to make sure that you don't trap bubbles or other lumps beneath its surface. You'll then need to tape it into place until the glue has time to mature. Finally, you'll need to leave a 5mm gap around the edges that you will need to bead later to seal.

What type of kitchen splashback would you recommend using?

I used a tinted mirror glass on my splashback. I went with tinted over a standard mirror because it's thicker and stronger and therefore better able to deal with temperature changes, bangs and power points. I opted for mirror as opposed to tiles, coloured glass or other options because I wanted to maximise the light coming into the room. It goes without saying that a mirror does an excellent job of reflecting natural light entering the room back into the space.

I've had no issues with damage and the installation was quick, painless and clean. And it sure does lighten up the room! The only negative I've found with glass is that it does tend to show fat that spits out of my frypan and wok quite clearly. And being an oil, lazy attempts to clean it tend to smear. But this is a minor problem.

About Chris Stead

Finder's expert DIY and home renovation writer, Chris Stead, spent two years as an owner-builder. He was involved day-to-day from the groundwork up in constructing a two-story family home with a pool and separate granny flat. Working alongside every trade on the journey, tools in hand, he went through all the successes, failures, stress and financial decision making required to renovate in Australia.

Pros and cons: is a kitchen splashback worth it?

Like everything, kitchen splashbacks have their perks and pitfalls:

Pros

  • Huge variety of style and materials to choose from to fit your style.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Different price ranges to suit all budgets.
  • Splashbacks are very versatile and can be made to measure for your space.

Cons

  • The installation process can be tricky depending on the material, and in some cases, can take over a week to install.
  • Splashbacks are a magnet for dirt and grime and you'll need to clean them regularly.
  • Premium materials like stone, stainless steel and glass will be expensive.

Bottom line

A quick fix like installing a new kitchen splashback is a surefire way to breathe life into your kitchen. Whatever your budget, time or style, there's enough variety on the market to suit anyone.

Frequently asked questions about kitchen splashbacks

What is the difference between a splashback and an upstand?

An upstand is a strip of material that runs up along your bench. Usually, upstands are no more than 150mm tall and are used to mask any gaps between the kitchen benchtop and the wall. Splashbacks, on the other hand, are much taller and are usually only placed behind cooktops or sinks to protect your walls.

Are laminate splashbacks heat resistant?

While laminate is a popular option for kitchen splashbacks thanks to its scratch resistance properties, it is not entirely heat resistant. Most laminate kitchen splashbacks will need to have at least 150mm clearance from the cooktop to avoid being scorched.

How do you install a kitchen splashback?

The installation process varies depending on the material that you're using. Generally, installing a splashback will involve the following steps:

  1. Measure the space where you want your splashback to go and mark out it out on your piece of material.
  2. Cut your splashback to size and sand off the edges for a smooth finish.
  3. Stick your splashback to the wall using a silicone adhesive.
  4. Wait at least 24 hours for your silicone to dry.

Does my splashback installer need to be licensed?

License requirements vary by state, so its best to check with your local authority before starting your search for a splashback installer.

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