When most people plan a splashback (the wall surface behind the sink in a kitchen or bathroom, or any room in which taps are used), they automatically think of using tiles, but there are many alternatives. When considering the alternatives to a tiled splashback, you need to think about what it will look like and how functional it is going to be. Obviously, the surface must be waterproof, or at least extremely water-resistant, and easy to clean. Cost is also a factor; make sure you know what your budget is at the outset.
Solid wood splashbacks look elegant and sophisticated, but they are a high-maintenance alternative to a tiled splashback. To protect them against moisture damage, they must be oiled and cleaned with warm water and a non-abrasive cleaning product on a regular basis. An alternative to solid wood is wood veneer, which does not require oiling; any splashes must be wiped dry straight away, however, to prevent staining.
A glass splashback is great for a really contemporary kitchen or bathroom. The pre-cut glass panels are strengthened to ensure they are safe and durable. Glass is easy to clean; simply use a window cleaning spray and a dry, soft cloth. The wide range of colour options available allow you to choose a glass splashback to complement, or contrast with, the room's existing decor.
For a futuristic, industrial look, stainless steel splashbacks are effective and easily cleaned with mineral or baby oil and a microfiber cloth. They make good splashbacks in small kitchens as they reflect the light and give the illusion of a larger space.
Corian is a non-porous, synthetic material, which is easy to wipe clean with warm water and a mild soapy cleaning product. It is also stain-resistant, making it perfect for a busy, high-traffic kitchen. The disadvantage of Corian is that it is one of the most expensive splashback options; if you have no budgetary restrictions, however, you are bound to be satisfied with the result.
Popular alternatives to a tiled splashback are limestone, sandstone, granite and marble. These suit a classic-style kitchen and are durable and long-lasting. Cleaning is easy with warm water and a non-abrasive household soap. It is important to treat the surface with a sealant to make it impermeable. Limestone tends to be the cheapest stone option, while granite is significantly pricier.
A less common but potentially effective option is to paint the splashback area with a water- and damp-resistant paint. It is crucial to do your research and be absolutely sure that you have chosen a paint product that will work; if the paint is not resistant to water, it will soak into the body of the wall. Check websites of different manufacturers and read all instructions carefully. You want to find a product that is both water-resistant and easy to clean.