Backsplashes are the part of your countertop installation that hides gaps between the countertop and the wall, but more importantly, will protect your walls and cabinets from spills and cleaning products. It is not uncommon for clients to forget that a granite or other natural stone backsplash will factor into the square footage costs for a countertop installation. Sometimes budget-conscious clients will suggest going with a cheaper material for the backsplash or forgoing a backsplash altogether to save money. This article explains why it is best to have a granite or natural stone backsplash installed with a new countertop.
Why Caulk Isn't Enough
Caulk is a poor substitute for a true granite or natural stone backsplash. There are numerous reasons why caulk alone is a bad idea. Caulk can break down and wear away over time, allowing moisture to seep into surrounding materials. Backsplashes are a more permanent and reliable solution. In addition, walls are not as straight as they seem to be. Granite or other types of natural stone are generally cut by a fabricator in a perfectly straight line. When you align a straight edge with an imperfect edge, there will inevitably be gaps. Caulk is an inadequate solution for this problem, whereas a backsplash will easily hide gaps, making a dramatic difference in the aesthetic appeal of your countertops.
Removing An Old Backsplash
Unless your new countertops are being installed in a new home, the old backsplash will need to be removed before the new countertops are installed. This will likely result in some cosmetic damage to the walls. If no new backsplash is installed, your walls will need to be repaired and repainted to cover the now-exposed space where the backsplash used to be. Having a granite or natural stone backsplash installed with your new countertop will eliminate this problem.
Cheaper Materials Can Be Costly
Sometimes budget-conscious clients will select a cheaper material, such as ceramic tile, for the backsplash. They will have it installed in leu of the more expensive granite or natural stone backsplash made of the same material as the countertop. This may end up costing as much or more in the long run. Just as fees for countertop design and installation are not based on square footage alone, the fees for tile installation are not based solely on the price of the tile. Additional costs for materials include grout and spacers, and unless you already know how to install tile, plan on factoring in labor costs, too. If a client who has had a granite or other natural stone countertop installed decides later on to have granite backsplashes added, there is no guarantee a matching lot will be available, no matter how much the client is willing to pay. Natural stone is unique, varying from one lot to the next.
Plan on including a granite or other natural stone backsplash with your new countertop installation. It is a valuable investment that really ought to be considered an essential part of your kitchen or bath design.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.