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Before and after kitchen backsplash installation in a residential home.

What Lehigh Valley Homeowners Should Know About Backsplash Installation

Whether you're working on a major remodeling project for your Lehigh Valley home or just looking for some ways to improve your kitchen, a beautiful backsplash installation can make a surprising impact on the appeal and livability of your house.

If you've just started browsing through backsplash design ideas and inspiration, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. For such a seemingly simple addition, there are a lot of things to consider and questions to ask.

This guide answers frequently asked questions about backsplash installation with advice from the experts at Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley. Our service professionals are highly experienced and skilled in remodeling trades, including tile installation. Once you have a backsplash plan in mind, we can turn it into reality.

What Type of Backsplash Installation Material is Best?

So you're starting off with a trick question, huh? Just kidding, of course — but it's true that this question can be difficult to answer because when it comes to a new installation, there's such a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, patterns, textures, and materials available.

Glass is a classic backsplash installation material because its translucent beauty and glossy surfaces can add sophisticated elegance or quirky charm depending on how it is styled. Glass is too delicate for the floor, but works perfectly on a backsplash to protect the wall behind it.

That being said, there are many other materials that work just as well and look just as good. It really depends on your own personal taste and the style you already have in your kitchen. One important backsplash installation material consideration is how much maintenance you are willing to do. For example, natural stone such as slate is stunning and can serve as a conversation piece for the entire room, but it needs to be sealed regularly to keep it in good shape. On the other hand, ceramic or metal tiles may not be as flashy, but they're very durable and require almost no maintenance.

Because there's so much variation available, the best way to choose is by seeing and touching your options in person. Ordering installation material online, sight unseen, is a risky prospect because a photo on your computer can be very different from what you actually receive. We have a product showroom conveniently located just off the Lehigh Valley Thruway where you can see materials in person before you commit to using them in your remodeling plans.

What Size Should Backsplash Tile Be?

Tile sizes are also a matter of personal preference — to an extent. Backsplashes usually take up a relatively small area between your countertop and upper cabinets, so small options that range in size from a 3×6 inch subway to a tiny 1×2 inch mosaic are popular. Small tiles add depth and interest to the backsplash space without being overwhelmingly busy the way they may be on a larger area.

That being said, this is your home and you're not obligated to follow the "rules." There are certainly plenty of examples of gorgeous backsplashes created with large tiles, such as 12×24 travertine or porcelain tile. Just keep in mind that if you need to work around obstacles such as electrical outlets, large tiles will probably have to be cut up and that tends to look awkward.

Does a Backsplash Have to Be Tile?

Absolutely not! A tile backsplash is a classic, so there tends to be a lot of focus on tile — but there are plenty of other choices for backsplash installations that look great and function just as well.

Consider backsplash panels made of metal such as stainless steel or copper for a modern, minimalist look, or thermoplastic panels that are water-resistant and mimic a variety of textures and materials. Stone slabs or glass panels are other alternatives that offer the same protection as tile with an unexpected and appealing style.

How High Should a Kitchen Backsplash Go?

The main function of a kitchen backsplash installation is to protect the wall from splashes of water or cooking grease, so it is usually limited to the space between the countertop and the bottom of the wall cabinet — often it doesn't even go all the way to the cabinets, rising just four inches from the counter surface. However, backsplashes aren't just functional; they take up quite a bit of prime visual space, so they are key decorative elements as well. If you want your backsplash to extend all the way up to the ceiling or down to the floor on the parts of the wall that are exposed, that's a reasonable design decision that can make a big visual impact in your kitchen. Working on a kitchen remodel? Check out the do's and don'ts of planning your Lehigh Valley kitchen renovation.

Are Backsplash Installations Only for Kitchens?

Nope! They're most common in kitchens, but they’re great for bathroom remodeling and many other projects. In fact, they make perfect additions to any section of wall that needs a little extra protection from splashing water or other substances such as flecks of toothpaste — especially walls that are above countertops or workspaces, like a bathroom wall above the bathroom vanity. Other potential locations include the garage or hobby room above a workbench or a mudroom wall above a row of cubby shelves.

Should Caulk or Grout Be Used for Backsplash Installation?

The answer is both, but in different locations. You may not love the look of grout lines, but grout is essential for any tile installation to separate the tiles, preventing dirt from getting between them and preventing them from grinding together. However, there are some areas where grout joints are better replaced with latex caulk. Any place where tile meets another material — such as your countertop or drywall — or where two sections meet at a right angle in a corner should be sealed with caulk. That's because a house shifts and settles over time, and flexible caulk gives more "wiggle room" to absorb the shifts than rigid grout.

How Can I Keep Backsplash Installation Cost-Effective?

There are two important considerations when you are trying to stay on budget with an installation project. Material costs will be your biggest expense, so the first place you should look to reduce costs is the type of material. Marble is obviously elegant and practically screams "luxury," but it comes with a hefty price tag. Quartz doesn't have the same luxury cache, but it is still attractive — as well as far more durable, inexpensive, and easy to maintain than marble.

The other consideration is the size of tile and pattern it is placed in. Most small mosaic types come perfectly spaced on a mesh sheet in a standard pattern, which makes them much faster to install. If you want them to be spaced more closely or rearranged in a different pattern such as herringbone, then the work-time and difficulty will increase dramatically, so it stands to reason that labor costs will be increased.

Count on Mr. Handyman for Expert Backsplash Installation in Lehigh Valley

Whether you're in Allentown or a nearby part of the Lehigh Valley such as Bethlehem or Nazareth, you can rely on Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley for quality workmanship and outstanding customer service.

Give us a call today at 610-463-1667 to request service or find out more about how we can enhance your home and make your life easier!