Whether you’re redesigning your entire kitchen or want to revamp an old kitchen on a budget, you’ll inevitably be wondering what to do with the kitchen walls.
The area behind the cooker and hob is especially important, as plain plaster will not hold up well against moisture and heat over time. To keep this part of the kitchen wall in good condition, it’s best to install a protective material over it – which can also become a fashionable feature.
Traditionally, tiles were the go-to option for protecting kitchen walls, but there is a wide range of materials available today for modern kitchen splashbacks. Decorative glass splashbacks in particular are a popular option for protecting the wall from heat, splashes, and stains in a stylish way.
Both can be reliable and visually appealing – but which is better for your kitchen? Here are the pros and cons of both to help you decide between tiles and glass splashbacks.
Pros and Cons of Kitchen Wall Tiles
While tiles are more often seen on kitchen or bathroom floors, they’re also a staple feature on kitchen walls in many households – whether it’s a full wall, a splashback, or an upstand from the countertop. Here’s what you can expect from installing tiles on your kitchen wall.
Advantages of Wall Tiles
Kitchen wall tiles are more versatile than people might think, as there are many different colours, shapes, and finishes to choose from. You can even use different grout colours between tiles to create a more unique look.
Not only can you choose patterned tiles for a more eye-catching design, but you could also play around with configurations. Even with plain tiles in a solid colour, a different layout can look striking – such as linear, vertical, or herringbone tiles.
Purchasing tiles themselves can also be surprisingly affordable, especially if you’re only tiling a small area for a splashback. In the case of repairs, it may also be cheaper and easier to replace one damaged tile than an entire glass panel.
Disadvantages of Wall Tiles
Though tiled walls can look modern if you go minimalist, they’re typically seen as a traditional décor choice. This can make a kitchen look dated if it doesn’t quite match the rest of the design scheme, so they fit in best in traditional kitchens where they won’t look out of place.
The biggest drawback of tiles is that installation can be time-consuming and expensive. Even if you go the DIY route, you’ll have to pay for all the grout, adhesive, tools, etc. – not to mention spending hours applying tiles one at a time. The alternative is to shell out for a professional tiler.
Tile maintenance is also more difficult, as you have to frequently clean in between the tiles to prevent grime from building up. Dirty grout lines won’t just look unsightly, but can also lead to mould if you don’t stay on top of cleaning.
Pros and Cons of Glass Kitchen Splashbacks
Splashbacks have been used as a decorative feature as much as a practical one for decades, with glass splashbacks becoming a trend in recent years thanks to their versatility and durability. If you opt for a glass kitchen splashback, here’s what you should consider.
Advantages of Glass Splashbacks
When it comes to glass kitchen splashbacks, the design options are endless. It’s not just a plain panel of clear glass – you could choose painted glass in a solid colour, textured glass with glitter or a crackle effect, mirrored glass, or even printed glass with an image of your choice.
This affords great opportunities for customisation and expression, as you could choose any colour or image that matches your kitchen and conveys your personality. Some printed splashbacks can even mimic the appearance of textured materials, like brick or stone – or even tile!
Glass splashbacks are also cheaper and simpler to install than tiles, as they can be mounted on most surfaces with little preparation using a suitable adhesive or screws. You can order them cut to size and with pre-drilled holes if needed, so there’s not much DIY involved.
Once installed, all you have to do to keep your glass splashback clean is give it a quick wipe whenever it gets splashed. No fussing with grout, no awkward spaces to harbour bacteria – glass splashbacks are simply more hygienic and easier to maintain.
Disadvantages of Glass Splashbacks
The main disadvantage of glass splashbacks is that buying a large, solid panel of glass can cost more than buying a bunch of smaller tiles. Glass kitchen splashbacks are also more expensive because the glass has to be toughened, ensuring that it’s heat-resistant and can be safely installed behind a hob.
The comparative ease of installation tends to balance out the higher upfront cost, but this does depend on the complexity of your kitchen layout. If you need a high level of customisation, such as an awkward shape to fit around cabinets or cut-outs for sockets, this can also push the price up.
Equally, unless you’re a DIY wizard with the tools and knowledge to cut your own glass onsite without damaging it, you’ll also have to measure the wall space very carefully prior to ordering a glass splashback to ensure that it will fit exactly as it should.
Glass splashbacks or tiles: which is better for your kitchen?
There are plenty of things to think about when choosing between kitchen wall tiles and glass splashbacks for kitchen walls, but hopefully these lists of benefits and drawbacks will help you to make an informed decision on the best choice for you.
If you like the specific aesthetics of tiles and don’t mind the extra work involved in installing and maintaining them, there’s nothing wrong with going down the more traditional route.
However, if you despise cleaning chores and would prefer a low-maintenance solution that still looks incredible, glass splashbacks are sturdy and unique enough to hold their own and make a statement.
In the end, it’s a matter of personal taste, and the physical limitations of your kitchen space. Be sure to thoroughly consider your budget, time frame, and how you want your kitchen to look for the next few years – then enjoy your newly updated kitchen!