I'm checking out the costs and workmanship for a new kitchen backsplash and wonder if the picture-frame or sheet mounted backsplashes are good for the money. I can always change later to a glue and grout setup. I'm afraid of getting stuck with something bad for a long time that I spent a fortune getting done.
Steve A. ~ Everett, Washington
Well Steve, regardless of the type of backsplash which you choose to install in your kitchen, I'm a firm believer in "function before beauty" when it comes to choosing a design element in a kitchen. While I have seen some truly amazing tile mosaics which were installed as a kitchen backsplash to a stove-top range, I did not want to be the person who had to clean all those grout lines after frying up a pan of grease splattering bacon!
A kitchen backsplash takes an awful lot of abuse in a busy kitchen, therefore a functional backsplash should be durable and able to be cleaned easily. Tiles which are susceptible to staining or intricate grout lines which are tough to clean are probably more trouble than they are worth. This is why almost all commercial kitchens use nothing but stainless steel for backsplashes and counter tops-they're bulletproof and clean up very quickly.
I do think that the decorative backsplash panels which are available are pretty neat, because they are pre-made and can be hung on a kitchen wall as easily as hanging a framed picture. Backsplash panels also are perfect for renters, because they are removable and you can take them with you when you move out. A small pre-made panel can cost around $300, so they are not cheap, but at least they are easy to replace if you get tired of looking at the same back-splash design!