- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 11 Feb 2019
A splashback is a panel of material is used in spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms to protect walls and other surfaces from splashes. In kitchens, they are often placed behind the hob, protecting the wall from splashes caused by cooking as well as from heat damage. In bathrooms, they are often placed behind sinks and around bathtubs to prevent mould and mildew developing as a result of damp from spilt, sprayed or splashed water.
This is a sheet of flat steel fixed directly to the wall using glue or screws. This option is relatively affordable and easy-to-clean, while being heat-resistant and durable, although it will develop minor scratches over time.
 Porcelain and ceramic tiles
Tiles are a popular option for splashbacks as they are scratch-, heat-, and water-resistant, and can be easier to clean than some other materials. They also have the advantages of being relatively affordable and easily installed, with an abundance of choice which encourages creativity. However, if a tile becomes chipped or damaged it will need to be removed and replaced, and the type and colour of grout to be used should be carefully considered. Grout will eventually need to be replaced to ensure continued moisture resistance and to recreate the original colour.
Glass is commonly used to add colour and a sleek aesthetic, and can be fitted in a large, seamless panel. Glass splashbacks are fixed to the wall using silicone or screws, and cut-outs can be included to accommodate fittings such as light switches and electric sockets. Tempered glass is stronger and more durable than ordinary glass and offers more scratch-resistance.
Mirrored glass can be chosen for a more look. Panels of up to 3 m in length are available, which reduces the need for joins. A drawback of mirrored glass is that is cannot be used behind a gas hob as cracks may form over time as a result of continuous expansion and contraction.
This is typically manufactured from crushed quartz and resin, and is very tough and high-performing. Engineered stone will not stain, is easily cleaned and can be made in a wide range of colours. Like glass, it can be supplied in large panels, reducing the need for joins. However, this is a more expensive material to use and very often requires specialists to install it.
Granite is commonly used in more traditional settings, and every piece of stone will look different in some way. Granite is easy-to-clean and very durable, although it is an expensive option and requires sealing to prevent staining as it is porous.
Polished plaster is highly versatile in terms of aesthetics, as it can be specified in any colour or texture. It requires very little maintenance once it’s been installed, although it may be prone to chipping which cannot be seamlessly repaired. As a precautionary measure, it is often recommended that small skirting is provided around the worktop edge to protect against damage.
Also known as solid surface materials, composites are typically made from a blend of one-third resin and two-thirds natural mineral. They are highly flexible and can be used to provide streamlined curves that require no joints between worktop and splashback. However, some varieties are prone to scratching and lack heat-resistance.
Laminate is a more affordable alternative, and is hard-wearing and easy-to-clean. It should not be used behind a gas hob because of its flammability and needs to be carefully installed to prevent water ingress at joints.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
A quick introduction to a very complicated subject.
CIOB suggests the economic reach of construction is double the official figures.
The first US building to achieve BREEAM Outstanding In-Use.
70 buildings from 70 years of Concrete Quarterly. Book review.
Conserving the iron roof at the Albert Dock.
Delivering an infrastructure revolution.
The admissibility of evidence.
How many can you name? 37 anyone?
CIOB respond to the points-based system.
When is the weather considered 'exceptionally adverse'?
ECA backs call for a rolling programme of rail electrification.