Granite is a popular material choice for kitchen countertops, but what about using it for the backsplash? Granite can make for an attractive, durable, and easy-to-clean backsplash option. There are a few considerations when deciding whether granite is the right material for your backsplash.
What is Granite?
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is formed from magma cooling and solidifying. It contains quartz, feldspar, and mica minerals which give granite its signature speckled appearance. Granite is an incredibly hard and durable natural stone.
Some key qualities of granite include:
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
- Available in a wide variety of natural colors and patterns
- Resistant to heat, stains, and bacteria
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can be polished to a shiny or matte finish
Granite’s durability and aesthetics make it a coveted material for kitchen countertops. It can stand up to heavy daily use and maintain its beauty for many years.
Benefits of Using Granite for a Backsplash
There are several reasons why granite can make a great backsplash material:
Granite comes in so many different natural colors, patterns, and finishes. You can find granite to match or complement your existing kitchen decor. The colors and veining can create visual interest and texture on the backsplash. Polished granite provides a gleaming backdrop, while honed or flamed granite offer more subtle finishes.
The hardness and density of granite make it extremely scratch, chip, and heat resistant. It can endure daily wear and tear, splatters from cooking, and accidental bumps without showing damage. Granite won’t scorch or stain when exposed to hot pans from the stove. This durability prevents your backsplash from looking worn over time.
Granite is non-porous, so it won’t absorb liquids or food particles. This makes it relatively easy to keep clean. Just use a damp microfiber cloth or sponge with a small amount of non-abrasive soap. You can also occasionally disinfect granite with a bleach or ammonia-based cleaner diluted in water. Regular sealing every 1-2 years will help protect the stone.
Having granite backsplash that coordinates with or matches granite countertops can create a seamless, upscale look. The transition from countertop to backsplash will be smooth and fluid. Matching materials makes the space look pulled together.
While natural stone is more expensive than materials like ceramic tile or laminate, granite remains an affordable high-end option for backsplashes and countertops. The durability and longevity also provide great return on investment.
Granite’s ability to withstand heat makes it ideal behind a cooktop or range. Hot pans and baking dishes straight from the oven won’t damage or discolor granite. You don’t have to worry about cracks or stains next to an active cooking area.
Considerations for Granite Backsplash
While granite has many positives as a backsplash material, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
Granite is largely non-porous, but some rare types can be slightly porous and prone to staining. Be sure to select a low-porosity granite and properly seal it to prevent stains.
Granite is very heavy, which can make installation more difficult. Make sure your wall infrastructure can support the weight of granite tiles or slabs.
Natural granite is generally more expensive than artificial materials like ceramic, metal, or laminate. While granite is an investment, the durability provides longevity to offset the higher upfront cost.
The corners and edges of granite backsplash tiles or sheets can chip easily if impacted. Careful handling and rounded/polished edges can help minimize this issue. Alternatively, you can opt for a full slab backsplash.
Grout lines in between granite backsplash tiles can gather dirt and be more challenging to keep clean. Use dark grout lines and seal the grout to minimize staining or discoloration. Avoid extremely narrow grout lines.
Proper preparation is crucial prior to granite backsplash installation. The wall must be completely clean, dry, structurally sound, and reinforced to handle the weight of the granite. Take time to ensure proper prep work.
As long as you account for these factors, granite can make a gorgeous, functional backsplash that coordinates beautifully with granite countertops.
How to Install a Granite Backsplash
Installing a granite backsplash is best left to an experienced professional. However, if you plan to DIY, here are the basic steps:
Choose the Granite
Select the granite material, such as tiles or slabs, in your preferred color, finish, edges, and dimensions. Make sure it matches or complements your countertops. Allow extra for cuts and waste.
Prepare the Wall
Thoroughly clean and dry the backsplash installation area. Make any repairs. Use concrete board or another reinforced substrate if the wall is not already stable and strong.
Cut the Granite
Using a wet saw, precisely measure and cut the granite pieces to size. Cut holes for outlets or any fixtures. Round and polish all cut edges.
Apply high-quality granite adhesive to the backsplash area, following the product specifications. Notch trowel and comb adhesive into consistent, even ridges.
Set the Granite
Carefully press the granite pieces into place on the adhesive. Make sure coverage, alignment, and orientation are correct before pressing firmly.
Grout the Seams
Mix flexible, non-sanded grout and apply to the joints and seams between granite pieces per product instructions. Wipe away excess.
Seal and Finish
Allow the granite to fully cure, then seal thoroughly with multiple layers of penetrating granite sealer. Polish for shine using granite polish.
Hiring a qualified professional takes the hassle out of installation and helps ensure proper methods are used for best results.
Granite Backsplash Design Ideas
Granite offers versatility to design a backsplash tailored to your unique style. Here are some granite backsplash design ideas:
Using a single slab of granite for the entire backsplash creates a striking, seamless look. This works best with a narrow area to cover. Match the granite to the countertops.
Tiny granite mosaic tiles set in decorative patterns add visual intrigue. Pair with glossy tiles or tiles with accent colors. Keep grout lines minimal for easier cleaning.
Mixed Tile Sizes
Blending large and small granite tile sizes can provide a more dynamic look. Arrange the sizes in bands, geometric designs, brick layouts, or frame larger tiles with smaller accents.
Choose a bolder, busier granite for the backsplash than the countertops to make it a focal point. Varying the color and pattern creates distinct zones.
Subway Tile Style
Classic rectangular subway tiles are a timeless look that works for both modern and traditional spaces. Lay the granite bricks in offset rows or stacked.
Add visual and textural impact by including accent tiles like wavy tiles, crackle tiles, or tiles with rounded edges mixed with the main field tiles.
Use shaped tiles – hexagons, chevrons, circles – for a less grid-like look. Combine shaped tiles with rectangular ones to enhance the design.
Dress up a simple backsplash with an ornate granite focal point. Medallions, carved tiles, or mosaic inserts can create grandeur.
For contemporary style, blend metal tile accents into the granite design. Stainless steel, copper, or aluminum tiles contrast nicely.
Thicker granite tiles or ledger boards create a 3D looking backsplash. Layer the thick granite pieces for a cascading look.
A professional fabricator can cut the granite into specialized shapes or patterns to bring your backsplash design vision to life. Get creative with the limitless possibilities of granite.
FAQ About Granite Backsplashes
Some frequently asked questions about using granite for kitchen backsplashes:
Is Granite Too Heavy for a Backsplash?
Granite is definitely heavier than ceramic tile or other lightweight materials. But as long as your wall infrastructure is properly reinforced, it can support a granite backsplash. Be sure to consult professionals to assess your existing wall. It may require additional support beams or studs to safely hold granite.
Does Granite Stain Easily?
Quality granite is largely stain-resistant, especially when sealed properly. However, some granites with higher porosity can absorb stains more readily without sealing. Choosing a low-porosity granite minimizes this issue. Make sure to seal the backsplash regularly as a preventative measure.
Is Granite Backsplash Easy to Clean?
Due to granite’s non-porous nature, backsplashes are fairly simple to keep clean. Just use gentle soap and warm water or specialized granite cleaners. Stay away from harsh chemicals or abrasives. Annual resealing also helps granite resist grime buildup.
Does Granite Need to Be Sealed for Backsplash?
Sealing is highly recommended for any granite backsplash installation. The sealant fills microscopic pores in the stone to prevent liquid penetration, staining, and bacterial growth. Reapply sealer every 1-2 years for optimal protection.
How is Granite Backsplash Attached to the Wall?
Professional installers use a high-quality granite adhesive specifically formulated for the weight and durability needs of natural stone. The granite pieces are set into the adhesive and pressed firmly to ensure tight bonding. Brackets can also supplement support.
How Much Does Granite Backsplash Cost?
The cost of a granite backsplash depends on the slab size, granite type, color, and edge finishing, but is typically $40-$70 per square foot installed. More exotic granites can range into the $100s per square foot. Total cost depends on the space size.
Can You Paint Over Granite Backsplash?
It is not recommended. The texture and polish of granite makes it a poor candidate for paint adhesion. Paint will easily chip and peel. If you wish to change the look, replace the backsplash with a different material that can be painted.
Is Granite Environmentally Friendly?
Granite is a 100% natural material, quarried straight from the earth. While quarrying does create environmental impacts, it can be done responsibly. Granite itself contains no hazardous materials and is fully recyclable. So it can be an eco-friendly option.
Can Granite Backsplash Tiles Be Cut to Size?
Yes, granite backsplash tiles can be precision cut to size during installation. An expert stone fabricator will have the proper tools to measure and custom cut the tiles to fit the space exactly. This allows for a more seamless look.
Installing granite on your kitchen backsplash is a great way to extend the durability, aesthetics, and easy maintenance of granite countertops throughout the space. Granite offers many colors, patterns, and textures to choose from, allowing you to customize a backsplash design that matches your style. With proper preparation and installation, a granite backsplash seamlessly pairs with granite countertops for a high-end finished look. Consider using this on-trend material to create a stunning, yet functional accent wall behind your cooktop.