Laminate flooring as a backsplash in the kitchen is an interesting idea that more homeowners are considering. Laminate offers some advantages over traditional backsplash materials like tile or stone. Here is an in-depth look at using laminate flooring for your kitchen backsplash.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring has a composite core made of high-density fiberboard. There is a photographic layer on top meant to imitate materials like hardwood, tile, or stone. The top layer is sealed with a clear melamine resin that protects against stains, scratches, and fading.
Laminate flooring is designed to be durable, easy to maintain, and mimic natural materials at a lower cost. It is a versatile option used for floors, countertops, and vertical surfaces like backsplashes.
Benefits of Using Laminate as a Backsplash
There are several potential benefits to using laminate flooring for a kitchen backsplash:
Laminate tiles or planks are typically less expensive than ceramic tile, natural stone, metal, or glass backsplash options. Laminate can provide big savings, especially for larger backsplash areas.
Laminate backsplash installs with tongue-and-groove connections or adhesive. The planks are lightweight and easy to cut to fit the space. Laminate is a DIY-friendly backsplash material that does not require specialized tools or skills.
The melamine resin coating provides scratch, stain, and moisture resistance. Laminate backsplashes hold up well to bumps, spills, and daily wear-and-tear. The backsplash can be cleaned easily with liquid cleaner and a soft cloth.
Laminate backsplash is available in unlimited patterns, colors, finishes, and textures. From natural stone and marble looks to abstract designs, laminate provides more options than traditional backsplash materials.
Unlike natural wood or engineered wood floors, laminate backsplash resists water damage and swelling. The resin coating protects the inner fiberboard if moisture penetrates the surface.
Considerations for Laminate Backsplash
While laminate flooring can make an excellent backsplash, there are a few considerations:
Laminate is not designed for direct high heat exposure. Pots and pans straight from the stovetop or oven can scorch or melt laminate planks. Consider adding a metal or stone strip behind the cooktop for heat protection.
Abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, and scrubbing can damage the protective melamine resin layer over time. Clean laminate backsplashes gently with liquid cleaner and soft cloths.
Laminate backsplash may not last as long as stone or tile. The typical lifespan is 5-10 years before needing replacement. This is still an advantage over painted backsplashes which require more frequent repainting.
If the joints or edges are not properly sealed, moisture can penetrate the planks or tiles and cause swelling damage over time. Proper installation and sealing are vital.
The seams between laminate planks or tiles are more visible than a natural stone or ceramic tile backsplash. Careful installation and tight seams can help minimize the seams.
How to Install Laminate Backsplash
Installing a laminate flooring backsplash is similar to installing laminate countertops. Here are the basic steps:
- Select 8-12 mm thick laminate flooring designed for countertops or walls. Measure and cut planks to fit the backsplash area.
- Prepare the wall surface so it is smooth, clean, and dry. Apply adhesive (liquid nails or silicone) to the back of the laminate planks.
- Press planks firmly onto the wall surface. Use shims or spacers to maintain even joints between planks. The tongue-and-groove edges should fit snugly together.
- Seal all edges and seams completely with clear silicone caulk to prevent moisture intrusion. Let caulk dry fully.
- Use trim or moulding at the edges for a finished look. Install an aluminum strip behind cooktops for heat protection.
- Allow adhesive to cure fully according to product directions before use. Wash only with mild soap and soft cloth.
With proper installation and care, laminate can provide a stylish, budget-friendly backsplash option. Take steps to protect from heat damage and moisture intrusion for best durability. Consider ease of cleaning and visual appeal when choosing a laminate backsplash pattern and color.
FAQs about Laminate Backsplash
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about using laminate flooring on a kitchen backsplash:
Is laminate backsplash waterproof?
Laminate itself is water resistant but not completely waterproof. The melamine resin surface repels water but joints, edges, and drill holes can allow moisture intrusion if not sealed properly during installation.
What thickness of laminate should be used?
8-12mm thick laminate flooring or countertop planks are best for backsplash application. Anything thinner is more likely to warp or become damaged over time.
Can you cut laminate flooring for a backsplash?
Yes, laminate flooring planks can be measured and scored with a utility knife then snapped or cut with a circular saw to fit around outlets, corners, and other backsplash obstructions.
Is glue necessary for laminate backsplash?
Liquid adhesive helps bond laminate planks to the wall and create a watertight seal. Construction adhesive, silicone, or liquid nails are good options. Mechanical fasteners alone are not enough.
What can damage laminate backsplash?
Direct high heat from stovetops, pans, or baking sheets can melt, scorch, or bubble laminate. Abrasive cleaners and scrubbing can wear down the protective coating. Prolonged moisture penetration can swell and warp planks.
Can you install laminate backsplash in bathroom?
Laminate can work in bathroom backsplashes but the high humidity makes moisture damage much more likely over time. Fiberglass or plastic laminate sheets are better bathroom backsplash options.
Is laminate backsplash hard to install?
Laminate is one of the easier backsplash materials for DIY installation. Cutting planks to size is simple and tongue-and-groove connections click together. Just be sure to caulk seams well and use construction adhesive.
Laminate flooring can provide a cost-effective, customizable, and stylish alternative to traditional kitchen backsplash materials like ceramic tile or natural stone. The right product thickness, proper sealing, careful installation, and gentle cleaning are key to making laminate backsplash a durable option. Consider heat and moisture resistance when deciding between materials. With smart design choices, laminate can be an innovative and budget-friendly backsplash solution.