What are the Different Types of Backsplash?

A backsplash is an integral part of any kitchen design. Installing a backsplash serves both decorative and functional purposes – it protects the walls from splatters and spills while also adding visual interest to the kitchen. There are many different types of materials used for backsplashes, each with their own unique look, durability, and price point. Understanding the different backsplash options can help you select the right one for your needs and style.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is one of the most popular choices for kitchen backsplashes. Made from clay and other natural materials, ceramic tiles come in a vast array of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures.

Benefits of ceramic tile backsplash:

  • Durable and scratch-resistant surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable option
  • Available in hundreds of styles
  • Can be used to create custom patterns

Ceramic tiles work well in both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs. Subway tile, mosaic tile, and hand-painted ceramic tile are some common types used for backsplashes.

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes add brilliant color, shine, and visual depth to the kitchen. Made from recycled glass, these tiles have an iridescent and luminous quality. The glass is mixed with other compounds and fired to create different colors and finishes.

Advantages of glass tile backsplashes:

  • Reflective, shiny surface
  • Stain and moisture resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Contemporary, stylish look
  • Available in range of colors like blue, green, red etc.
  • Can be paired with LED lighting

The glass tiles can be arranged in endless eye-catching patterns. However, they have a higher upfront cost than ceramic or stone tiles.

Metal Tile

Metal backsplashes bring an industrial flair to the kitchen with their sleek, reflective finish. Stainless steel, tin, copper, and aluminum are some metals used to create these tiles. They have a smooth, durable surface that works well for high-traffic areas.

Benefits of metal tile backsplash:

  • Highly durable and easy to clean
  • Water-resistant and non-porous
  • Rust and tarnish resistant metals available
  • Provides unique luster and shine
  • Works with modern, urban, and retro designs

Metal tiles need minimal maintenance. Stainless steel options like nickel, brushed copper, and galvanized metal have a bold metallic look.

Stone Tile

Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, and granite make an elegant statement in the kitchen. Available in diverse patterns, colors, and finishes, stone backsplashes have a timeless appeal.

Why choose a stone tile backsplash?

  • Adds natural beauty and texture
  • Durable, withstands heat and scratches
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Luxurious material, valued in kitchens
  • Matches any design style from old world to modern

Stone surfaces need periodic sealing to prevent stains. Granite, slate, and limestone are some common stone types used for backsplashes.

Brick Backsplash

Exposed brick backsplashes infuse rustic ambiance into a kitchen. Glazed, untreated, recycled, and faux brick materials are available to get this look. Real brick is durable but requires resealing over time.

Key benefits of brick backsplash:

  • Provides vintage, rustic charm
  • Natural material fits cottage, farmhouse styles
  • Adds interesting texture and color
  • Can be painted over for custom colors
  • Matches variety of countertops and cabinets

Brick is more prone to cracking and needs re-grouting occasionally. It stains easily without sealants. Faux brick veneers offer realistic look without high maintenance.

Wood Backsplash

Wood brings warmth and natural texture to the kitchen backsplash. Real wood options like bamboo, cherry, oak, cedar can be installed as backsplash panels or planks. There are also faux wood backsplashes made from vinyl, PVC, laminates, or tile.

Reasons to consider wood backsplash:

  • Warm, inviting visual appeal
  • Eco-friendly, sustainable option
  • Can be stained in range of finishes
  • Doesn’t need frequent resealing
  • Adds depth and elegance to kitchen
  • Variety of real and faux options available

Wood needs occasional re-oiling or resealing to prevent water damage. Real wood costs more and requires careful cleaning.

Subway Tile

Subway tiles are rectangular glossy ceramic tiles arranged in a brickwork pattern. Their classic 3×6 size was originally designed to mimic white tiles used in New York subway stations.

Why subway tiles work well for backsplashes:

  • Timeless, elegant look
  • Affordable and easy to install
  • Matches any kitchen decor style
  • Available in range of colors like white, gray, blue
  • Can be paired with accent tiles
  • Durable, low maintenance option

White subway tiles are the most common. But glass, marble, and handpainted variants are also available for a unique backsplash.

Mosaic Tile

Mosaic tiles contain small pieces of glass, ceramic, or stone aggregated together to form mosaic patterns. From uniform tessellated designs to random abstract shapes, mosaic backsplashes provide visual impact.

Benefits of mosaic tile backsplashes:

  • Comes in endless pattern and color options
  • Adds artistic flair to the kitchen
  • Can blend glass, ceramic, marble pieces
  • Available in wide range of materials
  • Works with granite, quartz countertops
  • Makes a bold style statement

Mosaic sheets make installation easier. Mosaic tiles work best for experienced DIYers, as they require careful grout work.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel backsplashes give an industrial, sleek look with their cool gray sheen. Made from steel alloys containing chromium, they are naturally corrosion and rust-resistant. Professional installation is recommended.

Advantages of stainless steel backsplashes:

  • Sleek, modern, industrial aesthetic
  • Highly durable, dent-resistant surface
  • Resists heat, spills, and moisture
  • Non-porous, doesn’t need sealing
  • Easy to sanitize and keep clean
  • Can be used behind cooktops

Brushed, textured, and mirrored stainless steel finishes are available. They are higher in cost than ceramic or stone.

Tin Tiles

Tin backsplashes offer antique glamour and vintage appeal reminiscent of early 20th century kitchens. Tin tiles can develop a beautiful patina over time. Faux metal tin options without patina maintenance are also available.

Why choose tin backsplash tiles?

  • Adds vintage charm and warmth
  • Available with real rust patina or faux finish
  • Durable material suitable for kitchen
  • Provides depth and texture
  • Works with variety of color schemes
  • Offers an affordable metal backsplash option

Tin tiles with patina need annual sealing. Faux tin varieties have decorative rust finish without added maintenance.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile backsplashes offer durability, easy maintenance, and resistance to moisture. Made from refined clay, porcelain tiles have very low porosity. They are fired at high temperatures to create a dense, vitrified product.

Benefits of porcelain tile backsplashes:

  • Extremely durable, harder than ceramic
  • Superior stain, scratch, fade resistance
  • Low water absorption rate
  • Resists mold, bacteria growth
  • Easy to clean and sanitize
  • Suitable for high-traffic areas
  • Frost-proof for outdoor use

Porcelain is more chip resistant than ceramic and needs less grout sealing. It provides an upscale look for contemporary kitchens.

Penny Tiles

Penny round tiles are small circular ceramic tiles resembling copper coins. Their diminutive size allows tiny tiles to be arranged in eye-catching patterns and mosaics.

Advantages of penny tile backsplashes:

  • Vintage inspired look
  • Can create geometric, artistic designs
  • Range of colors like red, blue, black
  • Provides visual depth and texture
  • Adds unique flair compared to subway tiles
  • Versatile look, matches any decor style

Penny tiles take more time and skill for proper installation compared to larger tiles. They are also more prone to damage and need careful grout maintenance.


The ideal backsplash improves aesthetics, safeguards the walls, and matches the home decor theme. With numerous backsplash materials like ceramic, metal, glass, stone, brick, wood, and porcelain available, selecting the right one involves weighing factors like cost, durability, style, and ease of installation. Combining materials like ceramic with glass mosaic creates a personalized backsplash. At the end, the backsplash type must complement your cabinetry, counters, appliances and home style. Careful planning and evaluation of materials can lead you to the perfect backsplash choice for your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular kitchen backsplash materials?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most commonly used backsplash materials due to their durability, variety, and affordable cost. Subway tiles, mosaics, marble, granite and glass are also popular choices.

What is the easiest backsplash to install?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the easiest DIY backsplash to install. Peel-and-stick backsplashes with adhesive backing provide even simpler installation. Stainless steel is easiest if installed by a professional.

How do I choose the right backsplash?

Consider the backsplash color, pattern, material durability, moisture-resistance, ease of cleaning, installation cost, and how well it matches your counters, cabinets, appliances and home decor style.

What is the most cost-effective backsplash?

Ceramic tiles provide the best value as backsplash material. Handy homeowners can install tile themselves to further reduce costs. Peel-and-stick backsplash, sheet metal, and faux tin are other budget-friendly options.

What is the most popular backsplash color?

White subway backsplash tiles are the most popular choice. They fit well with any kitchen design. Other popular backsplash colors are gray, black, beige, and blue. Glass or handpainted tiles add pops of color.

What backsplash is best for resale value?

White subway tile and blue backsplash are real estate agent recommended colors as they have the broadest appeal. Neutral tones of white, gray, beige, tan backsplashes are safest choices for resale.