What is the Best Kitchen Backsplash Material?

Selecting the ideal backsplash material for your kitchen renovation or new construction project may appear overwhelming with so many gorgeous options to choose from. However, understanding the pros and cons of popular backsplash materials can help narrow down your choices.

We will compare the most common types of kitchen backsplashes, including ceramic tile, glass tile, stone tile, metal, and wood. Consider durability, ease of cleaning, cost, style options, and DIY vs. professional installation as we outline what is the best kitchen backsplash material for your needs.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has been utilized as kitchen backsplash for generations. The timeless material remains one of the most popular backsplash options because of its:


Ceramic tiles are very budget-friendly, starting under $1 per square foot for basic white subway tile and $5-10 per square foot for handmade or mosaic tile. Bold patterns and intricate designs run $15-30 per square foot.

Still, ceramic tile backsplash achieves high-end style at just a fraction of the cost of genuine stone or marble.


The glazed surface of ceramic tile resists moisture, stains, and daily wear-and-tear. This makes it an ideal backsplash material behind sinks and stoves. The durable material is easy to clean and withstands heat.

Design Options

From simple white subway tile to intricate mosaics, ceramic tile comes in every color and style imaginable. Hand-painted ceramic tile incorporates artisanal details.

Accent tiles in an array of colors, shapes, and textures allow you to get creative. Mix and match colors or textures for a one-of-a-kind backsplash.

Ease of Installation

Ceramic tiles are relatively easy for DIYers to install. Use mastic adhesive specifically formulated for ceramic tile rather than regular tile grout.

If you decide to install a ceramic tile backsplash yourself, prepare the wall surface properly so the tile adheres. Make straight cuts by scoring and snapping tiles. stagger tiles so the grout lines don’t align.

For intricate patterns or large format tile, consider hiring a professional tile installer. Pay close attention to proper grouting technique to avoid cracking or damage.


When properly installed, ceramic tile backsplashes can last at least 20 years, often longer. Replacing broken or cracked tiles is straightforward. Regrouting periodically helps maintain ceramic backsplashes.

With proper care, ceramic tile looks beautiful year after year, which explains its enduring popularity.

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes offer brilliant color and reflectivity. Quality tempered glass tile is durable and comes in stunning colors and textures.

Stylish Shine

Glass backsplashes immediately brighten up kitchens with light-reflective surfaces. Subway tiles, mosaics, and stacked layouts catch the light beautifully. Choose from clear, frosted, iridescent, and colored glass tiles.

Water and Moisture Resistance

Like ceramic tile, glass tile resists moisture, spills, and heat. Its non-porous surface doesn’t need sealing. Durable glass tile stands up well to steam, splatters, and extra humidity.

Range of Looks

From recycled glass to marble-lookalikes, glass tile backsplashes elevate kitchen design. Expect to pay $15-50 per square foot for glass tile. Cost depends on tile size, texture, and design complexity.

Handmade art glass tile costs over $100 per square foot installed but makes a true artistic statement.

Professional Installation Recommended

DIY glass tile installation is possible but challenging. Glass tiles require specialized cutting tools. Tiny mosaic tiles need meticulous grouting.

Hiring professional tile setters experienced in glass tile installation is often worth the investment to avoid cracked tiles or uneven spacing. Take steps to properly prepare the wall.

Lasting Beauty

With proper installation and care, glass tile backsplashes maintain their reflective qualities for years. Durability varies by manufacturer. Not all glass tiles can withstand direct heat exposure behind stoves.

Glass tile scratches more easily than glazed ceramic or porcelain tile. Handle it gently during cleaning to avoid dull spots forming over time.

Natural Stone Tile

For stunning good looks and luxury appeal, natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, and slate bring elegant beauty to kitchen backsplashes.

Elegant Aesthetics

With exquisite patterns and natural color variations, stone tile instantly elevates kitchen designs. Each tile boasts unique natural veining in shades of white, gray, beige or earth tones.

Polished, honed or tumbled finishes determine the surface shine. Natural stone tiles create a high-end yet timeless backsplash.

Easy Maintenance

Sealing stone tile properly is essential, but an impregnating sealer allows spills and stains to bead up for quick wipe-away. Reapply sealer annually.

Avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the delicate natural veining. Use a mild cleaner and soft cloth instead.

Heat and Moisture Resistance

Stone backsplashes stand up well to heat and humidity. However, some stones may be sensitive to sudden temperature changes.

Avoid placing lower quality, porous limestone or sandstone tiles behind stoves. Higher density stone works best.

Significant Costs

From $15 per square foot for lower grade slate up to $100+ per square foot for exotic marble, stone tile sits at the higher end of backsplash budgeting. Hiring an expert for installation is advised.

Long-Lasting Luxury

With proper installation and sealing, natural stone tiles bring enduring good looks, often for 50 years or longer. Over time, the patina adds character.

Replacing damaged stone tiles can prove challenging though. Take care not to drop heavy objects on stone backsplashes.


For sleek, contemporary style, metal backsplashes impart modern appeal. Stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum make a statement.

Contemporary Edge

Shiny metal backsplashes instantly update traditional kitchens with contemporary style. Brushed metal finishes add beautiful texture.

Extreme Durability

Metal stands up beautifully to heavy daily use, moisture, and heat. Stainless steel, in particular, provides unparalleled durability.

Quick and Easy Cleaning

Metal backsplashes clean up in a snap. Simply wipe away messes or polish occasionally. Avoid abrasive cleaners.

Metal won’t stain or show wear the way other materials might. Just don’t let grease linger.

Higher Costs

From affordable tin backsplashes at $25 per square foot to over $100 per square foot for intricate copper designs, metal ups the budget.

But the material costs often pay for themselves in lifespan and low maintenance.

Professional Installation Essential

Leave metal backsplash installation to the pros. Hiring experienced metal workers ensures proper cutting, bending, joining, and mounting.

DIY mistakes like uneven seams, misaligned corners, or loose panels quickly become eyesores. Don’t risk ruining the sleek aesthetics.

Long-Lasting Modern Appeal

With proper installation, metal backsplashes easily retain their good looks for decades. Metal doesn’t chip, crack, or stain over time.

Annual polishing maintains shine. Eventually, stainless steel can develop patina, which adds character.


Warm, natural wood brings cozy style to kitchen backsplashes. Less common than tile but offering a unique look, wood accents suit rustic to contemporary designs.

Visual Warmth and Texture

Wood backsplashes infuse kitchens with welcoming warmth. Varied wood grains and hues add rich, natural texture not found in tile.

Unfinished, stained, painted, or distress-washed wood all make for attractive backsplashes. Mix woods for contrast.

Moisture Concerns

Wood requires diligent sealing and careful cleaning to avoid warping or water damage in kitchens. Don’t install wood behind stoves or sinks.

Consider moisture-resistant woods like teak or avoid wood backsplash entirely in humid climates or flood zones.

DIY Option, If Skilled

DIY wood backsplash installation is realistic for advanced carpenters but tricky for novices. Precise cuts, joints, grooves, and mounts mean no shortcuts.

Watch out for uneven alignments, rough edges, or loose pieces. Leave wood backsplashes to the experts unless you’re very handy.

Cost Varies

Budget $20-50 per square foot for stained oak or pine backsplashes. More exotic woods run $50-100 per square foot installed.

Handcrafted, reclaimed barnwood backsplashes cost $200+ per square foot.

Longevity an Issue

Even sealed wood backsplashes often show wear after just a few years. Constant humidity and cooking mess deteriorate surfaces, edges, and finishes.

With careful maintenance, certain quality woods may last 5-10 years before needing replacement. Avoid moisture damage.

What is the Best Kitchen Backsplash Material: Final Considerations

All the popular kitchen backsplash materials offer durable, long-lasting options. Make the choice based on your budget, kitchen design, and style preferences.

For many homeowners, classic ceramic tile remains the top backsplash pick thanks to endless colors and patterns plus affordable pricing.

Upscale glass and stone tile backsplashes provide brilliant shine and natural luxury if the budget allows.

Sleek metal suits contemporary kitchens, while wood adds rustic warmth.

Weigh installation factors too. Advanced DIYers can often tackle ceramic or glass tile. Leave intricate designs, large format tiles, and specialty materials like metal or wood to expert installers.

Finally, consider how backsplash sizes, surrounding surfaces, countertops, cabinets, and appliances come together. A cohesive kitchen design ensures your backsplash ties the whole room together beautifully.

With proper planning and care, your kitchen backsplash adds functional, stylish personality for years of cooking and entertaining enjoyment. Choose a material perfect for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Backsplash Materials

Still deciding what is the best kitchen backsplash material for you? This FAQ answers common questions to help make the choice easier.

What is the most popular kitchen backsplash?

By far, ceramic tile remains today’s most popular and commonly used kitchen backsplash material. Subway tile, mosaics, and handmade ceramic tile offer endless looks at affordable prices.

What is the most durable kitchen backsplash?

For maximum toughness and longevity, metal backsplashes like stainless steel prove most durable. Stainless withstands moisture, heat, daily wear-and-tear, and cleaning without damage.

What backsplash goes best with white cabinets?

White cabinets suit nearly endless backsplash options! Subway tile, marble, or glass tile in white or light gray colors match beautifully. Warm wood or colorful mosaic tile provides contrast.

What color backsplash goes with oak cabinets?

Earth tones like tan, brown, taupe and cream complement oak cabinets nicely. Distressed wood in oak tones or slate tile coordinate well. For contrast, try emerald green or navy blue glass tile.

What is the most heat resistant kitchen backsplash?

Metal backsplashes stand up to high heat best without warping or discoloring. Ceramic and stone tiles also handle heat exposure admirably as backsplashes behind stoves or ovens.

Can you put wood behind a stove?

Wood backsplashes don’t hold up behind stoves long-term. The high heat and moisture cause wood to warp, peel or stain easily. Stick with tile, stone or metal around cooking surfaces.

Is it worth it to put tile backsplash in kitchen?

Definitely! Not only do tile backsplashes protect your walls from moisture and stains, they provide high-end style at a reasonable cost. Tile backsplashes increase resale value too.

How do I choose a backsplash that ties everything together?

Consider your cabinetry, countertops, flooring and other finishes. Contrasting tile colors and textures prevents too much matchiness. Accent colors in the backsplash can tie to appliances or decor.

Using tile, metal, glass, stone or even wood, backsplashes make a stylish statement and shield walls from daily kitchen messes. Evaluate your goals, design themes, budget and DIY skill level to select what is the best kitchen backsplash material for you. With proper planning and care, you will enjoy a beautiful, functional backsplash for decades.