What is the Best Material for Kitchen Backsplash?

Choosing the right material for your kitchen backsplash is one of the most important decisions when remodeling or designing a kitchen. The backsplash serves both practical and aesthetic purposes, protecting the walls from moisture, stains, and splashes while also adding visual interest and tying together your kitchen’s overall design. With so many backsplash options available, deciding on the best material can be overwhelming. Here is an in-depth look at some of the most popular kitchen backsplash materials to help you determine what is truly the best option for your space and style.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tile are classic choices that have remained popular due to their durability, easy maintenance, and water-resistance. Tile comes in a vast array of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns, allowing you to create a customized backsplash that complements your cabinetry and countertops. Tile offers great design flexibility—you can do full subway tile backsplashes, mosaics, or decorative accent tile. Porcelain tile is more durable and stain-resistant than ceramic and can better withstand heat from the stove and splatters from cooking. However, porcelain is generally more expensive.


  • Durable and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Heat-resistant
  • Budget-friendly option, especially ceramic tile
  • Available in unlimited colors, styles, and patterns


  • Grout lines can get dirty
  • Ceramic can chip or crack
  • Installation can be tricky for DIYers

Cost: Ceramic tile ranges from $5-$50 per square foot installed; Porcelain tile $15-$75 per square foot installed

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes have grown in popularity for their brilliant glossy finish and ability to make a dramatic style statement. Made from recycled glass, the tiles have an iridescent shimmer and reflective surface that infuses any kitchen with artistic flair. Glass tile comes in every color of the rainbow, along with stunning metallic, marbleized, and hand-painted designs. Drawbacks are that glass tile can chip or crack easily and may require professional installation. It also needs gentle cleaning. But its luminous beauty makes it a top choice when creating a kitchen backdrop that steals the show.


  • Adds brilliant, reflective color
  • Variety of artistic styles and textures
  • Environmentally friendly—made from recycled glass
  • Easy to sanitize and keep clean


  • Can crack or chip easily
  • Needs delicate cleaning
  • Challenging for DIY installation

Cost: $10-$50 per square foot installed

Metal Tile

For contemporary and industrial design lovers, metal tiles offer a sleek, cutting-edge solution for kitchen backsplashes. Stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum tiles infuse any space with an urban vibe. Metal backsplashes are very durable, naturally antibacterial, and easy to clean. Brushed metal finishes hide fingerprints and scratches. Metal tiles come in a range of colors, sheens, and patterns, from solid metals to perforated, stamped, or embossed looks. Costs are higher, and cutting and installation take skill. But the right metal backsplash can create a modern, avant-garde focal point.


  • Ultra-durable and scratch-resistant
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Advanced contemporary style
  • Variety of metal finishes and looks
  • Environmentally friendly and recyclable


  • Expensive
  • Needs professional cutting and installation
  • Can dent or stain
  • Conducts heat and cold

Cost: $50-$150 per square foot installed

Stone Tile

For beautiful natural texture and durability, stone tiles make an excellent backsplash choice. Options like granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and slate come in diverse veins, colors, and patterns that add organic warmth. Stone stands up well to heavy use in kitchens, though some porous stones can stain. New heat- and water-resistant stone tiles eliminate that weakness. With unique natural beauty, shapes, and styles, stone allows you to create one-of-a-kind backsplash designs. Costs vary widely based on the stone type. Professional installation is recommended.


  • Timeless, classic beauty
  • Natural texture and variation
  • Durable and heat-resistant
  • Many stone types and finishes available
  • Can coordinate with countertops


  • Natural stone can stain or etch
  • Needs resealing over time
  • Higher costs, especially for natural stone
  • Professional installation recommended

Cost: $15-$150 per square foot installed, depending on stone type

Brick or Faux Brick

Brick backsplashes lend vintage charm or modern industrial edge, depending on the finish. Authentic reclaimed brick salvaged from old buildings brings distressed allure. New brick veneers offer slimmer profiles for cleaner lines. Faux bricks replicate the look in materials like ceramic or porcelain for greater durability. Beyond classic red bricks, options include glazed, antique, and uniquely colored bricks. Drawbacks are higher costs and extensive installation. But brick’s texture and natural vibe create an inviting, architectural focal point.


  • Natural, distressed warmth
  • Architectural, textured appeal
  • Colors and finishes for any style
  • Durable with heat and stain resistance
  • Environmentally friendly reclaimed options


  • Higher cost, especially for authentic brick
  • Challenging installation and cutting
  • Reclaimed brick can be brittle
  • Grout needs maintenance

Cost: $25-$100 per square foot installed

Wood Planks

For a touch of homespun style, wood backsplashes infuse rustic beauty while protecting walls from kitchen splatter. Wood comes in every style – reclaimed barn boards, salvaged wine barrels, driftwood, weathered shiplap panels, and new tongue-and-groove planks. Distressed gray-washed, whitewashed, charred, or natural wood choices abound. Drawbacks are maintenance needs. Wood requires sealing to resist moisture and stains. Costs range widely based on wood grade and type. But easy installation makes wood backsplashes doable for DIYers. The organic grain and variation of real wood create warm, welcoming kitchen décors.


  • Warm, natural texture and beauty
  • Rustic, farmhouse appeal
  • Many reclaimed and salvaged wood choices
  • Relatively easy DIY installation
  • Affordable compared to other materials


  • Needs regular sealing
  • Can stain, warp and scratch
  • Some wood may not withstand heat and moisture
  • Natural material varies widely

Cost: $10 – $50 per square foot installed

Painted Drywall

For budget-friendly backsplashes, painted drywall or plaster is an easy, low-cost choice. With primers and paints designed for kitchens, painted backsplashes resist moisture, grease, and stains. Modern chalkboard, magnetic, or faux finish paints create eye-catching designs. Use painters tape to create patterns or get creative with wall stencils and sponge painting. As a smooth, seamless option, painted backsplashes hide imperfect walls, require no grout, and allow easy changing of colors. Use high-gloss or semi-gloss sheens for wipeability. Re-painting when needed is much simpler than replacing other materials.


  • Inexpensive DIY option
  • Seamless, modern look
  • Easy to repaint or redesign
  • No messy grout or tile work
  • Many specialty paint options available


  • Prone to possible staining or marking
  • Needs repainting over time
  • Lacks texture and depth of other materials
  • Not as durable or water-resistant

Cost: $3-$7 per square foot for painted finish

Stainless Steel

Sleek and modern stainless steel makes a professional-grade, industrial chic backsplash with built-in functionality. Full sheets of stainless steel nicely conceal boundaries between walls and work areas. Stainless stands up to heavy wear and tear and wipes clean easily. It prevents grime buildup in grout lines and works well around stoves. Installation takes skill for seamless results. Costs are higher, but stainless steel brings masculine vibes, professional cooking aesthetics, and easy maintenance to contemporary kitchens.


  • Sleek, professional, modern look
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Durable and easy to clean
  • Moisture and stain resistant
  • Provides a hygienic cooking environment


  • Expensive material and installation costs
  • Can dent or scratch easily
  • Challenging DIY installation
  • Industrial look, not suited for every style

Cost: $60-$120 per square foot installed

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Backsplash

With so many materials and options for kitchen backsplashes, keep the following factors in mind when selecting the right one for your space:

  • Your design style and overall kitchen aesthetics – Consider the look you want to achieve and choose a material that enhances it.
  • High moisture areas – Around sinks and stoves, pick water-resistant materials that withstand splashes and spills.
  • Ease of cleaning – Choose low-maintenance finishes that clean up easily like polished stone, glass, metal, and some porcelain.
  • Durability and heat-resistance – Materials like metal, brick, stone, and porcelain hold up best to everyday wear and cooking heat.
  • DIY skills – If installing it yourself, avoid intricate or heavy materials.
  • Budget – Prices span a wide range from affordable painted finishes to high-end stainless steel. Set realistic budget constraints.
  • Personal tastes – Focus on materials you find visually appealing to create a space you’ll love.

6 Key Questions to Ask Yourself

Asking yourself these key questions will help narrow down your many backsplash options:

  1. What overall look and feel am I going for—rustic, modern, vintage, contemporary?
  2. What colors, patterns, and textures do I want to incorporate?
  3. What material will best complement my cabinetry, countertops, and appliances?
  4. How durable and water-resistant does my material need to be?
  5. What level of cleaning maintenance and upkeep am I willing to take on?
  6. How much do I want to spend? What’s my budget?


Selecting the ideal kitchen backsplash involves balancing practical factors like your budget, skill level, kitchen traffic and usage with your personal style preferences. From gleaming glass mosaics to natural stone tiles to reclaimed wood planks, there are countless gorgeous options to suit any taste and space. Think about the look you want and your everyday needs. Then meditate on the benefits and drawbacks of each material to choose the perfect backsplash to showcase your culinary creativity while protecting your walls. With careful planning and decision making, your kitchen backsplash can become a focal point you’ll admire for years to come.