What Materials Can Be Used for Kitchen Backsplash?

Kitchen backsplashes not only protect the wall from water and stains but also add personality and visual interest to the space. With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the right material for your needs and style. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular kitchen backsplash materials to consider.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile are classic backsplash materials that continue to be popular choices in all styles of kitchens.


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Available in a huge range of colors, textures, shapes, and patterns
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Resistant to water, grease, and stains
  • Affordable compared to other materials


  • Grout lines may need periodic sealing
  • Tile can chip or crack if hit hard
  • Installation is more labor-intensive than some materials

Some popular options include subway tile, mosaic tile, handmade tile, and large format porcelain slabs.

Natural Stone

Natural stone like marble, travertine, slate, and granite make an elegant statement in the kitchen. These tiles have beautiful veining and textural qualities.


  • Timeless, classic aesthetic
  • Each piece is unique
  • Withstands heat and is very durable
  • Easy to clean smooth surface


  • Expensive compared to ceramic or glass tile
  • Porous and requires sealing
  • Some stone may stain
  • Heavy so extra structural support may be needed

Some great stone choices for backsplashes are marble, travertine, and quartzite.

Glass Tile

Glass tile is available in so many colors, shapes, and levels of opacity. From bold and colorful to subtle and neutral, glass tile provides a sleek contemporary look.


  • Reflective, shiny surface
  • Available in a wide range of colors and finishes
  • Durable and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight compared to stone tile


  • More expensive than ceramic
  • Not as durable as porcelain or stone
  • Tile edges can be sharp
  • Grout discoloration may occur over time

Stunning options are recycled glass tile, iridescent glass tile, and large format glass panels.

Stainless Steel

A stainless steel backsplash offers a modern, industrial chic look for the kitchen. It pairs beautifully with stainless steel appliances.


  • Modern, sleek aesthetic
  • Durable, heat and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean and sanitize
  • Can be crafted into various patterns and textures
  • Rust and corrosion-resistant


  • Prone to fingerprints and smudging
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Challenging for DIY installation
  • Higher price point

Stainless steel is a great low-maintenance option for contemporary kitchens.

Metal Tiles

Metal tiles made of tin, copper, brass, and other metals infuse antique character into kitchen backsplashes.


  • Available in numerous metal finishes and patterns
  • Naturally antimicrobial and hygienic
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Easy installation
  • Adds warmth and texture


  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to scratches and dents
  • Some metals can develop patina or require sealing
  • Avoid in high heat areas above cooktops

Try copper, brass, or tin tiles for a unique vintage style statement.


Wood brings natural beauty, texture, and coziness to kitchen backsplashes. Real wood or faux veneer panels offer rustic charm.


  • Warm, inviting aesthetic
  • Available in many stains, finishes and types of wood
  • Easier installation than tile
  • Softer acoustic properties than hard surfaces


  • Not as durable or moisture-resistant as other materials
  • Requires sealing to prevent water damage, warping
  • Dark grout shows dirt easily
  • Avoid direct heat exposure

Good wood choices include maple, cherry, oak or bamboo.

Brick, Concrete, and Stone Veneers

Natural and faux brick, stone, and concrete backsplashes replicate industrial and old-world architecture styles.


  • Unique, textural appearance
  • Durable and heat-resistant
  • Easy installation with thin veneers
  • Matches many design aesthetics


  • Natural stone is very heavy, requiring structural support
  • Concrete stains easily and needs sealing
  • Imperfect textures may make cleaning difficult
  • Materials can be expensive

Create a historic pub look with brick backsplashes or modern loft style with concrete backsplashes.

Painted Drywall

Don’t overlook painted drywall for kitchen backsplashes. Beyond basic white, there are so many creative colorful options.


  • Inexpensive material and application
  • Easy to paint any color imaginable
  • Smooth, seamless look
  • Allows easy replacement or changes down the road


  • Less durable surface prone to nicks and scratches
  • Discoloration can occur over time
  • Moisture resistance relies on quality paint
  • Requires careful prep and priming

Consider glass bead, metallic, or blackboard style paint for added interest.

What to Consider When Choosing a Backsplash

With so many backsplash materials to evaluate, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Budget – Cost can vary greatly by material from DIY-friendly paint to high-end stone.
  • Uses and activities – Consider potential staining, heat exposure, cleaning needs based on how the space is used.
  • Styling and design – Choose materials and patterns that match your overall kitchen decor theme.
  • Ease of installation – Factor in your DIY skills vs. the possible need for professional installation.
  • Longevity – How durable and long-lasting is the material? Evaluate issues like staining, scratching, and water-resistance.
  • Maintenance – Determine the necessary maintenance like sealing, polishing or grout cleaning.

Consider how you cook, entertain, and live in the space when selecting the perfect kitchen backsplash. With the right research and planning, you can find the ideal material that provides the right balance of form and function.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Backsplash Materials

What is the most popular kitchen backsplash material?

Ceramic and porcelain tile remain the most commonly used kitchen backsplash materials. Tile offers so many options in terms of colors, textures, patterns, and pricing that it can work with almost any kitchen style.

What is the easiest backsplash to install?

Painted drywall is the easiest kitchen backsplash to install since it simply requires priming, painting, and occasional re-coating. Peel-and-stick tile backsplashes provide a no-mess option. Stainless steel and glass sheet panels also go up seamlessly.

What is the most durable material for a backsplash?

Natural stone like granite is highly durable and resistant to scratching, chipping, and heat. Porcelain and ceramic tile also rank high on durability. Stainless steel resists corrosion and is easy to clean.

Can you use wallpaper as a backsplash?

Yes, wallpaper makes for a unique, artistic backsplash choice. Use peel-and-stick wallpaper for easy application. Be sure to apply a sealant and use high-quality wallpaper designed for kitchens. Avoid wallpaper behind cooktops or sinks.

What’s better for kitchen backsplashes – matte or glossy tile?

This depends on your preference. Matte tile hides fingerprints, water spots, and scratches better. Glossy tile reflects more light for a shiny look. Glossy tile tends to showcase grout more. As far as cleaning, both perform well when sealed properly.

Final Thoughts

The material you select for a kitchen backsplash impacts the room’s functionality, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. Take the time to carefully consider your options. From affordable ceramic to upscale stainless steel and natural stone, there are so many possibilities to match any kitchen’s style and budget. With proper installation and care, your backsplash will beautifully endure years of cooking and cleaning. Choose materials that speak to your sense of design while being mindful of your family’s everyday use.