Selecting the right splashback
While nearly everyone can identify a floor, wall or countertop, even experienced homeowners may not be familiar with the concept of a splashback.
What is a splashback?
Splashbacks are design choices that serve to be both aesthetically pleasing while also protecting walls from stains and water damage. Essentially, a splashback is a material placed over a wall, providing an easy-to-clean surface that keeps the underlying wall dry.
Coming in many forms, from ceramic to stone, splashbacks are usually tiles mounted to the wall and grouted in place. They are most commonly found behind sinks, as these are the locations where water runs the risk of being splashed against walls.
Splashbacks can also be found around bathtubs and showers, as well as around stoves. Unlike the splashbacks located near sinks and tubs, the ones around stoves are generally used to protect the underlying wall from oil and grease.
Are splashbacks necessary?
While there’s no law that says a homeowner must invest in splashbacks, they are typically seen as a necessity in modern homes, as water can cause serious structural damage, and it’s more than likely that splashes will occur around sinks and bathtubs.
In addition to preventing water damage, splashbacks can protect against water and soap stains. The value of stain protection is even more important around stoves, as pots and pans can send oil and grease flying in every direction. Employing a splashback will protect walls from stains and make surface cleaning much easier.
Choosing a material
There is no shortage of materials to choose from when it comes to constructing a splashback. Glass, wood, stainless steel and laminate are all options, but the most popular choices for splashbacks may just be ceramic tiles, such as porcelain, and natural stone, such as granite.
Not only do both these choices provide a number of design options that can add style to a space, they are naturally durable. However, not all ceramics and stones offer the same kind of protection, so it’s important to consider issues like porosity in addition to design schemes.
Porcelain is used to create ceramic tiles that have very low absorption rates and high strength and chemical resistance. If the tiles are vitrified, they will be even harder for liquids to penetrate. However, polished porcelain can stain and absorb water easily.
Meanwhile, natural stones like granite can offer not only singular style to a room, but they can provide natural hardiness that allows them to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, even though it’s dense, granite is actually quite porous. A tablespoon of water left on a granite tile for 30 minutes or more will result in a deep stain.
Luckily, both porcelain and granite, along with other types of natural stone, can be improved with the use of a high-quality impregnating sealer like STAIN-PROOF Original™. This type of surface treatment is designed to penetrate deep into the material and bond with its pores. This is intended to create a barrier in the material that will help repel water and oil, preventing stains.
This type of surface protection not only makes surface cleaning easier, it can also help to protect splashbacks from efflorescence, freeze-thaw damage, spalling and picture framing.
Selecting the right splashback often comes down to personal tastes and design schemes, but it’s just as important to keep surface protection in mind.
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