Backsplash Battles: Full vs. Standard

We have pitched ourselves neck deep into an argument that has raged for decades without any conclusive outcomes—which backsplash is better, Standard or Full?

Structuring this Discussion

Ranging from a simple neutral backsplash that stretches from the ceiling to floor or the smallest tile mosaic applied around a cooktop, these essential elements have functional and decorative applications. Kitchen backsplash designs have changed over the years, but largely they are grouped under two categories depending upon their expanse—full backsplashes and standard backsplashes. However, the approach to backsplashes remains less than encouraging. For instance, vertical spread of the backsplash is often mishandled by kitchen designers and homeowners. Space between the countertop and bottom of the wall cabinets is often left as an afterthought, often becoming a magnet for grime to accumulate. We try to cover the main debate and discuss such smaller, lesser-acknowledged points as a part of this discussion.

Kitchen Backsplash

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Basics of Types of Kitchen Backsplash

Each type of backsplash comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing your backsplash is about individual choice and preferences. Standard Backsplash essentially measures around 4 inches from the countertop surface. It is usually made from a 4-inch high strip of slab material. Some materials often used for making standard backsplashes include Quartz, Granite, and Quartzite. Some folks prefer standard backsplashes made of ceramic tiles. A Full Backsplash has a greater stretch, covering a larger part of the wall, mostly ending around the lowest portion of the cabinet frame.

Advantages of a Standard Backsplash

More Material = More Expenses

The general rule is that the more material you use, the more costly it gets. When you are working with a high-priced countertop material, a standard backsplash emerges as cost-saving option. Often, homeowners use leftovers of the countertop materials to create a standard backsplash—another reason why it is considered a more budgeted choice.

The argument: Backsplashes are essentially a protective installation. They protect underlying walls from damage caused by moisture and household cleaners. A full backsplash covers the walls more comprehensively. This is why it is called a full-height backsplash. In the longer run, money invested in a full backsplash translates into better health of the walls, neutralizing the need for extensive repairs. This too means some serious savings.

 Limited Surface Area = Ease of Refurbishing

Standard backsplash means lesser surface area covered in tiles. This means reduced damage at the time of kitchen makeovers. A full backsplash covers almost the entire wall. Any thought about changing such a backsplash means large-scale renovation. A standard backsplash offers more flexibility in terms of change of color and style. You can even change a few tiles and insert some colored tiles to change the existing aesthetics.

The argument: Standard backsplashes tend to demand a style of their own. They are less likely to blend with the overall aesthetics of the kitchen. Full backsplashes are more attuned to the design dynamics, often complementing the kitchen’s color pattern, even being at the core of color contrast schemes.


Glass Paneled Backsplash

Advantages of a Full Backsplash

Prim ‘n’ Proper

A full backsplash offers a tidy look, sans the discrepancies in patterns and color variations associated with the standard variety. This means the kitchen’s overall color scheme and presentation maintains its uniformity. This is the perfect option for homeowners who like their kitchen tied in some sort of symmetry.

The argument: what is considered neat by us might be interpreted as boring by others. With standard backsplashes, you have the freedom of experimenting with materials like glass tiles, stamped stones, painted tiles, metallic tiles, etc. and you can do this repeatedly, as a part of smaller kitchen renovation projects.

 Impressive Accents

Full backsplashes are preferred by homeowners who like their backsplashes to be more than just wall-saving installations. Here, the idea is to create a focal point using the backsplash area. With a bigger surface area at their disposal, kitchen designers can work better with full backsplashes to create a tiled or texture pattern that complements the existing décor.

The argument: what is interpreted as a point of visual engagement can transform into a very predictable part of the kitchen over the years. What if underlying walls suffer extensive damage due to moisture seepage from improper drainage systems? In such cases, the extensive repair work can quickly nullify the accent advantage.

 What you might want to consider—DEXTEROUS Backsplashes

We suggest not sticking to either of the backsplash choices. As rebellious as it may sound, the fact remains that you will not be flouting a building code by extending your backsplash more than 4 inches or keeping it short of covering the wall area extending up to the overlying cabinets. Create backsplashes that don’t always conform to standard dimensions. Try to put in some creativity during the initial phase itself, choosing tiles and backsplash materials that offer some color and vibrancy.


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