What are the Different Types of Backsplash Panels?

Robyn Clark

Backsplash panels are an affordable time and labor-saving option for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, and they are a particularly popular room update for do-it-yourself makeover projects. There are many decorative panel options available in home improvement stores and online. Any backsplash panel should be water-resistant and easy to clean. The main factors that separate different types of backsplash panels are the materials they are made from and how they are installed. Traditional backsplash panels are made from sheets of metal, typically aluminum or tin, but there are many newer materials with a wide array of patterns and finishes.

Faux backsplashes allow homeowners to easily customize a kitchen.
Faux backsplashes allow homeowners to easily customize a kitchen.

Antique tin panels and replica tin panels can be found through vintage design stores and at architectural salvage yards, and can add an old-world feel to a kitchen remodel. Stainless steel panels have a sleek and streamlined look, and are typically used in more modern kitchen and bath designs. Newer options are made from thermoplastics and other composite materials, and are available in many with faux finishes that mimic the look of other materials. The advantage of stainless steel and composite panels is that they are corrosion resistant. Eco-friendly options are available in recycled and recyclable materials.

Aluminum and tin are commonly used metals for backsplash panels.
Aluminum and tin are commonly used metals for backsplash panels.

An online search for creative ideas for backsplash panels will return many different projects and tutorials from do-it-yourself enthusiasts, using a wide variety of different materials. The materials used need to be appropriate for the location and the project. Panels in high-use areas should be of a durable material to withstand exposure to water and repeated cleanings, while panels in areas that aren’t typically exposed to water or grease can be more decorative. It is extremely important to consider safety in selecting panels for kitchen projects. If panels are to be installed directly behind the stove, the material the panel is made from must be fireproof and have a safety rating approved for that type of installation.

The installation process for backsplash panels is typically easier than installing separate, individual backsplash tiles. Most types of panels can be installed without power tools or grout. Metal snips, utility knives, or scissors can be used to cut a panel to size, depending on the material. Depending on the type of tile, either construction-grade adhesives or double-sided adhesive tapes are typically used to adhere the panels to the wall.

For the adhesive to work properly, backsplash panels must be installed on a clean and smooth surface. If the wall is textured or greasy, the project will require additional time to prepare the surface prior to installation. Cleaning, sanding, or priming the wall may be required. The services of a handyman or home improvement professional may be required if the project is particularly complicated or labor intensive.

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