Q&A / 

Metal Backsplash

metal backsplash

This is a metal backsplash above the gas range. The only thing missing is a vent hood to capture all the greasy vapors. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

"Modern metal backsplashes are easy to install if the wall surface is perfectly flat. The metal panels come with an adhesive backing."

Metal Backsplash Requires Confidence

A metal backsplash sends a powerful message. You're not afraid to take chances. Typical non-metal backsplashes you could have chosen might be:

  • ceramic tile
  • painted drywall
  • plastic laminate

It's important to realize there's no perfect backsplash material. Painted drywall is by far the easiest because it's on the wall by default. You don't need to add anything. If you coat the paint with two coats of clear water-based urethane you end up with a very durable and washable surface.

Related Links:

Custom Ceramic Tile Backsplash - Add A Dramatic Look

Crown Tile Backsplash for Ultra Master Bathroom

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metal backsplash

This is the typical look between a countertop and wall cabinets. Note the matching metal electrical cover plate. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

What are Metal Backsplashes Benefits?

  • unique look
  • trend-setting when in style
  • bold retro appearance
metal backsplash

Here's a narrow strip of the metal. Note the open overlap seam at red arrow. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

What are Negatives for Metal Backsplashes?

  • contoured surface harder to clean
  • overlap seams require expert installation
  • cutting material not easy
  • harsh glare possible from low-angle sunlight
Metal Backsplash Outlet

Here's a typical electrical outlet cut through a metal backsplash. You need a small grinder to make precise cutouts like this. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Is it Easy to Install Metal Backsplash?

Modern metal backsplashes are easy to install if the wall surface is perfectly flat. The metal panels come with an adhesive backing.

Another key point is the wall surface must be clean. Remodeling jobs in existing kitchens require you deep-clean the walls to remove all dirt and grease.

Use Stain Solver certified organic oxygen bleach to remove all grease from wall surfaces.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local handymen that can install your new backsplash.

Summary
Metal Backsplash - Looks Good But Hard to Clean
Article Name
Metal Backsplash - Looks Good But Hard to Clean
Description
A thin metal backsplash is trendy. But many people hate to clean one and are afraid of electrical shocks.
Author
Publisher Name
AsktheBuilder.com
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80 Responses to Metal Backsplash

  1. I do not like this type of metal backing. Too harsh on the eyes. Would be good in ceiling. Glare is an issue and cleaning is also a problem. Pattern is also too big for area used.

  2. The cons convinced me that I wouldn't want it. Also although I'm sure a qualified electrician put in the receptacle I would be nervous about a shock hazard from so much metal.

    • If the electrician put a ground connection on the metal backsplash, that would eliminate the shock hazard. the problem is making sure every piece is grounded. The cons of a metal backsplash is the fact it is the fad of the day and will soon go out of style and you are stuck with it.

  3. Tim, regarding the metal backsplash: Leaving appearance aside (I'm not crazy about this particular backsplash, but taste is personal), my first two questions would be 1) does it rust or corrode, and 2) is it thin material that could dent?

  4. Tim, When I first saw the initial picture in your news letter I thought, nice, but immediately thought about the con's, and you did a good job of pointed them out.
    I am faced with a very similar situation now, while at first sight the metal back splash looks nice, the cons win, looking for a different material.

  5. Certainly not everybody's taste, but it is bold and in the right house could make a powerful statement. I imagine you'd have to be very diligent about cleaning, however, as all the edges and corners could easily become dirt and grease traps. Also, you'd have to have it professionally installed for sure! There will be a market for this, but not a huge one...

  6. We have a much loved 20+ yr old Tappan over/under stove & oven combo with stainless steel panel connecting the top oven to the stove top. It goes up the back and under the top oven. Zillions of brown "dots" cover the stainless. A razor blade and SOS pads make the dots smooth, but one can never eliminate them. I know it's as clean as it can get, but it's embarrassing. This backsplash is great for those who don't cook, or plan to replace it every few years.

  7. The look is appealing but I'm not sure if I would install, or have it installed, in the kitchen as that is the one room that needs constant cleaning. Also, with the walls being covered with a material that has spaces under it, and the kitchen being a room with water and food, you now have a perfect place for insects to harbor. There are probably better places to use the material in a house based on your taste; as someone mentioned before, a ceiling installation may be better.

  8. I have this exact back splash in our kitchen. I installed it about 10 years ago. We love it.

    It was very easy to install and easy to clean.

    I can send pictures if you want.

  9. Even the "pros" seem more like cons to me. Sorry, I think I will go with something more traditional, easier to install and less faddish.

  10. The first thing I thougt of was the "con" of cleaning it. I'd probably spend hours detailing it! All of you "pro's" had to do with appearance and I don't find it attractive.

  11. I love the metallic look anywhere, but dislike cleaning.I consider my backsplash to be storage space, displaying some decorative but mostly well-used tools. Considered pierced tin so I could use the holes for hanging, but what a nightmare to clean!

  12. Before I read the article I immediately thought of cons for installing this. Maybe I am not giving it a fair chance, but I’ll add a couple of comments in addition to what you and other readers have already listed as cons. I would not install this in a new house as walls settle which could create gaps or overlap. In addition, if I walk into a house with things like this covering the walls, my first thought is “What is wrong with the wall that it needs to be covered up?”. As far as the peel and stick goes, if the adhesive is bad, you’ll end up try to adhere it with something else and probably more than once. If the adhesive is good, you’ll have a hard time getting it off. Look at wallpaper. Either way, what damage will be done when it is removed. You have to assume that even though you like something now, you will end up changing it as styles and your taste changes. So issues for changing it in the future also need to be considered. One last comment as something to think about...How will this affect the value of a house if selling it?

  13. Have to say it is not my cup of tea either. I would think it would be a magnet for dust . The kitchen is already hard enough to keep clean.. It looks pretty neat on ceilings though.

  14. If you're one to follow trends, this may be worth having up for awhile. The adhesive backing leads me to think it may not be that difficult to remove once the new trend surfaces. I'm not a fan.

  15. My home was built in 2001 and when it came time to upgrade appliances, we went with stainless. Not a big fan --- you have to stay on them as they stain easily. I also did a stainless sink in my new mudroom --- again, like a black car, it looks good if you keep after it, but let it go a few weeks, and it looks terrible. I would not consider the metal back splash.

  16. I had this very same backsplash until a year ago. Tough to clean as you mentioned. The material and texture did not coordinate well with the adjoining cabinetry. In its place I installed 4-inch travertine tiles in a very random pattern (just like the 12-inch ones on the kitchen floor), and behind the range I hung stainless steel (with the same color and grain as the new hood). The hood, by the way, is a 5-speed 700+ cfm unit that requires heated makeup air. The delivery guys told me that most customers with that type of hood cheat by not going to the expense/bother of heated makeup air ductwork.

  17. I agree with all the negative remarks. But the look is just awful. It would feel like cooking in a factory. And too much work.

  18. I find the look trendy and not classic. I think the look draws too much attention. A beautiful mosaic tile adds a lot of interest without stealing attention. I had a friend who put the metal material on the ceiling prior to selling a house (it took over a year to sell). I think it screams of a cover-up.

  19. I installed a similar backsplash in my kitchen about 20 years ago. Mine has a hammered copper finish to tie into the arts & crafts look I wanted. The material cuts relatively easily with a stout pair of tin snips and was easy to install with a combination of tile mastic and a few screws in spots. The biggest con for me is that the material is coated tin, not copper plated. Through normal splashing and cleaning over the years it has developed some discolored areas and will have to be replaced, given 20 years of use it's probably no worse than changing tile backsplash in the same timeline due to style change.

  20. Way too cold and industrial. It will not age well. Why do this ugly metal when there are so many nice warm ceramic/porcelain tile options?

  21. I agree with many of the negative comments others left. If the decor is turn of the 20th century, metal back splash would probably be ok, however. The house we have now has a simple printed wall for a back splash, no poly over it. I’m looking for other ideas. Maybe laminate?

  22. I'm not into style and fads, so even though I admire old metal ceilings, the backsplash isn't the place I'd put such a dirt catcher! I cook and splatter a lot. And I don't enjoy cleaning--especially twenty-four inches away at a 90 degree reach. When I see such "beautiful" and "modern" kitchens, I suspect that there's not much good cooking being done.

  23. It looks really nice. It looks retro. But cleaning could be a chore. Does it easily dent? I didn't think about it, but you mentioned glare. That's not good. Too many cons for me. I have Silestone counter tops and a piece of Silestone behind the stove. That has worked great for many years. I'll keep the Silestone.

  24. @Steve Kline - Same here. We installed it in a kitchen years ago. Upfront I'll say this was part of a remodel in preparation for selling the house but we didn't want to stick the buyer with crap and we did live with it for nearly a year before the place sold.
    To dispel some possible myths: these are 1'x1' squares, peel and stick. Applied to a primed wall they are no different in need for care or permanence than tile. Actually if you felt they weren't for you (for example you didn't grow up in an old farmhouse as I did!) they could be peeled off with minimal damage, the wallboard skimcoated, and something else applied, or painted on. They're much easier to install than tile.
    Electrification? Please, it's not like this is the first time metal has been applied to a kitchen wall.
    Not trying to advocate for them, there is a history to the idea some may not take to. But having installed and lived with them I can say they're very trouble free, very comparable to tile.

  25. Tim - not my style. Looks somewhat institutional to me. As you stated, looks difficult to keep clean with all the nooks and crannies in the design.

  26. I'm actually looking for a new backsplash, we just updated our kitchen with new cabinets and I've been considering back splash material. Metal was one I considered but this has caused me to remove from my list. It's a bit much and I have a lot of space to cover so it seems to sort of overwhelm the person in kitchen. I also think it looks difficult to clean and I do not like the glare.

  27. Aside from the grease factor, I wonder if just things like water splashing and such would leave spots that you'd be cleaning endlessly. One of my gripes about a lot of stainless steel appliances--which I why I don't have any. I have enough stuff to clean anyway, without that!

  28. To old fashion,i remember as a kid seeing that stuff not really considered an update. My first thought was it would be a tuff cleaning job even using your bleach product. Also, the seam is an eye sore and probably a danger for getting cuts. For sure it is not my taste.

  29. Looks like something that would be "dated" as soon as it is installed like avocado green colors or shag carpet. They were so trendy at the time but just turns out to be obsolete and difficult to remove/replace or alter in any way to got over it. Cleaning nightmares also come to mind.

  30. Like the concept of the durable metal and easy installation. The finish would have to be a very low gloss or eggshell to prevent glare and allow for cleaning without damaging the finish. Could be a neat option!

  31. Not my style, doesn't look very attractive, I prefer ceramic tile for backslash. Also looks difficult to keep clean.

  32. Would not touch this surface with a barge pole - too difficult to keep clean around a cooktop. Besides the cleaning factor, I don't really like the look of this on a vertical surface. I would go for tile with a high-quality glaze that is easy to clean.

  33. Like you, Tim, I question whether it's wise to install a backsplash that's difficult to clean. But I do wonder if it's really made of metal and not thermoplastic PVC, similar to this Lowes product. https://www.lowes.ca/backsplashes-wall-tile/fasade-cross-hatch-silver-kitchen-backsplash_g1199710.html
    Of course, stick-on plastic tiles would be even less sustainable than metal, IMHO. It's also questionable from an aesthetic point of view. Why would anyone want to take a reproduction of a 19th century product intended for ceilings and put it on a wall? It's what happens when people apply a five-minute attention span to home decorating without thinking about the consequences.

  34. While the "old timey" look appeals to many, this color feels a bit dark for my taste. (There are probably different colors.) That said, properly installed, the material looks smooth enough to clean easily, so I could see maybe just the area behind a range covered with it. But I'd probably stick it to a piece of luaun plywood with trimmed edges so it could be removed and replaced as tastes change. Glad to see you mention self-adhesive backing. The video used a LOT of construction adhesive making it really hard to remove without wall damage.

  35. We have used this product in our RV and also have it in our laundry room. We have never had a problem. i can't believe so many negative comments against it. I say try it before you judge a product. I think the look is beautiful and unique.

  36. I’m in the process of planning to update my kitchen so I have seen these backsplashes at Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. I am not a fan. I don’t like the way they look. I will not be going this route.

  37. Maybe it's a rust free material, you didn't say, but that's what I would worry about. As you said in the downsides cleaning could be a problem. I'm also a tile guy so it's hard for me to change.

  38. Not a fan of the look, regardless of color. Feel this may well be a short fad like exotic colored bath fixtures of bygone era. Would be easier and cheaper though to change than weirdbath fixture colors

  39. Not really my taste, but it seems I would have difficulty cleaning it with grease in all the nooks & crannies.

  40. I think it is ugly and doesn't seem practical. As an inspector, I see many, many kitchens and I have not come across any metal backsplash in new or older existing kitchens. This product reminds me of the metal ceiling panels found in old historic type buildings like an old courthouse or bank.

  41. I do not like the look. It screams commercial kitchen. I can only begin to imagine what the back splash behind the stove would look like after frying bacon or some other fat containing food.

    All the patterns in the metal will provide an additional challenge for cleaning. And, if coated to protect the finish on the metal, a scratch through the protective finish would be an try point for tarnish to spread.

    The metal tile may be the thing for high end kitchens for folks who have enough $'s to hire servants to clean on a daily basis. For us working class folks this material seems to represent potential increase in cleaning and maintenance of the surface.

    When we built we used a glass tile that that had a metallic wavy pattern encapsulated in the glass. The surface of the tile is smooth and easy to wipe clean of grease or batter that may fly from beaters of a mixer. It gives a similar look to the one you have without the downsides of cleaning and potential damage from denting.

  42. I installed a ceiling of white plastic tiles and they look fantastic--especially when the overlap seam is away from the viewers' position (very important!) which one would have to do here as well, but I'd say too many negatives and very few positives.

  43. I like it. I used a plastic product that looks close to the same in my old kitchen.
    The advantage of the plastic was ease of cutting and it attached with construction adhesive. Finished it looked good. But the metal would have a huge advantage in durability. As for cleaning it wasn’t tough at all. Just a quick wipe and done.

  44. I have this on my office ceiling. The supplier has a wide variety of options as far as color and finishes and all were clear coated so I wouldn't think scratches would be a problem. The material is easy to clean and I would definitely consider it for a back splash assuming it would fit the look I was going for. I don't think difficulty of removal is an issue - it's harder to remove a tile back slash for example.

  45. I would like the look better if it was painted a lighter color. The seams popping up would drive me bat you know what crazy. I do have comments about the video. I was surprised he drilled the hole while holding the sheet in the air. Then gnawing out the whole with tin snips. Finally, he cut the trim board on the customer's counter without even some padding, much less a miter box to hold it.

  46. My first thought is that they are, or are going to be, dirty and difficult to clean. I do not like the appearance and would not choose to use them.

  47. It appears that the majority of the responses are negative. I have to agree with them: concerns about cleaning, possible dents and going out of style are too much to consider installing this as a backsplace.

  48. I think the look is beautiful with those specific cabinets. The tiles have a Victorian look and wouldn't look good in all kitchens. I think I would prefer its' use on the ceiling.

  49. When we installed a new gas range (with electric oven) the appliance seller offered to put a metal back splash at no extra cost. We decided that it did not look good and bought Onyx tiles for the back splash.
    It looks great and very easy to clean.
    The metal back splash may be good for a commercial kitchen - but not or a home

  50. I'd be worried about how the overlapped seems looked and how it felt/sounded when touched. My guess is it would give off a flimsy/tinny sound which would sound and feel cheap in my opinion. If done well it probably looks great from across the room, but looses its luster when viewed from up close or touched.

  51. I don't like it. Not only hard to clean but it looks like an old fashioned grandmother style.
    Any flat and uncluttered surface is much better.
    Corian is as easy to install and easy to clean, even glass as long as its not clear will do better.
    When you want ro make it easy you use Alucobond or similar, you can even cut it with a cutter but be aware of scratches.

  52. I do not like metal backsplashes, or ceilings, for that matter. But if I did, I would not apply one because of a perceived negative impact on resale. I think it is trendy and not well liked generally. Also, metal dents and metal and electricity don't mix.

  53. Not my taste, but if I could consider it if:
    (1) The kitchen cabinetry was black; and
    (2) It was on a single wall (it is too busy & bright to be surrounded by it on three sides!).

    Thanks for sharing this!

  54. I don't much care for the look. I am saving to do a kitchen redo and I already have blue and white ceramic tiled backsplash. Don't much care for that, either (colors more than anything else). What others have commented on ... dents ... electric conduit ... etc., I agree with those comments.

  55. I don't care for the look or the shinny-ness either. I chose something that you do not have on your list. I love my solid white FORMICA back splash. it doesn't draw attention to itself but instead allows the other things like my beautiful oil rubbed bronze faucet stand out.

    • I will say that there is a con that I can think of for any back splash EXCEPT PAINTED DRYWALL; that is: a person would make permanent, and hard to hide, holes if you try to hang anything like a magnetic knife rack etc. on the back splash; and you certainly would not want to make a mistake and put holes where you don't want them. And you would have to leave the thing you mounted there when you sold the house or you would have to replace the section that had holes in it.

  56. Sorry not a big fan of that style back splash. Lots of cleaning, water + metal = rust, also I don't like the idea of metal + electric = possible zap, just my opinion.

  57. I kind of like, but I could see getting tired of the look very quickly. Plus I see a future cleaning nightmare, so no. Would be my last choice for a back splash.

  58. Not a fan of that style , but have seen a plate glass mirror back splash in a small kitchen that looked awesome . Still like our painted drywall in our kitchen .

  59. I live in a 1912 house. I also like to believe it's 1915 when I'm working in the kitchen (yep, I'm looking for a good wood-burning cook stove -- my insurance agent might not like me). This stuff would fit right in although I'd probably want some old salvaged material from some old general store so it would look like it had been there for the past century or so.

    But I'm a lazy bugger too. My idea of a proper kitchen includes being able to move everything out of the way, having a large floor drain in the middle of the room and using a pressure washer for clean-up. Tape over the outlets, move everything to one side of the room and pressure wash half. Move everything to the other side, repeat. Pretty much how we hosed down the milk house on the dairy farm when I was a kid.

    Bathrooms, same arrangement. LOL

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