Calling all messy, greasy cooks.: what's your backsplash?

neeter3148March 20, 2008

Do you have tiles for your backsplash? Is there such a thing as easy to clean grout/tiles (sealer?).

I cook alot of greasy and splattery food... and we cook at home almost every meal. The kitchen we are putting in is high on function because we are "power users" of our kitchen. Now that part of the design is down, we want to make sure that it looks good too.

At first, I wanted Stainless Steel backsplash since that is easiest to clean and there are no grouts to deal with. I am putting in green glass mosaic tiles in the backsplash (about 6 inches) along the countertop. My GC suggested that I carry it up the backsplash behind the cooktop also. I kind of like that idea because I am afraid my all white cabinets and all white appliances will be too "bland". I am putting in Stainless Steel countertop along the wall. The cooktop will be in the middle with a SS chimney hood. The cooktop is flanked by two 62" windows. And no upper cabinets. Is that too much stainless steel if I use it for backsplash too?

My GC said that they have a sealer for the grout now that makes it easier to clean. I'm not sure he is familiar with my kind of cooking... my MIL didn't think people needed a vented hood and grout was fine with her until she met me (;-)...she told me this herself... "you are a REAL cook... you can't have grouts". I was convinced that tiles are not in my future... but if there is a product out there that will work to keep out the grease...I would love it.

What is your solution? BTW, I hate granite... no offense to everyone who loves granite... It just my personal taste.

Thanks for any advice.

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Of course *I*'m not messy and greasy :), but my DH is, so we got stainless steel. I'm SO thankful for it. I wouldn't get anything with a grout right there, and I've got 1/2" glass tile everywhere else as backsplash. But where we cook, there's stainless.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 1:25AM
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My DW causes a fair amount of messy splatter too. But our problem isn't the backsplash, I've got that covered with a tall piece of soapstone. Next time we shop for a range or cooktop I want to look for some kind of stainless side shields, preferably retractable, to catch the splatter going that way.

- D

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 1:35PM
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We are functional cooks too . We have a Miele built in deep fat fryer and the Caldera 36" gas cooktop with a 1400 cfm hood over all this . We stirfry regularly and deep fat fry. I have no tile in my kitchen. All backsplash areas are painted with the matte BM just like the walls. A dark green called Thyme. I love it. I can scrub the paint after we cook every meal using grease cutter and the paint looks just as good now as it did a 1 1/2 yrs ago. You can see pics on the FKB. Why not go with paint ?? It works. Caroline

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 1:41PM
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I seem to be a messy cook as well. A home that we lived in previously had tile behind the cooktop and I could never get the tile or the grout clean. It wasn't always noticable head on, but if you looked at it from an angle you could always see shiny grease streaks. I think I am definately doing stainless this time. I see all of these beautiful tile BS behind ranges and cooktops and wonder how do people keep them clean?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 1:56PM
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I will have a tile backsplash. I'm investing in a splatter guard, it's not pretty but won't live on the counter anyway. I'll prop it up behind my cooktop. My cooktop is on the back side of my bar so I have very little backsplash there anyway, I want to protect the wood bar top.

I've been told that glass is the most impervious backsplash and cleans easily. Stainless will scratch (boo).

Here is a link that might be useful: Splatter Guard

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 3:33PM
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I have a 60" commercial range/double oven with its own stainless steel high back and shelf. Behind it is tumbled marble and ceramic tile, but the stainless steel and commercial hood prevent grease, etc., from getting to the tile. I also have a small 30" four-burner cooktop. It has tumbled marble and raised, high-relief ceramic tile behind it. Even though I only use it to simmer, the tile and marble are more difficult to clean than the stainless. I think stainless is the best choice for practical reasons, especially if you tend to fry, wok, and so forth. And I say that as someone who adores ceramics.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 4:28PM
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Trailrunner: I'm glad you piped in... I've seen your kitchen and showed my husband a while back and he was soooooo jealous of the built in deep fryer! I can't believe that BM paint can take that much cleaning. Hmmm I'll have to seriously consider that. Was the BM paint a certain line or have a special additive to make it withstand scrubbing? Not to go off topic but do you find that it is hard to clean? What do you do with the oil? How often do you have to change the oil?

Jenellecal, I like the splatter guard. I've seen my cousins use something like this.

Don_: Actually, your post reminds me that another cousin rigged up something like a pull-down blind that they would pull down when they stir-fry. I think it was attached to the hood. This was about 10 years ago when I visited them so I don't know how it held up... since it was a rigged shade, I bet it wasn't too costly to replace if it got grimey or worn out.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 4:40PM
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Solid colored glass backsplash, in one piece.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 4:44PM
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Neighbour used marine-grade steel/gray boat paint! It works like a charm, but reeks to high heaven when painting it on. The colour is amazingly like brushed stainless to match his appliances, and has enough shine to it that it's not flat/matte. He takes SOS (soapy steel wool) to it to get the "gottafryeverything" marks right off.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Neeter, It is the Benjamin Moore Matte paint which has ceramic in it. It is a scrubbable paint. You can easily care for it with grease cutter ot dish soap. I use a rough wash cloth but you can also use a scrub brush. It doesnot burnish the paint .

The fryer is perfect. It is exactly like what my son has in his restaurant only a 1 gallon size vessel. it is VERY easy to clean and only needs it once in a "blue moon". Believe it or not since it has a tight fitting top and we don't usually do fish in it it lasts months. You drain the oil out , and that takes a couple seconds. Then you wipe out with paper towel and then refill. that is it. It heats quickly and maintains heat perfectly when food is added. I will be glad to answer any other questions. Caroline...thanks for the compliments.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 5:16PM
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Cooking is a hobby for my family and we ended up with a cream colored tumbled marble (Crema Marfil)backsplash . . . plus the cast iron fireback! We had it sealed and now just have a generic spray bottle we keep filled with a mixture of vinegar & water to clean it with. Works fine so far.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 6:22PM
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I paid a little more for epoxy grout, which has worked fine with my tile.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 6:56PM
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A piece of the same soapstone that the counters and island are

it provides heat protection
is easy to clean
and likes the oil and grease it gets spattered with on occassion

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 7:26PM
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Caroline: Thanks for the info on the deep fryer and the paint.

Mls99: the solid colored glass is intriguing... do you have a picture of it? who would install that? A glass company?

CountryCottage: Wow, the marine grade paint sounds good. But if I wonder how hard it is to change the color or remove.

Lynn: is the sealer the same as the epoxy grout?

Thanks to all who responded... it is nice to be amongst fellow cooks and TKO citizens (of TKO nation ;-).


    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 9:29PM
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Re solid colored glass. I have been considering Glasskote at least behind the range. I have had tile in my last two homes and trying to keep it and the grout clean drove me nuts. Does anyone have experience with Glasskote?

Here is a link that might be useful: GlassKote website

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:50PM
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Also interested in Glasskote behind the range. Anybody have experience / info on pricing of this product? We just demo'ed our 1940's kitchen that had Vitrolite as the backsplash. This glass product was wonderful. We would re-use if the color was different.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 6:50AM
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I really wanted copper countertops, but my sister talked me out of them. So, I have decided I want a copper backsplash instead. It will be smooth copper, no stamped design. How do you think this will hold up to messy cooking?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 9:28AM
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we have white subway with white grout and cook each and every night (frying, grilling, sauce making, etc.) and tiles are no problem. just make sure you clean the tiles each and every night, I actually think cleaning SS is more difficuly (that is, you need to be careful to go with the grain and if you don't clean it just right you get smudges and streakes).

my two cents...

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 10:33AM
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A couple of people asked about my solid glass: it's not in yet (we're at the mid-remodel stage) but I loved the Glasskote, thought it was too expensive, so we're going with a local glass company who is distributor? franchisee? of US Color Glass. Look them up online at I'll come back later today with prices, as we got a rough quote and are waiting for the final quote. They'll do any Benjamin Moore paint as back-coating for the glass.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:41PM
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I thought glasskote looked quite intriguing as well, but was unable to even locate any dealers (maybe it's me but the website was not cooperating). I am very interested to hear what you learned today, and will definitely be checking out that site. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 8:02PM
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I wonder if just putting a sheet of stainless or even a large commercial cookie sheet behind your fry pan when you do fry would be a simple low tech option to protect your backsplash. You could just store it with your other fry pans and wash it after you are done.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 8:56PM
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The quote turned out at $45 per square foot. I'm doing 2 pieces, one 40'x24', the other 30'x25' (sink and cooktop respectively). It would be about $150 less if I used US Color Glass standard colors. And if I want iron-free glass (for a truer color) it would be $150 more. The glass will be 1/4' thick. MUCH cheaper than GlassKote.

I found US Color Glass and then clicked on the local contacts, and found the place nearest to me. I'm near Boston MA in case geography plays a part in prices.

Here is a link that might be useful: US Color Glass

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 9:01PM
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Like trailrunner, I used paint. It was an interim solution because my intent was to have tile, until I found out my walls were so uneven I wouldn't be able to have the tiles neatly match up with the 4" backsplash on my Swanstone countertop.

It's a BM semi-gloss and to my surprise has been easy to keep clean. A spritz of Windex is all it takes, and the paint is still perfect after five years of LOTS of cleaning.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2008 at 11:47AM
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