Backsplash Heights

Samantha111August 5, 2011

Does it ever end? So I thought I was going to be stuck with 17" above the counter which the KD said would not be noticed. I'm used to 24 inches so going to 18 was a stretch as it was. Now it is looking more like 16+". Looking at showrooms, 17" is common and I was becoming comfortable that it would feel alright working at the counter and not too hemmed in with insufficient head space to work.

The cabinets are full overlay into a soffit. He said there would only be 1/4" of cabinet facing above the upper doors which might bump into an unsquare soffit and to drop them down a bit and add 3/4" molding.

Now I'm reading about counter appliances using the full 17-18 inches. While I, myself, don't leave them out except maybe the blender, not being able to move them back and out of the way when working sounds like it would be a problem.

Doing a 27" cabinet would loose alot of storage and people don't seem to like reaching that high. I'd hate to give up storage for crown molding.

Is 16" that bad? It might be 16-1/2. Would you do a full overlay to the soffit without a 3/4" drop if the soffit were level? That would make it 17" but would it look odd? Any suggestions?

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Are the soffits as deep as your cabinets? If so, could you get deeper cabinets (13" to 15")? Not only would you get more storage, but you could then push your cabinets all the way to the soffit and then put the crown molding on top of the cabinets but in front of the might even make your soffit look shorter and your cabinets taller.

Just some quick thinking!

In answer to your question about whether it would bother me...yes, it would. But I'm tall (5'10") and I wouldn't want the backsplash so short that I had to duck to see what I was doing. Also, I, like you, move things around on the counter when I'm working and I wouldn't want to worry about slamming them into my cabinets and light rail!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 5:13PM
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buehl, I would love to do that. It would be really pretty and add a lot. But the soffits extend 8 inches.

The soffit is not level along its length by almost 1/2" so I would expect it's off otherwise affecting door openings as he mentioned. Currently there's a good drop.

Maybe this is splitting hairs. It comes to 16-3/4" instead of 17" like I was seeing in showrooms (one was actually less than 17" in a high-end showroom). As for tall small appliances, I don't even have an electric mixer! I will someday. That would have to be used on the opposite d/w counter with low 8" shelves above. Not roomy but maybe not so bad. I'd never be leaving something like that out anyway for my lifestyle. Some of those coffee makers would be a problem but I don't think anyone would want to store it on the main counter (I don't use one myself).

Other than a mixer, what appliances might be used that are taller than 16" when in use (lids open etc)? My blender, cuisinart, ice shaver, ice cream maker, all are comfortably under 16 inches.

The big box KDs really don't get into these things. It seems they're just setting up some cabinets to fill the space to sell any old kitchen without going over many options or details. They usually say things don't matter.

27 inches provides a 19-1/2" backsplash. This looses 3" off both the sink and main cabinet.

Still the 27" uppers but keeping the 21" cabinet over the sink with the arch running about even with the others.

30 inches provides a 16-3/4" backsplash if I'm arriving at all this correctly. Hopefully it would not work out to less than this at install issues.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 9:17PM
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Do you think the 16-3/4 backsplash would be ok? I hate to loose the storage on 3 cabinets and seeing the contents more directly would also seem to be a plus. I'm not finding the small appliances to be that tall.

The 27" makes basically level cabinet line bottoms across the counter. Do you think the unevenness of the 30" looks alright or bad? How about the wide height of the backsplash on the 27?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 11:44AM
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There was a recent thread on this within the past month or so that was very lively. Aha! I found it. This should help you.

Here is a link that might be useful: HELP! How much space is between your upper cabinets and counter?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Thanks Steph, I did read that last night. It's very interesting that some people love 13" and even an 11". I'm just wondering what people think with my particular configuration. I'm not sure how critical it is. There always seems to be something you don't think of at the time you think you've got it covered. I'm exhausted at this point and go back and forth. If I were an avid cooker it probably wouldn't be so hard to predict. I'm also under the gun to get these things ordered. It's hard to tell from pictures whether they're 18" or a bit taller or lower. The lower 18" seems new to me. I wonder what the standard was a couple of decades ago.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:08PM
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I also do like quirky things that are relaxed and unfitted so having everything even at the bottom of the cabs might not be so important. Unless it will look bad and disorganized in my own kitchen!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:13PM
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I know, the whole thing becomes information/decision overload. Right now, in my old kitchen, I have about 22" - but that's only because we pushed them up to the ceiling when we moved in because I couldn't stand that little ledge up there. For the remodel, I actually BRIEFLY considered going with smaller uppers even though I am 5'2" but that's just not practical for me to be able to use and the storage is important. I currently have the smaller 24" uppers on the sink wall, though, and will be doing something like that with the new sink. Not sure exactly what that will look like, but I'd like to have a little more head room at the sink - and also something a bit interesting.

Are you planning on leaving appliances out day to day on the counter? I'm not and figure when I am using the blender or whatever, I can either move it to the peninsula/island or I can use it on the counter in front of the uppers. I'm really not a big gadget girl...

I personally prefer for the area by the stove and sink to be higher than the rest of the cabinets - and I think you'll find as you look at pics that most seem to do it that way. If I were you, I'd go for the 30" and consider bumping up/opening up over the stove and sink.

In the meantime, we can both stare at pics and compare notes! lol

I started a thread on kitchen sinks with uppers and people gave me some great input. Let me see if I can find THAT thread....

Here is a link that might be useful: 24'' cabinets versus 30' as uppers/window backsplash

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:36PM
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>>Are you planning on leaving appliances out day to day on the counter?>>

I don't usually leave appliances out. Occasionally the blender if I'm on a roll with smoothies. With so little counter, I think canisters, a few daily spices and a utensil crock will take up enough real estate. The only other one I used frequently was the food processor. That's easy to pull out when needed.

>>I personally prefer for the area by the stove and sink to be higher than the rest of the cabinets>>

I think that might be why I seem to prefer the middle cabinet at 30". It offsets the sink and range. More headroom is good tho the amount of offset in my layout is just visual, insignificant when standing really. I kind of like the way those two are uneven because it breaks things up from being a long run along that wall. The extra storage is also a plus if it doesn't feel too much in my face. It seems to work ok in the showrooms. I really do need every inch. Maybe I could bump the sink up a bit. Currently it's at 24 inches which has never bothered me. The range was placed with a 12" cabinet (minimum available) which will be a good eye level for the microwave. Currently it's too low and I hate it hanging down over the range.

The KD said microwaves are 15" tall but I'm finding that's not the case, being as high as 18". So it seems I'm losing some room there. He recommends 22" above the range but his plan came in at 20" allowing for a 15" microwave. That'll be more at the backsplash height level. I'll have to look into what's going on there. Hopefully that cabinet can stay!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:38AM
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The installation guides for electric and gas ranges note 18" clearance for the cabinets to the side of the range. Light bars often bring them down to 17 inches.

Does anyone know if being off 1" to 1-1/2" is critical? I had actually called the building inspector's office the other day on backsplash heights because someone had mentioned it was code in their township. He laughed and said no they wouldn't require the cabinets to be ripped out! He had never heard of it. Maybe this is the purpose of the 18" requirement. I was hoping to switch to gas so was looking it up but see that it's not related to that. Electric requires the same clearances to the side cabinets as gas.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:04AM
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Samantha, there are also clearances for a hood as well. Since you want to switch to gas, you might want to post over on the appliances page about height requirements for a gas stove and explain your dilemma.

By the way, did you consider custom cabinets? Then you could get the height you want. They are not always more expensive if you find a smaller cabinet maker.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:26AM
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Thanks colorfast. I'm meeting with a local shop and will ask about their custom line also.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:55PM
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