Backsplash - ss or solid surface?

boone_2009August 14, 2013

In one of my previous threads, I asked for suggestions for an easy-to-clean backsplash and got many very helpful responses.

I've researched all the suggestions with their respective pros and cons and have reluctantly narrowed my choices for the cooktop area to two materials - stainless steel or Corian ( solid surface). Only thing is I worry about the look :-(

In an ideal world - make that fantasy world - I'd wave a wand and all the tile would be cleaned, just like that. But since I live in the real world ( at least for now - no telling what will happen as the reno drags on), I've let go my creative tile ideas for the cooktop alcove. I'll still have subway tile ( white with light grey grout) on the rest of the backsplash areas ( there are 3 small ones, separate and independent of the cooking area) but I know that I cannot, must not, succumb when it comes to the cooktop alcove :-).
My tile installer, on the other hand, thinks I should go with the subways here as well and he also mentioned a central focal point using tile ( which I wonder might be a bit outdated?). The idea of cleaning grout again gives me the heebie-jeebies ( we had tile there before).

But ( and you all knew that was coming) - I also know that this area can become Boring Central with either of my current choices ..or Garish Central, for that matter.


Should I go with ...

1) ss sheets ( all matte or alternating matte/glossy patterns) all over - back, sides, ceiling ( I worry about the glossy ss)

2) ss tiles/sheet in a broad band about a foot in height, across the bottom of the cooktop backsplash, with same white subway tile above ( I thought of extending the band to the wall on either side, as well) and ss sheet/tile for ceiling. This way, the look will be more uniform throughout the kitchen, yet I'll still have ss in the major 'splash' areas and not so much of the white subways to clean.

3) Corian all over - back, sides, ceiling ( don't like this much, I confess, as I can't find a suitable color)

4) Corian ( white) on ceiling only with ss on back and side walls ( tile? sheet?), DH wants Corian or ss sheet or something similar on ceiling as he is the one who cleans it for me ( sweet guy) and understandably does not want tons of grout there.

5) Finally, the only alternative to ss or Corian that appealed to me was to use big porcelain tiles, say 9 by 12 or larger, for back and side walls with ss /Corian above on ceiling OR big tile all over ( grout will be much less on ceiling, too, for DH) - only thing is I don't know what color to pick.
I found a pretty one that looked like marble, at Lowes - it has white and grey in it and this would tie in with the white subways and the grey in the brick and grout lines as well as the grey-white Silestone lagoon countertop.

I know that ss tiles will have grout lines but am thinking that if I go with a dark gray ( ?epoxy) grout, I could wipe them clean easier than ceramic tile.

I know nothing about photoshopping , forgive me, or I would do those clever things the rest of you do with schematic representations :-).
I have a pic of the tile I saw at Lowes, somewhere in my files - will attach it in next post as soon as I find it.

I'm posting a pic of my newly-cabineted :-) cooktop alcove - countertops and cooktop are not yet in, as you can see.
All other cabs in rest of kitchen are white.
Floor is porcelain tile.
Appliances are ss.

Thank you and sorry for such a long post.

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Oh, so sorry - my pic has somehow turned on its side :-(

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:56PM
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this is the link to the tile I saw at Lowes. It's American Olean Glazed Porcelain Mirasol Series.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 6:58PM
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I hope the link above works.. it's 10 by 14 wall tile. Will it look all right with the white subways in the rest of the kitchen, if I were to use it for the cooktop alcove?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:00PM
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I don't think I would do White Corian.

I would look at some of the lighter grays or not quite whites that are in the antique brick, or a lighter tint of the mortar.

If you did a piece of stainless perhaps it could be behind the cooktop only and shaped on the top like the cambered arch of the brick and at a height that left a similar amount of space on top as there was on each side.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Look at Chemetal, maybe something that is a little warmer than stainless would work in the alcove

Here is a link that might be useful: Chemetal

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:13PM
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palimpsest: thank you so very much.

Chemetal is new to me and I was fascinated by their website. I wonder if it's more expensive than ss? I'll contact them. The stainless they have *is* more muted. I know that ss generally is more expensive than ceramic or other tile.

I did think of doing the stainless piece behind the cooktop only... and I *really, really*, like your idea of replicating the arch on top and leaving equal space all around. Any suggestions for filling in that space? Same subways as rest of kitchen? And what would you do then for the ceiling area? I'm desperate for ideas!

Yes, White Corian was throwing me off, too; I only put it in for DH who thinks anything "plain" is good :-).

What do you think of the Olean wall tile?

Thanks, again! :-)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:37PM
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I might be tempted to line the whole thing in something like Chemetal Moonscape.

Its a metal high pressure laminate not a solid metal, some of the offerings come in an all metal option. Alu Light, a softer medium gray than stainless, comes in a full metal format.

This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 22:55

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:54PM
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I'm not sure what the issue is with grout cleaning for a backsplash. If you seal the grout well enough, it should not be a big deal. Our family would often make spaghetti (family tradition) and there would be sauce splashed all over the tile backsplash. Clean up wasn't hard and there was no staining.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:22AM
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Chemetal has some very cool looking products. My MIL loves her Corian BS for ease of cleaning, but she has an island cooktop. I would be nervous using Corian in a high heat area.

You mentioned large format tile, so I am going to throw out another idea -- really large format tile. I don't want to clean grout in the shower, so we are using large sheets of Kerlite Plus on the 2 side walls. Each of the walls will be done in a single piece of material, so no grout lines!

Kerlite is a porcelain stoneware tile that is 3mm thick (3.5 mm for the plus version which has a fiberglass backing and is recommended if you need to do cutouts, like for faucets). We paid $200 per 100x300 cm (39-3/8"x118-7/64") slab (about $6.15 sq ft) for the Kerlite Plus in Via Tornabuoni from the Elegance series (one of the more expensive color series they offer). It is a really pretty medium gray that looks like limestone. They have several different different series that have patterns that look like different types of natural stone, wood, concrete or solids. Our color was a special order from Italy that took several weeks, but the local distributor also had some colors in stock.

The Buxy and Colors lines have some lovely cream, tan and gray shades that would probably look good in your kitchen, depending on the countertops, and my local distributor had several colors from those lines in stock and they were less expensive than the Elegance line. You could probably do the back of your enclosure with a single seam, and the sides and top with no seams. Kerlite can also be used for countertops with a mitered edge over a plywood base. It is heat resistant.

Kerlite comes in the following sizes:

• whole slab, 100x300 cm (approx. 39-3/8"x118-7/64");
• slab, 40x100 cm (15-3/4"x39-3/8");
• slab, 100x100 cm (39-3/8"x39-3/8");
• slab, 50x50 cm (19-11/6"x19-11/16");
• border tile, 4.9x100 cm (1-59/64"x39-3/8").

Our shower should be tiled in about 2 weeks, and I am really excited to see how it turns out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kerlite colors

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:50PM
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palimpsest: I had my eye on the Alu Lite, too! I'll have to go back and look at Moonscape.

gpraceman: it's not just the grout but the tile as well. After years of dealing with white tile, I just want to be able to swipe once and be done, hehe. DH also cooks but he will leave the tile uncleaned after splashing stuff all over - he gets away with it because he makes a mean "anything"! Guess who has to confront dried stains next morning?

kaysd: First time I've heard of Kerlite - I'm learning so much on this thread/forum! Thanks for the link. I'm off to pore through their site now. :-)

Yeah, I've nixed Corian now. Looks like nobody thinks much of my ss tile border idea!?!

Thanks, all!!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:28PM
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