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Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Posted by SK97232 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 15, 12 at 13:48

I'm very curious about why so many people install positively beautiful backsplashes and then cut ugly holes into them to install plastic outlet covers?

When we remodeled our kitchen we asked our electrician to install outlets on the underside of our upper cabinets. It seemed such an easy solution, so I'm confused why so few people do it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I usually don't care about the outlets. It's like wondering why there is a toilet in a bathroom... you can disguise it, but bottom line, bathrooms and kitchens need functionality, and sometimes it's more expensive to put them somewhere other than the logical place. Especially in remodeling... moving electric is usually more than just reusing the existing locations. So $$$.

Also, when the outlets are high, appliances that stay plugged in on the counter may have cords going up a wall that would normally be hidden by the appliance itself. I don't like the look of cords more than I don't like the look of outlet covers.

Just one perspective, I guess.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I usually don't care about the outlets. It's like wondering why there is a toilet in a bathroom... you can disguise it, but bottom line, bathrooms and kitchens need functionality, and sometimes it's more expensive to put them somewhere other than the logical place. Especially in remodeling... moving electric is usually more than just reusing the existing locations. So $$$.

Also, when the outlets are high, appliances that stay plugged in on the counter may have cords going up a wall that would normally be hidden by the appliance itself. I don't like the look of cords more than I don't like the look of outlet covers.

Just one perspective, I guess.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Sorry, don't know why that posted twice. But I did forget to add... BEAUTIFUL backsplash. See, in your BS, I wouldn't even notice outlets, esp if they were horizontal. But even vertical white ones would not be focused on immediately. I notice outlets more if the BS is dark or busy stone and there is a white outlet in the way, OR is there is a pattern that is messed up by an outlet location. But in your case? I think it's great and even if you hadn't moved them, it would still be great.

Now I hope this posts once.... :)


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Ditto annettacm

Outlets don't bother me either. I think they should be easy to access. Some appear so hidden you would have to search for them. I would not want to have to bend down to see under the cabinet.

Its a personal decision. There is no right or wrong.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I totally agree with annettacm. I personally do not like the look of hanging cords. For appliances that get plugged in, most of the time the appliance can mostly or completely hide the cord anyway so having the outlet in the backsplash means that you don't see either the outlet or the cord.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

It's just a question of what you prefer:

1. visible outlet in backsplash

2. cords hanging down like snakes for the countertop appliances

Me, while I thought something like plugmold was a really nifty idea, in real life the cord snakes would bug me much more than visible outlets. It's a totally personal decision.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

We had the builder change the location of the outlets, so they are closer to the counters, and they are horizontal instead.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

drewem, I like that idea a lot. Makes more sense, and as long as it's within code, I think lower and horizontal lends itself to working with more tile sizes/backsplash patterns and is good for functionality.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I did both. A few low outlets so that the always utilized appliances would not have a dangling cord disappearing up under the cabinets, and a set of high. hidden ones for occasional use. The low ones are behind the appliance in question, so not visible.

With proper planning, their overall visual impact can be minimized.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I'm a cord leaver-in-er. ;) Didn't want tails...


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

A toilet in a bathroom?!!! Way to muck up the spa effect. Totally gross and disgusting. :p

My kitchen is a work area. I have small appliances sitting on the counter that need juice. The outlets are necessary and utilitarian and I find them less unsightly than cords snaking down the backsplash.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Thank you Annettacm! I actually got the idea from this wonderful forum! Builder assured me it would be to code.

Not that I know what the bs will be as of yet...but I don't want to have hideous outlets in the middle of my design.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I think there is much to plan for during a remodel that this can get entirely overlooked. We lucked out on our kitchen BS and messed up in the pantry.

Kitchen - We are planning on swapping out these outlets for brown ones, but I don't mind them white to be honest. Busy tile, so they fade in, covers are decouppaged. Most things stay plugged in and we keep lots on the counters.

This was definitely the wrong way (you were talking about me, weren't you?!)

But this is something I can and will address. Step 1 will be to decouppage, see how they look, then probably on to step 2 - convert to plugmold under upper cabinets and then replace cut tiles. (Nothing stays plugged in, so no dangling cords). OT - we matched the grout color with the caulk but I don't like the caulk this dark (bottom and corner), think a white would be better. (Thoughts?). Oh the joys of DIY and re-doing it yourself and ....


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

My general contractor assured me that our building code does not permit outlets attached to the wood of the cabinets.


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Yep. Something that leaps out of SO many photos.

I agree. And you touched one of the very few sore points in my kitchen reno.

One of my pet peeves. And one of the very few things my great GC screwed up on. I had told him I wanted the one required by local code mounted as low as possible and horizontal. All other outlet requirements were to be met with a strip mounted under the back of the wall cabs. The ONE that ''had'' to be in the backsplash ended half way up the backsplash and mounted vertically squarely in the middle of the longest run of backsplash!! EXACTLY what I DID NOT WANT.
I told my electrician (who said it was impossible to change it because I didn't see it until the cabs were in) thatI would think of him everytime I looked at my backsplash--and NOT in a kind way.
I will either faux paint or decoupage it when I get that far.

Outlets like this catch my eye in photos of beautiful backsplashes. Like the OP, I just don't understand it. Items permanently plugged in can go in outlets mounted at counter level. Other, transitive uses can be met with in the long strips mounted under the cabs.

ARGHHH.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I had my electrician wire for 3 plug molds (actually from task lighting). That was before I received a price for 3 9" outlets (with 2 outlets in each one) - $451. My husband looked at them when they arrived and said they looked like an extension cord. Highway robbery. Since my BS is white/ivory, if I had to do it again, I'd pocket the $500 and go with the regular outlets. Or just put a regular old outlet under the cabinet.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I had my electrician wire for 3 plug molds (actually from task lighting). That was before I received a price for 3 9" outlets (with 2 outlets in each one) - $451. My husband looked at them when they arrived and said they looked like an extension cord. Highway robbery. Since my BS is white/ivory, if I had to do it again, I'd pocket the $500 and go with the regular outlets. Or just put a regular old outlet under the cabinet.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I didn't want to see cords hanging down. That's all. We considered the plug molds but I preferred the regular kind. There are many other things that bother me, but this is not one of them.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I didn't want to see cords hanging down. That's all. We considered the plug molds but I preferred the regular kind. There are many other things that bother me, but this is not one of them.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Another one who doesn't like cord tails.

Outlets on a backsplash disappear for me - since they're so ubiquitous, my brain factors them out and I don't see them. Even OldBat's photo of the white backsplash above.....as pictured, yuck. With any kitchen counter items out - bowl of fruit, toaster, coffee machine - wouldn't even notice 'em.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

The most important thing my kitchen needs to do is function well. I'm not willing to give up function for aesthetics. I want a beautiful space, but not at the cost of it being a pleasure to work in. I considered plug molds until I thought about how crazy it would drive me to have to hunt for the outlet every time I wanted to plug something in. Plus I think the cord tails look much more distracting than an outlet in the BS. I've got lots of outlets in my BS and it doesn't bother me one single bit. To me, my kitchen is a beautiful, functional space that I love.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Why? Because sometime it's dictated by layout. Code required me to have outlets within 24" of the rangetop. I didn't have upper cabs within 24" under which to hide outlets. Mine HAD to be in the drywall, and hence backsplash, area. I suppose I could have found a way to put them in my cabinetry, but that would have taken away storage and chopped up my nice drawer stacks. Not a viable option for me.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I also don't like cords hanging down permanently from upper cab plugmolds either.

Btw, low, horizontal outlets like mine meet code in my municipality.

P.S. I'm starting to be embarrassed that we are now at the one year mark exactly of the day we moved back into the house and my outlets STILL look like this. Please don't snicker at me! The lack of tile still hasn't reached the level of shame for me yet. Yet. Soon, I think.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I'm with annettacm on this. To me, it's a working space first, and I'm a big believer in function. I put outlets in the backsplash because I'd rather be able to plug something in easily and not have to hunt for an outlet under the cabinets. Looking under the cabinets to find one isn't a big deal, but it's an extra step I didn't want to have to repeat all the time. Plus, my backsplash is white, so white outlets don't bother me at all.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

We don't leave small appliances on the counter. At home there are none that get left out or left plugged in. At the beach only the coffee makers are left out, and they are mostly hidden in the spot where they stay. Entire kitchen is Plugmold except the space where the coffee makers sit where we have regular in the wall outlets.

I did not want any outlets in my backsplash. There was no extra charge for the Plugmold to be installed other than the additional cost of the materials. The other advantage of PM is that you always have an outlet exactly where you need it. And the added fun of people seeing it for the first time who have never seen PM before. : )


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

yes, i thought i was being all smart by asking the electrician to install the plug molds under the cabinets. i marveled at my brilliance, until we had to plug the phone in. now i have a positively ugly wire that runs from the phone base all the way up to the underside of the cabinet.

stupid. no one would have noticed the outlets although they will certainly find the telephone wire most unattractive. so yeah, ...no. i don't wonder at all.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Breezy, don't feel bad ... I am at 17 months without my backsplash yet. And we have known what tile we are going to be using for years before we ever even built the house, haha.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I have PM in my entire kitchen except for one obscure spot. The outlet is underneath a potrack which is hidden by pans. I don't have any countertop appliances permanently plugged in but I have that one spot for future if next GF wants coffee maker plugged in there.

No snake wires. Phone landline wire behind wall. I wouldn't have it any other way.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Like others here, I prefer to have outlets where I can see them to plug things in rather than having to peer under the cabinet light molding to find the plug mold outlet. Also, since my stature and arms are short, reaching an outlet on the backsplash is easier then reaching up to the back corner under a cabinet for a plug mold.

We used Lutron matte black outlets and switches and had screwless wallplates made from our quartzite by Columbia Gorge Stoneworks (stonewallplates.com) and we are quite happy with the looks - especially since we have a bank of 6 light switches at one end of our backsplash near a door.

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Some of these options are quite nice. Thanks for the ideas.

I guess I hadn't realized that it's unusual that I don't leave appliances out on my counter. I have an appliance bay to tuck them into so my counters are usually clear and you don't see cords snaking up to the cabinets most of the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laurelhurst Craftsman Kitchen Posts


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

SK97232 and others with PM,

I always wanted to ask but was afraid...wondered how you plug things in. Do you have to bend over and tilt your head?


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Well, our "electrician" is my DH, and our Reno was almost all DIY. By the time we got to the backsplash, he was physically and mentally fried. We decided that the extra wiring, drywall repair, etc required to move 11 outlets was not worth it. Instead he turned them horizontal and tweaked them just a little so they fall within a course of tile. The covers are fairly unobtrusive, and the outlets are easy to reach. We're happy with the result.

Photobucket


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Anna - I love that your outlets fall in line with the tile.

debra - "I always wanted to ask but was afraid...wondered how you plug things in. Do you have to bend over and tilt your head?"

Well, yes. I have angled plug molds where the cabinets meet the backsplash. I have to bend over a bit to make sure I'm finding the outlet. It's not something I ever thought to be annoying, though. Maybe now I will. ;) I can't imagine having outlets on the underside of the cabinetry. That would require a lot more bending!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

To be honest I never thought about it. We were doing a custom build picking every detail from where to put it one the lot, the type of plan and all the little details. After a 1.5years of planning and building you miss some things.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I plan to do a mix. On my 10' sink run, there will be a low horizontal outlet on each side of the sink. One will be hidden by the phone and the other by the Kitchen-Aid mixer. No other appliances will be left out on the counters. I am hoping to have the budget to do a sheet glass BS on the range wall, so I asked for plugmold under the uppers on that wall to avoid expensive and ugly cutouts in the glass.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

AnnaC54, that's a good solution! I love that tile, would you mind sharing what it is? I really like the shade variation.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I have one outlet in a corner where my frequently used appliances are, and te rest is plugmoulds on the back underside of the cabs.

The plugmoulds are a pain. I feel like a contortionist when plugging things in. I don't leave anything plugged in, because I don't want hanging cords.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Just wanted to add that outlets inside cabinets and drawers don't meet code in all places, and have their problems, though it does look nice not to have clutter.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

No right or wrong but appliances don't work differently based on where the outlets they are plugged into are placed nor does outlet placement effect how the food that goes into (or comes out of) the appliances tastes. A kitchen is for cooking so if it doesn't effect how the food tastes or the functionality we try not to worry about it too much. If I want an aesthetic experience I have art - no back splash can compare to a great painting in my book.

Plugmold I get but if your outlets are on the underside of your cabinets where are the boxes? You can't install outlets not boxed in our area. My Mom managed to get an outlet in the cabinet where her phone is but her electrician said it is getting harder to get those passed around here.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I am one who was absolutely fanatical about no visible outlets. We just put boxes under our cabinets because I didn't feel like paying for plugmold and I will never ever have appliances out on my counter (we have an appliance cabinet, they are in there).

Here are our boxes under our cabinets:
beaglesdoitbetter

In areas where there were no upper cabinets, I also hid outlets inside of side panels of adjacent cabinets. The cover is held on w/ a magnet and from a distance, you really cannot see that the outlets are there:
beaglesdoitbetter-1

beaglesdoitbetter-2

photo-5

We did run plugmold strips under our island because people may plug in laptops and stuff when sitting at the island:
photo-2


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Williamsem - The tile is honed crema marfil marble subway. The shade variation is typical of natural stone.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

We have light switches and electric outlets installed smack dab in the middle of our backsplash. I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

Electrical outlets under the cabinets would require stooping and awkwardly looking up to line up the electric plug correctly with the slots in the receptacle. Not a problem if only done once in a while, but an inconvenience if hand mixers, hand blenders, food processors, whatever, are used often. I find bending down to view the bottom of my upper cabinets a pain in the neck when I need to find the individual toggle switches on our uc lights to turn an individual one off or to brighten/dim it. Yes, I could use the exercise of stooping and holding the position while trying to orient the plug correctly but that's not what I'm thinking about when I'm in the middle of getting a meal on the table.

Installing outlets low on a backsplash would be problematic in my kitchen. The outlets look nice and accessible in the pictures with pristine counters. But the times I need my outlets are when the counters are crowded with large mixing bowls and ingredients. I don't want to have to clear a path to the outlets to plug in a hand mixer or hand blender.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I don't like glaring outlets, but what I like even less is a bunch of switches and outlets all over the place.

I had double outlets everywhere I was scheduled to have an outlet. In this day and age, a single outlet is just stupid and electrically inefficient.

What I did INSIST upon, to the point of standing over my electrician's shoulder, (I brushed my teeth and used breath mints) was that 1) they be level, 2) they be equal distances from whatever they were around, and 3) they were all on one switch plate. None of this forty, individual switchplates all over the place.

On the right side of my sink I have 2 outlets and a rocker switch for my someday pendants. On the other side, I have 2 outlets, the GD, and over the sink light. They're all in one switch plate.

The switches by my front door have four. Porch lights, pendant over the door, foyer light and hallway. Not four switch plates, just one. Less messy.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I put in a mix of outlets and plug mold. I ended up with 2 doubles- one switch/one outlet. I have one additional double switch and one single plug in the corner.
I think I could have skipped the one switch/outlet that operates the garbage disposer if I had known about an air switch.
I don't find it hard to use the PM but GFCI is harder to push in than standard outlets.
On the road but will try to post pictures.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I did both, I mostly do not leave appliances out on countertops except for a round toaster and an electric kettle for my tea. I have wall sockets in those two locations and the rest is angled under the upper cabinetry. I also put an angled socket at the end of one drawer and a socket in the recessed shelving nook.
I love your range hood!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Wow, this thread is so timely. Trying to finalize my backsplash and I am loving Cloudswift's approach.

I had my outlets wired at the usual height and they are currently in white. I had thought I'd be doing a light backsplash although right now that's in doubt. (I'll try to post pictures of my new faves on a separate thread in the next few days.)

The idea of hiding my outlets was intriguing, but it also sounded like an extra step while cooking. And to be honest, I have my kids unplug the mixer when they're scraping it down and then re-plug it in to mix some more. Just an extra safety step. I have been kidded about this rule, but we have cooked together since they were quite young and everybody still has ten fingers per person.

Oh, and I love all the kitchen pix....


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

zelmar said it perfectly.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

The magnet covers are brilliant!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

"I guess I hadn't realized that it's unusual that I don't leave appliances out on my counter. "

Seriously? Most of the kitchens you've seen don't have appliances on the counter? I think *that* is unusual. I can't imagine dragging out the coffeemaker and toaster oven or whatever, and putting them away, over and over again every day. What a waste of time.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Cloudswift - elegant solution!

Anna - DH did a great job!

Oldbat - Love the decoupage...did you have wallpaper or something with the pattern on it??

SK - With those gorgeous cabinets, beautiful latches and captivating countertops, I'm not even looking at your backsplash!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

The only appliances i have on the counter are microwave (which stays out) and toaster (which I put away after use, but my sons don't). We don't have a coffee maker or toaster oven.

I have a super susan for my small appliances - it's convenient enough to make it easy to put things away.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I cook a lot so use my appliances all the time. The outlets are hidden by the appliances anyways. I just made sure to buy pretty appliances. ;) My white Nespresso machine, white KitchenAid, white Vitamix and stainless steel toaster look pretty awesome on my counter. Can't imagine putting them away and taking them out every day!! In a working kitchen it's just practical.

What almost killed me was the inspector making us have our island butchered because of 'code'. I have one double plug on each side of my beautiful inset cabinets. :(


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I have several outlets in my backsplash. In a working kitchen, I find the abundance of visible outlets to be welcoming. It feels like the kitchen is saying "Come on in and do whatever you need to do with ease. You can plug in an appliance just about anywhere you want to." My standard of beauty is different for a kitchen than for a less hardworking, less electric-reliant room. I like rooms to be obviously suited to their intended purpose.

If I were forced to guess, I would say that my take is probably colored somewhat by my first home's kitchen. There, I had 1 outlet (other than the ones for the stove/fridge/dishwasher, which were not accessible for daily use.)


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I had only one lonely outlet(quad) for too many years and now have 4 --2plug outlets (positioned low and horizontal--thanks GW) plus 1 box mounted under a cabinet near the sink. (!) I am so happy to see them. I especially like the one under the cabinet as it is the perfect spot to plug in a blender or electric water kettle--for once I thought of something in advance...

Mean goose you said it !
"It feels like the kitchen is saying "Come on in and do whatever you need to do with ease. You can plug in an appliance just about anywhere you want to."


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Oh and I should add the mixer and chrome toaster hide half the outlets. Even if I had the room to put away these items I like to see them on the counter since they are happy(attractive)appliances. The big enamel yellow French pot hides the other one and my grundig radio hides the fourth outlet.
If I were designing a kitchen with a certain type of backsplash(sparkly or marble slab)or for a modern look I would probably mount all outlets under the cabinets.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

AnnaC54, how clever of you and your husband. I love the sideways outlets and how they match up with your backsplash tile! I love this tread and now need to read the posts beyond Annac54! All these clever ideas!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

AnnaC54, how clever of you and your husband. I love the sideways outlets and how they match up with your backsplash tile! I love this tread and now need to read the posts beyond Annac54! All these clever ideas!


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

We are trying to make the same decision. Our electrician wants $200 per plug mold. So $600 for 3 of them. Searched them online and the cost is $36/piece. Seems like a lot of money. Also will have to modify cabinet a bit to make sure PM won't be seen. Planning on full overlay cabinets so cabinet maker says I will have a 3 inch face frame when I open my cabinets. Not sure I want to see that. Did anyone else have to modify their cabinets to ensure PM would not show?


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

shardee8 - we are right in the process of doing our kitchen right now and will be using plugmold. (Should receive the plugmold today as a matter of fact).

Depending on housing code in your area, you may need to have the tamper resistant plugmold installed (which tends to be more expensive). This is the "regular" stuff: http://www.cesco.com/b2c/product/184200 and you need these things to close off the ends: http://www.cesco.com/b2c/product/236543

and this is the tamper resistant:
http://www.cesco.com/b2c/product/527904 - it says that it comes with 2 end fittings.

Also, keep in mind that you probably need to have a GFCI outlet installed somewhere at the start of the run (this can be concealed somewhere). This can start your run and then can have (I think) up to 4 additional coming off of that...check with your Sparky though since I'm not an electrician!

Tamper resistant is a little more expensive, but not alot more, but check what you need as it may be necessary for code if you need to get an inspector in. Also, if you get the Task Lighting angled plugmold, it's significantly more expensive (about 4 times the price)...which is why we are having a piece of wood ripped to mount regular plugmold...significantly less expense.

I'm assuming that the $200 per plug mold is for the plugmold itself, wiring, and installing it. If so, that actually sounds like it's probably fairly reasonable - wire cost is typically approximately $1 per foot and then the labor needed. How much is Sparky charging for a standard outlet?

We are doing frameless, full overlay, slab cabinets. We have a 1 1/2 in "lip" underneath. The lip is concealed by the door. When you open the door, you see approximately a 2 1/8" "frame" at the bottom which is the area that covers over the shelf and the lip area. If you have framed cabinets, this might more along the lines of what your cabinet maker is talking about with the 3", but I'm not certain since we are doing frameless.

Here's some quick pictures of our cabinets to help you visualize. This one shows the "lip" depth.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

And this gives a bit of an idea of what I was talking about for where the angled wood will be placed:


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I am glad that I like way outlets look in the backsplash because around here outlet location is governed by code. Outlest have to be located at certain intervals and at a certain height. The peninsula outlet has to also be in a visible place. That being said I don't have a problem with outlets in the backsplash - For me a kitchen above all other things has to be functional. They can also provide aesthetic function breaking up a great expanse of space - especially when you are using subway tile which is usually installed horizontally - so that the eye is not overwhelmed.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Almost every location is governed by a housing code...the difference is in how "updated" each locality decides to be, and they are able to add in additional code requirements (most places follow various national housing/electric codes, although CA has additional and much more stringent codes for electric than any other US location that I'm aware of). I'm not a codes inspector, but from what I've been told, plugmold isn't an issue with NEC regulations. But, new/updated outlets are supposed to be tamper resistant according to the updated NEC regulations...I believe that the height is for any outlets under 5 ft up...but I could be wrong about that. So, many people do need to look for the TR type plugmold.

I think that "functional" is one of the reasons that those of us who use plugmold do so (and yes, I'm not going to lie - aesthetics is a consideration as well) - I'll have an outlet within inches of where I want it anywhere within my counter...my outlets will be spaced every 6 inches, whereas if I went with the standard duplex outlets, my outlets would be spaced further away (if following minimums of code). Mounting plugmold under the cabinet still falls within code. But, for many localities, it does need to be tamper resistant.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Like many others, I prefer to have outlets in the backsplash rather than under cabs, or 'up', anywhere. Some plugs on different appliances are sometimes looser in the outlet, and with them being up, the plug could fall out. I've never had this problem when plugging into the backsplash. None of my outlets are high either, they're about 5" up from the top of counter, not dead center in the middle of the backsplash~some GC/builders don't use their brain. You shouldn't have to tell him where to place every outlet. If he's 'good', and knows what he's doing, it's a 'given' he's familiar with placement. Yes, you might prefer one or two outles to be higher/lower, but for all practical purposes, I would think lower to be more accommodating.

FYI, as for an appliance 'garage', the 'modas operandi' is not applicable.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

The only thing I really, really wish I would have done differently is the outlets up high under the cabinets. I'm not tall but tall enough that I have to bend over and look up to plug anything in. Someday I will pay to have them lowered and changed to vertical.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Interesting thread. I also find outlets in the middle of the backsplash distracting. There were some great ideas here for concealing the outlets. I remember when I was renovating my kitchen I had to put my foot down and demand the outlets be placed up under my cabinets. The only things that are plugged in all the time are gadgets. We use an appliance garage for the toaster and coffee maker.
In the camp we are renovating we will not have any uppers along one wall so we will put them down low and horizontal.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Thanks to GW my outlets went low and horizontal.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

two words - lazy electrician. I've used the same guy for several years - and he just has a hard time adjusting his ways. he's opinionated and doesn't have great taste. yes, i'm the customer - but sometimes it's not worth fighting him over this. I have had them horizontal in some renovations - and I've had them right up under the cabinets. But I can't get him to agree to use plug mold. He says it violates code here. He charges me $30/hr so sometimes it's worth giving in on some things to get things that are more important to me. and if I'd never been on GW, I would not be bothered by them. I guess because I'd not have known there were alternatives.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

In answer to the original question, because outlets are not an eyesore to me, because I don't want cords hanging down from the plugmold, and because we don't have a light rail so they'd be visible anyway (and plugmold itself is even less attractive than a few regular outlets).


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

By code we have to have a GFCI outlet at the end of the run of outlets. So how do you install a GFCI if you are using plugmold? just curious.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

"By code we have to have a GFCI outlet at the end of the run of outlets. So how do you install a GFCI if you are using plugmold? just curious."

It's my understanding (and I could be wrong because I'm not an electrician) that the GFCI needs to be at the START of the run, not the end. Regardless, yes, there does need to be one. And as I remember it being explained to me, you can have a string of up to 4 additional runs off of the GFCI (or maybe it's 4 total including the GFCI). Anyway, your GFCI does NOT have to even be in the same room - in our house out in Vegas, it was built with a GFCI in the garage and that took care of our second floor bathrooms. Granted, if tripped the switch while you were in the bathroom, it was a bit of a pain because you needed to run to the garage...but the point being that a GFCI protected run can begin just about ANYWHERE...it does not have to be near the area it is protecting. It's ideal for it to be closer than further due to ease of resetting it and might take an extra fraction of a moment or so to trip...but apparently still to code since the builders did it and had to get sign off from the inspectors and my current contractors have said it is okay that way.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Aaahhh! Crap! My outlets are in a stupid place! Ugh. Maybe it's not too late...


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Plugs are on the wall. I'm the one that has to use them, not the neighbors.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

What about the GW ad (link) for "Zen's FABULOUS new kitchen"? Plugs on the wall, a cord visible, and stuff on the countertop?


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I think the "problem" of the glaring outlet appears to matter a great deal when you're looking at an empty kitchen . . . but the whole issue disappears when you begin using the kitchen, and you add in canisters, coffee pots, knife racks and other items that stay on the counter all the time. With "life" happening in the kitchen, the outlets just don't pop out as they do on a blank canvas.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I installed the LeGrande under cabinet system and so far, I have no issues. The great thing about using this system is I can move the outlets wherever I need them. Just pull them out of the track and switch them around. I have an iPad dock and and cell phone dock as well. Yes, I have cords that dangle, but I don't leave appliances plugged in the outlets. The under cabinet lights plug into the track, too. I have regular outlets in my appliance garage, island, and in the island for my mixer.

Karen


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Hi! I love the idea of BS outlets placed low and horizontal, following the BS tile layout (as long as not too close to any water). I too don't want to reach up to plug in ANYTHING. I do leave some things on my counters (toaster oven, toaster, coffee pot, kettle). The appliances cover the outlets anyway.

But, to me, appliances plugged into the side of the island cabinet are unsafe. Anyone walking by could "catch" the hanging cord and actually pull the appliance off the counter.

Has anyone considered using the Mocket plugs in your islands. It is installed in the countertop and when not in use drops down flush with the counter.

The two types I like, are the Power Pylon (which come in 4 finishes/colours) and the Flip-up Grommet (black or aluminum). They also have docking outlets. I tried to add the pictures here, but am too technically challenged to figure out how (copy and paste didn't work).

Their website is: www.mockett.com
Then choose: Technology-into-Furniture Integration

I think these are ingenious.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I should clarify that the outlet on my island is not on a side wall where people can snag it. I have a portion of the island that is table height, so the outlet is where the two different heights meet. I can plug in the toaster and make toast while sitting at the table if I wish, or I can plug in any other appliance and have them at either height (table or counter.)

Karen


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

jerzeegirl, I used plugmolds (and one regular outlet where my coffee maker sits) and my GFCI's are inside my cabinets.

karen.ohio, I wondered about the system you used. It seemed like a great idea with all of the different options they offer. Very flexible if you want to change or add on.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

We added a backsplash 20 years after the house was built. We have 8 switches or outlets along the walls where the backsplash exists. 2 light switches, 1 switch for the garbage disposal, and the rest electrical outlets, one with USB ports. I have a Vitamix and Cuisinart that share an outlet with an under cabinet TV. A toaster, coffee grinder, coffee maker and USB devices which all use their own separate outlet.

Leviton Renu has a line of outlet and switches in 20 decorator colors. That is what I used and found a nice color that complements and blends in with the backsplash. I'm not convinced I would prefer the cords hanging down from the cabinets nor the fact that access to the switches and plugs would be a bit more challenging. To each his own.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leviton Renu

This post was edited by Quadesl on Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 10:12


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I was reading that a lot of electricians think the NEC guidelines should be modified for islands because they think an outlet with cords dangling down is much more unsafe than no outlet at all.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

The two types I like, are the Power Pylon (which come in 4 finishes/colours) and the Flip-up Grommet (black or aluminum). They also have docking outlets. I tried to add the pictures here, but am too technically challenged to figure out how (copy and paste didn't work).

Sorry, but I'm almost certain neither of those is "suitable" for kitchen applications. The only one that is is the Kitchen Power Grommet, and it cannot be configured with USB ports (I asked them).


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

When we were building our house I wanted to put the outlets up under the cabinets. But at that point (1997) this was not the norm and was going to cost more so were chose to skip it. At that point in construction it felt like we were rapidly running out of funds. Our backsplash is white subway tile so the outlets aren't terribly obvious luckily plus we knew we were going to have at least 2 light switches that had to be installed in the backsplash, so oh well.

ceiling photo ceilingbeamsandsomeredware.jpg

Annette


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

I think that what you have going on in terms of plugs has a lot to do with HOW you have your kitchen set up. For us, we plan on having only one thing continually plugged in on the countertop - and therefore, we put a low, horizontal plug in that area. The rest of our area is plugmold because we won't be keeping anything else permanently on the counter and plugged in. We will have an appliance "garage" that will house the coffee pot and other consistently used small appliances. My KA mixer has it's own cabinet and a plug inside the cabinet.

Like everything else here, when planning your kitchen, it's important to ask yourself what you are hoping to accomplish and what way you are going to use your kitchen. If you are the type that will have various appliances out and plugged in all the time, then certainly, it doesn't make much sense to have plugmold and see the appliance colds dangling down. But, if you have an appliance garage and/or you are the type that will have small appliances out just when being used, you may be happy considering plugmold.

We're also concealing the kitchen sink light switch and the UC light switch under one of our upper cabinets as well so that they won't show on the backsplash.

Oh, and we will have plugmold on our island also - it will mount underneath the granite. I had considered one of the Mockett systems - they are pretty cool, but I felt that it was more intrusive than what I wanted for our small island...if there winds up being an issue with it and we wanted to get rid of it at some point down the road, we didn't want that large hole in our granite.


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RE: Why Do People Put Outlets in the Backsplash?

Outlet location wasn't something I thought about until after they were in but before the backsplash was installed. I asked the electrician if we could just cap the wires and tile over the boxes, but he said that would be against code.

That said, I give the whole thing a *shrug*. Backsplashes without plugs look awesome. But I also think my own counter with my toaster, photo frame, coffee maker, coffee grinder sitting out looks awesome. It looks even more awesome when I have the blender/stand mixer/knife sharpener/etc plugged in and in use.

While I fully appreciate the way a plugless kitchen looks, I also fully appreciate the way a hard-working kitchen built for convenience and efficiency looks.


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