A stainless steel backsplash is a great way to add an interesting look to your kitchen. With all of the styles, textures, and designs available with stainless it's easy to see why it's so popular. But they can be expensive. You do have the piece of mind, when the installation is done correctly, that this backsplash material will last a lifetime.
There are three main styles; tiles, sheets, and stamped panels. Depending on what design you are looking for will determine what style you will choose. There is also a wide difference in the prices of these styles. The most expensive being sheet metal and the least expensive being the tiles.
The price of stainless backsplashes start at $10 per square foot and can go as high as $200 per square foot.
With the tiles you have the option of mixing in other materials, such as glass, and ceramic tile. This is a good way to get some stainless steel in your backsplash without breaking the bank. Also stainless tiles can be overpowering in some kitchens because it can be very "busy".
The sheet metal style is similar to a restaurant's kitchen. Sheet is quite expensive and must be installed by an experienced installer. That is what makes this backsplash so expensive. There is no forgiveness in this material all of the cutouts need to be precise.
Stamped stainless tiles are not as thick as the other styles and extra care needs to be taken to ensure there is no denting of the material. But there is quite a large selection of patterns available.
The grade of stainless is also a major consideration. 304 stainless is the preferred grade. 304 has a high chromium content and the best at resisting stains and will not rust or corrode. Stainless gets is properties by a thin, one or two molecules thick, layer of chromium oxide. This compound is made when the chromium in the metal is exposed to air.
Another thing to consider is getting an installer that is a member of the NKBA and has extensive experience in installing the sheet style backsplash. Like I mentioned earlier mistakes can be costly and if the proper cutting and fitting is not done it will look shoddy and unprofessional.
may be difficult to find an installer who does residential
installations. One place to look is your local home improvement center
or a commercial (restaurant) kitchen installation company.
The Downsides of Stainless Steel:
The sheet metal style can have hammered, smooth, brushed, or ribbed textures fabricated in to the surface of the sheets. You can even combine two or more of these textures into a backsplash in a design you specify. The more complex the design, and the time involved to make your design, will result in a higher cost.
Polishing may need to be done if you choose to have a smooth backsplash with no texture. The lower grades of stainless will require this more often than the higher grades. Polishing is easy to do and can be done by anyone but it does take a lot of elbow grease, and time. The higher grades of stainless may never need to be polished as there is very little oxidizing of the steel, because of the higher chromium content.
Staining can occur from acidic foods like citrus juices and vinegar. Any contact from acids should be removed as soon as possible to prevent a permanent stain.
As you can see there are many options when it comes to stainless steel backsplashes. If you can think of it, it can be done with stainless; from tile to stamped to sheet metal the options are very large and getting just what you want it's very possible, if not a certainty.