Splashbacks in the kitchen

A splashback is a flat sheet of a smooth material (such as glass) that is usually attached behind a stove in the kitchen, or the basin in the bathroom.  A glass splashback is an attractive and useful feature in the home, but it will need to be handled carefully if it becomes damaged.

What function does a splashback serve?

Splashbacks in the bathroom are there to prevent the wall from being damaged by repeated splashing. They are also installed in the kitchen behind the stove to protect the wall from condensation, splashing with boiling liquids and spattering with grease.

Splashbacks can be painted any colour, so they are an effective way to change the colour and feel of a kitchen or bathroom while making only one small change.

Are glass splashbacks safe to have in the kitchen?

The most common spot for a splashback in the kitchen is behind the stove. The heat from the stove will affect the splashback. It may crack and even shatter ordinary glass, so the splashback must be made of toughened glass. Ordinary glass is also dangerous because it breaks into shards when it shatters, while toughened glass tends to crumble and is less dangerous to encounter when broken.

A splashback made of toughened glass is safe in the kitchen.

If the splashback breaks, can it be repaired?

A sheet of glass with a crack is unattractive, so you may be tempted to have your splashback repaired if it gets broken. Remember that glass is fragile and can break again when damaged. It is better to remove the splashback and replace it, rather than try to repair it.

Removing the glass depends on what was used to fix it to the wall.  If silicone was used, then this must be removed before the glass can be levered from the wall. It may be necessary to break up a larger sheet of glass to remove it piece by piece. If a glass adhesive was used to fix the splashback to the wall, then the plaster of the wall will have to be removed with the glass. This is a longer and more tedious process, but can be done effectively.

When you remove a broken splashback, cover all surfaces with protective cloths. This will allow you to catch the debris, as well as to protect the other surfaces/areas onto which the glass and/or plaster may fall.

How is a new splashback installed and by whom?

Professional glass companies will install the replacement splashback, but it is possible to do this yourself. You will need to follow some basic safety points:

  • Always use toughened glass of at least 6mm thick.
  • Have the glass cut by the shop, including holes for any wall plugs that may be in the wall where the splashback will go.
  • Use safety glasses and gloves when handling the glass.
  • Sand the back of the glass before spray painting it with acrylic paint, or the paint will not stick.
  • Use acrylic paint dispensed via a spray gun.
  • Fix the glass to the wall with silicone. You should prepare the wall on which the glass will be mounted to make sure that it will stick to the wall.