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Best Backsplash Materials: What Are Your Options?

Written by Kyle Murray on November 18, 2019
Edited By Brian Freeman, Last Updated On January 03, 2024
Reviewed By Samantha Peterson
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Your kitchen backsplash is one of the most important features of the home. Not only does it complement your countertops, but it is also meant to protect the kitchen wall space behind your countertops from any stains and splatters. From natural stone to stainless steel, ceramic tiles and more, there are many backsplash materials that you can choose from. This guide will give you an idea of what backsplash options can perfectly complement your new countertops. 

What Are Types of Backsplash Materials? 

Whether you have a contemporary kitchen or something more traditional, you will surely be able to find a backsplash that is suitable for your space. No matter if you are searching for a tile backsplash or a beautiful slab of natural stone, you will find many stylish options. This section will break down your various options based on the type of material: Stone Backsplashes, Tile Backsplashes and various other kitchen backsplash materials that are suitable for use. 


Kitchen Backsplash Ideas: Natural and Engineered Stone 

Both natural and engineered stone will provide you with some of the most attractive and durable surfaces that you can use for backsplashes. Below are your best natural and engineered stone backsplash options, along with detailed descriptions of each material. Each type of stone will have information about the material’s appearance, durability and cost. 


Granite is adored by homeowners for its beauty and durability. You will be able to find granite in a wide range of colors and styles, meaning that you are virtually ensured to find something that will be a good fit for your home. Pairing a granite backsplash with granite kitchen countertops is a terrific way to complete a kitchen design. A granite backsplash can easily become the focal point of any kitchen. 

Appearance: Granite is one of the most beautiful materials you can use for a backsplash. From dark to light, veining to solid color, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to this natural stone. There are few materials that can compare to the visual impact of a granite slab. 

Durability: Granite is one of the toughest and most durable natural stone materials you can find. It will stand up to the wear and tear it will face, and will not require much care compared to other options. The only care granite truly requires is cleaning, occasional re-sealing and polishing. If you take proper care of it, granite can stay in great shape for years. 

Cost: When it comes to the cost of natural stone materials, granite is one of the most affordable. You can typically find the stone for between $32 to $75 per square foot. The cost will depend on how much of the material you need, along with other factors. 


Marble is a timeless classic when it comes to home building materials. Although you will need to be careful in high-traffic areas like the kitchen, the beauty of a marble backsplash can be well worth the effort you will need to put in to care for it. As with granite, marble will offer you a plethora of options to choose from. 

Appearance: Regardless of what color or style you choose, marble is one of the most gorgeous materials you can select. The elegant veining present in many types of the stone will help make a bold statement in your kitchen. A marble slab is sure to catch the attention of anyone who walks into the room. 

Durability: If properly cared for, marble can stay in great shape. You will need to keep up on cleaning, polishing and re-applying a sealant every few months. While marble does require more care than a material like granite, the stunning looks of this stone can make any care efforts well worth your time. None of the care processes will take up much of your time, but you will have to repeat the processes more often than you would with other materials. 

Cost: Although it is seen as a luxurious material, you can find many types of marble that are affordable. In general, the natural stone costs around $40 to $100 per square foot. Rarer types of the stone will come at a higher cost and you will also need to factor in how much marble you will need for your backsplash. 


Quartzite is a great choice for homeowners looking for a material that resembles marble but can offer a similar amount of strength and durability as granite. Many types of quartzite look so similar to marble that the stone actually gets confused for being a type of marble. 

Appearance: Quartzite is also available in many different colors and styles. Whether you are looking for something that matches more of a traditional style, such as a white or grey quartzite, or something on the bolder side for a more modern kitchen, like green or blue, there is a type of quartzite ideal for your new backsplash. 

Durability: Quartzite is a very durable material, which makes it perfect for a kitchen backsplash. It will need care, but the maintenance requirements are not a setback for the stone. You will typically have to re-seal quartzite around twice per year. 

Cost: Quartzite usually costs in the range of $60 to $120 per square foot, though the specific price will depend on the variety of factors explained with the stones above. 


Not to be confused with the natural stone quartzite, quartz is an engineered stone that is made by combining around 90 percent ground natural quartz with about 10 percent polyresin. The exact percentages vary based on brand, but will always be in the same area. Quartz offers many benefits in the home, which has helped the material rise in popularity over the past few years. 

Appearance: Quartz backsplashes will offer you a vast array of colors and styles to choose from, whether you want something that resembles granite or marble, or something that is bold and provides a unique look. You will not have any issue finding something that pairs well with the color scheme in your kitchen. 

Durability: Quartz is one of the most durable materials you can find. It can remain in great shape if you properly care for it, which will not be difficult to do. One major difference between quartz and natural stone is that you do not have to seal quartz. Because they are engineered, the surfaces are non-porous. Just be mindful that you do not expose quartz to excessive heat, as doing so can cause the resin to melt and result in a burn mark on the surface. As long as you exercise caution, this should not be an issue with a backsplash. 

Cost: You can find quartz for around $50 to $120 per square foot, depending on various factors. 


If you are looking for a darker colored, durable natural stone for your new backsplash, slate can be just what you are searching for. While the material is often used in modern kitchens, a slate backsplash can put a nice finishing touch on any kitchen remodel. 

Appearance: If you are looking for a variety of color and style options, slate is not the best choice for you. But if you have your heart set on a stunning darker colored natural stone, slate can be the perfect fit. You can find the material in a range of darker greys, some of which include hints of blue. 

Durability: Slate is a durable natural stone that is resistant to stains and heat, and is also anti-bacterial. All of these qualities make slate one of the easier materials to keep in great shape for years to come. 

Cost: Slate costs can vary significantly depending on numerous factors. You can usually find the stone for somewhere between $50 to $200 per square foot. 


Soapstone is another great backsplash material that can be found in a range of darker tones. You will find soapstone that is either dark green or grey in color. Although the material is prone to scratches, any scratches can easily be sanded out. 

Appearance: Soapstone is available in a range of dark greens and grey tones. It will give your backsplash a soft appearance. One of the unique features of soapstone is the material’s ability to naturally darken over time. If you want to speed up the process, you can treat soapstone with mineral oil. 


Durability: Soapstone is a good choice if you are looking for a durable material. Although some types of the stone are known to be great carving materials because of their softness, the types of soapstone used for countertops, backsplashes and other home surfaces is harder and tougher. Soapstone is used as a material for many laboratory countertops because of its durability, so using it in your kitchen is definitely a benefit. 

Cost: Soapstone can generally be found for around $55 to $100 per square foot. 


Incorporating limestone into your home can evoke feelings of light and life. While it is not a material that is commonly found in the kitchen, you can install a limestone kitchen backsplash if you are careful. Any spills or splatters should be cleaned up immediately. 

Appearance: Limestone can be found in a range of lighter colors, such as golds and greys. You will find variation in terms of lighter grey and darker grey options. 

Durability: Limestone may not be the toughest material you can choose for a backsplash, but if properly cared for, it can stay in great shape. Make sure to exercise high caution if you opt for limestone. If you do, you will be rewarded by the material’s beauty for years to come. 

Cost: Limestone also has a wide price range. This natural stone can usually be found for somewhere between $70 to $200 per square foot. 


Travertine has many similarities to limestone. This is due to the fact that travertine actually is a form of limestone, although the two names should not be used interchangeably. There are some distinct differences between the two materials. While travertine tiling is quite popular in homes, choosing a travertine slab for your backsplash can be a nice choice as well. 

Appearance: Travertine can be found in a similar color range to limestone. As with limestone, travertine can add feelings of light and life to your space. 

Durability: You will also need to be careful with travertine in the kitchen. That said, it can be quite durable if properly cared for. 

Cost: Travertine usually costs between $50 to $100 per square foot. 


If you are looking for a unique backsplash design, consider selecting an onyx backsplash. This incredible natural stone will give any backsplash a truly one-of-a-kind look. 

Appearance: Onyx can be found in a range of lighter and darker colors and often features gorgeous patterns or veins. If you want a backsplash that resembles a natural piece of artwork, onyx is a fantastic choice. 

Durability: While onyx is very durable, you will need to put in the necessary effort to care for the stone. You will also need to be extremely cautious around the surface. However, as long as you are willing to put in these efforts, your onyx backsplash will reward you with its breathtaking natural beauty on a daily basis. 

Cost: Onyx is one of your pricier options, as the stone typically costs between $75 and $250 per square foot. 


Among the rarest materials in the world, you can opt for a gemstone backsplash in your kitchen. While you will need to put in the effort to properly care for it, there is no denying the elegance that gemstone can bring to your space. 

Appearance: Gemstone can be found in a wide range of color and pattern options. If you are searching for a backsplash that will set your home apart, consider selecting gemstone. 

Durability: Gemstone is a very durable material. It is resistant to heat and scratching, and is also very easy to clean. While you will need to be particularly cautious around this stone, making the effort to keep it in great shape will be well worth your time. 

Cost: One of the major setbacks associated with gemstone is its cost. Prices for the material often start at around $100 per square foot and typically exceed that number. 

Backsplashes: Stone Options

What Other Materials Can Be Used for Backsplashes? 

Though the options above are some of the best choices for backsplashes, they are not your only choices. There are many kitchen backsplash ideas that incorporate the various materials described below. 


Glass backsplashes are very trendy and modern. There are many benefits to choosing glass, including the material’s heat and stain resistance. It also does not need to be sealed like natural stone surfaces do. A glass slab can surely make a great statement in any home. 


One of the more unique options for a backsplash is a mirrored backsplash. The mirrored backsplash is a particularly nice option for opening up the feel of a small kitchen. 


Tile backsplashes are a common choice in many homes. The numerous types of backsplash tile include subway tiles, glass tiles, metal tiles, porcelain tiles and stone tiles, among others. You will be able to find anything from marble tiles to mosaic tiles. 


One of the advantages many homeowners find with tiles are the DIY capabilities associated with the material. Tile backsplashes are relatively easy to install on your own. 

While this is the case, there are also negatives that come with tile backsplashes. Unlike slabs of stone, tile backsplashes will have grout lines that you have to worry about, which can make clean-up a bit of a hassle. It is also much easier to match a slab to your cabinetry or other elements in your kitchen as opposed to tiles. 

Backsplashes: Non-Stone Options
Subway tiles
Glass tiles
Metal tiles
Porcelain tiles
Stone tiles

What Types of Backsplashes Are There? 

Backsplashes can typically be found in one of two height options: Standard or Full. Standard backsplashes measure 4 inches high from the surface of the countertop on your wall. On the other hand, full backsplashes typically extend from the surface of your countertop to the bottom of your upper cabinets. In some cases, a full backsplash can even extend up to the ceiling. 

Which Option is the Best for Backsplashes? 

When it comes to backsplashes, you will surely not be limited with the amount of options you can choose. While tile backsplashes may be fairly common in households, choosing a slab of natural or engineered stone is a terrific way to make a visual impact. Stone backsplashes are generally more durable as well. The combination of beauty and durability makes stone a fantastic choice for your new backsplash. 

Adding a new backsplash to your space can drastically improve both its beauty and functionality. Through reviewing this guide, you can find an ideal backsplash option for your home.

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