The role that a kitchen fulfils in our household has drastically changed over the last fifty years. Where the kitchen was once a separate area that mainly served practical purposes, over the years the kitchen has become an important part of our living space. Consequently, the desire to make the kitchen look appealing has become more prominent. The last remnants of the old-fashioned kitchen are now finally being replaced by modern materials. Many people leave their old tile wall behind and install a plastic kitchen splashback instead. Generally, there are three kinds of plastic that are suited for splashback applications: HPL, acrylic and aluminium composite sheets. For all plastics, it is important to place a heat resistant panel behind the stove to prevent heat damage. Below you will find ideas and explanations on the advantages of the three suitable plastic kitchen splashbacks.
The practical and aesthetical advantages of plastic splashbacks
A plastic splashback offers the same advantages as a tile wall: it is hygienic, easy to clean and lasts an entire lifetime. But who really wants to have the exact same wall for years on end? Replacing a tile wall often involves a lot of chipping, breaking rubbish. Additionally, placing a tile wall requires craftmanship and skill. Whereas, replacing a plastic kitchen splashback is a piece of cake. You can remove the whole panel in one go and place the new plastic sheet in the exact same place.
A plastic splashback is easy to install, often it is possible to place the sheet against the old splashback or against a wooden framework. Attaching the plastic sheet is simple: you can choose between a screw or adhesive connection. For some materials we recommend using both screws and adhesives, in these cases the screws will be placed out of sight.
Acrylic splashbacks: creating a high-quality look and feel
Are you striving for a kitchen that really pulls focus? An acrylic splashback will definitely do the trick. Acrylic sheets have a smooth, shiny surface that provide a high-quality and modern look. The fact that the sheets are easy to clean gives another great advantage for kitchen applications. Acrylic sheets are available in a large variety of colours, this offers loads of possibilities for designing and restyling a kitchen. Besides solid colours, we also stock acrylic sheets in matt, tinted and opal colours, meaning the sheets transmit light but they are not transparent. This offers amazing possibilities for an old brick walls: it can be covered by an acrylic sheet, keeping the vintage style but making it easy to clean. If the underlying surface isn’t much to look at, you can choose an opal acrylic sheet to cover it up. Mixing transparent and opal sheets can create a unique, personal look. Acrylic’s light transmission allows for beautiful effects when illuminated from the back or the sides. As you can see, acrylic is a versatile material with many possibilities.
Shedding LED-light on an acrylic kitchen splashback
Clear acrylic can give the kitchen a beautiful, stylish look. For an extra modern appearance, you can use backlighting to illuminate the splashback. The LED-strips can be easily hidden behind the acrylic sheet. If you are striving for a high-tech feel, you can utilise acrylic’s light conducting qualities by attaching a LED-strip to the top or sides of the acrylic splashback. This will make the whole sheet light up. Tip: place the LED lights at the top of the sheet so the strip will not have to carry the weight of the whole splashback panel.
If your kitchen lighting is placed in the usual spot underneath the top cupboards, this will give semi-transparent acrylic sheets a certain depth, especially with darker colours. During the day the colour intensity constantly changes, but when the kitchen splashback is lit up, the colour will progress from a bright to a very deep colour.
Ordering and installing an acrylic kitchen splashback
Acrylic sheets can be ordered on Plasticsheetsshop.co.uk and will be cut to size free of charge, the maximum sheet size is 203 by 305 centimetres. For a splashback we recommend a sheet thickness of 5 to 8 millimetres. When measuring the required size, consider that acrylic can slightly expand due to temperature fluctuations. Therefore, it is wise to order a sheet that is 0.5 cm less high and 0.5 less wide. If necessary, it is easy to work on an acrylic sheet at home, so small alterations to ensure a proper fit of the splashback should not be a problem.
Acrylic sheets can be installed using an adhesive connection. Solid coloured sheets can be attached directly to the underlying surface, but opal and transparent sheets need to be mounted by applying an adhesive sealant around the edges or in a U-profile. Before attaching the sheets, make sure to clean and prepare the surfaces. Treat the back of the sheet by removing the protective film and applying a cleaning- and preserving product, we recommend Burnus anti-static cleaner. Now the sheet is ready to place against the underlying surface. Keep the top of the sheet in place by using tape and support the bottom of the sheet using spacers, like wooden pegs. Leave a 2 mm vertical seam between sheets, the flexible sealant will absorb any sheet movement and expansion.
Once the sheet is in the right position, you can start applying the sealant. The sealant needs to be suitable for both acrylic and the surface materials. You only have to apply sealant to the edges of the sheet, try to avoid any sealant from going underneath the acrylic sheet. Once the sealant has dried, you can remove the wooden pegs and tape and fill these areas with sealant. The last step is removing the protective film from the top layer and applying Burnus anti-static cleaner to clean and preserve the plastic.
Aluminium composite splashback: ideal for a quick make-over
Aluminium composite is a kind of sandwich panel that has a polythene core with two thin aluminium top layers. The sheets are available in a wide selection of colours and finishes such as brushed aluminium. Brushed aluminium looks like stainless steel, but an aluminium composite splashback is much stronger and cheaper. The strength comes from the layered composition of the material, even the thinner sheet thicknesses are tough and rigid. Additionally, the material is lightweight and easy to work with.
Aluminium composite, also known as Dibond®, is well suited as a kitchen splashback, since it is easy to clean, heat- and impact resistant. If you are looking for a simple way to give your kitchen a make-over, Dibond® is the way to go. An aluminium composite panel is easy to place over an existing (tile) wall by using a strong adhesive. Due to its lightweight quality, Dibond® can be bonded to a surface using only a small amount of adhesive, making it easy to dismount in once piece. Even the thinner aluminium composite panels are strong enough to serve as a splashback, making them ideal for walls with taps or for walls that already have more than one layer of tiles.
Ordering and installing a Dibond® splashback
Aluminium composite panels are available in large sheet sizes up to 150 by 305 centimetres. Naturally, we cut the sheets to your required size free of charge. The sheets come in a variety of colours, and it is possible to create a mosaic look with a large number of smaller sheets. For the mosaic look it is important for the underlying surface to be completely smooth, otherwise the sheets will not line up neatly. Always use an adhesive that remains flexible to cope with expansion of the material. Apply the adhesive in dots of 5 mm thick along the edges of the sheet. Leave 2.5 centimetre room from the edge and place the dots about 15 centimetres apart. If you are placing more than one sheet, leave a seam of about 3 mm between the sheets. Place thin spacers on the countertop and rest the Dibond® sheets on them. You can use dismounted wooden pegs as spacers. Attach the sheet to the underlying surface and check if all the seams line up. You can adjust the sheets as long as the adhesive hasn’t dried yet. Seal the edges and seams with an appropriate sealant. Once the adhesive and the sealant are dry, you can remove the wooden pegs and seal this last part of the splashback.
HPL / Trespa® splashback in the kitchen: affordable and practical
HPL, or High Pressure Laminate, is also known as Trespa®. This material is an excellent choice for price-conscious consumers that are looking for a practical material. HPL has a rock-hard top layer that is not prone to scratching or denting and is resistant to heat and intensive cleaning. In our online shop HPL is available in a variety of colours in a maximum sheet size of 130 by 305 centimetres. Naturally, you are not limited to the use of only one colour. You can apply different colours in your kitchen to create an aesthetically pleasing result. For example, you can choose a darker colour splashback for behind the stove making it more difficult to see stains. We recommend a sheet with a smooth finish to ensure easy cleaning.
Installing a HPL splashback
HPL sheets can be attached directly onto the underlying surface or if the surface isn’t smooth the sheet can be attached onto a wooden framework. The framework will eliminate any blemishes and deviations in the surface below, allowing you to place the splashback at a perfect 90-degree angle from the countertop. We recommend using at least two fixating screws and Bostik primer and adhesive to attach the HPL sheet to the framework. The Trespa® screws can be placed in the top two corners of the sheet. The joints and seams can be sealed using a water-resistant sealant.