Pros & Cons of Tin Kitchen Backsplashes

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A staple of Victorian homes, tin ceilings have come back into kitchens but not where you might expect. Many homeowners use tin as a decorative backsplash to add interest and texture to kitchen remodeling jobs. Tin backsplashes are attractive when done well and add a bit of charm and character to a kitchen. Like all building materials, however, a tin backsplash has both pros and cons that you should consider before installing it in your space.

Pros

DIY-Friendly

Installing a tin backsplash is a do-it-yourself-friendly project. With just some tin snips, a guillotine-style paper cutter, measuring tape and adhesive, you can put up a tin backsplash in a few hours. This is a fun project for weekend warriors, and installing the backsplash yourself will save installation costs.

Highly Customizable

Available in a wide variety of colors, finishes and pressed designs, tin backsplashes are customizable. From copper colors to powder-coated paint, you can have your tin exactly how you want it for a perfect match to your kitchen and personal taste.

Easy Cleaning

Tin backsplashes are generally very easy to clean. Usually a quick wipe down with a mild cleanser or soapy water does the trick. Be careful with painted backsplashes, however, as these may require different cleaning methods to preserve the finish.

High Durability

Like all metal backsplashes, tin is heat and moisture resistant. It requires no maintenance other than an occasional cleaning and is very durable, so you can count on it to last for a long time. The fire-resistant properties of tin are especially useful behind stoves and in areas where toasters, toaster ovens, waffle irons and other hot appliances are used.

Cost

Although your choice of style and color will affect the price of a tin backsplash, the tin needed to complete the backsplash may be purchased for as little as $3 per square foot as of 2015. According to the Homewyse cost calculator, a 100-square-foot tin backsplash, installed, will cost between $12 and $22 per square foot. Pricing will vary somewhat based on your location and the tin pattern and the quality you choose.

Eco-Friendly

Because they can be made with recycled materials, tin backsplashes are an environmentally friendly option. Armstrong, for example, makes their tin backsplashes from 60 percent recycled materials, making them an excellent green building choice.

Cons

Over-Stimulation Potential

Tin backslpashes are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so it is important to choose carefully. Tin panels that look good as tin ceilings may be a bit overwhelming or busy when used as a backsplash. Remember that your backsplash will be more visible than a ceiling, so choose a pattern and color that won't be too over-the-top for your space. If you have stainless steel appliances already in your kitchen, you probably won't want to add too much additional shine or metal to the room. Finally, use care when installing patterned tiles; the finished product will look off if you don't match up repeating patterns.

Acid Stains

Though they may resist heat and staining, tin backsplashes are prone to acid etching. Orange juice, coffee and other acidic foods that splash onto them may cause permanent etching. Be prepared to clean up these types of spills and splashes immediately, but etching could still occur.

Dent Damage

Tin is susceptible to denting, especially decorative tiles and panels that have raised surfaces. You'll need to be careful that you don't push pots and appliances into the backsplash and damage it.

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