One of the rising trends in kitchen design is a flowing marble backsplash that is used in place of tile or other backsplash options. Marble creates a unique and luxurious appearance for the kitchen instead of tile and you create them with the same slab as your new marble countertops or from a different color marble entirely.
If you are considering a marble backsplash, I want this information to be helpful as you make that decision. I was hesitant to use marble so I get it if you are unsure, but trust me…best decision we made in our kitchen remodel for sure.
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Pros and Cons of a Marble Slab Backsplash
Before you consider any building product in your home you need to understand the pros and the cons. Everything has pros and cons; you just need to determine what pros you want and what cons you can live with. Marble is less than perfect but we can learn to embrace beautiful imperfections. However, you are the only one who can decide if a marble backsplash is right for you.
- Marble is elegant and makes a gorgeous statement backsplash
- Marble backsplashes can flow with your countertops or you can use a different style/color slab
- Sealed marble is durable and easy to clean
- Marble may increase the value of your kitchen
- Marble is a soft and can be a high-maintenance stone
- Marble backsplashes will quickly discolor from cooking stain and stove fumes if not properly sealed
- A marble backsplash can be expensive depending on the stone selection
The Look of a Marble Slab Backsplash
We often think that a slab backsplash is going to look too modern or look too fancy. Your cabinets, hardware, decor and appliances often set the pace for the design direction you are going. If designed correctly, you can create a lovely classic, traditional looking kitchen even with a lot of marble.
Part of my hesitation with the marble was I didn’t want it to also look too stuffy or opulent. Which I guess sounds weird; we like nice things but we aren’t overly fancy and drawn to shiny, blingy stuff. I guess I thought a marble slab backsplash would make the house feel overdone and stuffy, but it hasn’t in anyway. For some, the fancy look might be the look you are going for. Marble is nice because it can have an opulent look or feel casual too depending on decor.
I personally LOVE the seamless look of the marble with the countertops. The countertop and backsplash just flow seamlessly.
Tile Styles Change
While I was looking for the perfect kitchen backsplash, my first choice was Zellige tile that you see everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest. While it is lovely, I was nervous, in a few years I would be tiered of it. Plus, everyone else has it…I wanted something different.
When we remodeled our Virginia home’s kitchen, in 2018, white subway tile was all the rage. It was everywhere you looked and I selected a “handmade” white subway tile option that I loved at the time. While it was very pretty, by the following year styles in tile began to change. Everyone was going with the Moroccan handmade clay tile. It became everything you saw…everywhere. Still is in 2023.
I had learned however, from our previous kitchen remodel…kitchen backsplash tile styles change about every 7-10 years it seems. While I would say white subway tile is somewhat timeless…it’s been so overdone.
While I was selecting a marble countertop slab, I began to talk to the fabricator about a marble backsplash. My husband was dead set on the marble…me, not so much!
The fabricator looked at me and said, “backsplash tile styles come and go and change so often, but marble is always there.” I was SOLD! I immediately had them draft up a quote for not only the countertop but also the backsplash and I am SO GLAD I did!
Marble is Timeless
Marble has been around for centuries and used in monuments, statues, flooring, stairs, countertops, showers and yes…even as a backsplash.
We hear the word “timeless” a lot when it comes to design. We are told to design timelessly and while I’m not sure that we can do that 100% of the time, since styles and trends do change, I do believe we can select timeless elements that have been around for centuries. I always say, look to history in design to create your own designs.
There is marble tile, which is also gorgeous, but I believe a marble slab is the most timeless way to use marble as a backsplash.
Design Benefits of Marble Backsplash
The benefits are a seamless design and flow to your kitchen. You don’t have to worry about matching or coordinating something with your cabinets and countertop. Everything is just united as one design.
Each piece of marble is different; even if cut from the same quarry. That’s what I love about it so much; no one else can have what I have. My marble is unique and so is the backsplash. The natural veining of marble is so appealing and completes a design all on its own.
Cost of Marble Backsplash
First I want to say, we did not select an expensive marble. Sure, marble can be more expensive than other countertops, but depending on what you select it can be comparable or less than quartz or certain granites.
We did not go with Calcutta Gold Marble or even the high end Quartzites (which I wish we could have afforded). Our slab was a nice basic marble that had some veining in it. The veining is actually what I fell in love with, but the veining actually made the price less. Not because it was less quality or the veining made it compromised, but because it would be less appealing to certain customers.
We did creamy white cabinets and a quarter sawn white oak for the island and the veining was perfect because it was warmer and pulled some gorgeous brownish gold veins. It was honestly perfect for the two different finishes we had on the cabinets.
All of that to say…the cost is going to be relative to what you select and can’t take what I will say here as dead set fact. The cost of marble can be a con when considering marble which might remove marble from your list of backsplash options. Shop around as you might be surprised at what you find.
Zellige Tile vs. Marble Slab
For me, it came down to Zellige tile or Marble slab, but I had factors to weigh before making that final decision. Authetntic Zellige tile can be costly per piece. Sometimes it’s hard to source from what I found in December 2022. Much of what I liked was on back order for a few months. Which was no issue, we could have waited to finish the backsplash.
Cost and stock was a hindrance. There are knock off Zellige tiles which I considered, but the real deal just looks better. I gathered several samples, but nothing was grabbing me.
Zellige tile is complicated to install. Each piece has to be soaked prior to install and they say it’s best to use someone who is familiar with this type of tile. Well, no offense here, but we live in East rural Tennessee. We moved from the Washington, D.C. area where you could find a skilled laborer to do anything.
When we put on our addition, we had issues with contractors just doing basic work. Taking a gamble on installing expensive tile was making me nervous. I talked to a few tile installers and they had NO idea what I was talking about.
In the end, having the marble fabricator install the countertop and the backsplash actually was less expensive than purchasing basic tile, grout and hiring a contractor to install it.
It was a one and done process with the marble, no separate contractor or supplies…it was finished with the countertop in about three hours.
SHOP THE KITCHEN
Sealing a Marble Backsplash
Several people told me not to use marble because you have to take care of it. If spaghetti sauce or ketchup splashes on it you will have to clean it. Hmmm…pretty sure I would have to clean any backsplash if something splashed on it. They said it would stain if anything got on it.
Well, that might be the case, but I have found with marble, if you wipe up your spills and seal it you don’t have issues with stains. Since a backsplash takes way less wear and tear than a countertop I figured using it for a backsplash would be just fine.
That being said, you do have to seal it just like you seal a marble countertop. Every six months I seal the countertop and backsplash and it’s not difficult or time consuming at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, a marble backsplash is in style because it is somewhat timeless. Marble exudes luxury and its timeless aesthetic pairs just as well with a traditional-style kitchen as well as an ultra-modern one.
Interior natural stone finishes offer natural beauty and elegance which can add a big dollar boost when it comes to appraisal value.
Marble in general is timeless, so yes, your backsplash will offer a feeling of classic and timeless design.
What Are Your Thoughts?
So…what do you think of a marble backsplash? Would you consider using it in your kitchen?
Hope this was helpful in determining your kitchen backsplash options and to consider the benefits and pros of a marble kitchen backsplash.