Solid Slab Backsplash. Everything You Need To Know
A solid slab backsplash is a fabulous look that screams luxury in a kitchen of just about any size. I remember the first time I saw one installed in a brand new luxury kitchen. It was a huge marble slab backsplash with matching marble countertops and white cabinets. Such a beautiful, clean design that it’s left an impression with me ever since and still to this day is one of the nicest kitchen’s I’ve ever been in. And as a home builder I’ve been in a lot. But it’s not all about beauty. A solid slab backsplash is simply a backsplash made of a single, solid material like a slab of marble vs individual tiles with grout. There are a bunch of functional benefits solid slab backsplashes have vs other materials like tile. The solid surface creates a unique look and feel that other that other materials just can’t match.
When it comes to designing a new kitchen or remodeling an older one, designing the backsplash is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. While a tiled backsplash is still the most common type used in homes by far. A solid slab backsplash is a luxury trend that’s spreading fast for not only it’s impressive looks but also the day to day benefits. And they’re not that expensive either. Most people that see them always assume they cost a fortune but when compared to the price of a tile backsplash they’re about the same and in some cases cheaper.
There are a bunch of different materials you could use too. Marble, quartz, granite, or even concrete. As long as it’s one solid slab of material then it qualifies. Below we’ll look at a dozen or so examples and discuss the topic in depth. Hopefully you’ll see something you like.
Solid Slab Backsplashes Are Easy To Clean
One of the biggest day to day functional benefits of have a solid slab backsplash is how easy they are too clean. It’s a solid surface just like a countertop so you just wipe them down. There’s no annoying grout to deal with which is where stains tend to build up. And most people use a smooth stone for the backsplash so you won’t have a textured surface to clean like a real stone or brick backsplash. You really do just use a spray cleaner and then wipe them clean, it’s so easy.
Because there’s no grout nothing can really stick to a slab backsplash. If you look at tile backsplashes you’ll see that the tiles generally don’t get that dirty because of how smooth they are but the grout can get filthy. Especially if you cook with a lot of grease. This doesn’t happen with a slab because there’s no porous surface for the dirt to build up.
However the material you choose will dictate any special cleaning requirements. For example if you install a concrete slab then it can be a little porous so you’ll have to be aware of that. Another one is marble. It’s a beautiful stone but a little harder to keep clean that say granite.
I’d recommend using a dense, smooth solid stone like granite, quartz or marble as a backsplash because they look great and are so easy to keep clean.
How Much Does A Slab Backsplash Cost?
The Cost depends on the type of material you select and the amount of square footage you need. It’s pretty simple. Just measure the length you need multiplied by the height at the highest point and then multiplied by the cost per square foot of material. For example we pay around $65 a sq. ft. for quartz. So if you had a backsplash that was 8′ long x 3′ high, which is a typical backsplash height behind a range, times $65 the cost would be $1560 installed. That’s about the same as a tile backsplash would be and less if you had a fancy inlay.
The reason why slab backsplashes are cheap is because of the lower installation costs. Materials are much higher but tile can take days to install. There are all sorts of cuts and each tile has to be carefully installed one at a time. And then you have to grout. A slab backsplash can be installed in an hour or two.
Slab Backsplash Installation
Slab backsplash installation is done much in the same way as tile only in one piece rather than having to install dozens of individual tiles. A strong backer material is usually installed first which is screwed into the studs. The reason a backer should be used is because it holds mortar much better than sheetrock and won’t peel. The slab is secured to the backer with mastic or mortar just like tile.
The stone supplier you use will handle the installation work. The first thing they do is come to the house and take measurements and some times they even make a template. From there the stone slab is cut at the shop and then delivered and installed. It’s all done in the same way as the countertops.
The reason slabs are so much cheaper to install is for two main reasons. It’s fast since there one big piece and there’s no grout.
How Thick Is A Slab Backsplash?
It depends on the material you select but the average is between 3/4″ and 1 1/4″ for a solid stone slab. Thinner is better in most cases because 1 1/4″ is a lot to protrude from the wall. You have to consider how this will look from the side and how the added thickness ties into the cabinets. However thicker is stronger so for some softer materials like marble or concrete 1 1/4″ may be better. Of course it depends again on what type of marble you use or if you have an additive in the concrete to strengthen it and the PSI.
It’s a tough question to answer exactly but we’d recommend you stay within the averages and go as thin as you can without compromising the strength of the material.
Is Real Stone A Good Slab Backsplash Material?
Yes. Natural stone is a great material for a slab backsplash. It’s a beautiful look with a lot of functional benefits that make stone an ideal material for a backsplash. But it varies based on the type of stone you buy. Below we’ll be looking at the most common types. Marble Granite and Quartz.
Marble Slab Backsplash
A solid marble slab backsplash is by far the most beautiful backsplash I’ve seen. When paired with marble countertops and just the right cabinets it’s such a rich, classy look. While most people gravitate towards a subway tile for the kitchen backsplash, which is very in style at the moment, you might want to consider what a single slab marble backsplash could do for your kitchen. It creates a bold look that tile just can’t match. If you’re not a fan of grout lines or tile in general, this trend may be for you.
But as with anything you put in a kitchen there are some pros and cons when you use marble.
Is a marble slab backsplash a good idea?
Using a marble slab as opposed to tile is a great idea. It’s a beautiful look that’s durable and easy to clean and you won’t ever have to deal with grout. The only real cons to using a marble slab as a kitchen backsplash are:
- Marble can stains easier than other solid stone slabs if spills aren’t cleaned immediately
- Marble scratches a lot easier than hard stone slabs like granite or quartz
That’s it. If you can deal with those two small issues then a marble slab backsplash may be for you. We use marble on kitchen countertops all the time where stains and scratches are easier to come by than on a backsplash and we never have an issue. As long your willing to clean the marble as soon as it gets dirty and keep sharp objects off it you should be fine.
What does a marble slab backsplash cost?
Our cost for marble is around $65 a square foot but the average retail price is around $90. That’s in New Jersey and it varies a little based on the amount we order at a time and the type of marble. We get a little discount if we buy the whole slab too.
When we pick out our marble for a countertop job the leftover bits from the slab are called remnants. These remnants are sold cheaper than the main slab. If you’ve got a small job then buy a remnant because the price can be as low as $45 a sq. ft. That’s why we always try and buy the whole slab. We get the main pieces for $65 and the rest for $45. Plus an extra discount if we order for more than one job at a time. And installation is always free.
Negotiate with your stone supplier. It’s a competitive business with a lot of suppliers and they want your business so don’t be afraid to make an offer.
Carrara Marble Slab Backsplash
If you want a carrara marble slab backsplash but want to save a few bucks, consider using remnants from a countertop to achieve the look for less. If your using a different material for your countertops you can get an even better deal. Just about every stone supplier has some remnants laying around the yard you can pick from. Remnants are the unused marble pieces left over from someone else’s countertop job. If a customer doesn’t use every bit of marble from the slab then the leftover pieces are sold cheap.
Even if your matching a marble backsplash and countertop you could still negotiate a better price on the leftover material and use it on your backsplash. This is because most stone supplier buy slabs that are big enough for a countertop. They figure on selling the rest as a remnant so it’s priced into the deal. They don’t have to get top dollar for all the leftover bits and lucky for you these are sometimes enough for a backsplash.
Marble Slab Backsplash With Black Granite
The minimalist approach of a single, solid, unbroken surface combined with a timeless material like marble. It’s such a beautiful look for the kitchen that you really can’t pull off any other way.
Some clients choose to match the marble countertops to the backsplash but you don’t have to. Here we see an example of a white marble slab backsplash with black granite countertop, white cabinets with rose gold hardware, large white floor tiles and a stainless stove. The contrast this look creates is simply stunning.
The white marble slab backsplash is a growing trend in the luxury kitchen design market but it’s not just used in high end kitchens. It’ll look great in any kitchen. Just be sure your up for the additional cleaning requirements that comes with it.
Pro Tip: In order to keep the single slab of marble unbroken, run your outlets under the upper cabinets or shelving or in areas that don’t have marble like what we see above. Here the outlets have been recessed in the wall paneling.
Solid Marble Slab Backsplash
When designing a kitchen we try to create a timeless look that’s both beautiful when complete but will also hold up to the rigors of every day life. Kitchens are functional spaces after all. You’ll be cooking, eating and entertaining here. Spills will happen and food will splash on that backsplash. That’s what a backsplash is for after all. And we’ve found that a solid marble slab backsplash is up to the challenge.
The very best designed kitchens should look good even when they get a little messy from entertaining. Which is exactly why we work so hard to design them this way. The best designed rooms should look good by design without a bunch of additional stuff that just ends up cluttering the room. And since this is a kitchen design it also needs to be functional and easy to keep clean. A solid marble slab backsplash ticks all the boxes.
White Marble Slab Backsplash
White marble slab backsplashes have got to be our favorite style at the moment because of how classy they look. People are so used to seeing a tile backsplash that when they see a marble slab one for the first time it really makes an impression. I’m not a big fan of cleaning grout and don’t really like the look of all the lines and tile patterns so a slab backsplash is a natural fit for me.
Utilizing a single slab of marble creates a streamlined, modern, almost minimalist look that really appeals to me. That big slab of stone on the wall just looks so strong to me and I love how easy it is to clean. Getting grout lines clean is always a struggle around the stove top, especially if you have white. With marble you just spray some cleaner on it and wipe. It couldn’t be easier.
Marble Slab Backsplash Around A Window
What’s great about a solid slab is how you can cut it to fit around a window and still have it remain one piece.
The white vertical ship lap cabinets have a sophisticated quality with a rustic feel that works nicely with the exposed wood ceiling beams. They really draw the eye up through all the marble and onto that exposed wood. The casement windows and oven hood help as well. If you’ve got some nice trim or exposed ceiling beams you should consider adding a few vertical elements into your design because it draws the eye up to all that beautiful wood work.
Another benefit of a marble slab backsplash is it prevents the room from looking too busy. There’s a lot going on here and an elaborate tile backsplash would detract from the clean design. Here we see both the countertops and the backsplash finished with a matching light grey and white marble backsplash which works around the kitchen window. Combined with the exposed wood beams and basic finishes results in a transitional farmhouse vibe we can’t get enough of.
I love this example because so many kitchen designers overdo it. This is a very simple kitchen that because of some really smart design choices stands out to me as one of the most beautiful on the page.
Pro Tip: Designing your countertops and backsplash with the same slab material is a great way to create continuity which in turn let’s other elements of the room shine. In this case it’s the simplicity of the room that really makes it stand out.
Quartz Solid Slab Kitchen Backsplash
Quartz is a beautiful stone that’s extremely durable. While it’s typically used for countertops, it can also be used as a kitchen backsplash. Instead of using tile, a sheet backsplash features a large, continuous solid slab of quartz for a sleek, modern look.
Quartz offers a number of benefits that are ideal for a kitchen backsplash. Not only is a quartz solid slab kitchen backsplash easier to clean, but this non porous material also is stain resistant, and doesn’t require sealing. It also doesn’t scratch easily and can be cut to fit just about any size or shape including around windows and cabinets.
Quartz comes in a variety of colors and styles. Some even have veining which makes them look very similar to marble. If you like the look of marble but want something more durable give quartz a try.
How much does a quartz backsplash cost?
Our cost for quartz is around $65 a square foot but the average retail price is around $90. That’s in New Jersey and it varies a little based on the amount we order and the type of quartz. We get a small discount if we buy the whole slab too.
When we pick out our quartz for a countertop job the leftover bits from the slab are called remnants. These remnants are sold cheaper than the main slab. If you’ve got a small job then buy a remnant because the price can be as low as $45 a sq. ft. That’s why we always try and buy the whole slab. We get the main pieces for $65 and the rest for $45. Plus an extra discount if we order for more than one job at a time. And installation is always free.
Negotiate with your stone supplier. It’s a competitive business with a lot of suppliers and they want your business so don’t be afraid to make an offer.
How thick is a quartz slab backsplash?
The average thickness for a quartz slab is 1 1/4″ but you can buy it as thin as 3/4″. Thin slabs are used mostly for pre-built bathroom vanity tops but they work great as a backsplash.
You have to consider how a thick backsplash will look from the side and how the added thickness ties into the cabinets and and trim, windows or wall paneling. That’s why thinner is generally better because it’s easier to work into the design. Most people are using tile which is around 1/4″ so even a 3/4″ backsplash is considered thick. Thicker slabs are definitely stronger but considering quartz is such a strong material you shouldn’t have a problem with a thinner material. Also nothing sits on or really hits a backsplash like it might with a countertop so there’s not as much to worry about.
Is quartz good for a backsplash?
Quartz is a great backsplash material. It has a beautiful finish and comes in a variety of colors and styles. Some designs even have veins that gives it the look of marble. It’s super durable, stain resistant, easy to clean and hard to scratch. What else could you want from a backsplash.
Can I Use Quartz As A Backsplash?
Of course you can. Quartz is well known for it’s durability and great looks. Customers have been using it for years on countertops because of how beautiful and durable it is. Quartz is easy to clean, resists stains and doesn’t scratch easily. So why not use it as a backsplash.
Tile backsplashes are becoming outdated. Slabs and sheets are now being used instead. They provide a continuous, solid surface that looks great and fits into a wide variety of home styles. We’re using solid slab backsplashes on everything from a rustic country kitchen to ultra modern homes.
A large slab on the wall means there’s no grout to worry about which is the major staining problem in a kitchen. Quartz is non-porous. Meaning, it has no tiny holes that hold dirt and moisture. Hence, stains don’t soak below the surface to become permanent like they do with grout of more porous stones. And quartz doesn’t require sealing so long term maintenance is nothing but keeping it clean.
Is A Solid Slab Quartz Backsplash Expensive?
It depends on your definition of expensive but generally speaking the answer is no. The material is a lot cheaper per square foot than buying tile but since there’s really no installation charge it ends up being about the same. With tile you’ve got so many extra charges added onto the job over what the tiles cost. Installation and grouting can take days and costs a lot. Then you’ve got quality concerns to think about. Good tile guys aren’t cheap. You don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff with a slab backsplash. They come completely finished so there’s nothing to worry about.
Let’s say you buy quartz at the high end of $90 a square foot and have an average 20 sq. ft. backsplash. That’s $1800. Hiring a half way decent tile guy to install good quality tile in your kitchen won’t be much cheaper than $1800 bucks. And it’ll probably be more if you choose an inlay or fancy tile pattern with lots of cuts.
When you compare the cost of materials, quartz is more than tile. However when you take labor into account the prices are about the same.
And keep in mind that with a quartz slab you’ll always have a perfect finished product. All the stone supplier does is cut the shape and secure it to the wall with mortar or mastic. With tile there are dozens of things that can go wrong. Unless you have a great tile guys slabs are the much safer way to go.
Solid Granite Slab Backsplash
When it comes to designing a kitchen the backsplash is a spot where you can have some fun. Cabinets, flooring and countertops are the major decisions and people usually play it kind of safe. 99 Times out of 100 I can guess what a customers gonna pick just by looking at the plans or seeing their house. Everyone wants pretty much the same thing. But with a backsplash you can step out and do something a little different.
A backsplash is kind of the same as the front door. It’s a small thing that makes a big impression. And it’s easier and cheaper to change later if you don’t like what you’ve picked. It’s not easy to replace 20 grand worth of cabinets but a $1500 backsplash isn’t that big a hit.
The backsplash should be something you notice when you walk in the kitchen and should fit every occasion. Ideally you should choose something that ages well. It’s not something you want to get sick of in a year and then regret later.
A solid granite slab backsplash ticks all the right boxes. All you have to do is pick the right color.
What does a granite backsplash cost?
We pay an average of around $50 a sq. ft. for granite but it all depends on the type you buys. Some slabs can cost us as much as $75 a sq. ft. which makes it as expensive as marble or quartz but some lower grade granite only costs around $35. Remnants are cheaper just like any stone slab and average around $35 a sq. ft.
When customers ask what a granite backsplash costs what they’re really asking is how much they cost vs. a standard tile backsplash. For some reason people have the impression that slabs are a lot more money but they’re not. Even the highest grade granite would still be about the same a tile backsplash.
For an average 20 sq. ft. backsplash we’d only pay around $1000 bucks. A tiled backsplash would be about the same if not more. So it’s definitely affordable compared with your other options but you get a much more expensive look that’s more durable and a lot easier to clean.
Granite Slab Kitchen Backsplash
One of the great things about granite is how durable and easy to clean it is which makes it ideal as a backsplash material. It’s extremely scratch resistant and low maintenance however it does need to be sealed. Granite’s a natural stone slab so even though it feels smooth there are still some small pores. Nothing big enough for debris to get into but dirt and oil can so make sure to wipe down behind the range regularly. Especially if you cook with lots of grease.
When you work with a real stone it’s important to keep up with the maintenance requirements. Even though they’re very minimal with granite you should still do it as recommended.
Granite comes in a wide variety of colors and styles so it’s pretty easy to find something that’ll work well as a backsplash slab.
Granite Slab Backsplash Behind The Range
A great place for a granite slab backsplash is behind the range. Because the areas so small it’s easy to get a remnant that’ll fit for a great price. Granite paired with a vintage style stove is a really nice look.
Black Granite Backsplash
Black granite makes for a great backsplash and looks especially nice with white or cream colored cabinets. The contrast is really sharp.
Some More Beautiful Slab Backsplash Designs
Below are some more great examples of solid slab backsplashes.
Custom cut marble slab backsplash in a beautiful design with white subway tiles. White subway tiles are immensely popular right and pairing them with a solid slab backsplash just takes it to a whole other level.
Gray kitchen cabinets with porcelain floor tiles. White quartz slab backsplash and countertops.
White quartz slab backsplash and matching countertops with a mix of dark wood cabinets and white.
Gray quartz slab backsplash and matching countertops with dark gray shaker style cabinets and silver hardware. Red brick kitchen accent wall.
Gray cabinets with silver hardware, marble slab backsplash
Contemporary kitchen with marble slab backsplash.
Traditional kitchen design with solid stone backsplash.
Light and Bright kitchen design white cabinets with gold hardware, marble slab oven backsplash.
Gray cabinets with marble backsplash, porcelain tile floors.
Light gray cabinets with marble backsplash and black granite countertops.
Stone slab backsplash, marble with white cabinets, hardwood floors and bead board ceiling.
Real stone slab backsplash, marble white cabinets with rose gold fixtures.
Marble slab range backsplash with black cabinets.
Marble slab backsplash with white cabinets and rose gold fixtures.
Solid quartz sheet backsplash with white shaker cabinets, hardwood floors and stainless 60″ Wolf range.
Solid black granite backsplash with gray cabinets, white appliances.
Summary: Solid Stone Slab Backsplash. Are The Worth It?
Aside from the super high end quality of a stone slab backsplash, they’re durable, easy to clean and a beautiful look. But even though the price is competitive with other backsplash materials it’s still not cheap, especially if you’ve got a large kitchen. Take your time, look at lots of reference and when you’re ready to buy make sure you negotiate a good price for your slab. Hopefully one of the pics on this page stands out to you and helps in designing your next dream kitchen.
If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.