Splashbacks have been installed in classical and contemporary kitchens worldwide throughout history. Advances in technology have paved the way for the design and manufacture of higher-quality splashbacks than ever before. Even so, the basic function performed by a kitchen splashback is the same today as it ever was.
Back with material choice, toughened glass splashbacks are generally considered the gold standard for the discerning household. As the name suggests, toughened glass splashbacks are manufactured from a special type of glass, which is engineered to be resistant to heat and impact. By contrast, acrylic splashbacks are not designed to be nearly as robust.
But does this mean that toughened glass splashbacks are completely impervious to the kind of punishment doled out in a typical kitchen? Is it possible for a glass splashback to crack, and what is the likelihood of it happening?
Why Do Glass Splashbacks Crack?
There are two reasons why a glass splashback may crack or show other signs of damage:
- It was manufactured using substandard materials in the first place
- It was exposed to excessively rough treatment or a major impact
A premium-quality splashback manufactured from the highest quality toughened glass can withstand temperatures as high as 400° C. This is a significantly higher temperature than any splashback is likely to be exposed to, even when positioned behind a hob or cooker.
Resistance testing during the manufacturing process ensures that a quality glass splashback can stand up to most types of everyday knocks. Bash a glass splashback as hard as you can with a hammer and it will break, but knock it accidentally with pots, pans and knives and it will not succumb to damage.
It is possible for excessively high temperatures to compromise the integrity of a glass splashback, but only in extreme circumstances. Either way, it is typically recommended to leave a gap of at least 10cm between your hob and your glass splashback.
Can A Glass Splashback Crack Due to Cleaning?
Cleaning a glass splashback is not going to result in it cracking or shattering. Glass splashbacks can be kept clean and sanitary using most conventional household cleaners, typically requiring little more than a quick wipe on occasion.
However, abrasive cleaning products are best avoided, as are things like wire wool, stiff-bristled brushes and so on. While cleaning products like these are unlikely to crack or break your splashback, they could compromise the quality and appearance of the finish.
A glass splashback should be cleaned in the same way as any other glass surface or mirror around the home.
Can You Fix A Cracked Glass Splashback?
Fixing a cracked glass splashback is practically impossible, particularly where bespoke splashbacks are concerned. Due to the unique pattern, finish or colouration of the glass, repairing it in a way that produces a smooth and seamless finish would be extremely difficult.
In most instances, it would be easier and more cost-effective to replace the splashback in its entirety. But as it is extremely difficult to crack a glass splashback without subjecting it to severe punishment, it is not a particularly common scenario.
What about Acrylic Splashbacks?
An acrylic splashback can make a fantastic visual addition to any kitchen, while adding a welcome layer of protection for the surface beneath. Depending on where the splashback is installed, an acrylic splashback can serve an important practical purpose for many years.
However, acrylic is a material that begins to lose its structural integrity and may begin to deform at a temperature of 80° C. This makes it unsuitable for use in close proximity to hobs and cookers, which can often operate at temperatures closer to 300° C.
Acrylic is also not as robust and durable as toughened glass, and may therefore call for a replacement product at an earlier stage.
How Safe Are Glass Splashbacks?
A toughened glass splashback can be a comprehensively safe feature to install in any kitchen. Concerns regarding the potential for glass to crack, shatter or break are understandable. Particularly given how not all glass splashbacks on the market are manufactured from toughened glass.
Where a regular glass is used to manufacture a splashback, it could pose a health and safety risk to those in the vicinity. Standard glass is not designed to withstand the kinds of temperatures and impacts a splashback has to contend with daily. Worse still, conventional glass has a tendency to shatter into thousands of razor-sharp pieces, should its structural integrity be compromised.
None of the above applies with a toughened glass splashback. Along with being exceptionally durable and resilient, a toughened glass splashback is designed not to shatter in the same way as conventional glass. This means that in the unlikely event that your toughened glass splashback is damaged; it will not present an immediate health and safety risk to you or your household.
Is it Possible to Cut Holes in a Glass Splashback for Switches and Outlets?
Technically speaking, a glass splashback can be designed and manufactured in absolutely any configuration imaginable. However, cutting holes in a toughened glass splashback manually after it has been manufactured can be difficult.
This is therefore something that should be discussed with your design and installation team prior to ordering your splashback. While taking the measurements for your kitchen splashback, you will need to clearly indicate where any holes or deviations from its standard form need to be cut.
Upon What Kinds of Surfaces Can a Glass Splashbacks Be Installed?
A toughened glass splashback can be installed on almost any type of conventional kitchen surface. This includes walls comprising plasterboard, concrete, exposed brickwork and more. It may even be possible to install your glass splashback over an existing tiled surface, depending on the material the tiles are made of and their condition.
The installation process involves the careful application of a special adhesive, designed to bond the splashback to the wall permanently. The edges and corners are then sealed with high-quality silicone, available in a wide variety of colours to complement the splashback and its surroundings.