Where To End Backsplash On An Open Wall (Do This!)


Backsplashes are both an eye-pleasing and practical addition to the kitchen. They provide an easy-to-clean surface that you can customize through the use of various materials, colors, and patterns. 

When installing a backsplash, many homeowners wonder where to end it on an open wall.

You can end a backsplash on an open wall wherever you desire. Generally, backsplashes end on an open wall in alignment with the upper cabinets or the countertop. When these two differ in their ending spots, homeowners can choose what they aesthetically prefer. Factors such as the budget and kitchen layout can also influence the decision. 

Where To End A Backsplash On An Open Wall

When designing and installing a backsplash, there will be areas that are obvious and not so obvious about where to put it. 

In this article, we will discuss considerations for backsplash placement that will influence your decision on where to end it on an open wall.

End Backsplash In Line With Upper Cabinets

Backsplashes are generally installed on the wall space between the upper and lower cabinetry. 

This offers a seamless look and easy-to-clean surfaces that protect the walls from splashes and food debris. 

In such a setup, it is common to end the backsplash in line with the end of the upper cabinets. 

If you do not have upper cabinets, you can tile all of the way up to the ceiling. 

You can also create a stopping line above the counter that is high enough to offer protection behind areas such as the sink or stove top.

End Backsplash In Line With Countertops

The main purpose of backsplashes is to protect the wall from food prepping taking place on countertops. 

If you have a counter that is longer than the cabinets, such as a breakfast bar or peninsula set against an open wall, you can decide whether to align the backsplash with the outer line of the countertops or with the upper cabinets. 

If you extend beyond the cabinets, then consider installing a backsplash up to the ceiling that lines up with the countertop.

Backsplash Around Sink And Windows

If the kitchen sink is aligned with the countertop against the wall, the backsplash should go behind this high moisture and splash area. 

Many sinks have a window over them as well. Consider if the backsplash should go around the window up to the ceiling, trim, or upper cabinetry for a seamless look.

Backsplash Behind Stove Range And Range Hood

A backsplash is an essential element to have behind the appliance you use for cooking. 

This will offer an area that is easy to clean from splashes and grease. A backsplash also creates a connected look that is eye-pleasing between the stove top and range hood.

How To Decide Where Backsplash Should End

Take a photo or draw a quick sketch of your kitchen area. The depth of cabinets and countertops can vary but are located in conjunction with each other to form the overall outlines of your kitchen. 

Draw or edit the photo by shading in areas where you intend to install a backsplash. Create a symmetrical picture that “boxes” in the kitchen area. 

Then, try another option, changing or phasing out the ending lines on the open wall, and see if you like that better. 

If your upper and lower cabinets do not align, you can get creative. Consider angling or tapering the backsplash. Create a focal point or unique design with mosaic tiles. 

If the lower area extends further, you can take the backsplash up to the ceiling. Sketch in your ideas and see what you like.

Generally, it is eye-pleasing to end the backsplash on an open wall by aligning it with the end of the cabinets or countertop. 

It is easier to plan out what you want to do ahead of time to save you time, energy, and money. 

You want to create a zone for the kitchen, and once you take a step back to look at it, you will likely notice a natural stopping point.

Don’t forget to consider the edging when measuring the size of your backsplash. The edge should align with the cabinet, countertop, or wall corner. 

Budget

Backsplash materials can be very expensive. Determine where you must install the backsplash and then work from that area. 

In general, the kitchen sink and stove top should have a backsplash behind them to protect the wall. 

If you install a backsplash only behind the kitchen sink or stove, create a balanced and symmetrical look in this concise area. Do this by extending the backsplash equal distances out from the center of the sink or stove top on both sides. 

However, if you are only a few inches from the corner, extend the backsplash to the corner to create a natural stopping point. 

You can extend the backsplash further out from high-use areas, but only on the length of the wall where these are to create a seamless look. You can then leave adjacent walls empty and open to reduce costs.

How To End Backsplash On An Open Wall

Once you have determined where you want to end the backsplash on an open wall, you need a backsplash end cap

Plan on incorporating the thickness of the edging you choose to use, as this will affect where the finished backsplash ends. 

Use caulk, bullnose tiles, metal edging trim, or rail moldings to give it a finished look. These can go on the raw edges of the backsplash as they extend upward and outward. 

Caulk

Caulking the edge of the backsplash is a quick, easy, and low-cost option. This works well with mosaic, stone, and porcelain tiles. 

Apply a thin and even line of caulk along the open edges and allow it to dry according to product instructions. Choose a caulk color that matches or correlates well with your backsplash.

Bullnose Tiles

This prefabricated edging piece can match backsplash tiles or offer a contrasting color. They are curved to create an even finish, covering the raw edge of a backsplash. 

Before installing the backsplash, the open edges should be sanded and polished to form a rounded edge to accommodate the bullnose tiles.

Metal Edging Trim

Metal edging trim can be found in various finishes that coordinate with other metallic appliances in your kitchen. They will create a clean and finished line along all of the edges that meet an open wall.

This video demonstrates how to install metal edging trim on tile:

Rail Moldings

Rail moldings offer a visual transition between different types of tile or from tile to an open wall. 

Much like bullnose tiles, they are made of tile and cover the unfinished edges of tile materials, but are shaped much like trim that you see around windows or doors. 

You can choose matching or contrasting colors. 

Where Not To Put Backsplash

A backsplash is not needed in certain places of your kitchen. There are several dos and don’ts when installing backsplashes. 

As mentioned above, installing a backsplash behind the sink and stove top is highly recommended. However, using it in the following unnecessary areas will increase your overall cost.

Behind The Fridge

Most of the time, you cannot see behind the refrigerator. If you ever need to repair plumbing or electricity, it is best to keep this area accessible. It is far easier to repair the wall than it is to remove and repair a backsplash.

Areas Without Cabinets Or Countertops

You may see floor-to-ceiling tiles in bathrooms, but it is not as common in kitchen areas where there are no cabinets or countertops. 

You may wish to extend the backsplash up to the ceiling in areas around the sink, stove top, or visible wall areas between cabinetry. 

However, generally it is not eye-pleasing or cost-effective to extend the backsplash beyond the cabinets or countertops. 

Once you get to this point, you will run into the dilemma of whether or not to extend the backsplash down to the floor and up to the ceiling. 

FAQs

Where do you end a corner on a backsplash?

Allow the backsplash to end right into the corner of the wall, making a clean-line finish. If both walls have backsplash, the two ends that meet each other must be sealed with grout.

Bullnose and other edging materials will create a bulky and uneven-line finish that may not look eye-pleasing.  

How do you close a peel and stick backsplash on an open wall?

Caulk the unfinished edges of peel and stick tiles on an open wall. Caulk is not as thick as other edging materials and will create a more cohesive finished look.

Consider adding caulk where this style of backsplash meets the countertop and cabinets as well. This will maintain the adhesion of the tile to the wall on all edges, creating a waterproof seal.

Final Thoughts

When ending a backsplash on an open wall, it is generally a good idea to stop it where the upper cabinets or countertops also stop. Ultimately, it is up to you where to stop a backsplash. 

Consider various design options before installing, and make sure that edging is installed to create a finished look on the open wall space. This creates a kitchen zone that is eye-pleasing and practical.

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