Splashback choices are no longer limited to just tiles and glass.
Doing your own splashback can be tough. Glass splashbacks are heavy and notoriously easy to break, especially if you tap an edge.
And tiles are time consuming to install and leave you with dreaded mouldy grout to clean. Not to mention are the Dark Ages in design - certainly not modern and stylish.
Little wonder acrylic is fast becoming extremely popular for DIY-ers. It’s 25 times stronger than glass and only half the weight. This makes it easy to install and very safe. There’s no risk of it shattering/exploding like glass splashbacks and wall panels do. And some (although not all as you’ll soon discover) acrylic splashbacks look identical to glass.
Tip 1. Is it high quality acrylic or front (face) painted metal?
First things first:
Ensure it is acrylic you are looking at andnot any of the other inferior types of polymer materials.
Establish the actual material used - don't put up with blanket terms such as "polymer." Polymer means a whole range of different materials and acrylic is only one of them.
Find out exactly what type of polymer material the splashback is made out of as for all you know, you may be looking at the super soft and ultra flexible polycarbonate or low quality (and toxic) high-gloss coated PVC/Vinyl!
There is a huge variety in the quality of acrylics/polymers. Some are produced in clean, state of the art factories from high quality resins. While others come from lower quality factories and use lower quality resins, producing acrylic with spots and imperfections which affect their durability and longevity.
When choosing your splashback, trust your eye. Does it offer depth and clarity of colour? Does it offer interest? Does it accentuate light in a room? Or does it look flat and dull like a front painted piece of metal?
Note that any paint/colour/image on the front of any splashback and wall panel material is more open to being worn during use and the finish is more susceptible to wear during cleaning.
Is it a particular brand of acrylic or it is the company’s “own” brand? Find out the brand of acrylic the splashback is made out of.
Is the brand used in other applications? Well known and significant applications such as commercial aquariums, aircraft windows and windscreens, ice hockey protection screens and even bone cement?
Knowing the actual brand will give you insight on the quality, reputation and history of the acrylic.
Does the actual acrylic manufacturer have a guarantee on the acrylic? What is the UV yellowing warranty the acrylic manufacturer has put on their acrylic?
This is the deal breaker in understanding how good a quality acrylic you are looking at and how much faith the actual acrylic manufacturer has in their own product quality.
UV yellowing warranty is the main way in determining quality between the different acrylics. This can range from the cheaper and inferior acrylics having only as little as only 1 year to high quality acrylic having 30 year guarantee of no UV yellowing.
Remember you want your acrylic splashback to last, not colour fade and not yellow over time.
Warranties speak volumes for both quality and durability.
Warranties can vary a lot, much like the quality of the acrylic.
And generally the better the warranty, the more confidence the supplier has in their product. Things to look out for are:
How long is the warranty is for?
Do you have to write in/contact the manufacturer for a longer warranty?
Is it limited to indoor use only?
Is there a sliding scale on the warranty – ie the warranty reduces over time?
Simple is best. Your warranty should last a long time, you shouldn’t have to “write in” or "contact" to get an extension, not limit itself to UV and /or indoor use only and not have a complicated sliding scale.
Also, does the acrylic have a manufacturer's warranty? Good quality acrylics will be backed by the manufacturer of the acrylic material itself.
Is it 4mm, 4.5mm or 6mm? Glass splashbacks are typically 6mm which gives it it’s stunning depth of colour. The thinner the acrylic the less depth of colour, and the more it looks like coloured plastic/vinyl rather than glass.
The thinner the polymer/acrylic the greater the flex. Also different types of polymer/acrylics flex more than others - the lesser quality polymer product; polycarbonate, has a lot of flex.
Why is flex important? Ever seen fun house mirrors? If your polymer/acrylic splashback is very flexible and you have a wall that is not perfectly straight you risk getting that effect!
Check to see whether the acrylic is extruded or cast. Extruded is softer than cast acrylic and is therefore more flimsy.
The thinner the acrylic splashback, the cheaper the cost to purchase. But you get what you pay for & that’s is certainly the case for acrylic splashbacks!
Thin acrylic splashbacks will not look like glass, they look like a sheet of coloured plastic because they lack the depth (from being thinner)– especially when looking at kitchen, bathroom and laundry panel sizes.
Innovative Splashbacks use 6mm PMMA cast acrylic and it is a well known BRAND of PMMA (Plexiglas®).
The Plexiglas® PMMA acrylic has been used around the world in a multitude of commercial and residential applications for the past 80 years (yes that's not a typo EIGHTY years). From aircraft windows and windscreens, ice hockey protection screens, glazing in place of glass, commercial aquariums to even bone cement in human surgical procedures - and these are only a few applications where Plexiglas® is use.
As everyone knows, warranties speak volumes for product quality and when an acrylic manufacturer can back their product with a 30 year no UV yellowing warranty coupled with the unsurpassed durability and longevity of Plexiglas®, we would be absolutely berserk to chose anything else to make Innovative Splashbacks out of.
Tip 2. Make sure it’s perfectly clear & it looks like a glass splashback and not coloured plastic or face painted metal/aluminium.
The acrylic Innovative Splashbacks uses looks exactly like glass and its even clearer than glass with absolutely no green tinge. It’s optically clear – as clear as optical glasses.
There’s a huge difference between optically clear acrylic and lower quality acrylic. One looks exactly like glass splashbacks while the other looks like coloured plastic/vinyl.
Also, with our acrylic splashbacks being painted on the rear - like glass splashbacks - you have a stunning depth of colour and no risk of the colour being worn, scratched or chipped during use and cleaning.
Tip 3. Compare the TOTAL cost.
Most acrylic splashbacks are supplied in single sheets of a set size. And remember, while the cost-per-metre may be less, you are forced to purchase an entire sheet and you pay for what you don’t use. This often makes cut-to-size less expensive since you don’t pay for wastage.
Also include any cutting fees. Some suppliers charge exorbitant fees to cut acrylic splashbacks, while most won’t supply cut-to-size at all. And if you cut it yourself you must factor in your time and labour as well.
Do you have to pick up your splashbacks? Can you fit them into your car? Everyone typically charges for delivery, but we have sourced the best prices for fast, reliable delivery of our splashbacks directly to your door, nationwide.
Some large hardware stores charge very high prices for delivery, even across town. We have seen numerous instances where our delivery charges to interstate clients are lower than across town hardware store charges.
Want to reduce wastage? Purchasing full size sheets means you have to cut them down - of get them cut down for you - which you are either stuck with the wastage and/or contributing to the 20 million tonnes of construction waste a year if you are purchasing full sheets! Our cut-to-size acrylic splashbacks means you are reducing waste at the factory door - we cut all splasbhacks to each order size and all offcuts are 100% recycled. You can also find out more about our focus on sustainability on our website.
Tip 4. Does it come with a play piece?
If you choose to cut and need to trim it yourself ask if it comes with a play piece. This is smaller piece you can use to check your cutting process first. You don’t want to get this wrong on your ‘live’ pieces; it can get very costly when you begin replacing panels.
Innovative Splashbacks supply play pieces with every order.
Tip 5. Does it come with easy to follow instructions, and is installation quick and easy?
Check you get access to an easy to follow installation guide. Even though it’s quite simple to install you don’t want to make any mistakes because you weren’t given the right information.
Innovative Splashbacks supply easy to follow measurement and installation guide to all of our clients.
Tip 6. Can you get help when you need it?
We recognised the need to have help available outside hours for people doing installations in the evening or on weekends. If you’re installing your splashback, and you need to ask a question then make sure you can.
Ask how easy it is to get help, and make sure you’re not restricted to office hours only, or worse still a call centre without any real product expertise available.
Innovative Splashbacks can be contacted 7 days a week, including outside of normal trading hours to support all of our clients, including DIY'ers.
Tip 7. What is the colour method?
You may think there’s no difference between spray painted acrylic and extruded acrylic with a colour layer ‘glued’ to the back or even the dyed acrylic panels.
However, the difference becomes obvious when you compare them side by side and right next to glass splashbacks. This is even more apparent larger kitchen, laundry and bathroom panels versus smaller “sample” pieces.
The ‘glued’ or ‘bonding’ process lacks the depth and vibrancy of spray painted acrylic and it pales in comparison when you compare it to glass. And because it’s mass produced you can’t choose a custom colour.
Innovative Splashvbacks spray paint our 6mm cast German made PMMA acrylic, exactly like glass splashbacks so it is vibrant, has depth and in fact looks exactly like a glass splashback.
Plus our splashbacks are available in metallic colours, and people can choose their own colour to perfectly complement their kitchen or bathroom decor.
Extruded colour layer ‘glued’ to the back acrylics are prone to yellowing and colour fade with time and when exposed to UV, and this is reflected in the warranty offered.
Innovative Splashbacks offer an industry leading 10 year warranty. Most offer far less, try and force you to “write in” or "contact" for extensions and only limit their product to a “UV Warranty”, even reducing their warranty by 10% each year.
In summary, there are many acrylic splashbacks on the market including other inferior polymer materials. The range of products, quality and suppliers ranges widely. Make sure you follow these 7 tips and make sure your acrylic splashback really is The Affordable Luxury.
Innovative Splashbacks colourback and digital print acrylic splashbacks are proudly Australian Made.