Whilst both materials are beautiful and elegant choices for kitchens, a mirror splashback differs in both looks and properties from the plain or coloured glass splashbacks as detailed in Part 1 of this series. Mirrored glass creates a striking finishing touch for any kitchen. It is suited to both contemporary and traditional kitchen looks, often adding a modern twist to a more traditional kitchen style. A mirror splashback is also an ideal choice for small kitchens as the mirrored surface is highly effective in reflecting light around the room, creating the impression of increased floor space, and a room larger than it really is.
A mirror splashback requires toughened glass
Regular mirrored glass must never be used for kitchen splashbacks as it is highly likely to crack and break. This might occur through a knock or bang but is even more likely through exposure to heat. This means if you want to incorporate a mirror splashback in your kitchen then it must be produced from toughened or ‘tempered’ glass; General safety regulations dictate this.
To achieve this, glass is templated on site and then cut ahead of tempering. It cannot be cut post-tempering as the glass would shatter. The glass is heated within a furnace to temperatures in excess of 600 degrees, before being rapidly cooled with a blast of cold air for up to 10 seconds. This causes the outer surface of the glass to shrink and contract at a faster speed than its centre. The process generates a strengthened glass sheet suitable for kitchen splashbacks. Mercury is sprayed onto the back of the sheet to create its reflective mirror quality. The colour of this glass in front of the mercury layer can vary, with a choice of ‘Smoked Black’, ‘Smoked Bronze’ or ‘Antique’ effect mirror backsplashes.
The latter, Antique mirror, is a particularly beautiful option for kitchen splashbacks. This gives the effect of an aged and distressed mirror, and yet is challenging to tell apart from a genuine vintage mirror.
When considering a mirror splashback it is really important to note that untoughened mirror glass would not be suitable behind a hob. The reason is that over a period of years the mercury would start to fleck behind the mirror…essentially whilst the glass itself might not crack there is a distinct possibility the mercury will.
Advantages of a mirror splashback
- Mirrored glass reflects light so will make a room feel bright and light
- Particularly for smaller kitchens it can make a room feel larger than it actually is
- It creates an elegant look and will suit all styles including both modern and traditional kitchen spaces, often adding a modern twist to a more traditional kitchen look.
- Mirrored glass can be cut, shaped, polished and drilled according to individual taste. This includes cut-out sockets where needed, as long as it is cut before tempering.
- As it is toughened glass, it is durable
- It is easy to clean
- There is a choice of colour tints available.
- The colour scheme of a mirror splashback, and particularly within Antique mirror glass will often make everyday splashes and spills less prominent (so if you don’t immediately wipe them it’s unlikely anyone would notice!)
- The longest possible length is 3m so you can usually have full sheets without seams
Disadvantages of a mirror splashback
- The biggest disadvantage of mirrored kitchen splashbacks is the price. Because the process it undergoes for manufacture is more laborious than for coloured glass it is much more expensive. In fact it is the most expensive type of kitchen splashback, with the exception of some types of granite.
- Mirrored splashbacks cannot be used behind a gas hob because continuous expansion and contraction of tempered glass created by heat can produce micro-fractures within its mercury coating. Over time this can cause visible cracks to form behind the glass.
- Mirrored glass can show up marks easily, depending on the choice of finish.
- Although easy to clean, mirror glass needs regular cleaning.
For any further information on mirror splashbacks, or any other splashback material, please send us a message or call 020 7536 9266.
More posts you might find helpful:
- Kitchen worktops: What happens during a kitchen worktop template? (Part 1)
- What worktops go with a white kitchen?
- How to clean gloss kitchen surfaces
- Kitchen Island Design for Families
- Open Plan Kitchens: 10 Essential Planning Considerations for an Open Plan Kitchen and Living Room