Does Your Bathroom Sink Need a Backsplash? Let’s Discuss!

You just got a new sink installed in your bathroom. You’re quite pleased with your investment and the way it vastly improves the room. Going forward, you want to keep your bathroom looking as good as it can, which is why you’re mulling over the idea of getting a backsplash. Is a backsplash really necessary for a bathroom sink?

While not mandatory by any means, bathrooms can really benefit from having a backsplash. A backsplash can protect wallpapering, especially if mold and mildew form on bathroom surfaces. However, if your bathroom sink is a vanity or pedestal sink that’s not against the wall, you can probably skip the backsplash.

In this post, we’ll discuss backsplashes at length, including what they are and what they do. If your bathroom needs one, we’ll also give you suggestions on selecting the ideal backsplash for your bathroom sink. Keep reading!

What is a Backsplash?

Okay, so your bathroom sink doesn’t necessarily need a backsplash if you have a style of sink that’s not against the wall. That’s good to know. Just to be clear, let’s define what a backsplash is.

A backsplash is a material that covers the wall in a bathroom or kitchen. In the bathroom, the backsplash typically goes above the sink. Depending on your preferences, a backsplash can be smaller and just encircle the space over the sink or it can be more expansive, covering the entire wall around the bathroom sink.

The purpose of a backsplash is to catch messes that inevitably crop up in the bathroom, or splash up, hence the name. As your family gets ready in the bathroom day in and day out, it’s mostly water and spittle you have to worry about.

Since backsplashes are designed for protection, the material used must be durable. The most common backsplash materials are as follows:

  • Travertine (a type of limestone)
  • Soapstone
  • Limestone
  • Slate
  • Quartz
  • Quartzite
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Glass

As messes inevitably accumulate on the backsplash, you can wipe it down quickly and easily, sparing the walls in your bathroom. Besides their functionality, a backsplash is also a chance to express your personal design tastes. You can get a backsplash designed in nearly any shape, size, or color so it’s as impactful in your bathroom as it is useful.

What Are the Benefits of a Bathroom Backsplash?

Okay, you can see why some people might consider a bathroom backsplash, but are they really as beneficial as they seem? Yes, they certainly can be. Allow us to elaborate on the perks of having a bathroom backsplash now.

Easy Cleaning

Cleaning your bathroom is a pain, but the job is an inevitable one. As we mentioned in the last section, backsplashes are made so they’re easy to clean. The smooth, hard material often wipes up with a soft cloth, some dish soap, and water. You can save all the chemicals for cleaning your bathroom floor and tub rather than the backsplash.

Protecting Your Wallpaper

What kind of walls do you have in your bathroom? If the answer is antique or posh wallpaper, then you especially don’t want to take any chances with it. A full-walled backsplash will catch all those messes that happen in the bathroom, from toothpaste spit to water spills so your wallpaper doesn’t have to. If you have younger kids, the chance of messes goes up exponentially, making a backsplash a very good idea.

If you worry that your backsplash will cover your precious wallpapering and you’ll never see it again, you can buy a glass backsplash. This will protect your walls, and, since glass is translucent, you can still appreciate your wallpaper.

Preventing Bathroom Wreckage from Mildew and/or Mold

Mold and mildew are two types of fungus you do not want in your home. Mildew is often white while mold can be green, red, blue, or black. Each time you run your hot shower or tub, if your bathroom lacks ventilation, then the warm air lingers and mold and mildew can form. This fungus thrives on humidity.

In mild cases, you can scrub away mold and mildew using some heavy-duty cleaner. If this fungus spreads too much, you may find yourself forced to replace parts of your bathroom such as the tub or the walls.

A backsplash can’t do anything to prevent mold or mildew from forming in your bathroom, although it would be cool if it could. What your backsplash can do is limit the damage from being so severe that you have to consider paying for brand-new walls.

After all, have you ever tried scraping mold off wallpapering? You definitely don’t want to if you can avoid it! 

Does Your Bathroom Sink Really Need a Backsplash?

Okay, so let’s circle back around to the question we asked at the beginning of this post. Knowing all the benefits of backsplashes, do you absolutely need one for your bathroom sink?

The answer depends! If you have had issues with mold and mildew in the past, then a backsplash is certainly worth considering. The same is true if you’re especially attached to your bathroom wallpapering or you’re tired of cleaning up messes in the bathroom day in and day out.

Some homeowners love backsplashes because they’re functional and others because these bathroom additions are so appealing. Yet a backsplash isn’t a necessity for every type of sink. As we touched on earlier, sinks that don’t sit right against your wall needn’t have a backsplash.

These sinks, which include vanity and pedestal sinks, aren’t close enough to the wall that you really have to worry about the buildup of bathroom messes like spit and water. Thus, if you’re not so keen on the idea of a backsplash and this is the kind of bathroom sink you have, feel free to skip the backsplash.

Remember though, you don’t need to justify getting a backsplash installed in your bathroom. If you want to enhance the look of this room, a backsplash is one way to do it.

How to Choose the Right Backsplash for Your Bathroom

Let’s say that you did decide that a backsplash is an ideal solution for your bathroom. How do you go about selecting the right backsplash for you? A lot of it will come down to preference, but here are some other factors to keep in mind.

Consider the Height

The height of your backsplash is completely up to you, but you do want it to cover the walls around your sink at the very least. Most homeowners opt for a backsplash of 3 to 4 inches, which is the average, but yours can be wider or taller than that.

Pick Your Material

With so many backsplash materials to choose from, you can create all sorts of moods with this bathroom addition. A glass backsplash is sleek and timeless whereas a limestone backsplash gives your bathroom a somewhat rustic, earthy feel. Granite and marble backsplashes are incredibly upscale for a relaxing bathroom oasis.

Don’t Forget to Budget

According to HomeAdvisor, expect to pay at least $1,000 for your backsplash project. Where you live, the backsplash material you choose, and the size of your backsplash all play a role in cost. On the lower end, you could get a backsplash for around $600, but this project can sometimes be as costly as $1,350. Per hour, you may pay between $40 and $60 for labor.

We’d recommend calculating how much backsplash material you need by the square foot to get an idea of the money you might pay for this project. If your budget is especially tight, you can always buy peel-and-stick mosaic backsplashes for around $10 a pop. These aren’t as durable nor as beautiful as the real deal, but they get the job done in a pinch.

Think About Ease of Cleaning

Speaking of mosaic tiles, you have to choose the type of backsplash you want carefully. A backsplash with rows of alternating tiles may look visually appealing, but cleaning between those crevices can be a nightmare. The smoother and more seamless the backsplash, the faster your bathroom cleanup will be.


A backsplash safeguards your walls from spittle, water, and other fluids in your bathroom. If you have a type of sink outside of a vanity or pedestal sink, then a backsplash might be a good idea.

Now you have all the info you need to determine whether your bathroom needs a backsplash. Best of luck!

George Sab is a retired home improvement professional. For over 30 years, he has educated his clients and helped them make the best choice for their homes. George started A Great Sink in 2017 to share his knowledge with the world and assist his readers on their journey to their perfect home!


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