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Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash: Best Materials, When it’s Necessary, & 9 Design Ideas

By James King

December 7, 2022

When you’re planning an outdoor kitchen project… One of the first things you’ll have to consider is the location of your island.

Will it be freestanding, or near a wall?

If it’s near a wall… You’ll want to consider installing an outdoor kitchen backsplash.

But how important is a backsplash, anyway?

And if you do install one… What are the materials you should consider, and what will the finished product look like?

Fret not! All will be answered in this article.

We’ll begin with addressing whether an outdoor kitchen backsplash is necessary or not.

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modern outdoor kitchen with concrete backsplash near lake with patio furniture

Do You Need a Backsplash?

outdoor kitchen grill with hood

If your outdoor kitchen will be near a wall… You’ll want to consider installing a backsplash.

Why?

Primarily for safety reasons!

Think about it for a moment.

If your grill island is near a wall, grease from your grill will accumulate on the wall over time.

While this staining can be unsightly… What’s more scary is the potential danger of a grease fire.

And if the wall is made from combustible materials… It’s a roll of the dice every time you fire up your grill!

Installing a backsplash will preserve your peace of mind, and keep your home safe!

And even if your wall is not made from combustible materials… A backsplash is worth the effort to prevent stains from grease.

Outside kitchen backsplashes are also easier to clean, and provide extra heat resistance.

They’re also a great way to tie in varied design features in your outdoor living space!

Point is… Installing a backsplash has benefits beyond safety concerns.

Let’s say you’ve decided to install an outdoor kitchen backsplash. What materials should you consider?

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Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash Materials

Just as you should take special care in choosing outdoor kitchen materials… The same goes for your backsplash materials!

Let’s review some of the most popular selections.

Tile Backsplash

ceramic tiles being installed for an outdoor kitchen structure

It’s no surprise that tile is one of the most popular backsplash outdoor kitchen options!

Often a carryover from indoor kitchen design… It’s easy to see why tile is at the top of the list!

If you’re looking for design flexibility, there’s no better option.

Between ceramic tile, porcelain tile, glass tile, stone tile, mosaic tile, and subway tile… You’re bound to find an option that matches your desired aesthetic.

Not to mention, if you have floor tiles in your outdoor kitchen area… Your backsplash can match that as well!

Tile is also relatively easy to install and could be done as a DIY project.

However, there are a couple small downsides.

First, the grout between tiles is difficult to clean! When you’re dealing with grease… This may turn into a bit of a headache.

Secondly, if you live in a freeze/thaw climate… Tiles are known to pop off with the expansion and contraction of moisture.

While it’s not a guarantee this will happen… We’ve seen it plenty of times with outdoor kitchen tile!

It’s not a no-go, but definitely something to keep in mind.

Stainless Steel Backsplash

sheets of stainless steel used to build an outdoor kitchen

Another option you may encounter is stainless steel backsplash.

It’s typically not the most aesthetically pleasing option… But it will certainly get the job done!

If you have a stainless steel outdoor kitchen or appliances, it will match perfectly.

Other than sacrificing a bit on aesthetics… A stainless steel backsplash is much easier to clean than tile.

There’s no grout to get clogged up with grease. It’s as simple as spraying it down with your favorite cleaner and giving it a good wipe.

Since it will be outdoors… Be aware of the grade of stainless steel you use for your backsplash.

For outdoor use, we always recommend 304 stainless steel. It’s highly resistant to rust and corrosion… And will stay pristine for years to come.

Natural Stone Slab

an image of a stone finish on an outdoor kitchen wall

Utilizing natural stone slabs can certainly be an eye-catching backsplash option.

They absorb heat incredibly well, and are extremely durable to the outdoor environment! (They came from the outdoors, after all!)

If you go the stone slab route… Most homeowners will consider marble or granite. Bluestone or limestone can be viable options as well.

Just remember, your outdoor kitchen backsplash will be coming in contact with grease! So you will want to choose a natural stone that is less porous.

Non-porous stone will repel the grease better and make it easier to keep clean. (It will also reduce staining!)

If this is a concern… Without a doubt, granite will be your best bet.

Granite, especially sealed granite, is far less porous than other options.

If you choose to go the route of natural stone slabs… Consider choosing a darker color as well. If staining occurs, it will be less visible with a darker shade.

Stone or Brick

stack of bricks ready to be used

After tile backsplash… Stone or brick would likely be next in line in terms of popularity!

Stone or brick fit well with nearly any design aesthetic… And can bring a lovely rustic charm, if desired.

Both are excellent insulators, and will easily protect the exterior wall of your home.

And if you happen to have a brick or stone outdoor kitchen… This backsplash will fit right in with your outdoor kitchen design!

Do note that both stone and brick are porous. So they may absorb some of the grease from your grill and stain over time.

If this is a concern, just be sure to clean your backsplash on a regular basis! This will go a long way in preventing staining.

Concrete Backsplash

concrete being poured from truck

Finally, there’s the concrete backsplash. It’s not often the first option homeowners jump to… But it’s just as good as everything else we’ve listed.

In fact, it has many of the same properties as natural stone and brick. It’s a great insulator and is nearly bulletproof in the outdoor environment!

Plus, concrete can offer a unique aesthetic to your outdoor living area!

It’s the perfect medium if you’re seeking to create a modern, industrial look.

And if you have some experience… This is a project you could DIY!

Many people create their own outdoor concrete countertops… And similar concepts apply to creating a concrete backsplash.

Now that you are aware of the common backsplash materials… How does this look in real life?

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Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

Perhaps you’re settled on the idea of getting a backsplash.

Before you fully plan this out… You’ll want to check out some outdoor kitchen ideas for inspiration!

Well, you’re in luck. Take a peek at these excellent examples!

Tile Backsplash for Outdoor Kitchen Idea

l shaped outdoor kitchen next to house with combo storage and a refrigerator

This outdoor kitchen backsplash proves you don’t have to go overboard!

Rather than covering a large section of the wall… These homeowners simply opted to protect the area behind the built-in gas grill.

They chose a beautiful tile pattern that complements the outdoor living space perfectly!

Accents of black in the tile create a nice balance against the varying shades of gray and white.

Using a single strip of backsplash was a smart choice here… As these homeowners were also able to incorporate stainless steel shelving for extra storage.

Overall, we’re big fans of how this backsplash aligns with the L-shaped island!

Covered Outdoor Kitchen with Backsplash

u shaped outdoor kitchen with vent hood and stone backsplash

Many homeowners wonder what their outdoor kitchen backsplash height should be.

In this example, you’ll see the backsplash is quite short! The windows in this covered area creates an interruption… But that doesn’t make the backsplash any less functional!

This tile backsplash directly protects the wall from the grill, and it extends across the span of the island.

And due to this outdoor kitchen being under a roof… There’s a vent hood above the grill to keep excess heat out of the area.

Back to the backsplash!

These homeowners selected a tile that is a near-perfect match to the shade of this outdoor kitchen finish… Which creates excellent cohesion in the space.

It’s two thumbs up from us!

Stone Backsplash Ideas for Outdoor Kitchen

stainless steel modular outdoor kitchen

Here’s a great juxtaposition of a modern outdoor kitchen… With a rustic looking backsplash!

In this case, the stone backsplash spans the entire wall. So if you want to go big, you certainly can!

This example proves that a mix of design aesthetics can actually work quite well together. Plus, the wooden stand on the island creates a nice pop of color in a sea of gray and silver.

A full-wall backsplash also ensures that your outdoor kitchen remains the focal point of your outdoor living space.

L-Shaped Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

custom diy outdoor kitchen

Here’s another example with stone backsplash… But implemented quite differently!

Rather than stainless steel, we have a stone outdoor grill station with a stone backsplash.

This approach comes with the risk of the elements feeling too similar to one another… But having a wood divider prevents it from becoming a little too much.

The backsplash here is a little on the shorter side as well!

And being in a more open-air space… The backsplash is a little less critical here anyway.

Overall, looks good!

Concrete Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

concrete backsplash on galley outdoor kitchen

If you’re curious about how a concrete outdoor kitchen backsplash might look… Here’s a great example!

The setup here is quite unique, as well. The islands have the features of an indoor kitchen… But are located in an indoor outdoor living space. 

Feature choices aside, the matte concrete backsplash works well here!

The mottled color of concrete pairs well with the modern, clean lines in this space.

It also appears these homeowners opted for a concrete countertop… So this ties in the design of the backsplash well.

Stone Backsplash Outdoor Kitchen on Deck

linear outdoor kitchen with stone backsplash

Need an outdoor kitchen backsplash for small spaces?

Take a look at this idea!

This outdoor kitchen is paired with a beautiful stone backsplash. 

The plank finish on this island is an excellent match with the home’s siding… And the stone backsplash creates a nice, functional contrast!

For anyone who is concerned about adding a backyard kitchen to a small area… This example proves that it can be done! (And done well!)

Stone Outdoor Kitchen Island Backsplash Idea

l shaped outdoor kitchen with stone backsplash

Now here’s a unique outdoor kitchen backsplash!

Rather than creating a backsplash with another type of stone or material… This homeowner used the same exact design as their summer kitchen finish!

And while it looks just like stone… This panel is actually made from concrete! (The outdoor kitchen is, too.)

The stainless steel appliances and clean edge granite countertops give this island a fresh, modern look… Even with the stone finish!

This outdoor cooking space is certainly one to keep in mind.

Modern Outdoor Kitchen Backsplash with Pizza Oven

linear outdoor kitchen with concrete backsplash

If you’re going all-in on a modern outdoor kitchen… Here’s the setup for you!

Not only is the island itself made from concrete… The backsplash is as well!

Design-wise, these elements are perfectly tied together. But it’s not muddled! The wooden divider creates a nice, natural contrast to the concrete.

The backsplash even has outdoor lighting installed… Which allows you to be grilling outdoors well into the evening! (Or making pizzas in the pizza oven!)

And rather than protecting the area just behind the grill and pizza oven… This homeowner opted to extend their backsplash the full length of the island.

While it wasn’t necessary… It does improve the look of this outdoor living room. (It can also protect the divider from water splashing out of the sink!)

All in all, this is a stunning modern design!

Outdoor Kitchen Tile Backsplash Ideas

linear island under roof next to pool

This patio kitchen has a lovely backsplash example!

Being under a covered area… There is ventilation above this island. However, the backsplash is still a highlight in this cooking area!

This homeowner used small, hexagonal tiles for their backsplash design. With varied shades of gray… It’s a beautiful match with the outdoor patio and kitchen.

In this case, the backsplash is only behind the grill. It provides a great accent to the space without taking over the entire wall.

This also creates a nice flow from the outdoor kitchen to the pool.

So once you’re done grilling… You can walk out and take a dip in the pool!

We’ll see you out there.

The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen for Your Backyard

linear grill island next to wall with vent hood

Now that you’ve seen quite a few backsplash examples… You might be wondering what outdoor kitchen cabinetry you want!

You need an island before you install backsplash, after all!

And when you’re building an outdoor kitchen… There’s no easier option than RTA Outdoor Living.

First of all, you can get a custom design ready in minutes with our free online design tool.

Your island will be delivered in panels, complete with the BBQ kitchen countertop and premium appliances from Coyote!

Coyote offers a full suite of outdoor kitchen features and accessories. This includes gas grills, pellet grills, smokers, storage space, sinks, refrigerators, and more!

And once you’ve got everything delivered at your doorstep… It takes just a few hours to assemble!

Which leaves plenty of extra time to install your backsplash as well!

And just as you install a backsplash for safety reasons… RTA outdoor kitchens are designed with safety in mind.

All of our islands are made with high performance concrete. This is a completely non-combustible material… So there’s no need to worry about your precious investment catching flame. (We also exceed venting requirements for Coyote appliances.)

This also means that our islands are durable in all environments!

No matter if you live in coastal Florida or snowy Michigan… RTA islands can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

So, curious about getting your own outdoor kitchen dining area?

Take a scroll through our Learning Hub, try out the design tool… And we’ll be in touch!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

Outdoor kitchens do not always need a backsplash. However, if your island will be close to a wall… It is important! Especially if the wall is made from a combustible material. Installing a backsplash will protect your wall from water, grease, and the potential for a grease fire.

If you choose natural stone, ceramic, or porcelain tile… These are suitable options for use as an outdoor backsplash.

There are many suitable material options for an outdoor kitchen backsplash. This includes natural stone, concrete, tile, and stainless steel. If you’re looking for an easy to clean, low-maintenance option… Stainless steel might be the best pick for you.

There are many great options for an outdoor kitchen backsplash. Consider materials like tile, stainless steel, concrete, brick, and natural stone.

Many backsplash options are heat resistant. Some of the better options include tile, concrete, brick, and natural stone.

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