SPLASHBACKS AND COOKER HOODS
Once you’ve chosen the perfect hob, you should think about buying a splashback and cooker hood to complete your kitchen setup. We’ll explain why you need them and how to pick the right model for you here.
DO I NEED A HOB SPLASHBACK?
Splashbacks are essential for maintaining a clean cooking area and seamless kitchen decor. They’re screens fitted to the wall behind your hob which capture splatters caused by things like boiling sauces and frying bacon. They can also prevent damage to your wallpaper or paint from heat and condensation. Some people choose to install an additional splashback behind their sink, as this is another messy area.
If you’re changing your hob, it’s also worth changing your splashback or investing in one for the first time. Perhaps you want to place your hob in a new location, and you’d like a splashback which matches it in size or style. They’re the perfect finishing touch, and can really tie a kitchen’s look together.
Splashbacks are essential for maintaining a clean cooking area and seamless kitchen decor.
TYPES OF SPLASHBACK
It’s important to find a splashback in the right material for you. From stainless steel to glass, each has its advantages, but they’re all designed to protect your wall and make cleaning easier.
This is a more traditional type of splashback. Many kitchens already have wall tile upstands behind the worktops, so adding tiles above the hob is a natural progression.
• Types available to suit all budgets
• Consistent look, since they can match the tiles in your room
• Flexible in size – you can decide how far across and high up the wall you want your splashback to reach, even right up to the cooker hood
• Choose from many different styles and colour combinations, for a great way to get creative or add a focal point to your kitchen
• You may need a professional to fit your tiles
• Food can get trapped in the edges, making cleaning more difficult
• The grout will need maintenance to keep it looking its best
Usually made from a single sheet of glass, these splashbacks are available in transparent and coloured variations. To avoid cracking from the heat of your hob, it’s essential to choose a toughened or tempered design. You can often find thicker glass for additional strength at the highest quality.
• Contemporary designs can match any colour scheme – choose from transparent, textured, coloured, and coloured behind the glass
• They reflect light beautifully, making a kitchen look bigger and brighter
• Hygienic – easy to wipe clean and stain resistant
• Require no maintenance once fitted
• Usually come with a fixing kit and self adhesive backing, preventing further cost
• Toughened versions are extremely heat resistant – some manufacturers promise to protect against temperatures as high as 250°C
• Fitting can be fiddly and requires a lot of care
• Hardwearing tempered and made-to measure designs can be expensive
• Can scratch, crack, or break if knocked
• Keeping them shiny and smear-free can be difficult
With stainless steel appliances becoming increasingly popular, it’s no surprise that many people want a splashback to match. Stainless steel adds a modern, professional feel to a kitchen.
• Creates a bold style statement which can match your hob or cooker hood
• Practical and easy to wipe food away
• A wide choice on offer from many retailers
• Designs are available to fit most budgets
• Reflects light around small kitchens
• No sealing required
• The industrial look might not suit all kitchens
• While they’re durable against serious damage, stainless steel can scratch and mark easily
• Can be prone to showing fingerprints and water marks
Stainless steel adds a modern, professional feel to a kitchen.
Acrylic splashbacks are often cut to size, and many people choose to continue the splashback over a larger area so it also acts as an upstand. Look for a fire rated acrylic, since normal plastic shouldn’t be used in close proximity to your hob. Alternatively, you can cover acrylic with a transparent piece of glass.
• A cheap alternative to glass, with a similar visual effect
• Available in many different colours
• Usually cut to measure, so you can choose the exact size and shape you want
• Repels dust better than glass or stainless steel
• Light and easy to install
• Easy to clean, and not prone to smudges or marks
• Tough and impact-resistant
Acrylic is a cheap alternative to glass.
• Can be difficult to find a heat proof, fire rated version
• Scratches easily
• Has a cheaper feel than glass
OTHER TYPES OF SPLASHBACK
MDF can be used as a budget option. It can be coated in a range of laminate effects to give the impression of exotic woods, marble, or granite.
Solid timber looks impressive and can match a wooden worktop. This can be expensive as it will be made to measure, and you’ll need to check it has been properly sealed to protect it from water damage. It will also need to be regularly oiled and cleaned – unless it’s wood-veneer, which just needs to have splashes wiped off quickly to avoid staining.
Acrylic blends like Minerva are durable and non-porous, making them easy to clean and heat-resistant. Laminate can be used in both hot and wet areas, and offers a great range of colours. They’re on the cheaper side of splashback models and some can be fitted over existing ones, but the entire panel must be replaced if it’s damaged.
Both acrylic and laminate come in a variety of designs such as granite and stone. You may find the real thing, or even marble, but stone needs to be treated with sealant to make it impermeable. It’s hard-wearing and needs professional installation.
Creative designs like mirrors, sheets of mosaic tiles, and even LED lit glass are also available.
MDF can be used as a budget option, while solid timber looks impressive and can match a wooden worktop.
COLOUR AND CLEANING
If you choose acrylic, glass or tiles, there is a range of bright colours available to liven up your kitchen. Or, if you want a more classic look, try black, white, grey, or stainless steel. It’s easy to find a colour that matches your worktops.
Splashbacks with an easy clean finish prevent food splatters sticking, to reduce the time you’ll spend getting rid of them. A completely smooth surface like stainless steel or glass may be preferable to something like tiles, if you really want to minimise cleaning and maintenance.
Most models come with an adhesive to make fixing it to your wall simple. Depending on the material, it will be a clear silicone adhesive or tile adhesive. Make sure that you choose a model with the right one, so you can safely and easily make it part of your kitchen.
If you have a cooker hood or nearby wall units, it’s important to measure the space you have available. Your splashback should be at least the same width as your hob. This lets it provide a more cohesive appearance, as well as adequate protection for your wall. If you have a standard size hob with four burners, you’ll want one about 60 or 70 cm wide. Wider rectangular designs can be as big as 110 cm, which are great for larger hobs and range cookers. You’ll find that square splashbacks start at about 65 cm tall, while others stretch as high as 75 cm.
Your splashback should be at least the same width as your hob.
DO I NEED A COOKER HOOD?
Cooker hoods minimise the airborne grease which can stick to your units. They remove cooking smells, steam, and condensation, keeping everything fresh and more hygienic. This makes them a must-have in any kitchen.
Choosing a new hob creates the perfect opportunity to buy a cooker hood to go with it. Maybe you’ve upgraded to a six burner design and want a wider hood, or you’ve switched to a more powerful gas model and are looking for an efficient extractor.
HOW THEY WORK
Cooker hoods can be divided into two groups: those which extract the air, and those which recirculate it. Extractors vent the air through ducts, while recirculation hoods use filters to clean the air before releasing it back into the kitchen.
Cooker hoods can either extract the air or recirculate it depending on which one you choose.
Extractors are generally considered the most efficient hoods, because the grease, cooking smells, and smoke are sent outside through a ventilation hose. They don’t have a filter restricting the air’s movement, so the airflow rate is often higher. They’re also cheaper than recirculation models long term, as you don’t need to replace any charcoal filters.
Their design makes installation more difficult, and if you have limited space or your kitchen doesn’t have an external wall, it might not be possible. The ducting system will need to be fitted by a professional, and you’ll have to buy the kit separately. Plus, extractors can be louder than recirculation hoods.
Recirculation hoods use grease filters made of metal, paper, or cloth to recycle and clean the air before releasing it back into your kitchen. Most also have carbon or charcoal filters to neutralise odours. Recirculation hoods do their job well, but their design means that they can release some heat and moisture back into the room.
A key advantage of recirculation models is how easy they are to fit. They’re a standalone unit, so you don’t need to worry about finding an outside wall to vent through.
They’re usually cheaper upfront as they don’t require ducting. However, the grease and charcoal filters must be replaced or washed regularly, depending on their material. As the charcoal filter is in front of the motor, the airflow is reduced, and you may need a recirculation kit to make sure odour-free air is returned to your kitchen. They’re also not always as fast-acting as extraction hoods.
You may find some cooker hoods which operate as either a recirculation or extraction model, and you can decide which method is best for you on installation.
TYPES OF COOKER HOODS
This is the most common type of cooker hood, with a long chimney which stretches down from the ceiling. Chimney hoods are wall-mounted, so not suitable for hobs on a kitchen island. They’re stylish and perform well, but need a fair amount of space.
Also known as freestanding, conventional and traditional hoods, visor models tend to be less powerful and are best suited to smaller kitchens. They’re compact and fix to your wall independently, usually beneath a kitchen unit. A visor helps guide smoke into the filters. These are the most basic and affordable models.
Telescopic designs are similar to visors. However, they extend outwards when needed for maximum area coverage, and slide neatly away when not in use.
These are integrated into a kitchen unit, kept out of sight behind a door. This makes them the most inconspicuous type and lets them easily blend into your kitchen layout.
Chimney hoods are wall-mounted, so not suitable for hobs on a kitchen island.
A canopy design is fixed to the underside of your cupboard, above your hob. They’re discreet and don’t take up much room. However, unlike integrated hoods, they’re still visible.
If your hob doesn’t back onto a wall, you’ll need an island hood which is mounted to the ceiling. They can be more expensive and take up quite a lot of space, but designer models let you really make a statement.
These designs automatically rise from your worktop at a single touch. This makes them a great space-saver, as well as ideal for low ceilings and small, modern kitchens. However, they can be costly due to their new technology.
Your cooker hood needs to be at least as wide as your hob to work effectively. The most common sizes are 60 cm, 70 cm, and 90 cm wide, suiting most four to six burner hobs. Compact versions are available if wall units have left you with limited space, but they may be quieter with lower airflow rates.
You can also find larger hoods if you have a range cooker or bigger hob, but keep in mind that these might require more powerful – and noisier – motors to recycle the higher volume of air. However, you can find some models with twin motors for higher efficiency.
Height-wise, you’ll need to leave a gap of at least 50 cm above an electric hob, or 65 cm above a gas one. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines, however, as this does vary. Extendable chimneys can help you achieve the perfect height for your setup.
For extraction hoods, it’s important to get the right ducting. Sometimes you can choose between 12 or 15 cm ducting, as the former comes with an adaptor collar. Wider and rigid ducting generally offers better airflow.
The extraction rate of your cooker hood is also worth considering. This is how quickly it can remove odours, grease, and hot air from your kitchen. It’s measured in cubic metres per hour, and the larger your kitchen, the more powerful hood you’ll need. This can also make it noisier, so don’t just choose a model based on a high extraction rate.
A lower decibel (dB) rating will give you a quieter kitchen. Duct design affects the noise level in extractor hoods, so minimise bends and cross-sections, and choose sound-reducing materials.
Built-in lights are a common feature of budget cooker hoods. They give you a better view of what you’re cooking and are simple to activate.
Most models have two or three speed settings, so you can save energy and run your hood more quietly if you’re only cooking a small meal.
Both of these features are usually controlled by buttons or sliders on the front, inside, or underside of the hood.
You can also find cooker hoods that connect with their matching hob. AEG’s Hob2Hood technology and Miele’s Con@ctivity wirelessly adjust extraction based on your hob’s activity, for stress-free cooking and an ideal room climate.
Some brands have started to combine induction hobs and cooker hoods in just one appliance. PerfectAir models from Bosch automatically remove odours at the source with their integrated vents, to provide higher efficiency and a better smelling kitchen.