Coved backsplashes on solid surface
Is this a bad idea? April 2, 2002
Would it be a very bad idea to make a solid surface U-shaped top with a coved backsplash? Shouldn't cove backsplashes be limited to straight runs, to allow for movement of the product? Or are there some instances that would allow this (for example: a very small U-shaped top, L-shaped tops, 22 1/2 degree angled tops)?
From contributor M:
You can do it by making a good template of the wall and the cabs. Make the top exactly to the template and fit all your field joints with the splashes on. Leave the recommended clearance and silicon the gap. I always give myself 1/2" of sribe to fit it to the template in the shop.
Solid surfacing has endless applications and few limitations. Once this material is formed, it all expands and contracts at the same rate, unless a concentrated change in the surrounds occurs (as if a hot pan were placed on a top). If proper clearances for expansion are allowed, one could build a box or enclosed countertop. All the requirements are addressed in the fabrication manuals and at certification.
From the original questioner:
I gave it more thought after my post and came to the realization that a built-up edge is nothing more than an inverted backsplash. Question answered. Here is where I have some confusion. In the fabrication manual for Brand S, it states that 8 inches is the maximum height for a coved or rigid backsplash. Why this limitation?
From contributor M:
I think the reason for this is because the higher you go, the better chance you can break it by pushing on it. When someone wants the back wall covered, buy 1/4 and put it on the wall first, then fit your top between. Although, with U-shaped, you will have to put the top in first to give you the proper clearances and then the back wall solid surface.
We have found that with full height or tall backsplashes, the best way to deal with shipping and installation is to fabricate the tops as complete as possible and dry fit in the shop with a 3 or 4 inch tall splash that is already coved. Then in the field, seam the balance of the material to achieve the height needed. This allows for easier handling when installing and adjustment of the balance of the splashes due to any discrepancies of the area above the actual templated surface. To allow room for expansion on inside/outside corners, depending upon the situation, we will silicone the vertical surfaces at cook tops and the corners. We have yet to do any call backs using these methods. As for the thinner materials, 1/4" or SSV, it is usually the color match issue that drives the sale towards 1/2". We have used the SSV for several applications and have found that some colors do not match as well as they should and that the walls need to be in good shape.
I agree that if a manufacturer is putting a height limit on coved splash, it must be for transportation reasons. Assuming that the splash would be shop-applied. Being that there are warranty issues involved with hard seaming thin sheet directly to the countertop, we offer only 1/2" material for coved splashes. The maximum height coved splash that we feel comfortable applying in our shop depends greatly on the particular job. We have done small tops, such as vanities, with 16"-18" splash attached in our shop. Our standard procedure, however, is to shop-apply a cove molding to the back of the countertop and apply the entire backsplash in the field. The transition between the cove and backsplash is at a natural vision break. Color match (unless very dissimilar) is not an issue.
Many procedures exist for achieving the same results. Today there are proven methods and good machinery available that greatly reduce the learning curve. Choose one that makes the most sense for your business, give it some time, and then look at improvement.