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Making a Splash With Backsplash by Nancy Thomas Adding a small amount of detail to the backsplash can really make the kitchen sparkle. But we must always be aware of the kitchen's utilitarian nature. Water, grease, heat, and cold are the primary sources of aggravation to keep in mind when choosing materials and details. First and foremost, the counter must be fully sealed to the backsplash to prevent liquids from seeping down the back—leading to rotting plywood or swelling particleboard. Second, whatever material is used, it must be easy to clean. In some cases, especially with commercial ranges, fire retardation and clearances would be a wise third concern. Fourth, consider ways to use the space more effectively—for example, for storage. Another design consideration is where