If You Can Stand the Heat … Check Out This Kitchen:

By Jordan Scott

When homeowners, architects and designers are working on kitchen upgrades, a new backsplash is an easy way to give the room a fresh new look. While traditional subway tile or other tile back-splash materials may first come to mind, kiln-fired glass is a unique alternative that can add a bright, modern look to a home. Companies such as Meltdown Glass Art & Design based in Tempe, Ariz., are working to show that decorative glass products used in back-splash applications can bring a bright, new aesthetic to kitchens.

Meltdown Glass fabricates made-to-order kiln-fired glass for both commercial and residential projects. In addition to backsplashes, some common applications for residential projects include countertops, entry door glass, glass art-work and shower enclosures.

Creative Collaboration

For one homeowner in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Meltdown Glass created a monolithic (one single span of glass), tempered, kiln-fired glass backsplash. The resulting aesthetic creates an effect that resembles hammered metal. To achieve this look, the glass was heated twice—once to cast the texture within the glass and then a second time to temper it. The glass was channel-set in a groove behind the granite and then caulked with clear silicone on the sides.

Pete Hayes, general manager at Meltdown Glass Art & Design, says his company worked closely with the home-owners to meet their unique needs.

“The homeowner was looking for a monolithic, tempered backsplash as an alternative to glass tile. With monolithic glass, there is no grout to clean, and the appearance of the glass is one solid surface,” he says. “The glass size was 114 inches by 60 inches in 3/8-inch tempered kiln-fired glass using Melt-down Glass’ texture Small Spheres in low-iron glass.”

The company collaborated with the homeowner as well as their interior designer and contractor for the project.

“The interior designer selected a metallic wall covering to go behind the glass, and the contractor coordinated with Meltdown Glass on critical fabrication details such as glass sizing and tolerances, along with holes and a notch in the glass to accommodate the range hood mounted in front of the glass,” says Hayes.

A Case for Glass

The backsplash is an example of Meltdown Glass’ typical work. However, fabricating a 50-square-foot piece of tempered decorative glass is never 100 percent easy, according to Hayes.

“Most of the challenges are usually adhering to minimal fabrication tolerances and coordinating fabrication details, but for the most part, the manufacturing and installation went very smoothly,” says Hayes.

Hayes adds that glass can be an alternative to traditional tile back-splashes for a number of reasons.

“A monolithic glass [panel] is a good alternative to tile because there are no grout lines that would require cleaning and resealing over time,” he says. “The glass is also tempered, bringing strength and resiliency to an application like this and, lastly, it is very easy to clean and maintain. We were very happy with how the project turned out and, most importantly, so was the homeowner.”

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