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New for Spring: Stainless Steel Cookware Sets!

Stainless Steel Tables with Backsplash
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If the space in your workroom or home or commercial kitchen requires you to place your table against a wall, a built-in backsplash helps protect the paint, paper or other decorative surface just behind the table. Backsplashes improve the sanitary conditions of the rooms to which they are added by keeping food particles on the table surface and simplify the cleanup after messy tasks. For those concerned about sanitation, stainless steel tables with backsplashes offer the most protection from food-borne illnesses and the sleek, modern beauty of the metal adds to the appeal of any space.

The appeal and popularity of metal tables with backsplashes has led to many manufacturers releasing lines of beautiful, yet functional worktables in recent years. While this means you'll have a large selection of tables to choose from, it can also complicate the shopping process.

We created our Buyers' Guide to Stainless Steel Tables with Backsplashes to help you focus your search upon the styles of tables that are right for your particular needs. The guide is organized by questions that are important to the shopping process and designed to help you make the biggest decisions that will influence your selections and then focus on the smaller details that separate similar styles.

What Is the Space Available for the Table?

Manufacturers produce backsplash tables in a multitude of sizes, and you will save yourself time by considering how much room you have to accommodate a table. If you have a table in the space already, take a moment to measure its length (distance across the front or back), width (distance across the sides) and height (distance from the floor to the top).

In some cases, you may not have any additional room in the area and must simply purchase a table in an identical size to your current piece; however, if you have room to upsize, ask yourself how cluttered your worktop becomes and how much a few additional inches in length or width might help. If you do intend to opt for a larger model, consider how you typically arrange items on your worktop. People who prefer to line up ingredients or equipment side by side usually benefit from additional length, while those who arrange items in a vertical line from the top to the bottom of the table gain more from increased width.

If you do not currently have a table in the space, use masking tape to mark off the area where you intend to place the table. Then, let the tape substitute for the table and measure its length and width to guide you as you shop.

Point to Remember: Keep in mind that you need 30 to 36 inches of open space to create a walkway in your area. This is important for determining the maximum width of your selection. Depending on the layout of your room, you may need to leave space on one or both sides as well.

Style Hint: If your space is limited because of a corner, look for specialty corner worktables. These L-shaped styles allow you to utilize wasted corner space and are produced by a small number of manufacturers.

Style Hint: The utility of standard shaped stainless tables located in corners is enhanced by a side splash to protect the wall beside the table. Side splashes also help keep liquid messes off of the floors and contained on your worktop, making some people prefer them for any location in the kitchen.

Would You Like to Use Your Table for Storage?

Today's tables with backsplashes have a variety of storage options, which can help you alleviate the clutter in your cabinets. Having storage built into your table also allows you to keep frequently-used tools and equipment within easy reach. To determine what types of storage are best for your needs, consider the following:

Are You Storing Small Items Like Measuring Cups and Spoons?

Drawers, compartments that are mounted on casters and slide in and out of your table, are ideal for holding smaller items. Rubber and plastic organizers are available in a variety of sizes to keep drawers neat and make it easy to access items quickly as you work. Tables may have up to three or four drawers, depending on their styles. Typically, the most reached for items are kept in the topmost drawer for added convenience.

Do You Prefer Open or Closed Storage?

Larger items like bowls, food processors and other kitchen appliances are stored underneath the tabletop in either open or closed storage spaces. Open spaces make it easy to reach down and retrieve items as you work, while closed spaces hide the items that you are storing for a cleaner, neater appearance in your space.

Open storage consists of two primary styles:

  • Shelves are surfaces that run parallel to the tabletop and have open sides. Backsplash tables with shelves are very popular, giving you a wide variety of options to choose from.


  • Open enclosures are compartments or cubbyholes and are shelves with sides. Enclosures have the added convenience of keeping items contained within the storage space and prevent things from falling onto the floor; however, fewer manufacturers offer open enclosures.


Closed storage uses some type of door to hide away stored items. There are two primary door styles:

  • Hinged doors open outward and resemble kitchen cupboards. When you need to retrieve something from storage covered by hinged doors, you must step back from your work surface to open them, which some people find inconvenient. Due to their design, both hinged doors can be simultaneously, allowing you to access all of your stored items at one time.


  • Sliding doors shift from left to right to reveal the items inside of the storage area. Since they do not open outward, you do not need to step completely back from the table to retrieve items as you work. The drawback to sliding doors is that you can only access one side at a time, meaning only half of your stored items are available to grab. To reach the other half, you must slide the doors to the opposite side.


Style Hint: Some tables have a combination of storage options, such as a set of drawers placed beside sliding doors.

What Will You Be Using Your Table for and How Visible Will the Piece Be?

Although the purpose and visibility of your table may seem unrelated, the questions work together to help you determine what type of top is best for your table. Generally, two styles of tops are available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Steel tops are the most common for steel tables that have backsplashes.


  • Benefits:

    • The metal is easy to wipe down, making cleanup simple.


    • Steel does not promote the growth of bacteria or allow it to linger on the surface, enhancing the sanitary conditions of the table.


    • Metal tops match stainless steel appliances and have a modern look.


    • Food grade or Type 304 (a blend of 16 percent chromium with nickel or manganese alloys) stainless steel is safe for food and typically recommended for commercial kitchens over all other types of surfaces.


    Drawbacks:

    • Metal can be slippery to work on and make cutting boards a must to prevent injuries.


    • Some people feel that full metal tables look too industrial for home settings.


    • Stainless steel can become scratched by knife blades and is difficult to repair.


    • Fingerprints and smudges are visible on metal (particularly those that do not have brushed or No. 4. finishes) and require frequent cleaning to keep looking nice.


  • Wood tops, typically in maple, are available in some table models.


  • Benefits:

    • Wood tops complement wood cabinetry and are available in a variety of finishes.

    • Wood tops provide more friction as you work, allowing you to perform some tasks without cutting board surfaces.

    • Wood does not show fingerprints, making it cleaner looking.


    • If they become scratched, you can buff or sand wood tabletops to remove the blemishes.

    • Since their surfaces can be drilled, you can customize wood tops to add overhead pot racks and other accessories.


    Drawbacks:

    • Wood tops have pores, which can trap bacteria and chemicals used for cleaning.

    • Wood tops are not as resistant to high temperatures as steel.

    • Some people prefer the unified look of a stainless steel table over wood.


Style Hint: A small number of metal topped tables feature removable polyethylene inserts, which can be taken to the sink for scrubbing. This is particularly handy if you'll be performing messy tasks like butchering. You can choose to leave the insert out when the table is not in use to enjoy the look of stainless steel, or keep it in place to minimize the number of fingerprints that are visible on the piece.

Are There Any Electrical Outlets or Switches on the Wall?

When shopping for tables with backsplashes, many people forget to consider the wall that will be behind their table. If an electrical outlet or light switch plate will be located above your worktable, you may want to opt for a shorter backsplash than a taller one to make it easy to access. If your worktable will be in front of an electrical outlet that is lower on the wall, remember that styles with open enclosures or doors will make it difficult to access the outlet.

Point to Remember: The placement of electrical outlets and light switches is typically determined by electrical codes. If you're doing a remodeling project and are considering rewiring your kitchen or workroom to accommodate a worktable, always consult the national and local building codes first.
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