On a backsplash, you don't need the hardness and strength that you do on
a floor, but marble is really just compressed limestone, and limestone
is etched by acids, even mild acids like ketchup if it's hot.
So, if it were me, I would stay with the white glazed wall tiles on a
kitchen back splash just so that you know there won't be a problem with
acidic foods spattering on your backsplash and leaving dull spots that
won't clean off.
Also, grout sealers come in two flavours; penetrating and film forming.
Penetrating sealers penetrate into the grout, leaving it porous. You
don't want that on a kitchen counter top, kitchen tile floor or counter
top backsplash. That's because soft foods that get spattered on porous
grout can get mooshed into the porous surface of that grout and leave a
stain as well as provide a food source for bacteria to multiply.
On, kitchen counter tops, kitchen tile floors and tile backsplashes,
you're better off to use a film forming grout sealer which will form a
smooth impermeable plastic film over the grout, thereby preventing soft
foods and liquids from penetrating into the porous surface of the
And, film forming grout sealers come in two flavours as well; silicone
based and acrylic. Look on the fine print of the bottle of grout sealer
for the word "acrylic" or "anything siloxane". The term siloxane really
just means "silicone based plastic". Now, you want to avoid silicone
plastic based grout sealers because all silicone based caulks, rubbers
and plastics share the same Achilles Heel, and that is that nothing
sticks well to them, not even more silicone caulk, silicone rubber or
silicone based grout sealer. So, during the first 10 years, your
silicone based film forming grout sealer will work perfectly well. But,
if you ever want to paint more silicone based grout sealer over the
grout lines to improve the protection, the new silicone based grout
sealer won't stick well to the old silicone based grout sealer, and
you'll have pieces of clear silicone based plastic falling off your
grout when you clean your backsplash.
Acrylic film forming grout sealers are the equivalent of a clear latex
paint, and they don't have that problem with adhesion that silicone film
forming grout sealers do. Just as you can paint a latex paint over a
latex paint, you can paint an acrylic film forming grout sealer over
anyone else's new or old acrylic film forming grout sealer, and it'll
Home Depot sells two acrylic film forming grout sealers marketed by the
Tile Lab Company (which is a division of Custom Building Products);
"Matte Sealer & Finish" and "Gloss Sealer & Finish" that I think are
pretty good. Both of these use the same binder resin, but the Matte has
extender pigments in it to make it dry to a rough finish whereas the
Now, normally, grout sealer can be pretty hard to remove if you ever
want to remove it. But, Tile Lab makes a product called "Heavy Duty
Cleaner & Stripper" for these grout sealers that makes removing them a
breeze. I couldn't believe how easy it was until I tried it myself.
So, one of the benefits of using these two grout sealers is that if they
ever do get stained (by cigarette smoke, for example), they're easy to
strip off so that you can replace the grout sealer.
I've used the "Gloss" and it's a good product. If you can paint a
straight line you can seal grout. Go to any artist's supply store and
buy a "script" paint brush which will have much longer bristles for less
dipping and less dripping. And, I'd apply three coats.
I can't think of any food that would stain an acrylic film forming grout
sealer, but I've been the landlord to some of the world's worst chain
smokers, and when these people moved out, not only could you tell where
pictures were hung on the walls, but you could see where furniture was
on the floors because of the fact that the floor wasn't stained in those
locations. And, I've learned that intense cigarette smoking (like
people do while sitting on a toilet in a bathroom) will stain acrylic
If you live in California, a company called Glaze 'N Seal makes an
excellent acrylic film forming grout sealer called simply "Grout
Sealer", and I use it on all my bathroom wall tiling. I actually
imported a gallon of it from a place called Sepulveda Hardware, some
place in California about 10 years ago.
I'd recommend tiling the backsplash with glazed wall tiles and sealing
the grout lines with any acrylic film forming grout sealer. I've used
the products mentioned in this post, and I was happy with both of them.