Do You Need a Backsplash With Granite Countertops?

Granite countertops are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Their natural beauty and durability make them an investment that can last for decades. When installing new granite countertops, one decision you’ll need to make is whether or not to pair them with a backsplash. Here’s what you need to know about adding a backsplash with granite countertops.

What is a Backsplash?

A backsplash is a vertical surface, usually made of tile, installed on the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink. Backsplashes serve both decorative and functional purposes:

  • They protect the wall from water damage, grease splatters, and other messes.
  • They allow for easy cleaning, just wipe spills off the impervious surface.
  • They can complement the countertops and tie together the whole kitchen’s decor.

Backsplashes most commonly extend 4-6 inches above the countertop surface. They run along the entire length of the countertops and stove area.

Should You Install a Backsplash with Granite?

Granite is an extremely sturdy natural stone that can stand up to heavy usage without showing wear and tear. It doesn’t require a backsplash for protection. However, there are still good reasons to install one:


A backsplash provides an opportunity to add visual interest. The color, pattern, and texture of the backsplash tiles can complement granite’s natural veining. A backsplash can make the space more attractive.

Protect Walls from Moisture

Granite is impervious to water, but moisture splashing on the walls can still cause issues. Paint can blister or peel, and moisture reaching drywall can lead to mold growth. A backsplash prevents this damage.

Easier Cleaning

Food splatters and grease on the walls behind a stove are unsightly and difficult to clean. A backsplash keeps walls pristine and is easy to wipe down.

Tie the Space Together

Matching the backsplash to other features like floor tiles or accents brings continuity to the decor. It makes the kitchen look professionally designed.

Popular Backsplash Options for Granite

Glass, ceramic, natural stone, and metal backsplash tiles all pair beautifully with granite. Consider one of these options:

Glass Tile

Glass backsplash tiles come in endless colors, finishes, and patterns. Their shine complements granite’s natural gleam. Glass is easy to clean and durable.

Metal Tile

Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper, or tin add contemporary flair. Their neutral metallic shine lets the granite be the star. Metal backsplashes are very hygienic and essentially stain-proof.

Stone Tile

Tile made of natural stone like marble, travertine, or slate mimics the high-end look of granite. Combining stone types with varying patterns creates visual interest. Stone backsplashes stand up well to heat and stains.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles made of porcelain or ceramic can mimic fancy backsplash materials at a budget price point. Their wide variety of styles allows finding the perfect match for your granite. Just avoid very porous unglazed tiles.

Mosaic Tile

Tiny mosaic tiles assembled in mesh sheets provide a colorful, artsy accent. Their small scale creates big design impact. Use mosaic tiles alone or in combination with larger tiles.

Design Considerations for Backsplashes with Granite

Keep these tips in mind when designing a backsplash for granite countertops:

  • Select a backsplash color/pattern that complements rather than competes with the granite’s natural veining.
  • Darker granites can pair well with light backsplash colors and vice versa. Contrast can make the backsplash pop.
  • In small or dark kitchens, use reflective backsplash tiles like glass or metal to open up the space and introduce light.
  • Continuing backsplash tiles onto the wall behind the stove ties the whole area together.
  • Matching the backsplash height to kitchen cabinets creates seamless lines.
  • Backsplashes don’t have to be boring squares. Consider designing them with decorative inlays or artistic patterns.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Backsplash with Granite Countertops?

The cost of installing a backsplash along with new granite countertops depends on the size of the project and the materials selected. In general, expect to pay:

  • Granite countertops: $60-$100 per square foot installed
  • Ceramic tile backsplash: $5-$15 per square foot installed
  • Glass, metal, or stone backsplash: $15-$30 per square foot installed

A 10′ by 5′ kitchen with 30 square feet of standard height backsplash could cost around $1,500 for materials and labor. High-end stone backsplashes or intricate designs could be 2-3 times that amount. Get free estimates from contractors to compare costs for your specific backsplash project.

Should You Install the Backsplash Yourself?

For most homeowners, installing backsplash tiles is a manageable DIY project after the countertops are in place. The most challenging part is properly preparing the wall surface. Cutting the tiles and grouting does take some skill. Weigh your abilities before deciding to DIY.

Pros of installing your own backsplash:

  • Saves on labor costs
  • Allows customizing to your tastes
  • Opportunity to learn a new skill

Cons of DIY backsplash installation:

  • Requires purchasing/renting tools
  • Tile cutting has a learning curve
  • Mistakes like crooked tiles or bad grout lines are permanent

Unless you feel confident in your tiling abilities, it can be worth paying a pro to handle it. An experienced contractor will get it done faster with fewer errors.

Backsplash Maintenance Tips

  • Seal natural stone backsplashes annually to prevent staining and mildew growth in grout lines.
  • Clean backsplashes regularly with a gentle cleaner designed for the material. Don’t use harsh chemicals.
  • Use a grout sealer on cement grout lines to keep them from getting grimy. Reapply sealer yearly.
  • Repair any chips or cracks in backsplash tiles as soon as they occur to prevent moisture getting behind them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should a backsplash match or complement the countertops?

The backsplash doesn’t need to precisely match the granite but it should coordinate. Contrasting colors or textures can complement each other beautifully. Design for a cohesive look.

What height should the backsplash be?

Standard backsplash height is 4 inches. For extra protection behind a cooktop, extending to 18-24 inches is recommended. Full height backsplashes are popular in contemporary kitchens. Adapt height to your space.

Should I continue the backsplash tile onto the wall behind the stove?

Yes, tiling the wall behind the stove with matching backsplash tile is the best practice. It protects that area and gives a unified finished look.

Can I install a granite backsplash to match granite counters?

Solid granite matching the countertops makes a lovely upscale backsplash but the seams are difficult to get perfectly flush. Granite tile is easier to install but the grout lines disrupt the pattern.

Should backsplashes be sealed?

Sealing is crucial for natural stone backsplashes to prevent staining and mildew growth. Porous tiles like terracotta also benefit from sealing. Glass and metal backsplashes don’t require sealing.


Installing a backsplash together with granite countertops is highly recommended to protect your walls, promote cleanliness, and enhance the beauty of the space. Take time to select the perfect backsplash design that complements your choice of granite. With proper installation and routine care, your backsplash with last as long as the countertops themselves. Use this opportunity to add your own personal style to the kitchen.