How High is a Countertop Backsplash?

A countertop backsplash plays an important role in protecting the wall behind a kitchen countertop from water damage and stains. But how high should it extend up the wall? Here is a detailed guide on recommended backsplash heights and factors to consider when deciding how high your backsplash should be.


A kitchen backsplash sits on the countertop and extends upwards onto the wall behind. Usually made of ceramic tile, metal, glass or stone, a backsplash serves both decorative and functional purposes. The key functions of a backsplash are:

  • Protecting the wall from water, grease and food stains
  • Making it easy to wipe down and clean the space between the counter and wall
  • Adding visual interest and tying the countertop and wall materials together decoratively

But what is the recommended height for a standard backsplash? Read on for a full discussion of the factors to consider.

Standard Backsplash Heights

The standard height for a backsplash to extend above the counter is 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm). This allows it to adequately protect the wall from typical splashes and drips during food prep and cleaning.

Some of the common standard backsplash heights include:

  • 4 inch (10cm) – The minimum recommended height, offers basic backsplash protection.
  • 6 inch (15cm) – The most popular standard height, protects from most splashing.
  • 8 inch (20cm) – Extends further up the wall for more protection.
  • 10 inch (25cm) – A full backsplash extending 10 inches from the counter.

So in summary, the most common backsplash height is 6 inches, with 4-8 inches being typical.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Height

Several factors come into play when determining the ideal backsplash height for your kitchen:

Height of Wall Cabinets

Consider the height of your wall cabinets when planning backsplash height. The bottom of wall cabinets is commonly 18 to 24 inches above the counter. The backsplash should extend from the counter to at least 2 inches below the cabinet bottom. This prevents a gap between the top of the backsplash and cabinets.

Backsplash Materials

The material you choose can affect ideal height. For example, small mosaic tiles work best when covering a larger area. Meanwhile, larger tiles like subway tile look better when covering less wall space. Consider material patterns and sizes when planning backsplash height.

Protecting the Wall

The main purpose of a backsplash is protecting the wall from moisture damage. Consider factors like the length of your counter space and potential water exposure when deciding how high the backsplash should extend. More cooking and cleaning on a large counter may need more wall protection.

Design and Decoration

In addition to function, backsplashes offer the opportunity to decorate. Extending it higher on the wall adds more visible style and color. Consider your overall kitchen design goals in determining backsplash height.


Backsplash material costs multiply the higher you go. Balance height with your budget constraints. Going above the standard 6 inches will increase the material costs.

Overall, start with the standard 4-6 inch height range, then consider cabinet height, materials, wall protection needs and budget when fine tuning the ideal backsplash height for your kitchen.

Full Height Backsplashes

While 4 to 6 inches is standard, some kitchen designs utilize a full height backsplash that extends all the way from countertop to ceiling. Reasons for choosing a full height backsplash include:

  • Maximizing wall protection behind a high use area
  • Creating a strong visual accent on the wall
  • Adding color, texture and decorative interest to the kitchen
  • Matching the height of other design features like full height tile on an adjacent wall

Full height backsplashes make a striking design statement and provide maximum splash protection. However, they do come at a higher cost and can make the area feel enclosed compared to a standard height backsplash.

Backsplash Height by Countertop Material

Backsplash height recommendations may vary slightly based on your choice of countertop material:

  • Laminate countertops: 4-6 inch standard backsplash height.
  • Granite, quartz or solid surface: 4-6 inches again is typical, but may go up to 8-10 inches.
  • Tile countertops: Often paired with a matching full height backsplash for a seamless look.
  • Concrete counters: Usually 4-6 inches, but concrete’s porousness may warrant extending higher to protect the wall.

The Bottom Line

When deciding how high your backsplash should be, start with the commonly recommended range of 4 to 6 inches. This meets the minimum functional needs of protecting the wall from splashes.

Then consider the special factors of your kitchen – wall cabinet height, materials selected, budget, and your preferred style. Let these guide you in determining whether to stick with standard height or extend the backsplash higher on the wall for more protection and design impact.

FAQs About Backsplash Height

How high should a backsplash be?

The standard backsplash height is 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15cm) above the countertop. Full height backsplashes extending to the ceiling are also an option.

Why are backsplashes so tall in some kitchens?

Full height backsplashes became popular for their decorative visual impact and ability to protect a large wall area. However, standard heights of 4-6 inches are still most common.

What height looks best for a kitchen backsplash?

The most common and widely recommended height is 6 inches (15cm) above the counter. This adequately protects from splashes while leaving some wall space visible.

Is a 4 inch backsplash too short?

A 4 inch backsplash meets the minimum recommended height, but may not protect the wall as thoroughly as taller options. Evaluate your space to determine if 4 inches will be sufficient.

Should a backsplash go all the way to the ceiling?

Extending a backsplash all the way to the ceiling creates a dramatic accent wall. It also provides maximum splash protection. This is solely an aesthetic choice rather than a functional must.


Determining the ideal backsplash height requires balancing functional splatter protection needs with your kitchen’s style, budget and cabinet configurations.

While the standard height range is 4 to 6 inches, evaluate special factors in your space like potential water exposure, chosen materials and placement of cabinets and lighting. This will guide your decision of whether to stick with the recommended 4 to 6 inch height or make a design statement with floor to ceiling backsplash tile.

By carefully considering all the dimensions of your kitchen during the planning process, you can choose a backsplash height that perfectly suits both the practical and aesthetic needs of your space.