How Long Does It Take to Install Backsplash? A Detailed Guide

Installing a backsplash is a great way to add visual interest and protect your walls in a kitchen or bathroom. But many homeowners wonder – how long does it take to install backsplash? The timeframe can vary based on the size of the project, the materials used, and your skill level. With some planning and preparation, even DIYers can tackle a backsplash installation. Read on for a detailed guide on how long the process takes from start to finish.

Choosing Your Backsplash Materials

The first step is selecting your backsplash tiles or panels. The material you choose will impact the installation time. Here’s an overview of popular backsplash materials and how long each takes to install:

Tile Backsplash

Tile allows for endless design possibilities with colors, textures, shapes, and patterns. However, it also requires the most time-consuming installation.

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile: 1-2 days
  • Glass tile: 2-3 days
  • Mosaic tile: 2-3 days
  • Stone tile: 2-3 days

Grout lines, multiple tiles to cut and place, and grouting all add time to the process. Intricate mosaic patterns or small tiles like penny rounds often take longer than basic ceramic subway tile.

Stone Slab Backsplash

Stone slabs like granite, marble, or slate must be cut to size. With fewer pieces to install than tile, stone backsplashes can be done in:

  • 1-2 days

Stone is heavier than ceramic or porcelain tile, which can slow down installation.

Stainless Steel Backsplash

Stainless steel backsplashes come in affordable, snap-together panels. This makes for straightforward installation:

  • 1 day

Faster installation makes stainless a great choice for DIYers. No grouting or special tools needed.

Wood or Composite Backsplash

Wood paneling offers a warm, rustic vibe for backsplashes. Composite boards like FRP (fiberglass reinforced panels) are moisture-resistant options. Plan for:

  • 1 day

Large boards mean less cutting and placing than tile. No grouting speeds installation.

Backsplash Panels

Backsplash panels like PVC, acrylic, or metal offer simple peel-and-stick application. Many DIYers can install these in:

  • 1 day

With no grouting or special tools, backsplash panels go up quickly. Cutting panels to fit can take extra time.

Backsplash Size Considerations

The size of your backsplash project impacts overall installation time. Larger backsplashes require more tile-cutting, placing, and grouting. Some size considerations:

  • A full wall backsplash covering multiple surfaces or large areas will take longer, around 2-3 days.
  • A contained backsplash over a single sink, stove, or small section is faster, usually 1-2 days.
  • Backsplashes with detailed patterns or mosaic tiles require extra prep and placement time. Add at least 1 day.
  • Small areas like a backsplash over a powder room sink may only take a few hours.

Measure your space carefully and account for size before estimating installation time.

Factors that Increase Installation Time

A few factors can complicate backsplash installation and add time:

  • Difficult cuts around outlets or fixtures: Carefully cutting tile around electrical boxes or plumbing fixtures takes extra time and precision.
  • Intricate designs: Patterns like herringbone layouts or mosaic medallions are beautiful but tedious to install. Allow for extra time.
  • Irregular shaped spaces: It takes longer to cut and place tile on uneven surfaces or uniquely shaped spaces.
  • Extensive tile repair: Fixing chips, cracks, or uneven existing tile before installing the backsplash adds time.
  • Lack of experience: First-time DIYers will need more time to learn proper thinset application and tile-cutting techniques.

DIY Installation Timeframe

If you’re a DIYer installing your own backsplash, your experience level impacts how long it will take. Here are some time estimates:

  • Beginner DIYer: 2-3 days
  • Intermediate DIYer: 1-2 days
  • Advanced DIYer: 1 day

First-timers should give themselves extra time to work slowly and ensure proper installation. Experienced DIYers can likely finish faster by efficiently prepping, measuring, cutting, and applying tile.

Hiring a Professional

An experienced tile setter or contractor will complete your backsplash installation much quicker than a DIYer. Here are estimates:

  • Smallcontained backsplash: 4-6 hours
  • Full wall backsplash: 1 day
  • Detailed or intricate backsplash: 1-2 days

Pros can prep and cut many tiles quickly. They also have the right tools like tile saws and work efficiently from years of experience.

Installation Timeline: Step-by-Step Process

Understanding the full backsplash installation process from start to finish can help you estimate the timeframe. Here is an overview of each step and how long it takes:

Planning and Prep Work

  • Consult with design experts: 1 day
  • Demolish old backsplash (if existing): 2-3 hours
  • Purchase all materials and tools: 1-2 days
  • Prepare work surface area: 1 hour
  • Measure space and cut backerboard: 2-3 hours
  • Apply backerboard adhesive and mount: 1-2 hours

Installing the Backsplash

  • Mark guide lines on backerboard: 30 minutes
  • Mix thinset mortar and prepare tiles: 1-2 hours
  • Apply thinset to surface and place tiles: 1-2 days
  • Cut and place accent tiles: 2-3 hours
  • Let thinset mortar cure: 24 hours
  • Mix grout and apply to tile joints: 1-2 hours
  • Clean excess grout off tiles: 1-2 hours
  • Polish and seal grout: 1-2 hours

Total Time

On average, expect a total timeframe of 2-4 days for a DIY backsplash installation, depending on the size and materials involved. Experienced pros may complete installation in just 1-2 days.

Tips to Save Time During Installation

Here are some tips to help speed up the installation process:

  • Have all tools and tile ready before starting. Look up proper thinset mixing technique.
  • Use tile spacers between tiles for consistent spacing and alignment.
  • Mix smaller batches of thinset mortar to prevent waste from drying out.
  • Mark your focal point tile and work outward in sections for organized placement.
  • Let a freshly tiled section cure before moving on to limit smudging and shifting.
  • Group together tiles that need cutting to make the process more efficient.
  • Clean excess grout off in small sections while still wet for easier cleanup.

Hiring a Pro Vs. DIY Installation

Installing a backsplash yourself can save money, but also requires tools, time, and skill. Here’s an overview of the trade-offs:

Benefits of DIY Installation

  • Typically costs 20-50% less than hiring a pro
  • Ability to take your time and do the work at your own pace
  • Learn a new skill and take pride in the finished project

Benefits of Hiring a Professional

  • Saves significant time with faster installation (often 1-2 days total)
  • No learning curve – pros have the skills and right tools for the job
  • High quality installation since pros are trained and experienced
  • Warranties and guarantees for workmanship

Assess your skill level, budget, and schedule before deciding between DIY vs. professional installation. While DIY is more affordable, pros offer huge time savings and peace of mind.


Installing a beautiful backsplash can take anywhere from 1-4 days depending on several factors like the material, size, skill level, and complexity of the design. Carefully consider your project specifications when estimating the installation timeframe. DIYers should allow for extra time to work methodically and safely. For fastest turnaround, hiring an experienced professional can shortcut the installation time significantly. Use the detailed information in this guide to set realistic expectations before starting your backsplash project. With proper planning and preparation, you can achieve the backsplash design of your dreams.

FAQ About Backsplash Installation Time

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how long it takes to install a backsplash:

How long does it take to install a kitchen backsplash?

For an average sized kitchen backsplash of 10-30 square feet, installation typically takes 2-3 days for a DIYer or 1-2 days done professionally.

What is the fastest way to install a backsplash?

Hiring a professional tile setter is the fastest method. Experienced pros have the skills to accurately measure, cut, and place tile efficiently.

How long should I budget for a marble backsplash installation?

Due to the delicate nature of natural stone, budget 3-4 days for a DIY marble backsplash install, or 1-2 days with professionals.

What size backsplash can be installed in a day?

An experienced DIYer can install a contained backsplash spanning 1-2 counters or appliances in a single day. Professionals can complete up to 30 square feet in a day.

Should I remove an existing backsplash before installing a new one?

Yes, demolition of old backsplash tile should be done as the first step of any backsplash installation project.

Can I install a backsplash over existing tile or drywall?

It’s possible but not recommended. Existing tile or drywall likely won’t offer a smooth, sturdy surface for thinset adhesion.

How long does backsplash grout need to cure before sealing?

Grout needs 24-48 hours to fully cure before applying a grout sealer or putting the backsplash area to use.

Is it cheaper to DIY or hire a pro for backsplash installation?

DIY is 20-50% cheaper for materials, but you need tools and time. Pros charge more but offer faster turnaround and expertise.

Key Takeaways:

  • Backsplash installation time depends on size, materials, and DIY vs. pro skill level
  • Ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone tile backsplashes take 1-3 days for DIYers
  • Simple panels go up quicker – stainless steel and PVC in 1 day or less
  • Professionals can install backsplashes in 1-2 days vs. 2-4 days for DIY
  • Prep work like demolishing old backsplash and backerboard installation takes up front time
  • Carefully measure and purchase all materials upfront to prevent delays mid-project
  • Allow 24 hours for thinset mortar to cure before grouting
  • Sealing and polishing grout is the final step, taking 1-2 hours
  • Removing existing backsplash, intricate designs, and large scale projects add days
  • Pros can install faster with experience and right tools to cut and set tile