How Many Square Feet Backsplash?

Having a backsplash in your kitchen not only protects your walls from splashes and stains but also adds beauty and character to the space. When planning a kitchen backsplash, one of the key considerations is determining how much square footage you need to cover. The amount of backsplash you need depends on your kitchen size, layout, and personal style preferences. This comprehensive guide provides tips for calculating how many square feet of backsplash you need for your kitchen remodel or new construction project.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Square Footage

Several variables impact how much backsplash surface area you require:

Size of the Kitchen

Larger kitchens naturally need more backsplash than smaller galley kitchens. Measure the linear horizontal feet of countertops and cabinets requiring backsplash protection to determine surface area. Standard backsplashes are 4-6 inches tall.

For example, a 10 x 10 foot kitchen with counters on three walls would need approximately 30 linear feet of standard 4-inch tall backsplash. This equates to roughly 30 square feet of backsplash surface area.

Kitchen Layout

The arrangement of cabinets and appliances dictates backsplash layout. Continuous backsplash along countertops is the most common design. Full wall backsplashes extending from countertops to ceilings are also popular.

Islands, peninsulas, and accent walls require calculated backsplash to avoid wasting materials and money. Carefully map out your design before purchasing materials.

Backsplash Height

Standard backsplash height is 4-6 inches. However, you may prefer a full height backsplash up to 18 inches or higher. Measure linear feet at your desired height to determine square footage needs.

For example, 30 linear feet of 18-inch tall backsplash requires 60 square feet of tiling.

Type of Backsplash Materials

Natural stone, metal, glass, and ceramic tile are common backsplash materials. Each material requires different amounts for full coverage:

  • Tile: 5-10% extra for cuts and patterns
  • Stone: 10-15% extra for irregular stone sizes
  • Metal: 5-10% extra for safe overlap of pieces
  • Glass: 10-15% extra to accommodate specialized cuts

Backsplash Design

Simple rectangular backsplashes require less material than mosaic patterns or decorative listellos and borders. Add 5-15% more for intricately designed backsplashes.

Measure the linear feet at the appropriate height based on your design choices. Then use a material calculator to determine how many square feet of tiles or slabs you need.

How to Measure for Backsplash Square Footage

Follow these steps to calculate linear feet and required square footage:

1. Mark Lengths Needing Backsplash

Use a pencil and measuring tape to mark start and end points of backsplash runs. Include inside and outside corners. Round measurements up to the nearest 1/4 inch.

2. Measure and Record Each Section

Carefully measure and record the length of each backsplash section. For standard height backsplashes under 6 inches, only measure horizontally.

For full height designs, measure from counter to ceiling. Enter measurements into a calculator or spreadsheet as you go.

3. Total the Linear Feet

Add together all the measurements to get the total linear feet requiring backsplash.

For example, three sections measuring 9 feet, 6 feet, and 12 feet totals 27 linear feet.

4. Determine Square Footage

Multiply your total linear feet by the desired height in feet to calculate estimated square footage.

Using the previous example of 27 linear feet:

  • 27 linear feet x 0.33 feet (4 inch height) = 9 square feet
  • 27 linear feet x 1.5 feet (18 inch height) = 40.5 square feet

5. Add Extra for Cuts and Patterns

Don’t forget to add 5-15% more materials for complex designs and natural stone irregularities.

6. Use a Material Calculator

To verify, enter your square footage calculation and material into a backsplash calculator. This gives exact tile/stone requirements.

Carefully measuring and planning square footage needs for your backsplash saves money on materials and labor. Follow these tips for determining how many square feet backsplash your kitchen design requires.

Backsplash Installation Cost Per Square Foot

In addition to material costs, professional installation is a significant expense for new backsplash. On average, expect to pay the following per square foot for labor and materials:

  • Ceramic, porcelain or glass tile – $10-$25
  • Natural stone tile – $25-$50
  • Metal tile – $25-$50
  • Mirror or glass sheets – $50-$100
  • Mosaic tiles – $15-$35

Simple installations with standard subway tile cost around $10-15 per square foot. More intricate designs and premium materials can range from $25 up to $100+ per square foot installed.

Be sure to get an itemized quote for materials and labor. Request samples and check reviews to ensure you receive quality workmanship.

Factors That Impact Backsplash Installation Cost

Several variables influence the total expense for a kitchen backsplash installation project:

Labor Rates

Tile installer hourly rates range from $45 to $85 per hour. Typical backsplash projects take 8 to 16 hours.

Material Choices

Porcelain, ceramic, or glass tiles cost $2-$25 per square foot. While marble, granite or metal tiles run $15-$50+ per square foot.

Amount of Tile Cuts

Tile cuts for outlets, corners, and fixtures add time and labor expense.

Pattern Complexity

Simple layouts are quicker to install than intricate patterns and mosaics.

Grout vs Glass Sheet

Grout lines take more time versus groutless glass sheet installs.

Backsplash Height

Standard height requires less time than full wall backsplashes.

Permits and Removal

If permits or old backsplash demolition are needed, these add cost.

To save on installation, use a simple tile style and standard height backsplash. Get 3-4 quotes to find the best value installer.

Backsplash Tile Calculator

Once you know the square footage required, use a backsplash tile calculator to determine the exact materials needed.

Enter the square footage, tile size, and grout allowance. The calculator will specify how many whole tiles and partial tiles to purchase.

For example, 20 square feet with 4×4 inch tiles and 10% grout allowance requires:

  • 130 tiles (110 whole tiles + 20 partial tiles)
  • 15.6 sq ft of tile
  • 4.4 sq ft of grout

Accurately calculating materials prevents overbuying or running short on tiles.

How Much Backsplash Do I Need?

The amount of backsplash needed depends on your kitchen’s measurements and layout. Here are typical backsplash square footages needed for common kitchen sizes:

Small Kitchen (50 sq ft)

A compact, one-wall kitchen may require just 10-15 square feet of standard height backsplash.

Medium Kitchen (100 sq ft)

A mid-sized L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen needs 25-40 square feet of 4-6 inch backsplash.

Large Kitchen (250+ sq ft)

An expansive kitchen with multiple counters and an island can require 60-80+ square feet of backsplash.

Of course, your specific backsplash needs depend on your kitchen design. Measure each section needing backsplash and calculate the total square footage required.

Backsplash Area Calculator

Rather than measuring, you can use an online backsplash area calculator to determine required square footage based on your kitchen’s dimensions.

Simply enter the:

  • Length and width of the kitchen area
  • Height of the backsplash
  • Length of wall sections needing backsplash

The calculator will provide the estimated backsplash square footage amount.

Be sure to add extra materials if installing natural stone or intricate patterns.

How Much Backsplash Comes in a Box?

Backsplash tile is sold by the square foot, but box sizes vary by manufacturer. Here are typical amounts:

  • Mosaic tile sheets: 10-12 square feet per box
  • Subway tile: 15-20 square feet per box
  • Standard ceramic tile: 10-15 square feet per box
  • Natural stone tile: 7-12 square feet per box
  • Metal tile: 7-10 square feet per box

Measure your space first, then purchase boxes to fulfill your square footage needs. Having too little or way too much wastes money.

Backsplash Design Tips

Beyond proper coverage, well-designed backsplashes enhance kitchen aesthetics. Follow these tips:

Select Durable Materials

Glass, metal, stone, and ceramic withstand heat, grease, and cleaning. Avoid wallpaper or paint alone.

Define Style and Color Palette

Match backsplash style and hues to cabinetry, counters, and appliances.

Consider Ease of Cleaning

Tile is simpler to clean versus grouted stone. Glass sheets resist grime between tiles.

Include Accent Areas

Use backsplash to define cooking zones, frame range hoods, or highlight islands.

Install at Proper Height

Standard backsplashes install at 4-6 inches above counters. Measure based on faucets and windows.

Illuminate with Lighting

LED tape lights or pendant fixtures make backsplashes shine.

Backsplash Ideas to Save Money

There are also ways to cut costs on your backsplash project:

Select Affordable Materials

Ceramic, glass, and porcelain tiles offer inexpensive options starting around $5 per square foot.

Install Tile on a Budget

Use subway tile or penny rounds in affordable colors like white, grey, or black to save on materials. Have tiles delivered to avoid transportation fees.

DIY Installation

Installing backsplash tile yourself saves on labor costs. Follow online tutorials for guidance.

Limit Backsplash Area

Only install backsplash where truly needed behind sinks, stoves, and prep areas. Use paint on less prone walls.

Extend Cabinets Up

Raising cabinet height to reduce backsplash coverage can save thousands in materials and labor.

Reuse Existing Backsplash

If your current backsplash is in good shape, clean and restore instead of a full replacement.

Accurately measuring your backsplash area saves materials and prevents headaches during installation. Use a tile calculator and create an itemized budget. With smart planning, you can create the backsplash design of your dreams at an affordable price.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Square Footage

How much backsplash do I need for a 10×10 kitchen?

For a 10 foot by 10 foot kitchen, you would need approximately 30 linear feet of standard 4 inch tall backsplash. This equals about 30 square feet of backsplash.

How do I calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the length and height of each backsplash section. Multiply the linear feet by the backsplash height in feet to get the square footage. Add all sections together.

What is the standard backsplash size?

The typical backsplash height is 4-6 inches. Standard widths match the length of countertops needing protection.

How much backsplash comes on a sheet?

Backsplash tile sheets contain:

  • Mosaics – 10-12 square feet
  • Subway tiles – 15-20 square feet
  • Ceramic tiles – 10-15 square feet
  • Stone tiles – 7-12 square feet
  • Metal tiles – 7-10 square feet

Should you put backsplash in a small kitchen?

Yes, backsplash should be installed even in a small kitchen. Limit the height and location to just areas prone to splashing. Use cost-effective materials like paint or glass panels.

What is the maximum height for a backsplash?

Backsplashes can extend from 4 inches to the full wall height. Maximum heights are based on your preference and needs. Standard sizes are 18-24 inches. Full wall backsplashes create a dramatic effect.

How long does it take to install kitchen backsplash?

A typical kitchen backsplash takes 8-16 hours for professional installation, depending on the materials and complexity of the design. Simple DIY backsplash projects can be completed in 2-3 hours.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It looks best when backsplashes complement countertops but are not an exact material match. Contrasting colors, textures, and shapes create interest.

Can you use wallpaper as a backsplash?

While tempting for the pattern options, wallpaper alone does not withstand heat and moisture. It’s best to install tile backsplash over wallpaper or painted walls.