A backsplash is an important design element in any kitchen that serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. But how much backsplash coverage do you really need? Determining the square footage for your backsplash installation is an important early step in the design process.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about calculating square footage for your kitchen backsplash, including average sizes, factors that impact overall area, popular backsplash layouts, and tips for getting your measurements right. With the insights below, you’ll be equipped to figure out the precise backsplash size that fits your kitchen space and style.
What is a Backsplash?
Before diving into square footages, let’s quickly review what a backsplash is and its purpose in the kitchen.
A backsplash is a surface area that protects the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink from water damage, stains, splashes, and splatters. Backsplashes are typically installed between the countertops and kitchen cabinets.
While functional in nature, backsplashes have become a popular decorative focal point in kitchen design. Backsplashes are available in a vast array of materials like ceramic tile, glass tile, natural stone, metal, and laminates, allowing you to make a stylish statement.
Backsplashes serve several important roles:
- Protect walls from water damage near sinks and stovetops
- Create a decorative focal point and complement the overall kitchen aesthetic
- Tie together countertops, cabinets, appliances, and other kitchen elements
- Allow for personalized design through color, textures, patterns, and materials
- Provide an easy-to-clean and sanitize surface near cooking areas
- Prevent buildup of food, oils, and grime on walls
With so many options available, it’s important to calculate the appropriate amount of backsplash coverage you’ll need when planning your kitchen remodel or new construction.
Average Backsplash Size in Square Feet
The size of your backsplash will depend on several factors like kitchen shape and layout, countertop dimensions, appliance placement, and the desired visual look.
However, most standard kitchen backsplashes fall within the following size ranges:
- Small Kitchen: Approximately 15-25 square feet
- Medium Kitchen: Approximately 25-45 square feet
- Large Kitchen: Approximately 45-55 square feet
To put this into perspective visually, here are some sample squares feet measurements:
- 4′ x 5′ area = 20 sq ft
- 8′ x 5′ area = 40 sq ft
- 10′ x 10′ area = 100 sq ft
In a galley kitchen, you may need only 15-25 square feet of backsplash to cover the narrow spaces behind the stove and sinks.
In an L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen, you likely need 25-45 square feet for adequate backsplash coverage.
For an open concept great room kitchen/dining space, plan for 45-55 square feet for an impactful and proportional backsplash design.
Use these ballpark ranges as a starting point, then calculate your precise square footage using your kitchen’s measurements.
Factors that Impact Backsplash Square Footage
Several factors come into play when determining your ideal backsplash size:
Kitchen Shape and Layout
Galley, L-shaped, U-shaped, and open concept kitchens have very different space requirements. Measure each surface area where you plan to install backsplash and total up the square footage.
Backsplashes should run along the entire perimeter of countertops. Measure the length and width of each countertop that will get a corresponding backsplash. Include integrated sink and stove areas.
Any appliances mounted to countertops like ranges, cooktops, or sinks should have accompanying backsplash coverage. Measure the surface areas behind appliances that need protection.
Tile Style and Patterns
The type of backsplash tiles or panels you select may be conducive to full wall coverage or just targeted installations. For example, a busy pattern may suit a contained backsplash space versus plain tiles used in an allover design.
Consider where you want your backsplash to make the biggest visual impact. Use a larger concentrated backsplash area over stoves, sinks, or behind open shelving.
Larger backsplash installations require greater expenditure on materials and labor. Be sure to account for total project costs when determining square footage.
Backsplash Layout Configurations
Now that we’ve covered size considerations, let’s look at popular backsplash layouts. Determine the overall square footage based on where you want to concentrate the backsplash coverage.
Full Wall Backsplash
A full wall (or allover) backsplash means installing backsplash tile from countertop to ceiling across entire walls. This provides a cohesive built-in look, especially in contemporary or industrial kitchens. It offers the greatest protection from splashes too.
To calculate square footage for a full back wall:
- Measure wall length from end to end
- Measure wall height from countertop to ceiling
- Multiply length x height for total square feet
Repeat for each wall getting backsplash. Add together for the total.
Lower Partial Backsplash
This traditional backsplash style covers a fraction of the wall, typically 4-6 inches above countertops. It allows you to use more ornate designs by limiting tile to a contained area.
To calculate a lower partial backsplash:
- Measure the linear horizontal length of each surface needing backsplash.
- Multiply this length by the height of your partial backsplash. Generally 4-6 inches or 0.3 – 0.5 feet.
Contained Backsplash Areas
Focus backsplashes only where needed – behind sinks, stoves, and other appliances prone to splashes. Avoid wasted square footage in areas that don’t need protection.
Measure each surface individually and add together for the total. Remember to include a few inches on side walls for a finished look.
Get creative by combining two different backsplash materials, like a tile focal point against a painted wall. Calculate square feet only for the focal backsplash accents.
Niches are recessed openings carved into the backsplash surface. This allows for discreet storage of cooking oils, spices, etc. Since it’s recessed, a niche doesn’t add to overall square footage.
How to Accurately Measure Backsplash Square Footage
Now let’s discuss techniques for taking proper measurements:
Have these on hand when measuring:
- Measuring tape
- Laser distance measure (for greater accuracy)
- Notebook and pen for writing measurements
- Kitchen layout drawings
Measure Multiple Times
Measure each surface at least twice to ensure accuracy. tres to account for any inconsistencies.
Mind the Angles
Most kitchens have angled surfaces. Be sure to measure the longest horizontal point across to get the full coverage area.
Photograph as You Go
Take photos of each measured wall and area. This provides a helpful visual reference when calculating totals.
Account for Obstructions
Make note of any obstacles like pipes or ductwork that protrude. You’ll need to deduct their square footage.
Include Inside Corners
When two countertops meet in an L-shape, calculate the inside corner area too, not just the perimeter.
Convert As Needed
Carefully convert all measurements to square feet for easy totaling. Use a calculator to avoid errors.
With an attention to detail, you’ll get the precise measurements required for ordering backsplash materials.
Backsplash Installation Cost per Square Foot
While this article focuses on calculating square footage, it’s helpful to know average per square foot installation costs:
- Ceramic tile: $7-$25 per sq ft
- Glass tile: $15-$30 per sq ft
- Mosaic tile: $15-$30 per sq ft
- Stone tile: $25-$50 per sq ft
- Metal tile: $15-$35 per sq ft
- Laminates: $8-$12 per sq ft
To budget for you project, multiply the cost per square foot by your total backsplash area.
Key Takeaways: Backsplash Square Footage Calculations
Here are the key tips to remember when determining how many square feet of backsplash you need:
- For standard kitchens, plan for 15-55 square feet
- Measure all countertop perimeter areas getting backsplash
- Include space around sinks, stoves, and other appliances
- Use length x height to get backsplash sections
- Add together areas for a total square footage
- double check accuracy with multiple measurements
- Reduce total for any wall obstructions like ductwork
Carefully calculating and designing your backsplash coverage will ensure you get a beautiful, proportional installation that makes the desired visual impact and provides ample splatter protection.
With the strategies above for measuring and planning your kitchen backsplash square footage, you’ll be well equipped to install a functional and eye-catching backsplash design.
Frequently Asked Questions on Calculating Backsplash Square Footage
Many homeowners have additional questions when calculating how much backsplash is needed. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How tall should my backsplash be?
The most common backsplash height is 4-6 inches. Partial backsplashes range from 4-18 inches high. Full height backsplashes go from countertop to ceiling. Choose based on your style, tile dimensions, and budget.
How do I determine linear feet?
Linear feet refers to the horizontal measurable length of each area requiring backsplash. Measure each section needing backsplash from one end to the other, even if it includes angles and corners.
Should I include the wall space behind the stove?
Yes, it is recommended to install sturdy and grease-resistant backsplash tiles behind stoves to protect the wall from splatters. Be sure to measure the stove back wall area.
What about the space behind my kitchen peninsula?
If your peninsula or island counters extend from the wall, include their perimeter in your overall backsplash measurements as you would standard countertops.
Can I only do a mosaic sheet in a small area?
Absolutely. Many homeowners opt for small mosaic tile sheets for a focal accent wall behind a stove or sink. Measure just this contained area.
How do I account for power outlets and switches?
When measuring, simply deduct any areas occupied by electrical boxes, conduit, or plumbing. Adjust your total square footage accordingly.
Should I measure separately if combining materials?
Yes, keep measurements for different materials separate, like subway tile perimeter with a mosaic sheet focal point. Tally the totals for each material needed.
Can backsplashes be curved?
It is possible to install tiles in a curved orientation. This specialized installation requires an experienced tile setter and costs more compared to flat expanses.
Determining accurate square footage for your desired backsplash design ensures you purchase the right amount of materials for a seamless installation. With a careful focus on measurements and layout planning, you can create a kitchen backsplash that truly elevates your space with both style and function.
Be sure to account for all perimeter areas needing coverage, include appliances that require protection, and double check your math. With the tips provided in this guide, you can confidently tackle backsplash measuring and planning in your kitchen renovation or new build project.
So start designing your dream backsplash and enjoy this impactful element that puts the finishing touch on your culinary space.