How Many Tiles Do I Need for Backsplash?

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But before you start tiling, it’s important to figure out how many tile you need to purchase. Here are some tips on calculating the number of backsplash tiles required.

Measure the Area to be Tiled

The first step is to carefully measure the area you plan to tile. This includes the wall space between the countertops and kitchen cabinets. Be sure to measure the width and height in inches. Multiplying the width by the height gives you the total square footage. Remember to account for any windows, outlets or other areas that won’t be tiled.

For example, if your backsplash area is 15 feet wide by 4 feet high, that’s 60 square feet of space to cover. Write down the measurements so you know exactly how much tile is needed.

Determine Tile Size

Next, you need to know the size of the tile you plan to install. Tile sizes can range from 1 inch mosaics to 12 inch subway tiles or even 24 inch ceramic tiles. Standard sizes are:

  • 1 inch mosaic tiles
  • 4 inch backsplash tiles
  • 6 inch subway tiles
  • 12 inch subway tiles
  • 16 inch ceramic tiles
  • 24 inch ceramic tiles

The most popular sizes for backsplashes are the 4 inch, 6 inch and 12 inch tiles. Measure a few samples at the store to find out the exact dimensions if you don’t have the specs.

Calculate How Many Tiles

To determine the number of tiles required, divide the total square footage of the area by the square footage of each tile.

For example:

  • Total area = 60 sq ft
  • Tile size = 4 inch tiles (4 x 4 inches = 16 square inches)
  • 60 sq ft divided by 16 sq in = 187.5 tiles

So for a 60 sq ft backsplash using 4 inch tiles, you would need approximately 188 tiles. Make sure to buy a few extras so you can cover mistakes or cracks. An extra 10% is usually sufficient.

If using rectangular subway tiles, simply multiply the width and height. For example, a 6 x 12 inch tile has an area of 72 square inches.

Use this formula to calculate tiles needed:

Total sq ft of backsplash area ÷ Tile square inches = Number of tiles needed

Calculate Tile Needed by Linear Feet

For long narrow areas, it may be easier to calculate the number of tiles based on the linear footage.

Measure the height or length of the backsplash in inches. Then divide by the height or length of your tile to get the number of tiles needed for that row.

For example, if you have a backsplash that’s 36 inches high, and 12 inch subway tile, you would need 36 ÷ 12 = 3 tiles for each column.

Multiply the number of tiles per row by the number of rows to get the total. Add 10% extra for a buffer.

Order Your Materials

Once you know how many tiles are required, order the amount plus some extras in case of breakage or mistakes. Also order matching grout. Make sure everything comes from the same dye lot for consistency.

Other supplies like backerboard, thinset, grout float, spacers and sealer will also be needed. Don’t forget the right tools – tile cutter, tile nippers and a grout sponge.

Installing a kitchen backsplash is an attainable DIY project with the right planning and materials. Knowing exactly how many tiles are needed for your backsplash is the crucial first step to a successful installation. Carefully measure, calculate square footage based on tile dimensions and order materials with some extra. With the right tile count, you’ll be ready to tile your backsplash beautifully.

Frequently Asked Questions on Backsplash Tiles Needed

How do I calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the width and height of the backsplash area in inches. Multiply the width by the height to get total square inches. Divide by 144 to convert to square feet.

How much extra tile should I get?

Order at least 10% more tiles than calculated to allow for cuts, waste and breakage. For mosaics and handmade tile, order 15% extra.

What size tile is best for backsplash?

4×4, 6×6 or 3×6 inch tiles are commonly used. Large tiles 12×12 inches or bigger can be challenging for do-it-yourself installation on a backsplash.

How many subway tiles do I need for a backsplash?

Measure the area’s square footage, then divide by the individual tile’s square inches to get the number needed. Add 10% extra for cuts and waste.

Should I measure in inches or feet for backsplash tiles?

Inches are best to precisely calculate the area and tiles needed. Convert to feet only when necessary to order materials. Avoid rounding to feet during calculations.

How do I calculate tile horizontally and vertically?

For vertical, measure height of backsplash and divide by tile height. For horizontal, measure width and divide by tile width. Multiply the two totals.

What if my backsplash has an outlet or window?

When measuring, subtract the areas that won’t be tiled like appliance garages, outlets, or windows. Calculate tiles only for the backsplash surface.

How many extra tiles should I get for a mosaic backsplash?

Get at least 15% more mosaic tiles than calculated. The small tile size and mesh backing means more waste. Order extra to be safe.


Figuring out the tile count for a kitchen backsplash is simple with accurate measurements and basic math. Measure the total square footage of the area, determine the dimensions of the tiles you choose, then divide total area by the individual tile size. Order at least 10% extra tiles to have on hand. With the right amount of tiles and materials, you can create a stylish do-it-yourself backsplash in any kitchen.