How Much Do Contractors Charge to Install Tile Backsplash

Adding a tile backsplash to your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. However, installing tile properly requires some skill and labor. Hiring professional contractors to install a tile backsplash is a good option for many homeowners who want excellent results without taking on a challenging DIY project. When budgeting for a tile backsplash installation, one of the key factors to consider is how much contractors typically charge for this service. The rates can vary based on several variables, but having a general sense of cost can help you plan and make informed decisions about your backsplash project.

Factors That Influence Tile Backsplash Installation Cost

Several key factors impact how much contractors charge to install a tile backsplash in your kitchen:

Type of Tile

The type of tile you select makes a significant difference in material costs and installation rates. More expensive tile materials like granite, marble, or glass tile can increase the total project cost compared to standard ceramic or porcelain tile. Mosaic tiles take more time and skill to install properly, which can also add to the contractor fees.

Amount of Tile Needed

The size of the backsplash area to be tiled is a major cost driver. A full wall of tile from counter to ceiling will clearly cost more than a narrow strip of backsplash tile behind the stove. Complex tile patterns or designs also increase the tile setting time compared to a simple brick pattern.

Tile Pattern and Design Complexity

Simple tile patterns like stacked, brick, or grid layouts are the most budget friendly. Diagonal, herringbone, geometric patterns, or artistic tile designs take more time and skill to layout and install correctly. This extra effort is usually reflected in the contractor’s rates.

Grout Type

Grout type also impacts installation cost. Epoxy grout is more durable and moisture resistant than standard cement grout, but it is more difficult to work with and adds to the contractor’s labor time. Consider if epoxy grout is needed for the location of your backsplash.

Preparation Work Needed

If the contractor needs to repair walls, remove existing backsplash tile, or prepare the surface in other ways first, this adds hours to the total project timeline and cost. Some materials like granite may require special backing or adhesive for installation.

Location and Accessibility

Backsplash areas that are difficult to access can also increase the time required for proper tile setting. This includes tight spaces behind stoves or large work islands. Easily accessible backsplash walls are the most budget friendly for installs.

Average Cost to Install a Tile Backsplash

With all these factors considered, most contractors will charge an average of $40 to $70 per square foot to install a tile backsplash in the kitchen or bathroom. This includes basic materials like tile, grout, and adhesive. Some additional considerations for average costs:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile: $3 to $10 per square foot for materials
  • Glass or marble tile: $15 to $30+ per square foot for materials
  • Standard grout: $0.50 to $1 per square foot
  • Epoxy grout: $1.50 to $4 per square foot
  • Contractor labor: $5 to $10 per square foot for simple installation
  • Contractor labor: $15 to $25+ per square foot for complex patterns or tile

For example, if you have a backsplash that is 10 square feet and choose standard rectangular ceramic tile with cement grout, your estimated costs would be:

  • Tile materials: $5 per sq. ft. x 10 sq. ft. = $50
  • Grout materials: $0.75 per sq. ft. x 10 sq. ft. = $7.50
  • Contractor labor for standard install: $7 per sq. ft. x 10 sq. ft. = $70
  • Total estimated cost: $127.50

Use these typical per square foot costs as a guideline when planning your backsplash tile installation project. Get in touch with local contractors to request quotes for your specific backsplash size and materials.

Cost Factors to Install Tile Backsplash

Below is an overview of some specific material, design, and labor factors that can influence the cost to install a tile backsplash:

Tile Material Types

  • Ceramic: $3 to $7 per square foot
  • Porcelain: $4 to $10 per square foot
  • Glass: $15 to $30 per square foot
  • Marble or granite: $30+ per square foot
  • Mosaic: $5 to $15 per square foot

Grout Types

  • Cement (sanded or unsanded): $0.50 to $1 per square foot
  • Epoxy: $1.50 to $4 per square foot

Pattern and Design Complexity

  • Simple brick or stacked: $5 to $10 per sq. ft. for labor
  • Geometric, herringbone: $10 to $20 per sq. ft. for labor
  • Intricate patterns and designs: $20+ per sq. ft. for labor

Contractor Versus DIY Install

Hiring a professional contractor to install your backsplash typically costs $40 to $70 per square foot on average. Attempting a DIY backsplash install can potentially reduce costs to $20 to $35 per square foot for materials if you have tiling experience. However, flaws, mistakes, and lack of knowledge about proper installation techniques can lead to problems down the road. Many homeowners find investing in a contractor’s expertise is worthwhile for such an important kitchen feature.

Hiring Local Tile Backsplash Contractors

The best way to get accurate estimates for your particular backsplash tile installation is to reach out to local general contractors or specialists. Here are some tips for finding reputable professionals in your area:

  • Search online marketplaces like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List to read reviews of local contractors.
  • Check websites of professional tiling or remodeling organizations like the National Tile Contractors Association to find qualified members.
  • Ask friends or neighbors for referrals to tile installers they have used and would recommend.
  • Locate showrooms or suppliers of your preferred tile material and ask for contractor recommendations.
  • Review potential contractors’ online portfolios and visit previous job sites when possible.
  • Verify necessary licensing, insurance, and bonding for any contractors you consider hiring.
  • Request at least 3-4 written bids outlining the scope of work, materials, projected timeline, and itemized costs.
  • Choose the contractor you feel best meets your needs in terms of experience, communication, reliability, and cost.

Hiring a competent tile installation contractor ensures your backsplash is completed properly the first time. Though costs vary based on materials and scope, paying market rates for quality workmanship is a wise investment to make in your home. With some smart planning and research, you can get a beautiful new backsplash you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Factors That Increase Tile Backsplash Installation Costs

Installing a tile backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. While tile adds style, color, and visual interest to the space, it does come at a cost. Many factors can influence the amount of money you’ll need to budget for your backsplash installation project. Being aware of these cost drivers helps you make the best material selections and design choices to stay on budget.

Using Premium Tile Materials

Upgrading to high-end tile materials like natural stone, glass, or marble tiles will increase the material costs dramatically compared to standard ceramic or porcelain tiles. These premium tiles require specialty tools, adhesives, and skill to install, adding to project costs.

Choosing Smaller Tile Sizes

Smaller tiles mean more grout lines and more pieces that need to be individually set by the contractor. Standard tile sizes of 4 inches by 4 inches are the most cost effective. Mosaic tiles or anything under 2 inches on a side takes much more labor time to install.

Selecting Intricate Patterns and Designs

Simple tile layouts in a stack or grid design are most affordable. Diagonal patterns, herringbones, chevrons, or custom artwork tile designs are beautiful, but take much more time, planning and skill to complete correctly.

Opting for Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is more durable and water resistant than standard cement grout, but costs up to four times more. If this specialty grout isn’t necessarily needed in your application, standard grout will be the budget choice.

Including Decorative Accents

Adding decorative tile accents, borders, inserts, or medallions adds cost for the additional customized tile shapes and installation work. Using fewer accent tiles helps keep the project simpler and more affordable.

Choosing Full Height Backsplashes

A full height backsplash that continues from countertop to ceiling makes a dramatic statement, but tiling all that additional area adds extra cost. Standard height backsplashes of 4-6 inches are most economical.

Needing Surface Preparation

If your backsplash area needs wall repairs, drywall installation, removal of old tile, or significant surface prep, add those labor hours into your cost estimate. A smooth, clean surface ready for tile will be most affordable.

Accessing Tight Spaces

Backsplash areas with limited access behind stoves or large islands add challenges and time to the installation. Opt for tiles installed in easier to reach areas for simpler projects.

Making smart design choices and material selections for your backsplash helps control project costs. While tile upgrades can add expense, focus upgrades only where they will make the most visual impact. An experienced tile contractor can also suggest ways to add style while staying on budget.

Questions to Ask Contractors About Backsplash Installation

Installing a backsplash tile project involves making many decisions about materials, tools, techniques, prep work, and final costs. Asking contractors the right questions upfront ensures you understand what is entailed so you can make informed choices. Here are some key questions to ask when interviewing tile backsplash installation contractors:

What specific experience do you have installing backsplash tiles? Look for contractors who regularly complete kitchen or bathroom backsplash projects similar to yours. Ask about training and certifications as well.

Do you provide design advice about tile selections? A knowledgeable contractor can suggest tile styles, colors, and patterns that work best for backsplashes based on your goals, taste, and budget.

What preparation work is required prior to installing the tile? The contractor should assess if the surface needs repairs, wall leveling, painting, or old tile removal before new tile can be set.

What are your recommendations for tile, grout, and other materials? Experienced contractors know which products hold up best and coordinate well. Ask their advice about options like sanded vs. unsanded grout.

Do you have a portfolio of past backsplash projects I can see? View photos of previous jobs to evaluate the quality and style of the contractor’s work.

What does your pricing include? Ask for a written estimate outlining all project costs including labor and material expenses. Understand exactly what is covered.

How long will the backsplash installation take? The contractor should give you an estimated project timeline so you can prepare your kitchen or bathroom for the install work.

Do you handle tile sealing/grouting after install? Some contractors apply sealants and do final grouting as part of the project. Clarify who will handle each step.

Do you include prep and cleanup in your pricing? Many contractors include debris removal, basic cleaning/sealing, and some surface preparation in their base pricing.

Do you provide any warranties or guarantees on your tile work? Reputable contractors often warranty their installation workmanship for a period of 1-2 years.

Asking the right questions upfront ensures you choose the best contractor for the job and set realistic expectations about the project scope, timeline, and budget.

Smart Ways to Reduce the Cost of a Tile Backsplash Installation

Installing a tile backsplash is an investment that can significantly improve your kitchen or bathroom décor. While professional installation provides the best results, you can reduce costs on your project in a few key ways:

Purchase tiles and supplies separately

Rather than having your contractor supply materials, source tiles and grout yourself from home stores or specialty suppliers to save markup costs. Shop sales and clearance sections for best deals.

Use a simple tile layout

Opt for basic stack, grid, or brick tile patterns. Avoid expensive mosaics and intricate designs. Minimize use of decorative accents, borders, and niche tiles as well.

Install a smaller backsplash area

Concentrate your tile behind the cooktop or sink only. Full backsplashes from counter to ceiling require much more tile and labor. Standard 4-6 inch height backsplashes offer splash protection without significant added cost.

Choose smaller standard tile sizes

Standard 4 inch by 4 inch or 6 inch by 6 inch tiles are most affordable. When larger tiles are used, more cuts are needed to fit the space. Mosaics and micro tiles add extensive labor time.

Select standard thicknesses

Thinner tile needs special caring during handling and installation adding cost. Standard tile thicknesses around 1⁄4 inch are the most budget friendly.

Use standard grout

Avoid upgrades to epoxy grout if regular cement grout will suffice. Epoxy is more challenging to install and costs approximately 300-400% more than cement grout.

Do prep work yourself

Removing old backsplashes, fixing drywall, or painting the installation area yourself saves paying your contractor’s labor rate for this preparatory work.

With strategic design and material choices, you can reduce the installation costs for your backsplash tile project. Always communicate your budget constraints with contractors to find ways to get the look you want affordably.

Enhancing Your Kitchen on a Budget: Cost-Saving Backsplash Ideas

Remodeling your entire kitchen can take a big bite out of your home improvement budget. However, you can update the look of your kitchen affordably by installing an eye-catching new backsplash. With some savvy planning and cost-conscious design choices, you can create a backsplash focal point that fits your budget. Consider these tips to add tile dazzle without breaking the bank:

Opt for a small splash zone – Concentrate your new tiles in a narrow band directly behind the countertop work area rather than going full height to the ceiling. This significantly reduces the square footage of tile needed.

Use creatively shaped or cut tiles – Adding a few accent tiles strategically cut into shapes like curves, points, or circles makes the space visually interesting without the cost of all specialty tiles.

Incorporate wall paint into your design – Paint the wall portions above and below your backsplash tile to blend seamlessly. This extends the look without needing more expensive tile.

Swap in pre-fabricated panels – Budget-friendly options like stainless steel or tin backsplash panels add shine and style without professional installation costs.

Install a peel-and-stick backsplash – Self-adhesive “peel-and-stick” vinyl or plastic backsplash panels go up with no mess and can mimic the look of real tile.

Use removable wallpaper – Some removable wallpaper designs mimic tile, metal, or stone for a backsplash look you can easily change out when desired.

Focus on clever accents – Add affordable metal, ceramic, or glass tile accents sparingly. Handmade ceramic tiles offer artisan appeal.

Shop discount retailers – Check home improvement discounters for tile clearance sales, budget materials, and DIY project kits.

Do prep work yourself – Save on labor fees by removing old backsplashes or doing any needed wall repairs/patching before install.

With a little creativity, you can design an affordable, yet chic backsplash makeover for your kitchen by using cost-cutting materials, keeping the tile space small, and doing some of the prep work on your own.

FAQs About Contractors Charging to Install Tile Backsplash

Q: How do contractors typically charge for a backsplash installation?

A: Most contractors charge by the square foot for tile backsplash installations. Costs range from $40-$70 per square foot on average depending on tile materials, complexity of the design, and local labor rates. Always get a detailed written estimate outlining material and labor costs.

Q: How much does it cost for basic tile and grout materials?

A: Ceramic or porcelain tiles run $3-$10 per square foot. Standard cement grout is $0.50-$1 per square foot. Higher end materials like glass or marble tile and specialty epoxy grout cost significantly more.

Q: Should I supply the tile and materials myself?

A: You can supply materials if desired to save on the contractor’s markup. Make sure to get the contractor’s approval of your tile choices and order 10-15% extra for cuts and waste.

Q: What factors increase the labor costs for installation?

A: Small tile sizes, intricate patterns, full-height backsplashes, niche accents, removing old tile, accessibility issues, and surface preparation needs can all drive up the contractor’s labor fees.

Q: How much does it cost to install a standard 4 x 6 inch ceramic tile backsplash?

A: For a basic 10 square foot ceramic tile backsplash with cement grout, total costs would be approximately $127-$170. This includes $50 in tile, $7.50 in grout, and $70-$100 in contractor labor.

Q: Should I DIY my backsplash installation to save money?

A: DIY backsplash installs can potentially save on labor costs but flawless results require experience. Many homeowners choose to hire a pro to ensure it’s done right the first time.

Q: Can I negotiate costs with contractors?

A: You can certainly negotiate with tile installers, especially if providing your own materials. Multi-project bids or off-season discounts may also be available to help reduce overall costs.

Hiring a qualified professional contractor for your backsplash installation project ensures you get beautiful, long-lasting results and make the most of your home improvement investment.


Installing a tile backsplash can take your kitchen or bathroom from bland to beautiful. Paying a professional contractor to handle the job generally provides superior results compared to DIY