A kitchen backsplash serves both decorative and functional purposes in your cooking space. Not only does it protect your walls from splashes and stains, it also adds visual interest and ties your design together. When planning for a new backsplash, one of the first considerations is cost. The price can vary greatly depending on the materials, size of the project, and other factors. Understanding what impacts the total expense will help you create a budget and choose the best backsplash for your needs and style.
What Influences the Cost of a Kitchen Backsplash?
Several key details determine how much you will spend for your new backsplash installation or replacement. Keep the following in mind as you evaluate options and get quotes.
The material you select for the backsplash is the biggest factor in determining the total price. Simple ceramic tile tends to be the most budget-friendly choice, while premium stone, metal, glass, and other designer tiles raise the overall cost. Here are some typical backsplash material costs per square foot installed:
- Ceramic tile: $5 – $25
- Porcelain tile: $15 – $30
- Natural stone tile: $40 – $100
- Glass tile: $20 – $50
- Metal tile: $30 – $80
- Mosaic tile: $15 – $35
- Subway tile: $5 – $15
- Marble slab: $50 – $100
- Quartz slab: $70 – $150
- Stainless steel: $40 – $100
- Copper sheet: $100 – $300
The prices above are general ranges – you can certainly find products at the higher or lower end of the scale within each material category. The quality, size, finish, and other characteristics of the tiles impact the costs as well.
Amount of Tile Needed
The total square footage of your backsplash determines how much tile you need to purchase and install. Measuring the space carefully is key to buying the right quantity. Areas with more cutouts like sinks, outlets, and cabinets require extra tile. Most contractors recommend purchasing 10-15% extra to account for unusable cut tile pieces, breakage, or future repairs.
Larger backsplash projects require more tile and labor, increasing your total spend. However, installing tile from countertop to ceiling can make a major impact for a relatively small added cost compared to a standard 4-6 inch strip backsplash.
While DIY installation is an option, many homeowners opt to hire a backsplash installation professional to ensure it is done correctly. Typical labor costs range from $40-$80 per hour, with the total varying based on project scope and complexity. Be sure to consider those charges in addition to the tile and materials costs.
Some additional factors regarding labor that affect price include:
- Layout complexity – Tile cuts around multiple windows, outlets, etc. takes more time and expertise.
- Size of the area – Larger backsplashes equal more hours of installation work.
- Experience level of the contractor – Highly skilled professionals charge more per hour.
- Geographic location – Labor rates vary across different regions.
Other Material Costs
In addition to the tile itself, your installer will need to purchase supplementary materials for a complete backsplash installation:
- Mortar or mastic adhesive
- Metal trim pieces for finishing (if needed)
Make sure to account for these items in your budget as well, which typically add at least a few hundred dollars to the total for a medium to large project.
Optional backsplash accents also increase costs but can greatly enhance the look. For example:
- Decorative metal or glass tile trims
- Custom tile inserts
- Accent tiles for medallions or borders
- Mosaics or mixed tile designs
Demolition and Repairs
If replacing an existing backsplash, you’ll need to factor in costs for removing the old tile and repairs to the wall surface underneath. Typical range is $200-$500 depending on how difficult it is to remove the original backsplash.
Cost to Install Different Types of Backsplash Tiles
Now that we’ve covered the primary factors affecting overall installation costs, let’s take a closer look at prices for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials.
Ceramic Tile Backsplash
Ceramic is one of the most common choices because it is so affordable starting around just $5 per square foot. It comes in endless colors and patterns, provides a durable and water-resistant surface, and has easy maintenance. The total cost to install a ceramic tile backsplash runs between $10-$30 per square foot.
Glossy finishes tend to be a little more expensive but add beautiful reflection and brightness. Matte ceramic tiles offer a classic appearance. Hand-painted or artisan ceramic tiles cost more but can make a real statement.
Overall, ceramic tile provides the best value option for most kitchens. An average 10 square foot backsplash could be installed for around $300 or less.
Porcelain Tile Backsplash
Porcelain tile is another budget-friendly option at $15-$30 per square foot installed. It is an excellent choice for backsplashes because it is very dense and impervious to moisture. The material resists scratches, stains, and water better than standard ceramic. The cost is slightly higher, but porcelain is more durable.
Porcelain backsplash tiles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. A popular modern style is the subway tile look of rectangular strips. Porcelain mosaics can also make a beautiful addition to your kitchen.
Expect to pay around $500 to $700 for installation of a 10 square foot porcelain backsplash.
Glass Tile Backsplash
Glass tile brings brilliant shine and depth to enhance any kitchen. It is available in nearly endless colors, shapes, and varieties – from recycled glass to mosaic designs and iridescent tile. The installation cost ranges $20-$50 per square foot.
Glass tile requires special installation procedures to ensure it remains securely adhered to the wall. Using a professional installer is recommended. The glass itself is relatively affordable, but the labor brings the total costs up compared to ceramic or porcelain.
Budget $600 to $1000 total for installation of a 10 square foot glass backsplash. Larger designs can cost even more but make a dramatic impact.
Metal Tile Backsplash
Metal backsplashes bring contemporary style through stainless steel, copper, bronze, tin, and other metals. Stainless steel offers a modern, industrial look for $40-$100 per square foot installed. Copper tiles have beautiful patinas over time and typically run $100-$300 per square foot.
The designs and finishes available in metal tile have expanded greatly beyond basic stainless steel. You can find embossed,hammered, textured, and aged metal tiles that mimic other materials like wood planking or concrete. Modern metal backsplashes pair beautifully with professional-grade appliances and range hoods.
Installing metal tile backsplashes takes skill to properly cut the materials and get clean finishes. The overall cost for a 10 square foot project can range from $800 on the low end for steel tile up to $2500 or more for intricate copper tile designs.
Stone Tile Backsplash
Natural stone like marble, travertine, granite, and slate create a timeless, upscale impression that works in both modern and traditional kitchens. The costs typically fall between $40-$100 per square foot installed. Stone tile requires extra care during installation to seal properly and prevent natural cracks and pores from trapping moisture and debris.
Stone backsplash options range from polished marble for elegance to roughly tumbled slate and textured travertine for more casual aesthetics. Expect to pay $800-$1500 for a professional stone tile backsplash measuring 10 square feet. Exotic stones like onyx will land on the higher end of the range.
Mosaic Tile Backsplash
Mosaic tile combines small pieces of glass, ceramic, porcelain, or stone to form intricate patterns. Prices range $15-$35 per square foot installed. The variety of mosaic backsplash designs is nearly endless – from retro acrylic penny tile mosaics to modern merged glass shapes.
Mosaic sheets make installation easier, faster, and more affordable compared to individual tiny tiles. Many homeowners mix different mosaic sheets on a single backsplash project to customize the look.
Mosaic tile backsplashes provide big visual impact for a relatively reasonable budget, often $500-$1000 total for materials and professional installation of a 10 square foot space.
DIY vs Hiring a Pro: What is More Cost Effective?
Installing a backsplash yourself can certainly save on labor charges, but is taking on a DIY project the most cost-effective approach? Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons:
Benefits of DIY Installation
- Avoid hourly labor fees, saving potentially hundreds of dollars
- Frees up your schedule – no need to coordinate with contractor’s availability
- Great option for simple layouts and small spaces
- Gives you complete control over the project
Drawbacks of DIY Installation
- Learning curve if you have no tiling experience
- Potential for mistakes that require redoing work
- Increased material costs from tile breakage and extras needed
- More time consuming
- Difficult for complex tile layouts or large areas
- No professional guidance on design and material choices
Benefits of Hiring a Pro
- Experts handle tricky tasks like making precise tile cuts
- Knowledgeable guidance on picking best tile materials and design
- Proper installation for long-lasting results
- Faster completion time
- No need to learn new skills yourself
Drawbacks of Hiring a Pro
- Hourly labor fees increase project costs, often $40-$80 per hour
- Availability may be limited based on contractor demand
- Less control over all details of the project
As you can see, there are compelling reasons on both sides. In general, DIY backsplash installation is best suited for:
- Simple layouts with few cutouts
- Small areas like a strip backsplash 4-6 inches high
- Beginner skills working with tiles
Professional installation may be the wiser investment if:
- Large backsplash that requires more tiling work
- Complex patterns or tricky tile materials like glass or metal
- No prior experience with tiling
- Budget allows for hiring labor
If still undecided, you might compromise by doing the demolition yourself, then hiring a pro just for the installation work.
Smart Ways to Reduce Your Backsplash Tile Costs
If your dream backsplash tile exceeds your budget, there are a few ways to reduce the price:
Select Affordable Tile
Ceramic, porcelain, and mosaic tiles offer the best value. Look for quality that looks high-end but shies away from premium designer tile brands.
Use Accent Tile
Frame affordable ceramic subway tiles with a bold glass, marble, or metal accent strip. Combining materials cuts costs but still adds impact.
Adjust Your Scope
Size impacts cost, so forgo the ceiling-height backsplash in favor of 4 inches above countertops for now. You can always add more later.
Save on labor by removing old backsplash tile yourself before the installer arrives. Just be sure to clean thoroughly.
Shop Sales and Overstock
Check tile supplier sales or overstock outlets for discounted high-end materials. Be flexible on color and design to get best value.
For small backsplash projects under 10 square feet, tackle installation yourself if feeling confident. Follow tutorials to get it right.
How Much Does a Kitchen Backsplash Cost? By Size
To give you a better idea of potential costs for your own backsplash project, here are typical price ranges based on size:
4″ Strip Backsplash
About 10 square feet
DIY: $100 – $300
Pro installation: $400 – $800
A standard backsplash just covering the area between countertops and wall cabinets is the most affordable option. Great for small kitchens or budget updates.
About 25 square feet
DIY: $250 – $750
Pro installation: $1,000 – $2,000
A medium backsplash extends 2-3 feet up the wall with customized lengths above different work stations. Visually expands the kitchen.
Full Wall Backsplash
About 50 square feet
DIY: $500 – $1500
Pro Install: $2,000 – $4,000
A full wall backsplash makes a dramatic statement. Most appropriate for very large kitchens and requires the most tile and installation labor.
Ceiling Height Backsplash
About 75 square feet
DIY: $750 – $2500
Pro Install: $3,000-$6,000
Backsplashes installed completely from countertops up to the ceiling maximize visual impact. Best suited for open concept kitchens.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about calculating your dream backsplash project budget? Below are answers to some common queries:
How much does a 10 square foot backsplash cost?
For DIY using affordable tile, expect to spend $200-$500 total. With professional installation of mid-range tile, plan around $800-$1500 total for a 10 square foot backsplash. High-end tile with labor could be $2,000 and up.
What is the cheapest backsplash?
Ceramic subway or single square tiles typically offer the most budget-friendly backsplash option starting around $5 per square foot for materials. Standard installation labor costs would apply as well.
What is the most cost-effective backsplash tile?
Standard ceramic, porcelain, or mosaic tiles give you the best value for your backsplash project. Avoid overpriced designer tiles and instead look for quality that appears high-end at affordable prices.
Can you install a backsplash yourself?
With proper planning, patience, and basic tiling skills, a DIY backsplash installation is totally achievable. Small spaces with simple layouts are best for beginners. Use online tutorials to guide you.
Does tile backsplash add value?
Yes, a backsplash is an affordable renovation that can greatly boost your kitchen’s style and function. The project cost pays off in value added to your home. Use tile wisely for best return on investment.
Should I get a backsplash in a rental kitchen?
Check with your landlord first before installing anything permanent like a backsplash. A removable peel-and-stick backsplash could allow you to add style without commitment in a rental.
The cost of a new kitchen backsplash can vary widely but typically ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, with the size of the project and choice of materials as the major factors affecting price. With proper planning and budgeting, you can find beautiful backsplash tile to fit your space within reasonable affordability. Just be sure to accurately measure your backsplash area, research material options, and obtain quotes before finalizing your selections. With a gorgeous new backsplash that fits your budget, you can give your kitchen a fresh facelift that enhances both visual appeal and function.
How to Choose the Right Kitchen Backsplash Tile
The backsplash area provides big opportunities to showcase your unique style. With so many options from traditional to trendy, selecting the perfect backsplash tile can feel overwhelming. Follow this guide to choose the right material, color, and pattern to achieve the look you love.
Choose a Material
The first step is deciding on the broad tile material category based on your needs:
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Offering durability and affordability, ceramic and porcelain tiles work beautifully behind sinks and stoves. Glazed varieties have reflective surfaces that amplify light.
Glass mosaic and shaped tiles glisten, emitting depth and radiance. Best for low-moisture areas away from heat sources.
Stainless steel, copper, and other metals bring industrial flair. Great heat resistance. Just avoid behind cooktops to reduce reflections that can be visually distracting.
Natural Stone Tile
Granite, marble, and travertine feel timeless and elegant. Requires sealing but adds unparalleled luxury. Limit exposure to heat and moisture to prevent cracking over time.
Tiny individual tiles combine to form intricate mosaics. Provides visual interest and easy installation with mosaic mesh sheets.
Once you select the overall material, choosing the right style is next.
Select a Style
Consider the mood you want to create and architectural details of your kitchen when selecting from common backsplash tile styles:
Classic rectangular tiles laid in straight rows evoke old-world kitchens. Beveled edges add dimension. Effortlessly clean and versatile.
Penney Round Tile
Penny tiles are affordable discs available in endless colors. Build visual movement by angling them in herringbone patterns or diagonal designs.
From hexagons to chevron patterns, geometric tiles lend eye-catching flair in bold hues.especially powerful on solid wall backsplashes.
Elegant marble backsplashes establish upscale aesthetics. Carrara and Calacatta styles have striking veins in white and gray to anchor the space.
Unique hand-painted, printed, or carved tile inserts bring artisanal charm. Use sparingly as accents or combine for bohemian allure.
Clusters of irregularly sized and shaped stone pieces form harmonious organic mosaics. Travertine is especially fitting for Tuscan style decor.
Select a Color Palette
Backsplashes provide a fun opportunity to incorporate color in the kitchen. Choose wisely to complement your cabinetry, counters, appliances and overall decor scheme:
Picking up a shade from your cabinetry visually ties the backsplash to the existing decor. Soft green or rich wood tones are soothing choices.
Make a dramatic statement with backsplash tile in a starkly different color than surrounding cabinetry. Bright white backsplashes modernize dark cabinetry.
If your counters are very striking, like bold quartz patterns, choose a backsplash in the same color family to