How Much Does a New Backsplash Cost?

A backsplash is an essential part of any kitchen remodel or renovation. Not only does it serve a functional purpose by protecting your walls from splashes and spills, it provides a great opportunity to add personality, visual interest, and style to your kitchen. When planning for a new backsplash, one of the biggest considerations is cost. The price of a backsplash can vary significantly based on the materials, size, and complexity of the design. Getting an accurate estimate ahead of time will help you budget appropriately for this important element.

Factors That Influence Backsplash Cost

Several key factors impact the total cost of a new backsplash installation:


The material you choose for the backsplash will largely drive the price. Natural stone, ceramic or porcelain tile, glass tile, and metal backsplashes tend to be more expensive than options like peel-and-stick tiles or paint. Pricier materials are typically higher-end and longer-lasting.

Tile Size

Backsplash tiles can range from 1×1 inches to 12×12 inches or even larger. Tiny mosaic tiles take more time for the installer to set, increasing labor costs. Larger tiles are quicker to install.

Backsplash Design

Simple, classic tile layouts are the most affordable. Mosaic patterns, mixing multiple tile sizes, adding border or accent tiles, and intricate styles require more tile cuts and customization, raising the price. Consider the complexity of the design.

Backsplash Area Size

The overall square footage of the space you want to cover will have a direct impact on the total tile and installation costs. Measure the backsplash area’s length and height to estimate how much tile is needed.

Tile Finish and Grading

Glazed, polished, and honed natural stone or ceramic tiles cost more than unglazed or tumbled varieties. Tile graded as first quality rather than second quality can also command higher pricing.

Customization Factors

Opting for custom or handmade tile, ordering specialty shapes, adding decorative accents, or choosing rare and unique materials will increase the backsplash price.

Labor Costs

Contractor rates for installation and fees for design consultation and project planning will contribute to the total expenses. Complex designs take more time and skill to install properly.

Geographical Location

Labor and material rates can vary regionally, potentially making backsplash installation cheaper or more expensive depending on where you live.

Average Cost for a New Backsplash

Nationally, a mid-range backsplash installation with typical tile materials and a straightforward design usually costs $40 to $70 per square foot for both materials and professional installation. This equates to $1,200 to $2,100 for a 30 square foot installation.

On the lower end, painted backsplashes or peel-and-stick tiles can cost as little as $200-500 for a small kitchen. High-end materials like natural marble, semi-precious stones, or handmade art tile can cost $80 to $120 per square foot installed.

Here are typical backsplash installation costs based on the tile type:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile – $5 to $25 per sq. ft. installed
  • Glass tile – $20 to $50 per sq. ft. installed
  • Natural stone tile – $40 to $100 per sq. ft. installed
  • Metal tile – $30 to $75 per sq. ft. installed
  • Peel-and-stick – $5 to $10 per sq. ft. installed
  • Painted backsplash – $1 to $5 per sq. ft. installed

Keep in mind, costs for special order or custom tiles are higher. Your location, kitchen size, and layout complexity also impact the price range.

Cost to Install a Backsplash by Material

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

A very popular choice, ceramic or porcelain tile backsplashes combine affordability, durability, and style. The tile is fired at high temperatures making it water-resistant, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean. Cost is approximately:

  • Tile – $2 to $25 per square foot
  • Installation – $3 to $7 per square foot
  • Total cost – $5 to $25 per square foot installed

Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in endless colors, patterns, textures, shapes, and finishes. Opt for decorative tiles or mix multiple colors and styles for added visual appeal.

Glass Tile

Glass backsplash tiles lend a shiny, sleek, contemporary look. Made from recycled glass, they are eco-friendly and available in a rainbow of transparent or opaque colors. Cost breaks down as:

  • Tile – $10 to $30 per square foot
  • Installation – $10 to $20 per square foot
  • Total cost – $20 to $50 per square foot installed

Tiny glass mosaic tiles help create glittering, artistic designs. Larger glass subway tiles offer a classic linear look. Consider mixing glass and ceramic tiles.

Natural Stone Tile

For a luxurious, timeless appeal, natural stone backsplashes feature granite, marble, travertine, slate, and onyx tiles in an array of earthy colors and unique natural patterns. Because stone is porous, the tiles are sealed during installation. Typical costs:

  • Tile – $30 to $70 per square foot
  • Installation – $10 to $30 per square foot
  • Total cost – $40 to $100 per square foot installed

Soft stones like limestone are less expensive but can stain easily. Harder stones like quartzite are more durable and scratch-resistant.

Metal Tile

Metal backsplashes add beautiful shine and texture. Stainless steel, copper, brass, bronze, nickel, and pewter are popular choices. Expect costs in this range:

  • Tile – $15 to $55 per square foot
  • Installation – $15 to $20 per square foot
  • Total cost – $30 to $75 per square foot installed

Metal backsplash pros include durability, easy cleaning, and reflective qualities to bounce light. Consider combining metal and glass tile.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles offer an affordable, DIY-friendly option. The self-adhesive backing adheres directly to your wall surface. Cost for peel-and-stick tile is approximately:

  • Tile – $2 to $5 per square foot
  • Installation – $3 to $5 per square foot (if hiring a pro)
  • Total cost – $5 to $10 per square foot installed

Ease of installation and a wide variety of patterns make peel-and-stick backsplashes a smart budget choice. Use in dry areas only.


Painting your backsplash is the most economical route, often done as a DIY project. After proper prep and priming, apply two coats of kitchen-grade acrylic latex paint. Expect costs of:

  • Paint & supplies – $100 to $300
  • Installation – $1 to $3 per square foot (if hiring a pro)
  • Total cost – $1 to $5 per square foot installed

Paint allows endless color choices. Consider adding painter’s tape designs for extra flair. Use high-gloss or enamel paint for easy wiping.

Backsplash Size Costs

The size of your backsplash impacts how much tile and installation labor is required. Here are estimates for standard backsplash sizes:

  • Small, 4 x 4 ft – 8 sq. ft. Tile cost $40 to $480. Install cost $40 to $160. $200 to $500 total
  • **Medium, 8 x 4 ft ** – 32 sq. ft. Tile cost $160 to $1,280. Install cost $160 to $480. $500 to $1,500 total
  • Large, 12 x 4 ft – 48 sq. ft. Tile cost $240 to $2,880. Install cost $240 to $720. $750 to $2,700 total
  • **Extra large, 16 x 4 ft **- 64 sq. ft. Tile cost $320 to $3,840. Install cost $320 to $960. $1,000 to $3,600 total

Costs rise for larger and more intricately tiled spaces like full wall backsplashes. Get an accurate measurement of your kitchen to estimate pricing.

Additional Cost Factors

Several other elements impact your total backsplash installation costs:

  • Demolition – Removing old backsplash tile adds $200 to $400.
  • Wall preparation – Drywall repair, smoothing surfaces, adds $100 to $300+.
  • Accent tiles – Decorative trimmed tiles, borders, or designs add $5 to $15 per square foot.
  • Niche or shelf – Cutting out sections for shelves or soap dishes costs $100 to $300.
  • Specialty tiles – Custom, handpainted, or rare tiles are $10 to $50 per square foot.
  • Design complexity – Elaborate mosaic patterns or combinations of multiple tile sizes, shapes, colors cost more in labor.
  • Additional sealing/finishing – Natural stone may require extra sealing, adding $1 to $2 per square foot.
  • Backsplash height – Full height backsplashes cost more in materials and labor vs standard 4 inch height.

Cost Saving Tips

If your backsplash budget is tight, consider these money-saving ideas:

  • Choose affordable mosaic sheets instead of individual tiles.
  • Use shapes strategically – fancy tiles on outer borders, basic tiles inside.
  • Select smaller tile sizes to reduce material waste.
  • Install a painted or peel-and-stick backsplash as a short-term solution.
  • Shop discount warehouse stores for tile deals.
  • Use DIY installation to save on labor fees if you’re experienced.
  • Limit backsplash space to prime working areas rather than full walls.
  • Mix materials – marble accents with ceramic field tiles, for example.

Hiring a Backsplash Installer

Installing a backsplash takes precision and DIYers often struggle with broken tiles or uneven spacing. Consider hiring a professional tile installer for the best results, especially if your design is intricate.

Experienced installers have the skills to perfectly cut and fit difficult tile shapes and patterns. They have the right tools like tile cutters and levelling systems. Tile professionals also know all the tricks for proper prep, fixing problem areas, proper spacing, and grouting for durability.

Labor costs range from $3 to $10 per square foot based on your area and the complexity of the installation. Many tile installers charge minimum fees of $300 to $500. Get an itemized estimate so you know exactly what is covered.

To find the best installer, read reviews and check their experience with your type of tile. Ask for references from recent backsplash projects to see examples of their work.

maintaining a backsplash

A kitchen backsplash takes a lot of wear and tear. Proper care keeps it looking like new for many years. Here are some backsplash maintenance best practices:

Clean regularly – Use a gentle dish soap and water to wipe down tile. Rinse thoroughly. Avoid harsh cleaners that can etch grout or discolor tile.

Seal stone – Reseal natural stone tile once a year to prevent staining and increase water resistance.

Repair grout – Fill in any missing or cracked grout to keep moisture out and maintain the backsplash.

Shine metal – Use a specially formulated cleaner to remove smudges and restore shine to metal backsplash tiles.

Recaulk – Recaulk where the backsplash meets the countertop once a year to prevent water damage.

Watch for cracks – If tiles start to crack or loosen, contact a pro immediately to avoid more extensive repairs.

Consider refreshing – Over time, remodeling trends change. Updating backsplash color or style is one way to give your kitchen a fresh new look.

With proper installation techniques and routine care, your kitchen backsplash can stay beautiful for 15-25 years or longer before needing replacement. Protect your investment by keeping the grout clean and tiles sealed.

Backsplash Design Trends

When planning your new backsplash, you may want to incorporate some of the latest design trends:

  • Mixing metals like bronze, copper, brushed nickels
  • Vintage art deco styles with bold geometric patterns
  • Moroccan influence with colorful mosaic shapes
  • Handpainted or custom tiles for artistic flair
  • Creative use of glass tiles and illuminated surfaces
  • Extension of backsplashes to cover full walls behind stoves
  • Fun use of color contrasts, prints, shapes, and textures
  • Warm wood looks with ceramic planks or 3D tile effects
  • Eclectic combinations of materials like marble + brick

The backsplash is an opportunity to reflect your personal taste and showcase your unique style. Look through backsplash photos online or in design magazines to get inspiration before selecting the perfect look for your home.

Backsplash Installation Process

The typical sequence of steps for installing a new backsplash includes:

  1. Measure the space and make a tile layout plan. Order all materials.
  2. Remove existing backsplash tile if necessary.
  3. Inspect walls and make any repairs to drywall or leveling.
  4. Apply primer if needed based on surface type.
  5. Mix thinset mortar and prepare tiles to be laid in sections.
  6. Apply thinset to wall surface using proper trowel size.
  7. Place tiles on wall in your planned pattern, using spacers and leveling tools.
  8. Allow tiles to set up for at least 24 hours.
  9. Mix grout and apply carefully over tile joints, cleaning excess as you go.
  10. Allow grout to fully cure, then polish and seal if needed.
  11. Caulk edges where backsplash meets countertop or other surfaces.
  12. Clean entire surface well and seal or protect tile finish as needed.

The specific installation steps may vary slightly by tile material. Always follow manufacturer instructions. Allow ample time for drying and setting of mortars and grout.

Hiring a Contractor vs DIY Installation

Installing a tile backsplash has a learning curve. To get professional-looking results, consider hiring a tile setting contractor. They have the right tools and skills for a quality installation.

Benefits of hiring a pro include:

  • Knowledge of how to properly prep different wall types
  • Ability to perfectly cut tricky tile shapes and patterns
  • Access to tile leveling systems to keep tiles even
  • Expertise with working around outlets and plumbing fixtures
  • Perfect proper thinset thickness and grouting techniques
  • Efficient installation without broken tiles or redo work

Installing tile yourself can save on labor costs but only if you have past tiling experience. Doing a DIY backsplash requires:

  • Buying tile setter tools like cutters and spacers
  • Learning how to correctly apply thinset mortar
  • Measuring and cutting tiles precisely
  • Skill getting clean joints and proper grout lines
  • Time for extra cautious installation and redoing imperfect tiles

Consider how comfortable you are tiling and whether flaws will bother you before deciding between DIY vs hiring a backsplash installation contractor. Professionals deliver beautiful, long-lasting results.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about backsplash installation:

How long does it take to install a backsplash?

The timeline can range from 1 to 3 days depending on the size of the space and complexity of the design. A simple backsplash in a small kitchen may take 6-10 hours of labor time. Large or intricate tile layouts take 20 hours or more of installation work.

Can I install a backsplash over existing tile?

It is possible but not recommended. The extra tile layers can cause unevenness and grout line thickness issues over time. Removing old backsplash tile is the best practice for optimal results.

Should I tile my whole kitchen wall or just a section?

Partial backsplashes covering only 4-6 inches above countertops keep costs down. Full backsplashes provide more protection and visual appeal if within your budget. Decide based on your budget, cleanup needs, and personal style.

How is a backsplash tile installation sequenced?

The tile is installed last after cabinetry, appliances, sinks, and counters are in place. Installation steps include proper wall prep, applying thinset mortar, setting the tiles, then applying and sealing grout once the tile has cured.

Can I use leftover floor or bath tile for a backsplash?

This is not recommended. The tiles may not have durable finishes suitable for kitchen heat, grease, and moisture. Plus aesthetic differences like grout line thickness can make the look unappealing.

How do I clean and maintain my backsplash?

Use gentle dish soap and water for regular backsplash cleaning. Take care not to use harsh chemicals that can etch the grout or tile surface. Reseal grout and porous natural stone annually.


The installation of a kitchen backsplash is an important finishing step when remodeling. By understanding what impacts the pricing and how to plan your design, you can create the perfect backsplash within your budget. Consider the cost factors, maintenance needs, popular materials and trends before installing your new focal point.

With careful prep work, precise tile-setting techniques, and proper ongoing care, your backsplash can remain beautiful and functional for many years. Invest in a quality installation for long-lasting durability. From glass mosaics to marble, the options are endless to achieve the ideal look that matches your personal style.