How Much Does a Tile Backsplash Cost to Install?

Installing a tile backsplash can greatly enhance the look and feel of your kitchen. However, like most home improvement projects, the cost can vary widely depending on the materials you choose and the complexity of the job. Here is a detailed look at what goes into tile backsplash installation and how much you can expect to pay.

What Influences the Cost of a Tile Backsplash?

Several key factors determine the overall cost of installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen:

Tile Material

The type of tile you select is the biggest driver of cost. Natural stone tiles like marble, granite, and travertine are the most expensive, followed by ceramic and porcelain. Mosaics made up of small tile pieces also cost more due to the labor involved. On the lower end, you can find bargain tiles made of aluminum and tin.

Tile Size

Smaller tiles mean more grout lines and a longer installation time. Larger tile sizes are quicker to install. Keep in mind, some materials like natural stone come in more limited sizes.


Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional tiling company, labor represents a significant portion of the project budget. Pro installation adds $40-$80 per hour.

Layout Complexity

A simple grid layout is the most budget-friendly. Diagonal patterns, inset borders, and niches add design interest but also extra installation time.

Prep Work and Materials

Preparing the surface, purchasing grout, mortar, sealant and tools will incur additional costs as well.

Cost Breakdown by Tile Type

Here is a look at typical price ranges for popular backsplash tile materials, including the cost per square foot of tile and average total project costs.

Ceramic Tile

  • $2-$10 per sq. ft. for the tile
  • $100-$300 in total for a simple DIY install
  • $700-$1,000 for a 10×5 ft. pro install

The wide range reflects everything from basic white ceramic to hand-painted and high-end metal-glazed tiles. Durability and easy maintenance make ceramic a budget-friendly option.

Porcelain Tile

  • $3-$20 per sq. ft. for the tile
  • $200-$500 total for a DIY install
  • $850-$1,500 for a 10×5 ft. pro install

Denser and more durable than ceramic, porcelain tiles come in an endless array of styles from rustic natural stone looks to vivid patterns and colors.

Natural Stone Tile

  • $15-$100 per sq. ft. for the tile
  • $600-$2,000 total for a DIY install
  • $1,500-$3,000 for a 10×5 ft. pro install

Marble, travertine, granite, and slate offer rich visual appeal but cost more due to limited availability. Expect to pay the highest price for exotic natural stones.

Glass Tile

  • $10-$30 per sq. ft. for the tile
  • $400-$900 total for a DIY install
  • $1,000-$1,800 for a 10×5 ft. pro install

With gorgeous reflective sheens, glass backsplash tiles impart modern style. The delicate material requires experienced installers.

Mosaic Tile

  • $5-$50 per sq. ft. for the tile
  • $200-$1,500 total for a DIY install
  • $900-$3,000 for a 10×5 ft. pro install

Tiny mosaic tiles create artistic patterns but are more challenging to install. Handmade mosaics are pricey.

Factors That Increase Your Installation Costs

Several variables can quickly increase the scope and price of your backsplash installation:

  • Niche features – Cutting out sections for sockets, outlets or shelf nooks adds labor time. Each niche can cost $200 or more to install.
  • Border accents – Adding decorative borders, trim pieces or medallions boosts material costs. Complex designs require more tiling skill.
  • Full wall coverage – Tiling a full wall above countertops or onto multiple walls is more extensive than a contained backsplash zone.
  • Specialty tiles – Hand-painted, customized or rare tiles can cost up to $100 per square foot. These are not DIY-friendly.
  • Granite backsplash – Using granite slab backsplashes integrated seamlessly with granite counters is pricier.
  • Backlighting – Wiring LED or fluorescent lighting adds electrical work and another $200-$500+ to the total.

DIY vs Professional Installation

Installing a tile backsplash yourself can save thousands of dollars in labor fees. With proper planning, tools and attention to detail, an experienced DIYer can achieve quality results. Here’s an overview:

DIY Backsplash Cost:

  • Tile materials: $100-$1,000
  • Supplies and tools: $100-$300
  • Total: $200-$1,500

Pro Backsplash Cost:

  • Tile materials: $100-$1,000
  • Labor for 10 sq. ft. area: $400-$800
  • Total: $500-$1,800

How Long Does It Take to Install a Tile Backsplash?

Another consideration is the timeframe. Tile installation is a multi-step process requiring specific mortars and grout curing times.

  • For the average 10 sq. ft. area a DIY backsplash takes 20-30 hours spread over 3-5 days.
  • A professional tiler can complete the same 10 sq. ft. backsplash in 1-2 days.

Factoring in Removal of the Old Backsplash

If there is an existing backsplash that needs demolition and wall surface prep, add $200-$500 for extra labor, disposal fees and new drywall. Tile set over existing tile rarely lasts.

Hiring a Pro: When Does it Make Sense?

For first-timers, intricate designs or large projects, hiring a professional tiler ensures a quality result and saves frustration. Consider going pro when:

  • You need niche features like outlets cut in or shelving nooks.
  • Dealing with electrical modifications.
  • Tiling around difficult angles, windows and appliances.
  • Choosing natural stone tiles – pros have cutting expertise.
  • Your design includes diagonal patterns, mosaics or accents.
  • Removing and preparing damaged underlying wall surfaces.

On average tilers charge $40-$80 per hour for labor. Many also have minimum fees of $500+ for small projects.

Backsplash Installation Cost: The Bottom Line

The national average cost to install a tile backsplash is $800-$1,200, with most homeowners spending between $500-$1,500. Tiny DIY projects can cost as little as $200 while large professional jobs with premium tiles can exceed $3,000.

Carefully weigh your budget, tile choices, design plans and skill level to decide whether to install your backsplash yourself or hire a professional. Don’t hesitate to call in an experienced tiler for specialty materials like natural stone or intricate designs. With proper planning and preparation, you can achieve the kitchen backsplash of your dreams at a cost that fits your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to install subway tile backsplash?

For a DIY subway tile backsplash expect to pay $300-$700 depending on the tile size. Hiring a pro, figure $800-$1,200 including materials and labor. The classic straight-set layout is the most affordable option.

What is the cheapest backsplash to install?

Peel-and-stick backsplash panels or vinyl sheet backsplashes start at around $1.50 per square foot, making them the most budget-friendly options. For tile, aluminum or tin tiles offer the lowest costs at less than $5 per square foot.

How much does it cost for a professional to install a marble backsplash?

For a 10 sq. ft. marble backsplash from a professional contractor expect to pay $1,500-$3,000+ including the cost of the stone tile, labor, supplies and finishing. Marble is on the higher end due to its delicate nature and the need for specialized cutting.

Should I install backsplash before or after cabinets?

It’s generally best to install the backsplash after the countertops and cabinets are in place. This allows you to rest the bottom tiles on the counter for support. If the cabinets and counters aren’t installed yet, use ledgers temporarily attached to the wall to support the tiles.

Is it cheaper to do backsplash yourself?

In most cases you can save 50-75% on the cost of a backsplash install by doing it yourself versus hiring a pro. Assume professional tilers charge $40-$80 per hour. DIYing means you only pay for materials and supplies versus additional labor fees.