How Much Does Backsplash Cost to Install?

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can really transform the look and feel of the space. But before taking on a backsplash project, it’s important to understand how much it will cost. The cost of installing a backsplash can vary quite a bit based on the size of the area being covered, the materials you choose, and whether you do it yourself or hire a pro. This guide will walk you through the key factors that impact backsplash installation costs so you can budget appropriately for your project.

Materials Costs

The material you select for your backsplash will be a major factor in determining the total installation cost. Here’s an overview of price ranges for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials:

Ceramic tile

  • Cost: $1 – $10 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Affordable, available in tons of colors/styles, durable
  • Cons: Can chip or crack, grout can get dirty

Ceramic is one of the most budget-friendly backsplash options. Simple ceramic tiles can be had for as little as $1 per square foot, while hand painted or mosaic ceramic tiles run closer to $5-10 per square foot.

Porcelain tile

  • Cost: $5 – $50 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Very durable, low maintenance, stain resistant
  • Cons: Higher upfront cost, heavy tiles require strong adhesion

Porcelain tiles are more expensive than ceramic, ranging from $5 per square foot for basic white tiles to $50 per square foot for high-end handmade or mosaic tiles. The durability and stain resistance of porcelain makes up for the higher cost for many homeowners.

Glass tile

  • Cost: $10 – $50 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Variety of colors, water-resistant, easy to clean
  • Cons: More difficult DIY installation, tiles can crack

With their glittering, sleek appearance, glass backsplash tiles make a serious style statement. Glass tiles cost between $10-50 per square foot depending on the quality, finish, and color. Hiring a pro is recommended for glass tile installations.

Metal tile

  • Cost: $10 – $75 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Durable, easy to clean, modern look
  • Cons: Higher cost, prone to scratches, conducts heat

Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper, or aluminum tiles range from $10-75 per square foot. The contemporary look of metal tile fits well in modern kitchens. Professional installation is recommended.

Stone tile

  • Cost: $15 – $75 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Natural material, variety of looks, durable
  • Cons: Heavy, moisture sensitive, labor intensive install

Granite, marble, travertine, slate, and other stone tiles make a lovely upscale backsplash, but come at a higher price of $15-75 per square foot. Stone backsplashes also require special saws and tools for cutting and drilling holes.

Mosaic tile

  • Cost: $5 – $50 per sq. ft.
  • Pros: Artistic, variety of materials like glass/ceramic, colorful
  • Cons: Challenging DIY install, grout maintenance

Mosaic backsplash tiles feature small, irregularly shaped pieces arranged in an artistic pattern. Materials like ceramic, porcelain, or glass are used. Costs range from $5-50 per square foot based on mosaic tile material, size, and color. Professional installation is recommended for best results.

As you can see, backsplash tile materials have a wide range of prices. In general, ceramic and porcelain tiles will be the most budget friendly, while mosaic, glass, stone, and metal tiles come at a higher cost. The material you select will depend on your design goals, skill level, and budget.

Other Material Costs

In addition to the backsplash tile itself, your material costs will include:

  • Tile adhesive: $1-5 per sq. ft. Mortar adhesive applied in a thin layer behind the tile.
  • Grout: $0.30-0.60 per sq. ft. Grout fills in the spaces between tiles. Sanded grout is best for wider grout lines.
  • Backsplash trim: $1-5 per linear ft. Finished strips along the perimeter of the backsplash.

You may also need tile sealant, grout sealant, tile spacers, tile nippers, and other installation supplies. Be sure to include an extra 10-15% in your material budget for extras.

Labor Costs

If you’re hiring a professional installer, labor will be a significant portion of your total backsplash installation costs. Rates for backsplash installation tend to range from $6 – $15 per square foot. This covers tasks like:

  • Tile cutting
  • Surface preparation
  • Setting the tile
  • Applying grout
  • Cleaning and sealing

Simple ceramic tile with standard installation is at the lower end around $6-8 per square foot. More complex materials like natural stone or mosaic tile with specialty cutting and treatment will hit the higher end of $12-15 per square foot for labor.

Keep in mind you may also be charged an hourly rate or trip charge by some contractors, especially if the job is small.

Cost To Install a Backsplash Yourself

If you’re up for a DIY backsplash project, you can save substantially on labor costs. However, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Carefully review material instructions and plan all cuts ahead of time. Improper tile cutting can lead to waste.
  • Allow extra time for the learning curve if you’ve never installed tile before.
  • Consider starting in a small or hidden area to get the hang of working with the materials.
  • Renting or buying specialty tools like a tile cutter and tile spacers are a must for a professional looking finish.
  • Don’t skimp on safety – wear gloves, eye protection, knee pads, and other gear to avoid injury.
  • Imperfections like uneven tile spacing, cracked tiles, or crooked lines will be very visible. Take it slow.
  • DIY glass, stone, or mosaic tile backsplashes are quite difficult for beginners. Stick with ceramic or porcelain.

Even with DIY installation, you’ll still need to buy all the necessary backsplash materials like tile, mortar, grout, etc. But you can save the typical $6-15 per square foot in labor costs.

Size of the Backsplash

The physical size of the backsplash area you need to cover is another major cost factor. Measure the backsplash area in your kitchen or bathroom accurately, including any complex angles or patterns.

A few important measurements that impact cost:

  • Height: Standard backsplash height is 4-6 inches from the counter, but you can go taller for more impact.
  • Length: Measure all horizontal lengths needing tile. Include inside corners.
  • Accent areas: Islands, cooktop surrounds, niches, and other specialty spaces requiring tile.

Multiply the height times the length to get the total square footage. Most full wall kitchen backsplashes are 10-30 square feet. Smaller bathroom or accent installations may be 4-15 square feet.

Use your exact backsplash square footage measurements when getting installer quotes or estimating DIY material needs. The total size will be a driving factor in the overall project cost.

Backsplash Installation Cost by Type

Now that we’ve looked at the main factors – materials, labor, size – that influence the total installation cost, let’s examine typical price ranges for various backsplash installation projects.

Full kitchen backsplash installation

Tiling a full backsplash along countertops in a standard 10×10 kitchen will typically cost $500 – $1,500. This assumes a simple subway tile pattern of ceramic or porcelain tile on drywall. Costs go up for more premium materials like glass or travertine tile, mosaics, or large format tiles. Expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000+ for higher end kitchen backsplash installations.

Bathroom backsplash installation

Bathroom backsplashes around a single vanity or tub area usually run between $200 – $800+. Small bath backsplashes may only require 5-15 square feet of tile. The costs climb for larger or more intricate bathroom backsplashes.

Backsplash accent walls

Accent walls or tile shapes beyond just straight backsplash panels can run from $500 to $2,000+. For example, a 20 square foot mosaic tile backsplash focal wall behind a range or cooktop can easily surpass $1,000. Complex designs, specialty niche treatments, working around windows and outlets also increases accent wall costs.

DIY backsplash installation

If doing the work yourself, expect to spend $100 – $600 on most standard backsplash sizes of 10-30 square feet. This covers top grade materials purchased at retail prices. You save significantly on the labor costs. However, DIY installations take longer and have a higher margin of error. Many homeowners hire pros for at least cutting tricky accent tiles or applications like glass tile.

What Impacts the Cost of a Backsplash?

To summarize, the major factors that influence the total installation costs of a backsplash include:

  • Tile material: Ceramic, porcelain, glass, mosaic, metal, stone, etc.
  • Tile size and shape: Small tiles, large tiles, specialty cuts, and mosaics are more labor intensive.
  • Tile finish and color: Polished, matte, hand-painted, or customized tiles priced higher.
  • Tile patterns and designs: Simple grid patterns are easiest. Diagonal layouts, mixing tile sizes, or mosaics have higher material waste and labor time.
  • Grout and trim options: Colored or specialty grout increases costs. Accent bands and trim pieces add time to install.
  • Area size: Total square footage of walls/sections being tiled.
  • Layout complexity: Simple backsplashes on a single flat wall are most affordable. Multiple angled sections, niches, outlets, built-in shelving make the project more complicated.
  • Prep work needed: Does the surface need repairs, priming, waterproofing, or other treatment before install?
  • Professional vs DIY: Hiring a qualified tile pro will increase cost but save headaches. DIY is cheaper but has learning curve.

Get multiple detailed bids from contractors to compare options and prices for your particular backsplash project. Be sure bids cover all materials, labor, and any permit or disposal fees.

5 Tips for Controlling Backsplash Installation Costs

If your backsplash budget is tight, here are some smart ways to reduce the overall installation costs:

1. Select affordable tile materials – Standard ceramic or porcelain tiles cost significantly less than glass, metal, or stone backsplash tiles.

2. Limit decorative extras – Fancy tile patterns, listellos,borders, and niche treatments add costs. Keep the layout simple.

3. Install a partial backsplash – If funds are limited, tile just a 4-6 inch section behind the range and sink rather than the entire wall.

4. DIY the demolition – Save on labor by removing the old backsplash yourself before the installers arrive.

5. Shop sales and overstock outlets – Check for backsplash tile and supply sales or overruns that offer lower prices.

Prioritize what aspects of the backsplash design you value most, and look for ways to save in other areas without sacrificing your overall vision. With some smart planning, creativity, and effort, you can achieve the stylish backsplash of your dreams while sticking to your budget.

Backsplash Installation Cost FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions homeowners have about the cost to install a backsplash:

How much does it cost to install a subway tile backsplash?

For standard 3×6 white ceramic subway tiles, expect to pay around $5 per square foot for materials and $8 per square foot for professional installation. A 10×10 kitchen backsplash would be around $400 total.

What is the cheapest backsplash to install?

The least expensive backsplash option is a peel and stick backsplash using vinyl, plastic, or metal adhesive tiles. These cost as little as $0.50 per square foot for materials. Keep in mind they don’t have the longevity of real tile.

Should I install backsplash tile horizontally or vertically?

Vertically installed backsplash tile is the most common and affordable layout. Horizontal tile or herringbone patterns often require more cutting and waste material, increasing costs.

Can I install backsplash tile over existing tile?

It is possible but not always advised. The old tile must be firmly attached, flat, and properly prepped. It’s often less expensive to take the time to remove old backsplash tile prior to installing new.

Should backsplash tile match the countertop?

It looks best when wall tiles complement the countertops but aren’t a perfect color match. Tying in one color from the countertop into the backsplash tile is a great way to coordinate them.


Installing a backsplash is a great way to improve the look of your kitchen or bath at a relatively affordable cost. Carefully calculate the size of your space and select materials that fit within your project budget. While costs go up for more premium tiles, accent features, and professional installation, you can keep expenditures reasonable with smart planning. Equipped with the typical per square foot costs for materials, labor, and the other factors covered above, you can confidently budget for your upcoming backsplash project.