How Much Does Backsplash Tile Installation Cost?

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can instantly upgrade the look and feel of the space. But before starting a backsplash project, one of the most common questions homeowners have is – how much does backsplash tile installation cost?

The cost of installing a backsplash can vary widely based on several factors. Broadly speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $4000 for backsplash installation, depending on the size of the project, materials used, special shapes or accents, and labor costs. Professional installation will be on the higher end of this range, while DIY will fall closer to $500 – $2000 depending on tile choice.

Factors That Impact Backsplash Installation Cost

When estimating your budget for a backsplash installation, there are several important variables that will impact the overall cost:

Size of the Backsplash Area

The overall size of the surface area you wish to cover is one of the biggest factors in cost. A full wall of backsplash spanning 8 ft x 4 ft will cost much more than a contained backsplash over just a stove or sink.

On average, you can expect to pay:

  • $200 – $500 for a small contained backsplash area – covering just behind a stove or sink with minimal tile cuts.
  • $500 – $1500 for a standard sized backsplash – covering a 4 ft x 4 ft area or medium sized kitchen walls.
  • $1500 – $4000 for a full wall backsplash – covering a larger expanse of 8 ft x 4 ft or with special tile patterns.

The more surface area needing tile, the more time and materials the project will require.

Tile Material Type

The specific tile material you select for the backsplash will impact the total installation price. More expensive tile materials will drive up costs, while standard ceramic or porcelain tiles tend to be the most budget friendly.

On average, you can expect material costs per sq ft of:

  • $5 – $10 per sq ft for basic ceramic or porcelain tile.
  • $15 – $30 per sq ft for stone tile like marble or travertine.
  • $25 – $50 per sq ft for higher end handmade or mosaic tile.
  • $50+ per sq ft for luxury materials like metal or glass tile.

Factor about 15% extra for specialized trim pieces, bullnose edges, decorative inserts, or accents.

Custom Shaping Needs

Simple rectangular backsplash areas with minimal tile cuts will cost less to install than designs requiring substantial custom tile shaping.

Shaped tiles around outlets, transitions to other surfaces, mosaic patterns, or decorative inlays will require much more tile cutting labor and expertise. This can add $2-$5 per square foot onto the project cost.

Labor Costs

Professional installation from a backsplash or tile contractor will cost $40 – $70 per hour on average. DIY installation can save substantially on labor fees, but may result in a less polished, amateur look.

Most professional installs will range $500 – $2000 depending on the project scope. DIY projects can range $200 – $1000 with most falling under $500.

Additional Materials

Besides the tile itself, a backsplash installation will require additional supplies like backerboard, thinset mortar, grout, adhesive, and sealants. Budget $100 – $300 for these materials depending on the size of the project.


Regional labor costs vary, so the exact same backsplash may cost more in a higher cost of living area than a lower COL area. Get several quotes from contractors in your specific area.

Backsplash Installation Cost Estimator

Use the table below as a simple cost estimator for typical backsplash installation projects:

| Backsplash Size | Professional Install | DIY Install |
|Small 2 ft x 2 ft area | $500 – $800 | $200 – $400|
|Standard 4 ft x 4 ft area | $1000 – $1800 | $400 – $800|
|Full 8 ft x 4 ft wall | $2000 – $4000 | $800 – $1500|
|Subway tile 4 ft x 4 ft | $1200 – $2200 | $600 – $1000|
|Mosaic tile 4 ft x 4 ft | $1800 – $3000 | $1000 – $1800|
|Marble tile 4 ft x 4 ft| $2500 – $4000 | $1200 – $2000|
|Glass tile 4 ft x 4 ft| $3000 – $5000 | $1500 – $2500|

As you can see, both size and material choice significantly sway the costs in either direction.

Cost to Install Backsplash per Sq Ft

Looking at installation costs per square foot is another common way to estimate backsplash project budgets.

Here are rough averages for materials, labor, and total” per square foot costs:

  • Tile Material Costs: $5 to $50+ per sq ft depending on type of tile.
  • Labor Costs: $10 to $20 per sq ft for professional install.
  • Total Install Cost: $15 to $70 per sq ft depending on tile type and installer.

For a mid-range porcelain or ceramic tile backsplash, you can expect total install costs around $25 – $35 per sq ft. High-end materials can raise this cost to $55+ per sq ft.

Always get itemized estimates from contractors to understand exactly what is included. Never give a flat per sq ft estimate without seeing the specific materials spec.

Factors That Impact DIY Backsplash Cost

For DIY backsplash installations, your key costs will be:

Tile + Materials – $100 to $1000 depending on amount of tile and supplies needed.

Rental Equipment – $50 to $100 for tile cutter, mixer, etc if needed.

Mistakes/Redos – Budget for extra tile and supplies for any novice errors.

Experience Level – First time DIY projects will take longer and have more waste.

The main savings from DIY is avoiding the labor costs of $400 to $2000 for professional installation. But the tradeoff is having an amateur looking finished product if you don’t have tiling experience.

For DIY, expect to spend 50-75% less than professional quotes, but be ready for the project to take 2-3 times longer.

Should You Install Backsplash Tile Yourself?

Is DIY backsplash installation worth it? Here are some things to consider:

Complexity – If doing anything beyond basic subway tile, consider hiring a pro. Intricate patterns or specialty tiles require expertise.

Tools – Do you have the necessary tools – tile saw, mixer, etc? Rental fees add up quickly.

Experience – Have you installed tile before? First timers often have a lot of unusable cuts or waste.

Time – DIY projects take much longer with the learning curve – prepare for many long nights/weekends.

Finish – DIY often fails to achieve the clean polished look from a veteran tile pro.

Layout – Planning the tile layout, spacing, seams, and alignment is tricky without training.

For simple backsplash projects using durable ceramic tile, DIY can work well. But for larger, intricate, or specialized backsplashes, the investment in a professional installer is usually worth it.

Backsplash Installation Cost Breakdown

To understand exactly what goes into the price of backsplash installation, here is a breakdown of typical costs:

  • Tile material – $100 to $1000 depending on amount of tile needed and type chosen. Makes up 35-50% of total budget.
  • Backerboard – $50 to $150 for moisture resistant substrate board to mount tile to.
  • **Thinset mortar ** – $50 to $150 bucket of mortar adhesive to adhere tile to backerboard.
  • Grout – $20 to $60 for grout between tile seams.
  • Trim pieces – $20 to $100 for bullnose edges, strips, etc if needed.
  • Sealer – $20 to $40 to seal and protect grout lines.
  • Labor – For pros, typically $40 to $70 per hour and most jobs take 10-30 hours.
  • Other supplies – $20 to $50 for mixing buckets, tile spacers, cutting tools, rags, etc.
  • Rental equipment – Optional $50 to $150 for tile saw, mixer, etc if doing DIY.

For a professionally installed 4 ft x 4 ft ceramic tile backsplash, you may see costs like:

  • Tile + Supplies = $500
  • Labor = $1000
  • Total = $1500

While that same project done DIY may cost:

  • Tile + Supplies = $500
  • Equipment Rental = $100
  • Total = $600

As you can see materials make up a major portion of spend for both DIY and pro installation scenarios. This is why the tile you choose makes such an impact on the total backsplash cost.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Backsplash?

Another consideration for your backsplash installation project is the total time required.

For professional installers, you can expect backsplash installation to take:

  • 1-3 days for a small contained backsplash.
  • 3-5 days for a standard sized backsplash.
  • 5-7 days for a full wall backsplash.

DIY backsplash installs will take 2-3x as long:

  • 2-5 days for a small contained backsplash.
  • 5-10 days for a standard sized backsplash.
  • 10-14 days for a full wall backsplash.

Make sure to plan your project timeline accordingly, especially if doing DIY while also managing a job and family. Having your kitchen or bathroom out of commission for over a week can be disruptive.

Many pros can work evenings and weekends to avoid interrupting households during the busier mornings.

Backsplash Tile Installation Steps

What’s actually involved in installing a backsplash? Here is a basic overview of the process:

  1. Remove existing backsplash – Take down old tile, clean surfaces thoroughly.
  2. Cut backerboard to size – Measure space and cut moisture resistant backerboard panels.
  3. Mount backerboard – Screw backerboard into wall studs around perimeter and seams.
  4. Apply thinset mortar – Spread thinset evenly over backerboard where tile will go.
  5. Cut and lay tile – Use spacers between tiles for consistent alignment.
  6. Grout tile – Push grout into seams between tiles to fill any gaps.
  7. Clean tiles – Wipe any grout residue from tile faces.
  8. Apply sealant – Seal grout lines to protect from moisture and stains.

While these steps provide a basic flow, flexibility is required as each backsplash design is unique. Careful planning of the tile layout, thoughtfully cutting accent pieces, and meticulous grouting for clean lines all take skill and practice.

Hiring a Backsplash Installation Contractor

For most homeowners, hiring a backsplash installation professional is the wisest choice if you want flawless results. Here are some tips for finding the right contractor:

  • Check reviews – Thoroughly research companies and ask for referrals from past clients. Look for 5 star ratings.
  • View past work – Quality tile pros will have galleries or examples to showcase their skills.
  • Get itemized quotes – Have them detail all project costs – materials, labor, prep work, etc.
  • Ask about process – Do they handle all sourcing of tile and supplies? How many days will installation take?
  • Compare 3 quotes – Talk to at least 3 top rated pros to compare pricing and get advice on tile choice.
  • Trust experience – Choose a contractor who has at least 5-10 years focused on tile work specifically.
  • Get timeline – When can they start and finish your project? Confirm they’ll work on schedule.

Doing the legwork to vet contractors will pay off with a stress-free installation and backsplash you’ll love for decades.

DIY Backsplash Tips to Save Money

If tackling a backsplash project yourself, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start small – stick to contained areas or simple patterns your first time.
  • Research thoroughly – understand all steps and common mistakes before starting.
  • Have backup tile – order 10-15% extra in case of breakage or unusable cuts.
  • Rent pro tools – invest in quality tile saws and mixers even for DIY projects.
  • Take your time – don’t rush, this is a skill that takes practice and patience.
  • Watch tutorials – study YouTube videos to pick up tips from other DIYers.
  • Start with backerboard – don’t apply tile directly to drywall, it won’t adhere properly.
  • Clean as you go – wiping any thinset or grout residue makes final cleaning much easier.

While DIY backsplash installation takes longer and may not look perfect, you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars doing it yourself compared to hiring a pro.

The Bottom Line

Backsplash tile installation costs will range from as low as $200 for simple DIY projects, up to $5,000 or more for larger professional installs with premium materials.

Exact backsplash installation prices depend on the size of your space, tile materials chosen, complexity of the design, and whether you DIY or hire a contractor. Carefully weigh the cost vs benefits of pro installation compared to taking on the project yourself.

Whichever route you choose, a stunning new backsplash can entirely transform the feel of your kitchen or bath at relatively affordable prices compared to full-scale remodeling. Just be sure to get detailed quotes and understand exactly what is covered before starting your backsplash tiling project.

How Much Does Backsplash Tile Installation Cost? – FAQs

Q: How much does it cost to install a backsplash yourself?

The cost to install a backsplash yourself ranges from about $200 – $2000 depending on how much tile you need and the complexity of the design. You save on labor costs, but spend more in materials due to novice mistakes and wasted tiles typically.

Q: How much should I expect to pay for a 4 ft x 4 ft backsplash installation?

For a typical 4×4 foot backsplash, expect to pay $1000 – $2000 for professional installation, or around $500 – $1000 if doing it yourself. The specific tile material selected will impact the final price as well.

Q: Is it cheaper to install backsplash tile or buy a premade backsplash panel?

Premade backsplash panels from materials like metal or glass are gaining popularity for their lower cost and easier installation. However, for a customized look and feel, genuine tile backsplashes make the most sense despite being slightly more expensive.

Q: How do professionals install backsplash tile?

Pros will remove any old backsplash, install backerboard secured to wall studs, apply mortar adhesive, carefully cut and stick each tile in the planned layout using spacers, then grout and seal once tiles are firmly set. The details of each step impact the final professional polish.

Q: Can backsplash tile go directly over drywall?

Tile should never be applied directly to drywall, as it will not adhere properly long-term. A moisture resistant backerboard must be screwed into wall studs to create a permanent substrate to attach backsplash tiles to.

Q: How do I choose backsplash tile color?

Choose a backsplash tile color that complements your cabinets, counters, appliances and overall decor style. Neutrals like white and gray are popular choices, along with accent colors that match other kitchen or bath decor.

Q: What’s the most popular backsplash tile size?

The most common backsplash tile sizes are 4×4 inch, 3×6 inch subway tile, and mosaics. Larger format tiles from 8×8 to 16×16 inches are also growing in popularity. Mixing tile sizes can create interest.


Installing a backsplash tile is an intermediate to advanced DIY project with the potential for big visual impact. Carefully weigh the numerous cost factors from tile choice to installation methods, and understand the tradeoffs when deciding between professional installers versus tackling it yourself. With proper planning and preparation, you can create a backsplash you’ll love at a reasonable price point.

How Much Does Backsplash Tile Installation Cost?


Backsplash tile can transform the look of a kitchen or bathroom by adding a decorative, easy-to-clean focal point. Tile backsplashes come in an endless array of styles, colors, shapes, and textures to match any design aesthetic. For many homeowners, installing new backsplash tile offers a high return on investment by modernizing the space without full-scale remodeling.

But before starting a backsplash tiling project, it’s important to understand the typical costs involved. In this guide, we’ll break down the key factors impacting backsplash installation prices and provide average price ranges you can expect. Whether planning a DIY backsplash makeover or want quotes from professional tile contractors, read on for a detailed look at estimated costs.

Average Backsplash Installation Costs

The cost to install backsplash tile can vary quite a bit based on the size of the area, tile materials, and whether you DIY or hire a pro.

Professional Installation Cost

For professional installation, costs typically range from:

  • Small backsplash (25 sq ft) – $500 to $800
  • Medium backsplash (50 sq ft) – $1000 to $2000
  • Large backsplash (100+ sq ft) – $2000 to $4000

DIY Installation Cost

Doing the work yourself generally costs:

  • Small backsplash (25 sq ft) – $200 to $400
  • Medium backsplash (50 sq ft) – $400 to $800
  • Large backsplash (100+ sq ft) – $800 to $1500

As you can see, DIY can save 50% or more compared to pro installation costs. But this is