Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But before taking on a backsplash project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget appropriately. Here is an overview of what factors into the cost of adding a backsplash to your kitchen.
The material you choose for your backsplash will significantly impact the total project cost. Some of the most popular backsplash materials and their typical price ranges include:
- Ceramic tile: $5-$25 per sq. ft.
- Stone tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft.
- Glass tile: $20-$30 per sq. ft.
- Marble tile: $40-$100 per sq. ft.
- Metal tile: $30-$100 per sq. ft.
- Mosaic tile: $5-$20 per sq. ft.
Ceramic and mosaic tiles tend to be the most budget-friendly options, while materials like marble and metal tile can increase costs. The size of the tile will also affect price – smaller mosaics will take more time and labor to install.
In addition to materials, you’ll need to factor in labor costs for installation. Backsplash installation typically ranges from $5-$10 per square foot depending on the contractor and complexity of the project. Simple ceramic tile backsplashes can be on the lower end of this range, while natural stone or glass tile with intricate patterns may cost more for installation.
Be sure to get an itemized estimate of labor costs from contractors before hiring. Factors affecting labor prices include:
- Complexity of the design
- Tile size – small tiles take longer to install
- Whether electrical or plumbing work is needed
- Amount of tile cutting/shaping required
- Contractor’s hourly rate and minimum fees
Some additional items that contribute to the total backsplash installation cost include:
- Tile adhesive/grout: $0.50-$1 per sq. ft.
- Underlayment: $0.50-$1.50 per sq. ft. if needed
- Backsplash caulking: $2-$5
- New faucet/fixtures: $100-$500+ if replacing due to backsplash install
- Removal of old backsplash: $1-$5 per sq. ft. if replacing existing backsplash
- Permits/code compliance: $200+ possible if required for where you live
Size of Project
The overall size and coverage area of your backsplash will determine total costs. To estimate costs:
- Measure the backsplash area’s length x height to get square footage
- Multiply square footage by material, labor, adhesive/grout costs per square foot
For example, a 20 sq. ft. ceramic tile backsplash with $10 per sq. ft. installation would be around $450 in labor, plus $200 in tile materials ($10 per sq. ft), $20 in grout, and any other incidental costs.
Factors That Increase Cost
Certain backsplash designs and configurations can increase overall costs. These include:
- Full height backsplashes covering multiple walls
- Intricate patterns like herringbone tile layouts
- Hard-to-find specialty designer tiles
- Natural stone tiles requiring extra cuts and shaping
- Glass, metal or handmade artisan tiles
- Backsplashes continuing up behind stove/oven
If your budget is limited, here are some tips to cut costs on your backsplash project:
- Choose smaller square ceramic tiles instead of large tiles
- Use mosaic sheets instead of individual tiles
- Opt for simple rectangular layouts instead of diagonal patterns
- Install the backsplash yourself if comfortable DIYing
- Shop sales and discount retailers for tile and supplies
- Replace existing backsplash with new materials instead of adding one
With some savvy planning, you can install an attractive, quality backsplash in your kitchen without breaking the bank. Calculate all costs before getting started so there are no surprise expenses down the road.
How Much Does It Cost for Popular Backsplash Tile Types?
Here is a breakdown of average costs for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials:
- Budget ceramic: $5-$10 per sq. ft.
- Handpainted ceramic: $15-$25 per sq. ft.
- Porcelain ceramic: $8-$15 per sq. ft.
Ceramic tiles typically range from $5-$25 per sq. ft. depending on style and quality. Handpainted and porcelain tiles fall on the higher end.
- Basic glass mosaics: $20-$25 per sq. ft.
- Metro glass tiles: $25-$50 per sq. ft.
- Penny round glass tiles: $30-$75 per sq. ft.
Small glass mosaics start around $20 per sq. ft. While more intricate or custom-cut glass tiles can range as high as $75 per sq. ft.
Natural Stone Tile
- Slate tile: $30-$60 per sq. ft.
- Marble tile: $50-$100 per sq. ft.
- Travertine tile: $30-$80 per sq. ft.
- Granite tile: $35-$100 per sq. ft.
Natural stone tiles have wide price ranges based on the type and quality of stone. Expect to pay $50 per sq. ft. or more for premium stones like marble.
- Stainless steel: $50-$100 per sq. ft.
- Copper: $100+ per sq. ft.
- Tin: $30-$90 per sq. ft.
Metal tiles like copper, tin, and stainless steel typically range from $30-$100+ per sq. ft. Prices go up for solid metals versus cheaper metal laminates.
Average Costs by Tile Size
Tile size also impacts backsplash costs. Smaller tiles take more time and labor to install, therefore costing more overall. Here are estimates by common tile sizes:
- Mosaics (1″ tiles): $10-$20 per sq. ft.
- 4”x4” tile: $15-$25 per sq. ft.
- 6”x6” tile: $10-$20 per sq. ft.
- Subway tile (3”x6”): $10-$30 per sq. ft.
- Large format (12”x24” tile): $7-$15 per sq. ft.
Mosaics and small format tiles less than 4” in size will be on the higher end due to extensive grouting and alignment work required. The most budget-friendly option is to use larger tiles around 6”x6” or bigger.
Cost To Add Backsplash By Kitchen Size
The total square footage you need to cover will determine the project investment. Here are estimated costs for average kitchen sizes:
- Small kitchen (10 sq. ft. backsplash): $150-$500
- Medium kitchen (30 sq. ft. backsplash): $450-$1,500
- Large kitchen (50+ sq. ft. backsplash): $750-$2,500+
Tile choice, labor rates, contractor fees and other factors will push these costs up or down. Budget around $500-$1,500 for a typical 30 sq. ft. backsplash install.
Hiring a Contractor vs. DIY Backsplash
Installing a backsplash yourself can save on labor fees, but has some downsides:
Hiring a pro contractor
- Cost: $200-$500+ for average-sized installation
- Benefits: Perfect finished results; no hassles; warranty on work
- Downsides: More expensive upfront cost
DIY backsplash installation
- Cost: $50-$200 for supplies
- Benefits: Major cost savings on labor; customize to your tastes
- Downsides: Learning curve; imperfections; time consuming
If tiling a backsplash seems like too big a challenge, or if working with electrical/gas, it’s best to hire a professional. But for basic layouts using large format tiles, DIY is achievable.
FAQs About Adding a Backsplash
How much does it cost to add a backsplash to an existing countertop?
For an existing countertop with no backsplash, plan on $5-$10 per sq. ft. including tile and installation. A typical 30” high backsplash spanning 15 linear ft may cost $500-$1,000.
What is the cheapest backsplash to install?
Self-adhesive vinyl tiles or peel-and-stick mosaics offer the most budget-friendly backsplash option at around $5-$10 per sq. ft. But ceramic, glass and porcelain tiles can also be very affordable.
Should I get a full backsplash or 4 inch?
A 4 inch backsplash alone looks incomplete and simply protects a small area behind the countertop. A full backsplash typically covers the wall area between countertops and bottom cabinets for a polished look.
What is the most popular backsplash tile size?
The most popular backsplash tile sizes are 4”x4”, 3”x6” subway tile, and 1”x1” mosaics. Larger tiles around 6”x6” are also common since fewer pieces make for faster installation.
Is it cheaper to do backsplash before or after cabinets?
Adding a backsplash before installing cabinets allows you to integrate the two seamlessly without caulking. But if cabinets are already in place, just remove them, install the backsplash, then reinstall cabinets over top.
The cost to add a backsplash to your kitchen can range anywhere from $150 for a small DIY project up to $2,500 or more for a large professional installation with high-end materials. With the average cost falling around $500-$1500.
The exact budget will depend on the size of your backsplash area, tile choice, design complexity, and whether you DIY or hire a contractor. Carefully calculating these factors before starting will ensure your backsplash project stays within your budget and transforms the look of your kitchen.