How Much Does Tile Backsplash Cost?

Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can transform the look and feel of the space. But before starting your project, it’s important to understand how much a tile backsplash costs. The price can vary significantly based on the type of tile you select, the size of the area being covered, and any special installation requirements. This guide will walk you through the key factors that impact the cost of a tile backsplash.

Tile Material

The material you choose for your backsplash tiles is a major contributor to the overall project cost. Ceramic and porcelain tiles tend to be the most budget-friendly options, while materials like glass, metal, and stone tile can increase the pricing considerably.

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very affordable, ranging from $2-$10 per square foot installed. This makes them ideal choices for DIY installations. The price depends on factors like:

  • Tile grade: Higher grades have tighter specifications and lower rates of defects. Tile graded as “first quality” will be more expensive than lower grades.
  • Tile size: Large format tiles 12″x24″ or larger tend to cost more per square foot than standard 4″x4″ or 6″x6″ sizes.
  • Tile finish: Glossy, matte, or textured glaze finishes will impact the pricing. Hand-painted tiles can also command higher prices.
  • Color variation: Tiles with minimal color variation cost less than mosaic blends or tiles showing drastic differences across pieces.

Overall, standard white, beige, or gray ceramic tiles in standard sizing can be purchased for $2-$5 per square foot. Porcelain tiles, which have higher density and durability, cost $4-$8 on average.

Glass Tile

Glass tile backsplashes make a gorgeous design statement but come at a higher cost. On average, expect to pay $8-$20 per square foot installed for glass tile. The pricing factors include:

  • Tile size: Small mosaic tiles can cost $10-$15 per square foot, while large-format glass tiles may range from $8-$12 per square foot installed.
  • Tile thickness: Thicker tiles around 1/4″ have a higher material cost than thinner tiles.
  • Tile finish: Iridescent, frosted, clear, and colored finishes impact the price point.
  • Mosaic or single tiles: Intricate mosaics take more labor and increase costs.
  • Metal trims and accents: Adding metal mesh, borders, or strips can increase the price per square foot.

Stone Tile

Natural stone tiles like marble, travertine, and granite elevate the design aesthetic. But be prepared for higher material and installation costs, with prices averaging $15-$40 per square foot installed. Pricing factors include:

  • Stone type and availability: Travertine starts around $15 per square foot, while rare stones like onyx can exceed $40 per square foot installed.
  • Tile finish: Honed, polished, or textured finishes impact the labor time and pricing.
  • Tile thickness: Thicker stone tiles can command prices at the higher end of the range.
  • Mosaic or single stone: Intricate stone mosaic patterns have higher installation costs than single large-format tiles.
  • Sealing requirements: Porous stones like limestone may require sealing to prevent staining, adding to material costs.

Metal & Glass Tile

For contemporary designs, metal and glass tile backsplashes make a significant visual impact. Prices range widely based on the materials used:

  • Stainless steel tile: $10-$20 per square foot installed
  • Solid copper tile: $25-$50 per square foot installed
  • Penny tile with copper/brass accents: $10-$20 per square foot installed
  • Glass and stone combinations: $20-$50 per square foot installed

Installation Area Size

In addition to material costs, the size of the backsplash area being tiled impacts the total project pricing. Larger installations mean more tile and labor hours involved. On average:

  • Small Area (5-15 sq ft): $200-$500
  • Medium Area (15-30 sq ft): $500-$1500
  • Large Area (30-50 sq ft): $1500-$2500

For a basic 4×4 ceramic tile backsplash running 4 feet high and 10 feet long (40 sq ft area), expect costs around $200-$400. In comparison, glass mosaic tiles covering a 4×5 foot kitchen backsplash (20 sq ft) may cost $400-$800 with installation. Measure your space carefully to get an accurate idea of sizing and costs.

Special Installation Factors

Complex backsplash designs, specialty tiles, and unique installations can significantly increase project costs. Some factors to consider include:

  • Pattern complexity – Intricate patterns, angled designs, and mosaics require more tile cuts and installer labor.
  • Border or accent tiles – Adding tile borders, medallions, or bands of specialty tiles adds to material and labor costs.
  • Niche or shelving – Tile niches and shelves integrated into the backsplash require extra installation work.
  • Backlighting – Installing LED lighting behind glass or translucent tile can add $200-$500 in electrical work and materials.
  • Backsplash height – Extending tile from standard 4 feet to a full wall height adds more square footage.
  • Demolition – Removing old backsplash tile and materials adds $1-$2 per square foot for disposal fees and labor.

DIY vs Professional Installation

Another major cost factor is whether you take on tile installation as a DIY project or hire professional tile installers. DIY can save on labor costs, but keep in mind:

  • DIY projects take significantly more time, especially for novice tilers. Complex patterns could take days rather than hours for a pro.
  • Mistakes in tile cutting and installation are more likely, leading to wasted materials and subpar results.
  • You need to have all the necessary tile tools and safety equipment. Renting or buying these items can be expensive.

Hiring professional tilers ranges from $50-$100 per hour based on your location and project complexity. Most charge a minimum fee in the range of $200-$500 per job. The benefits of professional installation are generally superior results, project completion in 1-2 days, and a guarantee on workmanship.

Average Costs of Tile Backsplash Installation

Taking the various factors together, you can expect typical costs in the following ranges:

  • Ceramic tile installation: $2-$5 per sq ft ($200-$800 for standard backsplash)
  • Porcelain or stone tile installation: $5-$15 per sq ft ($500-$1,500 for standard backsplash)
  • Glass or mosaic tile installation: $10-$25 per sq ft ($400-$1,000 for standard backsplash)
  • Full wall of tile: $5-$20 per sq ft depending on tile material and area size
  • DIY installation: 35-50% savings on labor costs, but likely to take longer
  • Professional installation: $50-$100 per hour ($200-$500 minimum)

Keep in mind unexpected costs may come up with demolition, plumbing shifts, electrical, repairs to subsurface issues, and more. Having a contingency fund of 15-20% of total project costs is wise.

How to Save Money on Your Tile Backsplash

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

  • Choose affordable ceramic or porcelain tile rather than premium materials.
  • Use a simple grid pattern or single large-format tiles which require less cutting and labor.
  • Install the backsplash yourself if you have tiling experience. Watch online tutorials to learn.
  • Shop discount home improvement stores for tile sales and bundles. Buying remnants can save over ordering full boxes.
  • Use a quality ready-made grout rather than premium epoxy grouts which add cost.
  • Change your backsplash area size from a full wall to a 4 ft height to reduce square footage.
  • Install tile directly over existing backsplashes rather than doing demolition.

With some savvy planning and cost-saving techniques, you can design an eye-catching yet affordable tile backsplash on almost any budget. Carefully weigh the costs vs benefits and invest wisely to create a kitchen or bath focal point you’ll love.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest tile option for a backsplash?

Standard square or rectangular ceramic tiles in white or neutral shades are the most budget-friendly, starting around $2-$3 per square foot installed.

Should I do the tile backsplash myself or hire a pro?

Doing it yourself saves significantly on labor costs, but results may not be as professional-looking. Consider your skill level and time investment before deciding.

What factors make a tile backsplash more expensive?

Premium materials like glass and stone tile, intricate mosaic patterns, large installation areas, accent tiles, shelving/niches, backlighting, full wall height, and hiring professional installers all increase costs.

How can I get a rough estimate for my backsplash tile?

Measure the height x width to get your square footage. Multiply by price per square foot of your chosen tile, adding 20% extra for materials and incidentals. Add labor costs if hiring a pro.

Should I remove an old backsplash before installing a new tile one?

In some cases, you can install right over an existing backsplash, saving demolition costs. This depends on the current backsplash material and condition. Consult a professional to advise.


The cost of a tile backsplash varies widely based on your design choices and installation decisions. With typical professional installation, budget $200-$1500 for a standard backsplash or $1500-$2500 for an intricate full wall project. Compare material options, installation quotes, and sizing carefully to get the best results within your budget expectations. With planning, creativity, and smart compromises, you can achieve a showstopping backsplash on any budget.