How Much For Backsplash In Kitchen

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can greatly enhance the look and feel of the space, while also providing important protection for your walls. However, many homeowners wonder just how much they should budget for a new kitchen backsplash installation. The cost of a backsplash can vary greatly depending on the materials, complexity of the design, and the size of the installation area. With some planning and research, you can determine a reasonable range of costs for your particular backsplash project.

Factors That Influence Backsplash Cost

Several key factors impact the total cost of a new kitchen backsplash:


The material you choose for the backsplash is one of the biggest determinants of overall cost. Simple ceramic tile is generally the most budget-friendly option, while materials like natural stone, glass tile, and metal tile can be significantly more expensive. Here are some typical per square foot costs for popular backsplash materials:

  • Ceramic tile: $5-$20
  • Porcelain tile: $15-$40
  • Glass tile: $20-$50
  • Natural stone tile: $40-$100
  • Metal tile: $50+
  • Custom materials like marble or handmade tiles will be priced even higher.

Tile Size

In addition to the tile material, the size of the tiles themselves also impacts cost. Large format tiles are quicker and easier to install than small mosaics, making them more affordable. Here are some typical installation costs based on tile size:

  • Mosaics under 4 inches: $10-$20 per sq. ft.
  • Standard tiles 4-12 inches: $5-$15 per sq. ft.
  • Large format 12 inches+ : $3-$12 per sq. ft.

Layout and Design

The complexity of the tile layout and overall design will factor into the installation time and materials needed. Simple layouts like subway tile or stacked squares are cheapest, while intricate patterns, angled tiles, borders, and artistic murals can increase the cost. Any decorative treatments like mosaic inserts or shelving will also add to the price tag.

Size of Installation Area

The overall square footage that needs tiling will determine how much material is required and how long installation takes. Most professional tilers price jobs by the square foot. Expect to pay $5 per square foot or more for installation labor, not including material costs.

Custom Cutwork

If your backsplash requires tiles to be custom cut and fit around corners, outlets, switches and appliances, it will take more time and skill to complete. This custom tile cutting increases the labor costs.

Contractor vs DIY

Hiring a professional tile installer ensures proper prep work, expert installation, and smooth results – but comes with higher labor costs. Opting for a DIY backsplash can save substantially on labor, but mistakes and improper prep can undermine the end results.


Any additional trim pieces, accent tiles, backsplash-specific grout or sealants will add incremental costs as well. Don’t forget costs for grout, mortar, sealant and any specialty tools you may need.

Typical Cost Ranges

With all these factors at play, it’s impossible to give an exact universal cost for kitchen backsplash installation. However, here are some typical price ranges you can expect:

  • Economy Backsplash: Using budget-friendly materials like ceramic tile, a simple layout, and DIY installation, you may spend $150-$500 or more depending on the size of your space.
  • Mid-Range Backsplash: Opting for materials like porcelain, glass or stone tile, simple to moderate complexity in design, and hiring professional installation, expect to spend $500-$1500 or more.
  • High-End Backsplash: Using premium materials like marble, metal or handmade tile, with intricate designs and professional installation, costs typically range from $1500 up to $10,000 or more.

These ranges account just for product and labor costs for the backsplash itself, not any other kitchen remodeling expenses. And of course, your specific backsplash quote will depend on your kitchen size, layout complexities, and material choices.

Cost-Saving Tips

If your budget is limited, there are some ways to reduce the overall expense of your new backsplash:

  • Select affordable ceramic or porcelain tile rather than premium materials.
  • Choose a simple layout like subway tile or stacked patterns rather than intricate designs.
  • Opt for medium size 6 x 6 inch or 4 x 4 inch tiles rather than large planks or mosaics.
  • DIY the installation if you have tiling experience, rather than hiring a contractor.
  • Search for tile sales and discounts from home improvement stores.
  • Consider sheet backsplash like beadboard or vinyl rather than individual tile.
  • Install the backsplash yourself in a small area only, like behind the stove.
  • Use accent tile sparingly on the backsplash rather than covering the whole wall.
  • Price shop material quotes from multiple tile retailers.

Even little savings on material per square foot can add up, helping you get a great new backsplash affordably. With smart planning and budgeting, you can get the backsplash look you love at a price you can handle!

Factors to Consider When Budgeting

When determining your budget and planning costs for your kitchen backsplash, here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Account for Demolition and Prep Work

If you’re replacing an existing backsplash, include costs to safely remove and dispose of the old tile and properly prepare the surface for new tile. This may involve cleaning, damage repairs, smoothing surfaces and applying appropriate backerboards or waterproof membranes.

Have Contingencies for Unexpected Issues

It’s always smart to add a 10-15% cushion to your tile budget for any hidden issues that arise once the old backsplash is removed, like water damage or mold behind the walls. Remediating these problems could incur additional costs.

Include Grout, Sealant and Accessories

When calculating material expenses, be sure to account for not only the tile itself but also insulating backerboards, thinset or mastic adhesives, grout, sealants, trim pieces and any specialty tools. These extras can add $200 or more to costs.

Ask About Any Permits or Disposal Fees

Based on the scope of your project, your contractor may need to obtain permits for the work or pay to properly dispose of old tile and demolition debris. Check if these fees are included or will be additional.

Calculate Based on Total Square Footage

Measure the total square footage of your walls that will be tiled, including inside corners and any hard-to-access areas. Get a few different measurements to ensure accuracy. Multiply this by material and labor cost per square foot for totals.

Read All Quotes thoroughly

Read quotes from contractors carefully to determine exactly what is covered and not covered in the pricing. Ask clarifying questions to avoid surprise charges. Quoted costs may or may not include demo, prep work, accessories, etc.

Consider Ongoing Maintenance

While durable, some high-end backsplash materials like marble require sealing regularly to prevent stains and damage. Factor in any long-term maintenance requirements as you choose materials.

With careful planning, diligent measurement, and contingency padding, you can feel confident tackling a backsplash project knowing the costs are covered!

Installation Cost Breakdown

To get a more detailed sense of costs, here is a typical breakdown of what is included in a professional backsplash installation quote:

  • Demolition – Removal and disposal of old backsplash tile/wall materials, $2-$5 per sq. ft.
  • Surface Prep – Cleaning, damage repair, drywall replacement, applying backerboard, $3-$8 per sq. ft.
  • Tile Materials – Cost varies greatly by material type, style, size and quantity needed, $5-$100+ per sq. ft.
  • Adhesives and Grout – Thinset, mastic, mortar and grout to adhere and finish tiles, $1-$3 per sq. ft.
  • Accessories – Trim pieces, accent tiles, sealants, spacers, tools, $200-$500
  • Installation Labor – Applying tile and grouting, $10-$25 per sq. ft. depending on complexity.
  • Sealing/Protection – Sealants to protect grout and natural stone from staining, $3-$7 per sq. ft.

With all the steps included, it’s common for a professionally installed backsplash to run $15-$50 per sq. ft. or more. Knowing these cost components helps you plan and budget realistically.

Cost Planning Tips

Here are some helpful tips to plan costs and budget wisely for your kitchen backsplash installation:

  • Get Multiple Bids – Price shop quotes from at least 3 contractors to compare rates fairly.
  • Ask About Permit Fees – Find out if any permits are needed for the work and if fees are included.
  • Clarify What’s Included – Ask lots of questions to determine what steps are covered in the quote.
  • Calculate DIY Savings – Subtract labor costs if you plan to do the installation yourself.
  • Visit Tile Showrooms – Speak to reps about prices for materials you like.
  • Research Pricing Online – Check manufacturer websites for per tile/sq. ft. costs.
  • Look for Sales and Discounts – Sign up for store emails to get notices about tile promotions.
  • Set Your Maximum Budget – Know exactly how much you can spend for the whole project before starting.
  • Add a 10-15% Cushion – Include extra padding to allow for unforeseen issues popping up.
  • Focus on Functionality – Choose materials that are affordable, durable and easy to maintain.

With smart planning and cost management, you can create a beautiful, high-quality backsplash within the resources you have available. Know your budget, research options thoroughly, and get competitive bids to maximize value.


Average Costs by Material

To give you a better idea of price ranges, here are typical per sq. ft. costs for some of the most popular backsplash materials:

Ceramic Tile

Budget: $5-$10 per sq. ft.

Mid-Range: $10-$20 per sq. ft.

Premium Designer: $20-$50 per sq. ft.

Porcelain Tile

Budget: $15-$25 per sq. ft.

Mid-Range: $25-$40 per sq. ft.

Premium Designer: $40-$75 per sq. ft.

Glass Tile

Budget: $20-$40 per sq. ft.

Mid-Range: $40-$60 per sq. ft.

Premium Designer: $60-$100 per sq. ft.

Natural Stone Tile

Budget: $40-$60 per sq. ft.

Mid-Range: $60-$100 per sq. ft.

Premium: $100+ per sq. ft.

Metal Tile

Budget: $50+ per sq. ft.

Designs and Blends: $75+ per sq. ft.

Mosaic Tile

Ceramic Mosaic Sheets: $10-$20 per sq. ft.

Mixed Ceramic and Glass: $25-$50 per sq. ft.

Stone and Glass Mosaics: $50+ per sq. ft.

These ranges account for material cost only – installation and accessories will be extra. Prices can also fluctuate over time and by region.

Backsplash Installation FAQ

If you’re considering installing a backsplash in your kitchen, you likely have plenty of questions about the process. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about backsplash installation:

How is a backsplash installed?

Installation involves first preparing the surface by cleaning, repairing any damage, and applying a waterproof backerboard if needed. Tiles are cut to fit, then a thinset adhesive is used to attach them row by row. Grout is applied between tiles and allowed to dry before sealing.

What is the prep work involved?

Proper prep work is crucial for successful installation. Walls must be cleaned, painted, sanded and primed to create an appropriate surface. Existing backsplashes are demolished and removed. Any wall damage is repaired, and outlets moved if needed.

How long does installation take?

For a typical 10 sq. ft. backsplash area, professional installation may take 8-10 hours over 1-2 days between preparing the space, applying tiles, grouting and sealing. Larger or more complex projects take longer.

What tools are needed?

Tiling tools like a notched trowel, grout float, spacers and cutting tools are needed, along with mixing buckets, sponges, grout sealer and safety gear. Many pros have specialized cutting tools to achieve intricate cuts.

How are backsplashes cut and fitted?

Measurements are taken and tiles are carefully cut as needed to fit around corners, outlets, pipes, windows and other obstacles using manual or power cutting tools. Cut edges are finished smoothly.

Should the backsplash match the countertops?

The backsplash does not have to match the countertops exactly, but coordinating the colors and materials creates a cohesive look. Many homeowners opt for a complementary contrast between the two.

What about sealing and maintaining the backsplash?

Grout will need to be sealed periodically. Porous natural stone may also require sealing to prevent staining. Cleaning should be done with gentle, pH-neutral cleaners. Avoid abrasive scouring pads or harsh chemicals.

How long does a backsplash typically last?

With proper installation and maintenance, a quality backsplash should last 10-15 years or longer before needing replacement. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very durable choices.

Setting a Realistic Budget

Installing a backsplash is an investment that can pay off in added style, functionality and value for your home. Here are some tips for setting a realistic budget:

  • First, measure your space carefully to calculate the square footage you need to cover. This allows you to estimate accurately how much material to purchase.
  • Research material costs online or through tile retailers. Check per tile and per square foot prices for products you like.
  • Get quotes from contractors to determine labor costs. Ask exactly what’s included to avoid surprise charges.
  • Factor in costs for demolition, disposal, backerboard, grout, sealant and accessories. These can really add up.
  • Decide which installations tasks you can handle yourself to save on labor fees. But be realistic about your DIY skills.
  • Choose affordable tile material like ceramic instead of premium natural stone or glass if budget is a concern.
  • Opt for simple installation patterns which require less tile cutting and customization.
  • Look for tile sales, discounts and closeout deals from retailers.
  • Set your maximum budget and have a contingency fund for unforeseen issues. Don’t drain your savings.

Knowing typical costs for materials, labor and accessories will help you create a backsplash budget that meets your needs and complements the value of your home.

Enhancing Your Kitchen On A Budget

If your financial resources are limited, don’t despair – there are plenty of ways to get a beautiful, functional backsplash while sticking to a tight budget:

Seek Out Tile Sales and Bargains

Retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s regularly run promotions on tile collections. Check for sales events and clearance deals.

Buy in Bulk for Volume Discounts

Buying tile by the case rather than by a few boxes can unlock discounted pricing from some retailers.

Use High-Grade Ceramic Instead of Natural Stone or Glass

ceramic tiles offer an attractive look at a fraction of the price. Add accent tiles judiciously.

Install Your Own Backsplash (if DIY-Inclined)

Cut out labor costs by installing the tile yourself if you have the skills and time.

Choose Simple Grid Patterns Over Intricate Designs

Grid, brick, or subway layouts are budget-friendly. Opt for intricate mosaics, angled tiles, or artistic patterns.

Mix Different Tiles for Visual Interest

Blending pricier accent tiles with more affordable field tiles adds pops of color without breaking budget.

Only Cover a Portion of the Wall

Instead of floor-to-ceiling tile, opt for a smaller backsplash area behind the stove or sink to save.

Paint or Stencil a Faux Backsplash

Inexpensive stencils or painter’s tape can mimic the look of tile for a budget price.

Skip Specialty Trim and Shelving

Decorative shelf brackets, listellos, glass tile accents quickly increase costs. Hold off for now.

With some creativity, you can install an attractive, useful backsplash in any kitchen within budgetary constraints.

How Much Does Tile Backsplash Labor Cost?

Beyond the costs for tile and materials, labor expenses make up a significant portion of the total backsplash installation price. For professional installation, here is a look at typical labor costs:

  • Demolition and Surface Prep: $2-$5 per square foot to remove old backsplash tile and get walls ready for new tile
  • Basic Installation: $5-$10 per square foot for applying tile on straight, simple layouts
  • Complex Patterns/Designs: $10-$25+ per square foot for intricate tile work like mosaics, angled pieces, borders, etc.
  • Finishing: $2-$5 per square foot for steps like grouting, sealing, and cleaning up final installation

In addition to the per square foot charges, some tilers charge an hourly or daily project rate or minimum fees. When getting quotes, always clarify exactly what is included in labor pricing and what is considered an add-on. Carefully preparing the walls and expertly laying the tile are well worth the labor investment for quality results.

Key Factors That Impact Cost

Many variables influence how much you’ll ultimately spend on your new backsplash installation. Being aware of these key cost factors helps you plan and budget effectively: