Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen can add a beautiful, easy-to-clean accent wall. But before you start tiling, it’s important to determine how much tile you need to complete the project. Here’s a guide to help calculate the tile quantity for your kitchen backsplash.
Measure the Backsplash Area
The first step is to carefully measure the area you plan to tile. Be sure to measure the full height and width of the backsplash surface.
For most kitchens, the backsplash area extends:
- Along the entire length of the countertops
- From the countertop to the underside of the upper cabinets
- Across any windows, outlets or appliances in the backsplash area
Make sure to write down the measurements, including the height and width. Multiplying the height by the width gives you the total square footage of the backsplash area.
Factor in Tile Size
Next, you need to know the dimensions of the tile you’ll be using. Standard backsplash tiles are often 4-inch squares or 3-inch by 6-inch rectangles.
Look at the tile packaging or spec sheet to find the height and width of one tile.
Then determine the square footage per tile by multiplying the height by the width. For example:
- 4-inch x 4-inch tile = 16 square inches
- 3-inch x 6-inch tile = 18 square inches
Knowing the square footage per tile allows you to calculate how many tiles are needed to cover the backsplash area.
Calculate Tiles Needed
To determine the approximate number of tiles required, divide the total backsplash square footage by the square footage per tile.
- Backsplash area: 25 sq ft
- Tile size: 4″ x 4″ (16 sq in per tile)
- 25 sq ft backsplash / 16 sq in per tile = ~156 tiles
So for this example, you would need approximately 156 4-inch square tiles to complete the 25 sq ft backsplash.
The final number offers a rough estimate, but it’s smart to purchase 10-15% extra tiles to account for uneven walls, cutting tiles to fit, waste, or future repairs.
Consider Design Effects
The tile calculation must also factor in your desired backsplash design. For example:
- Accent tiles: Backsplashes often incorporate decorative accent tiles, mosaic sheets, or border tiles. Measure and account for these special tiles in your final tile count.
- Brick or staggered patterns: Offset tile layouts require additional tiles compared to basic grid patterns. Calculate at least 10% more tiles if creating an offset design.
- Subway tile layouts: Staggering subway tile rows often requires purchasing 20% more tiles than a straight grid layout.
- Diagonal designs: Diagonal installations use roughly 30% more tiles than vertical or horizontal layouts.
Order Extra Tiles
It’s always wise to order extra tiles beyond your initial estimate. Extras are useful for:
- Replacing any tiles that become damaged during installation.
- Completing tricky areas that require additional cutting.
- Fixing chips or cracks in the backsplash over time.
- Adding a few accent tiles to refresh the look later on.
Most experts recommend purchasing 10-15% extra tiles. But feel free to order more extras if:
- Your backsplash uses expensive designer tiles.
- The tile has been discontinued or hard to find.
- Your design incorporates many cut tiles.
- You anticipate needing repairs or want design flexibility.
Double Check Your Work
Be sure to double check all your measurements and tile calculations. Confirm the tile dimensions and backsplash square footage. Multiply and divide carefully.
Having a few extra tiles on hand is ideal, but you want to avoid purchasing an excessive number of unused tiles.
Accurately calculating how much tile is required for a kitchen backsplash takes some careful planning and math. But this guide will help you measure, estimate, and order the right tile quantity for a successful project. Just remember to factor in the backsplash dimensions, tile size, pattern effects, and extras.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much extra tile should I get?
It’s recommended to purchase 10-15% extra tiles over your estimated quantity needed. This provides extras for repairs, uneven walls, cutting, waste and future changes.
Does tile quantity include grout?
No, grout quantity will need to be calculated separately based on the grout line width and total linear feet of grout lines.
Should I use tile spacers for backsplash installation?
Yes, plastic tile spacers are highly recommended to help create straight even grout lines between tiles. Spacers allow consistent spacing.
What size tile is best for kitchen backsplash?
The most popular backsplash tile sizes are 4×4 inches, 3×6 inches, and subway tiles. But any tile size can work, depending on your kitchen design tastes.
How long does it take to install a tile backsplash?
For an average sized kitchen backsplash of 25-30 square feet, it typically takes 2-3 days from start to finish for an experienced DIYer.
Determining the number of tiles required for a kitchen backsplash is an important first step in planning your project. Carefully measure the backsplash area, account for tile dimensions and patterns, order 10-15% extra tiles, and double check your work. This will help ensure you purchase the right quantity of tiles for a successful backsplash you’ll love.