How Much to Change Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash serves both aesthetic and functional purposes in your home. Not only does it protect your walls from splashes and stains while cooking, but it also makes a major decorative statement. When considering how much to change your kitchen backsplash, there are several factors to weigh. By understanding backsplash costs, materials, installation and your overall kitchen design goals, you can determine the best route for your remodel.

Backsplash Cost Considerations

The cost to change your backsplash depends on the size of the area being covered and the materials you select. Here are some typical backsplash installation costs:

  • Ceramic tile: $5-$25 per sq. ft. installed
  • Natural stone: $40-$100 per sq. ft. installed
  • Glass tile: $15-$35 per sq. ft. installed
  • Metal tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft. installed
  • Mosaic tile: $5-$20 per sq. ft. installed
  • Backsplash panels: $15-$50 per sq. ft. installed

In addition to material costs, you’ll also need to factor in labor charges for installation, demolition of the old backsplash, and any special cutting or border work. Most contractors charge $40-$75 per hour for installation.

For the average 30 sq. ft. backsplash area, you can expect to invest $300-$700 for a makeover with ceramic tile or panels on the low end, up to $1,500-$3,000 or more for a natural stone, glass or metal backsplash.

Backsplash Materials and Design

The material you choose can significantly impact your backsplash upgrade costs. Consider the following options:

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are affordable, easy to clean, and come in a vast array of colors, shapes, sizes and styles. You can create simple patterns or intricate mosaics. Glass tiles can be mixed in for added character. Cost to install is approximately $5-$25 per square foot.

Natural Stone Tile

Slate, marble, travertine and granite backsplashes create a sophisticated, high-end look. However, natural stone costs more, requires extra care to seal and clean, and offers less variety in colors and patterns. Budget $40-$100 per square foot installed.

Glass Tile

Adding shiny glass tile creates a stylish focal point. Materials cost more than ceramic and require specialized cutting, but glass tile adds beautiful depth and radiance. Installation averages $15-$35 per square foot.

Metal Tile

From stainless steel to copper and bronze, metal tiles infuse your kitchen with contemporary industrial flair. Expect to invest $15-$50 per square foot installed for these special statement tiles.

Mosaic Tile

Mosaic tiles use small, intricate tile pieces to form stunning artwork designs as a backsplash. Costs vary based on underlying material – glass, ceramic, porcelain or stone. Installation runs $5-$20 per square foot.

Backsplash Panels

Pre-made backsplash panels composed of materials like aluminum, acrylic or vinyl are the most budget-friendly option. Easy peel-and-stick installation with waterproof, grease-resistant durability averages just $15-$50 per square foot.

How Much Backsplash to Replace

When budgeting your kitchen backsplash installation, measure the areas that need tile:

  • Countertop height: Standard backsplashes extend 4 inches up from countertops around islands and peninsulas. Go 6 inches up behind sinks and cooktops.
  • Length: Measure total linear footage around countertops and islands that need backsplash.
  • Accents: Factor in glass tile accents, special cutting work, mosaics and designer border tiles.

Multiplying height x length provides total square footage. Use this to estimate materials needed and costs for your desired backsplash tile.

Don’t forget additional expenses like tile edging, trim, adhesive and grout to complete the job.

Factors That Impact Cost

Many variables affect how much you’ll pay to change your outdated or damaged backsplash. As you plan, keep the following cost factors in mind:


Complex tile layouts, glass and mosaic designs take more time and skill to install properly. Simple ceramic tile or peel-and-stick panels require less labor.


Removing and disposing an existing backsplash adds $150-$300 or more to the total project cost.

Special Cuts

Intricate patterns, outlets and faucets require extra tile cutting labor to get a precise fit.


Handmade artisan or designer tiles are priced higher than everyday ceramic, porcelain or stone.

Area Size

Larger backsplashes require more tile and longer install time.

Prep Work

Wall repairs, priming and leveling increase project costs.

Backsplash Installation Process

Changing a kitchen backsplash is a manageable DIY project for skilled homeowners. However, many choose to hire a professional tile installation company for the best results. Here is the basic process:

  1. Protect countertops and remove old backsplash completely. Repair and smooth walls as needed.
  2. Prime surfaces and apply tile underlayment, Hardibacker or other appropriate substrate.
  3. Mark tile layout. Cut tiles as needed to fit.
  4. Apply thinset mortar adhesive using proper trowel size.
  5. Set tiles in place, evenly spaced. Use spacers for consistent joints.
  6. Let tiles set according to adhesive instructions.
  7. Mix grout and apply into tile joints. Wipe away excess.
  8. Seal grout once fully cured, typically 24-48 hours. Apply sealant to natural stone tiles as well.
  9. Caulk perimeter joints between countertop and new backsplash.
  10. Clean and polish tiles.

Backsplash Design Tips

To achieve the stylish, eye-catching backsplash design you want, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Match backsplash tile design and colors to your overall kitchen style – contemporary, traditional, rustic, etc.
  • Coordinate with your countertops – either blend or contrast colors and textures.
  • Use mosaic tiles, glass inserts or special accents sparingly to create focal points.
  • Start the bottom row at the same height as your countertops for clean sightlines.
  • Consider easy-to-clean tiles behind cooktops and sinks prone to grease splatters.
  • Size, spacing and layout patterns impact the look. Consistent small grout lines promote a fitted appearance.
  • Install tiles vertically instead of staggered horizontally for a taller, more contemporary aesthetic.
  • Include decorative edge tiles, trim and unique borders to finish the design.

Backsplash Ideas by Kitchen Style

Not sure where to begin with your backsplash designs? Here are some beautiful and inspiring backsplash tile ideas organized by popular kitchen decorating styles:

Contemporary Kitchen Backsplashes

Contemporary kitchen backsplashes tend to be sleek and minimalist. Glass, metal and porcelain tiles in solid colors suit the streamlined aesthetic. Highlights include:

  • Linear subway tile patterns
  • Mosaics used as accents
  • Grid layouts for visual depth
  • Contrasting grout color
  • Minimal trim and no border designs
  • Emphasis on texture over pattern

Transitional Kitchen Backsplashes

Transitional kitchen backsplash tile styles blend traditional and contemporary elements for a timeless and highly livable aesthetic. Ideas include:

  • Whites, grays and neutral tones
  • Subway tile patterns
  • Marble, limestone or travertine accents
  • Smoked glass mosaics
  • Modern takes on classic patterns like herringbone
  • Metal tiles in brushed finishes

Farmhouse Kitchen Backsplashes

Warm, organic textures and materials make the perfect rustic farmhouse kitchen backsplash. Design options include:

  • Subway tiles or reclaimed wood
  • Natural stone like travertine and marble
  • Weathered patina metals
  • Woven textures
  • Delft-inspired blue and white tile
  • Handmade ceramic tiles

Traditional Kitchen Backsplashes

Elegant backsplashes with timeless appeal suit traditional kitchen designs. Consider:

  • Ornate ceramic tile patterns
  • Elaborate glass mosaics
  • Marble tile inserts
  • Contrasting tile shapes
  • Metallic accents like copper
  • Decorative borders and trim
  • Neoclassical inspired motifs

Budget-Friendly Backsplash Ideas

If your backsplash installation budget is limited, here are some excellent money-saving options:

  • Invest in speciality tiles only for focal areas or accents. Use inexpensive ceramic tile for the majority of space.
  • Select backsplash panels made of affordable PVC, plastic, laminate or composite wood.
  • Use budget-friendly ceramic mosaic sheets which come in 12” x 12” or 12” x 24” sizes for simpler installation.
  • Choose smaller 4 x 4 inch or subway style tiles rather than large tiles to reduce cost.
  • Reuse existing backsplash tile if in good shape. Just replace select damaged tiles or grout lines.
  • Install tile halfway up the wall instead of full height. Finish upper portion with paint.
  • Skip decorative trim and borders which add to tile and labor costs.
  • DIY installation if you have tiling experience vs. hiring a professional.

How to Update Your Backsplash on a Budget

Even without replacing your tiles, it’s possible to update your existing backsplash on a budget with these simple makeover ideas:

  • Regrout: Using new stain-resistant grout can refresh old tiles.
  • Repaint: Coat existing tiles with enamel tile paint in a modern color.
  • Refinish: Refinish worn metal or laminate backsplash panels.
  • Whitewash: Whitewash colorful backsplash tiles for a more neutral tone.
  • Add an accent strip: Adhere decorative trim just below the existing backsplash as an accent.
  • Partial redo: Keep some sections of old backsplash and add new mosaic tile accents.
  • Add floating shelves: Install floating shelves over backsplash for an updated look.
  • Install peel-and-stick: Apply affordable tile stickers or removable wallpaper.
  • Cover with paneling: Add budget-friendly shiplap or beadboard as a rustic cover.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about changing kitchen backsplashes:

How do I choose new backsplash tiles?

Consider your kitchen’s decor style, color scheme, countertops and cabinets to select complementary tiles with suitable patterns, textures and materials.

What tile size should I use?

Varying tile sizes can create visual interest. Many backsplashes use 4 inch tiles or a combination of 4 inch and larger 8 inch subway tiles. Mosaics use 1 inch pieces.

How durable are tile backsplashes?

Ceramic and porcelain backsplashes are very durable choices. Natural stone is prone to staining and sealing cracks. Metal and glass need gentle cleaning.

Should backsplash match countertops?

It can, but contrasting materials and colors also pair well to highlight each surface individually. Tie the look together with complimentary hues.

Should I go up to ceiling with backsplash?

Standard height is 18 inches. Extend to ceiling behind cooktops for maximum protection. Full height makes a dramatic design statement.

Can I install backsplash tile over existing tile?

Yes, if your tiles and wall surface are in good condition. Score glossy tile and use adhesive specifically for tiling over existing materials.

Is it worth DIYing a backsplash install?

An experienced DIYer can install tile backsplash and save on labor costs. Novices may choose hiring a pro to ensure quality results.


The amount to invest when changing your kitchen backsplash depends on the scale of your project and the materials selected. Small upgrades using low-cost paneling or paint can give your backsplash a budget-friendly facelift for under $500. Completely remodeling your backsplash with new designer tile runs closer to $2,000-$5,000 or more. Carefully consider your home’s style, kitchen decor goals, costs of materials plus installation labor, and overall value when determining how much to change your outdated backsplash into a stunning showpiece that gives your kitchen personality. With the right backsplash design, you can enjoy a fresh, contemporary new look without breaking the bank.

how much to change kitchen backsplash

Changing your kitchen backsplash is one of the most affordable ways to update the style and look of your kitchen. With the right backsplash design and materials, you can transform the entire feel of the space. Here’s an overview of how much it costs to change a backsplash and factors to consider when budgeting for your kitchen remodel project.

Cost to Change Backsplash

The cost to change your kitchen backsplash will vary based on the size of the area being re-tiled and the materials you choose. Here are rough estimates:

  • Ceramic tile: $5-$25 per sq. ft. installed
  • Natural stone tile: $40-$100 per sq. ft. installed
  • Glass tile: $15-$35 per sq. ft. installed
  • Metal tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft. installed
  • Backsplash panels: $15-$50 per sq. ft. installed

In addition to material costs, factor in demolition, installation labor, special tile cuts, etc. which can add $40-$100 or more per sq. ft. to your backsplash installation.

For example, a 30 sq. ft. backsplash using standard ceramic subway tiles would start around $300. Upgrading to marble mosaic tiles could run $1,500-$2,000 for a 30 sq. ft. space.

Design Options

Popular backsplash tile options include:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile
  • Natural stone such as marble, travertine or slate
  • Glass tile
  • Metal tile like stainless steel or copper
  • Mosaic tiles
  • Backsplash panels

Consider your kitchen’s existing cabinetry, countertops, appliances and decor style when selecting materials and colors. Contrasting or coordinating with the counters creates different effects.

Factors Affecting Cost

Some variables that impact the cost of changing a backsplash are:

  • Type of tiles/materials selected
  • Amount of demolition and prep work required
  • Special tile shapes and accent designs
  • Overall size of the backsplash area
  • Complexity of tile layout and installation

More intricate tile patterns, glass and metal tiles, and larger backsplash areas will increase costs.

Installation Tips

Proper prep and installation helps ensure your new backsplash looks amazing and lasts. Key steps include:

  • Remove old backsplash and make any necessary wall repairs
  • Clean and prime surface
  • Cut tiles to fit outlets, corners, etc.
  • Apply thinset mortar adhesive
  • Place tiles with even spacing/grout lines
  • Let tiles set before grouting
  • Seal grout and natural stone tiles

Hiring a professional installer is recommended if you lack tiling experience.


In general, expect to invest $300-$500 for a simple ceramic tile upgrade in a small area, and up to $1,500-$3,000 for a larger designer backsplash makeover. The final cost will depend on your kitchen, the scale of the project, and materials selected. With strategic choices, you can change your backsplash on a budget for a fresh new look.

How Much to Change Kitchen Backsplash: FAQs

Here are some common questions about changing backsplashes:

How do I choose a new backsplash style?

Consider your kitchen’s existing features and decor. Pick tiles that complement the color scheme, countertops and cabinetry.

What tile sizes should I use?

Many backsplashes use 4 inch or subway tiles, sometimes mixed with larger accent tiles. Mosaics use 1 inch tiles.

What are budget-friendly backsplash ideas?

Ceramic tile, backsplash panels, smaller tiles, DIY installation, using special tiles just for accents, or whitewashing existing tile.

How can I update my backsplash on a budget?

Regrout, repaint, refinish or add an accent strip to existing backsplash. Partial new tile upgrades are also an affordable option.

What factors impact the cost of a backsplash?

Tile material, overall size, special shapes and designs, demolition/prep work, and installation labor. More intricate patterns, larger areas, and premium tiles raise costs.

How much does it cost to change a 30 sq ft backsplash?

A 30 sq. ft. ceramic tile backsplash would likely range $300-$700. More expensive stone or glass tile could cost $1,500-$3,000 for 30 sq. ft.

Should I hire a pro to install backsplash tile?

Pro installers ensure proper spacing, grout lines, and durability. DIY is okay for experienced tilers but can lead to uneven results.