How Much To Charge For Backsplash Installation

Backsplash installation can greatly enhance the look and feel of a kitchen. However, many homeowners are unsure how much to budget for backsplash installation. The cost depends on several factors, including the backsplash materials, the size of the project, and labor costs. With proper planning and research, you can determine a fair price for quality backsplash installation.

What Is A Backsplash?

A backsplash is a decorative, protective wall treatment installed directly behind sinks, stoves, and countertops. Backsplashes prevent water damage, make cleanups easier, and provide an opportunity to add visual interest to your kitchen design. Backsplashes typically range between 4 to 6 feet in height and can be made from various materials like ceramic tile, glass tile, marble, metal, stone, and even laminate or acrylic sheeting. The most popular choices are ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone tile.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Installation Cost

Several key factors will impact the total cost of your backsplash installation:

Backsplash Material

The material you choose will significantly affect the total project cost. Natural stone, glass, and metal backsplashes tend to be more expensive than ceramic or porcelain tile. Here are average costs for popular backsplash materials per square foot:

  • Ceramic tile: $5-$15
  • Porcelain tile: $15-$25
  • Glass tile: $15-$30
  • Natural stone tile: $40-$100
  • Metal tile: $30-$50

More intricate or handmade tiles and special order stones will be pricier. The material you choose will depend on your budget, kitchen design, and personal style preferences.


In addition to material costs, you’ll need to account for installation labor. Many tile installers charge per square foot for installation. Here are typical labor costs:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile: $5-$10 per square foot
  • Glass tile: $10-$20 per square foot
  • Natural stone tile: $10-$20 per square foot

More complex designs, specialty tiles, and small mosaic tiles may take more time and effort to install properly. Be sure to get an itemized estimate of material, labor, additional supplies, and any other costs from potential contractors.

Tile Layout

The tile layout pattern you choose will also impact installation time and labor costs. More intricate patterns like herringbone typically take longer to install than basic grid or brick layouts. Hand-cut mosaic tiles also require more labor time versus standard 12” x 12” tiles. Discuss tile layout options with your contractor to determine realistic labor fees.

Size Of The Project

The overall size of your backsplash will determine the total number of material square feet required. Standard backsplash height is 4 feet, but you may opt for a full wall application up to 6 feet for more dramatic visual impact. Measure the linear width of your countertops, islands, and stove to calculate the square footage area. This will allow you to estimate approximate material and labor costs.

Additional Expenses

In addition to tile and installation, your contractor may charge fees for:

  • Tile cutting (for outlets, corners, etc)
  • Tile adhesive and grout
  • Sealing and finishing treatments
  • Building supplies like cement board
  • Demolition and removal of old backsplash
  • Electrical or plumbing work

Be sure to account for all possible expenses in your project estimate. Many tile installers provide free quotes, so get estimates from 3-5 local professionals.

Cost To Install Different Types Of Backsplash

Here are typical per square foot costs for popular backsplash materials, excluding labor fees:

Ceramic Tile

Cost: $5-$15 per square foot

Durable, affordable, and easy to clean, ceramic tile is one of the most common backsplash materials. Glazed ceramic comes in endless colors, shapes, and patterns. Expect to pay:

  • $5-$8 for basic white or single color ceramic
  • $8-$12 for hand-painted, multicolor, or decorative ceramic tile
  • $12-$15 for high-end ceramic with intricate designs

A ceramic tile backsplash typically costs $150-$500 for a 10 square foot area.

Porcelain Tile

Cost: $15-$30 per square foot

Porcelain tile is more resistant to moisture and everyday wear-and-tear than regular ceramic. It offers a refined, elegant look. Porcelain tile pricing averages:

  • $15-$20 for plain white or solid color porcelain
  • $20-$25 for natural stone-look porcelain
  • $25-$30 for hand-painted or decorative porcelain

Expect to pay around $300-$600 for porcelain tile for a 10 square foot space.

Glass Tile

Cost: $15-$30 per square foot

Glass tile allows you to add brilliant pops of color and shine. It’s easy to wipe clean and durable. Glass tile for backsplash costs approximately:

  • $15-$20 for basic glass mosaic tile
  • $20-$25 for metallic or pebble glass tiles
  • $25-$30 for custom, decorative glass tile

You can expect to pay $300-$600 for a glass tile backsplash spanning 10 square feet.

Metal Tile

Cost: $30-$50 per square foot

Metal tile backsplashes lend an industrial vibe, whether you choose stainless steel, copper, brass, or nickel varieties. Metal tile pricing averages:

  • $30-$40 for stainless steel or tin tiles
  • $40-$50 for solid copper, brass, or nickel tiles

A metal tile backsplash for a 10 square foot kitchen area generally costs $500-$800 in materials only.

Stone Tile

Cost: $40-$100 per square foot

Elegant and durable, stone tiles like marble, travertine, or granite make a luxurious backsplash statement. Natural stone tile pricing breaks down as:

  • $40-$60 for limestone or travertine
  • $50-$70 for slate or onyx
  • $70-$100 for marble or granite

You’ll pay about $600-$1500 for a stone tile backsplash spanning 10 square feet.

Factors That Increase Cost

Certain elements of your backsplash design may increase the installation price:

  • Intricate patterns like herringbone or geometric shapes
  • Small tiles like mosaics or mini-tiles
  • Niche or shelving recesses for storing spices and oils
  • Irregular kitchen layouts requiring custom tile work
  • Grout color tinting or decorative borders
  • Specialty materials like handmade art tile or raw metal tiles
  • Fancy trim pieces and decorative accents
  • Unusual tile shapes that require hand-cutting
  • Removal of previous backsplash before new installation

Discuss any special features with your backsplash contractor to get accurate quotes for specialty tile work.

How To Get The Best Price

Follow these tips to get the best pricing on your backsplash installation:

  • Get quotes from 3-5 local tile installers – compare rates and reviews
  • Search for tile outlet or discount stores – for savings on materials
  • Consider DIY installation if you have tiling experience
  • Provide your own materials purchased online – to reduce markup costs
  • Avoid complex layouts like herringbone if on a strict budget
  • Install backsplash just 4 feet high rather than full wall height
  • Use white or single color tile – avoids pricey decorative tile
  • Opt for standard size 12” x 12” tile – easier to install than mosaics or hand-cut
  • Get quotes during the contractor’s slow season – fall and winter

With savvy shopping and design choices, you can install an attractive, high-quality backsplash while sticking to your budget.

Average Cost For Backsplash Installation By Size

To calculate average costs for your space, determine the approximate square footage area you plan to cover with backsplash tile. Here are typical backsplash installation costs for different sized spaces:

Small Kitchen Backsplash (25 square feet)

For a typical 10 linear foot small kitchen backsplash that is 4 feet high, covering 25 square feet, you can expect to pay:

  • Ceramic tile: $375 to $750
  • Porcelain tile: $625 to $1,250
  • Glass tile: $625 to $1,250
  • Metal tile: $750 to $1,500
  • Stone tile: $1,000 to $2,500

Always add labor fees of $5-$20 per square foot for installation.

Medium Kitchen Backsplash (40 square feet)

For a medium 20 linear foot kitchen backsplash at standard height, approximately 40 square feet, plan to budget:

  • Ceramic tile: $600 to $1,200
  • Porcelain tile: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Glass tile: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Metal tile: $1,500 to $3,000
  • Stone tile: $1,600 to $4,000

Labor will cost an additional $5-$20 per square foot.

Large Kitchen Backsplash (75 square feet)

For a large 30 foot long kitchen backsplash design of 4 foot height, about 75 square feet, you can expect pricing of:

  • Ceramic tile: $1,125 to $2,250
  • Porcelain tile: $1,875 to $3,750
  • Glass tile: $1,875 to $3,750
  • Metal tile: $2,250 to $4,500
  • Stone tile: $3,000 to $7,500

Labor fees of $5-$20 per square foot also apply.

Extra-Large Backsplash (150 square feet)

For an expansive designer kitchen with backsplash covering a 6 foot tall, 25 linear foot wall, approximately 150 square feet, plan on costs of:

  • Ceramic tile: $1,500 to $3,000
  • Porcelain tile: $3,000 to $6,000
  • Glass tile: $3,000 to $6,000
  • Metal tile: $4,500 to $9,000
  • Stone tile: $6,000 to $15,000

Plus labor at typical rates of $5-$20 per square foot.

Backsplash Installation Cost By Type Of Tile

Here is an overview of typical per square foot tile costs by backsplash material type, excluding labor:

Backsplash Tile TypeAverage Cost Per Square Foot
Ceramic$5-$15 per square foot
Porcelain$15-$30 per square foot
Glass$15-$30 per square foot
Metal$30-$50 per square foot
Stone$40-$100 per square foot

To estimate your total backsplash costs, multiply the rate per square foot for your preferred tile type by your project’s total square footage. Add labor at $5-$20 per square foot.

Popular Kitchen Backsplash Tile Sizes

While you can create custom sizes, these are typical tile dimensions for kitchen backsplashes:

  • 3” x 6” subway tile
  • 4” x 4” square tile
  • 6” x 6” square tile
  • 12” x 12” square tile
  • 12” x 24” rectangular subway tile
  • Mosaics sheets
  • 1” x 1” mosaics mounted on mesh

Larger format tiles are faster for installers to apply. Smaller mosaics take more time and labor.

Factors That Increase Backsplash Installation Time

Complex backsplash designs require more installation time and skill, driving up project costs. Factors that boost labor time include:

  • Intricate patterns like herringbone layouts
  • Mixed tile sizes like combining large and mosaic tiles
  • Irregular kitchen layouts with multiple corners
  • Hard-to-reach areas behind appliances
  • Cutting tiles for electrical outlets and light switches
  • Tearing out and removing old existing backsplash
  • Custom niche cutting and shelving recesses
  • Grout color tinting
  • Decorative accent tiles and borders

Discuss any special layouts or features with your tile installer to determine reasonable project timelines and pricing.

Backsplash And Countertop Relationship

Your backsplash color and style should complement your countertops. Here are popular backsplash and countertop pairings:

  • White subway tile backsplash with granite, marble or quartz countertops
  • Glass or stone mosaic backsplash with dark laminate or wood countertops
  • Metal or stainless steel backsplash with concrete or slate countertops
  • Travertine stone backsplash with travertine or limestone countertops

Avoid matching your backsplash exactly to your countertops. Go for contrasting colors and textures instead. This creates visual separation between the two elements.

Should You Do A Full Backsplash Or 4 Inch Backsplash?

Full backsplashes that cover the entire wall from counter to ceiling make a dramatic design statement. But small 4-6 inch backsplashes are still commonly used above a kitchen counter or range. Here’s how to decide which size is best for your space:

Benefits of a 4-6 inch backsplash:

  • Less expensive due to smaller material and labor costs
  • Allows you to highlight a decorative countertop like granite
  • Faster and easier for DIY installation
  • Can visually widen a narrow kitchen

Benefits of a full backsplash:

  • Makes the kitchen feel larger and brighter
  • Better protects walls from splashes and stains
  • Allows for more creative tile designs
  • Visually expands wall textures and colors
  • Fully accentuates counters like soapstone or marble

If choosing between them, consider your budget, countertop material, kitchen size, and overall design scheme.

Hiring A Contractor vs. DIY Backsplash Installation

Installing a tile backsplash is a home project a motivated DIYer can tackle. But beginners may prefer to hire a professional tile installer.

Benefits of hiring a contractor:

  • Experienced with tricky tile cutting and patterns
  • Has right tools like snap cutters and laser levels
  • Won’t damage countertops or cabinets
  • Professional finishing and grouting for quality results
  • Established relationships with tile suppliers
  • Knowledge of building codes and best practices

Benefits of DIY installation:

  • Significant cost savings on labor
  • Personalized design and layout control
  • Learn a new skill and gain experience
  • Flexible schedule for working at your own pace
  • Satisfaction of completing your own home improvement project

If attempting a DIY backsplash, be sure to research proper tile installation techniques thoroughly. Focus on basic designs your first time before tackling complex patterns.

Hiring A Kitchen Backsplash Installation Contractor

Follow these tips for hiring the right backsplash installation contractor:

  • Review online portfolios to see previous backsplash projects.
  • Verify required licensing, insurance, and bonding.
  • Request references from recent clients you can contact.
  • Get 3-5 written estimates detailing material and labor costs.
  • Ask how many years of experience the contractor has installing backsplashes.
  • Determine what percentage of their work is backsplash installation specifically.
  • See what brand tile manufacturers and materials they recommend.
  • Inquire about whether they do tile demolition and disposal if needed.
  • Ask warranty terms and what kind of maintenance service they provide.
  • Check ratings on Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or the Better Business Bureau.

Be sure to verify you have a signed contract clearly outlining the expected costs, timeline, materials, and other project details.

Maintaining Your Backsplash

Follow these backsplash maintenance tips:

  • Seal grout annually with grout sealer.
  • Use gentle cleaners without acids, bleach, or abrasives.
  • Rinse with just water and microfiber cloths.
  • Re-caulk perimeter edges when cracked or dried.
  • Limit direct sunlight exposure to minimize fading.
  • Quickly wipe spills to avoid stubborn staining.
  • Consider re-sealing natural stone tiles every 1-3 years per manufacturer.

With proper care, your kitchen backsplash should maintain its beauty and function for 20-30 years or longer before needing replacement.

Backsplash Installation Cost FAQs

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about backsplash installation costs:

How much does it cost to install a backsplash per square foot?

The cost to install a backsplash ranges $10-$30 per square foot including tile materials and professional labor. Simple ceramic tile with basic installation averages $10-15 per square foot. More complex stone, metal, or glass backsplashes with intricate designs range $25-$30 per square foot.

How can I get a cheaper backsplash installation?

To save on backsplash costs: choose affordable ceramic over stone or glass tile, use large format tiles rather than small mosaics, install at standard 4 foot height rather than floor-to-ceiling, avoid complex patterns like herringbone layouts, and do the work yourself if experienced.

Should I get quotes from multiple tile installers?

Yes, it’s wise to get written estimates from 3-5 reputable backsplash contractors before choosing one. Make sure quotes clearly specify material costs per square foot and hourly labor rates. This allows you to accurately compare pricing.

What questions should I ask a backsplash installer?

Key questions to ask potential backsplash installation contractors include: How many years of experience do you have? What percentage of your projects are backsplash installations? Are you insured and licensed? Can you provide client references to contact? What tile brands and materials do you recommend? Do you offer warranties for your work?

Can I install a backsplash myself as a DIY project?

Installing a tile backsplash is a DIY project a handy homeowner can tackle, especially for simple designs using large format tile. But complex patterns, specialty tiles, and intricate cutting are best left to tile professionals. Weigh your skill level before deciding between DIY vs hiring a contractor.

How do I properly maintain my backsplash?