How Much to Do a Backsplash


A kitchen backsplash serves both decorative and functional purposes. Not only does it protect the walls from water damage and stains, but it also adds visual interest and ties the whole kitchen together. When planning a new backsplash, one of the first questions that comes up is how much it will cost. The price can vary greatly depending on the size of the project, materials used, special shapes and patterns, and professional installation. With some preparation and research, you can get a good idea of the cost for your unique backsplash project.

Factors That Influence Cost

Several key factors determine the total price of a new backsplash installation:

Size of the Backsplash Area

The overall size of the surface to be covered is one of the biggest cost factors. A larger backsplash area requires more tile and time to install, driving the price up. Carefully measure the space you want to cover – every square foot adds expense.

Material Choice

Simple ceramic subway tiles tend to be the most budget-friendly option for kitchen backsplashes. Meanwhile, materials like natural stone, marble, and glass tile cost more per square foot. Specialty tiles with unique shapes, colors, and textures are usually the most expensive.

Custom Cutting and Shaping

Backsplashes with irregular edges or cutouts for outlets and fixtures require extra tile cutting. This specialized work adds labor time and cost. The more precise cuts and custom fitting needed, the higher the price.

Backsplash Design

More elaborate backsplash designs require more tile setting skill and time. Patterns like herringbone and geometric shapes take more effort than basic brick or grid layouts. Also, tile trims, borders, and accents boost the price.

Professional Installation

Doing a backsplash yourself can save on labor fees, but professional installers have skills and tools that ensure a quality result. Their hourly rates directly impact the total project cost.


Like other home services, backsplash installation costs more in areas with a higher cost of living. Labor and materials prices vary by region.

Typical Costs

With all the above factors in mind, here are some typical backsplash installation costs:

  • Ceramic subway tile backsplash – $3 to $7 per square foot for labor and materials.
  • Mosaic glass backsplash – $10 to $25 per square foot installed. Materials alone around $5-10 per square foot.
  • Pebble stone backsplash – $40 to $100 per square foot installed. Materials around $15-50 per square foot.
  • Professional installation – $50 to $100 per hour.

So for example, installing a simple 20 square foot subway tile backsplash will start around $100 to $200 in materials. With professional installation at $50 per hour, the total falls in the $300 to $500 range.

A more detailed 30 square foot marble mosaic backsplash could cost $1,500 or more with higher material prices and extra installation time.

Cost Saving Tips

If your budget is tight, there are ways to cut back on backsplash costs:

  • Choose affordable tiles like ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl sheets.
  • Use a simple layout that requires less cutting and shaping.
  • Select smaller backsplash areas rather than full wall-to-wall.
  • Do the demo and preparation work yourself, then get help installing the tiles.
  • Look for tile sales and discounts from big box stores.
  • Consider DIY installation if you have tiling experience.

Even with cost-saving measures, make sure to use quality materials and check contractor references to avoid problems down the road.

Factoring in Ongoing Maintenance

Besides the initial installation costs, keep in mind that backsplashes require occasional maintenance. Re-grouting and re-caulking seals may be needed every few years. Replacing damaged tiles or doing an entire new backsplash before selling a home adds costs over time.

With proper care, however, quality backsplash materials can last for many years without needing major repairs or replacement. This makes the upfront investment worthwhile.

Is the Cost Worth It?

For most homeowners, the expense of installing a backsplash is money well spent. Not only does it protect the walls behind a sink or stove, it also elevates the style and visual appeal of the whole kitchen. Tiled backsplashes are on-trend and help increase resale value.

Thinking about long-term use, value added, and enjoyment over time – rather than focusing only on short-term costs – helps put backsplash projects in proper perspective. With thousands of design options to fit any budget, there’s no reason to leave your kitchen walls bare when fabulous backsplash tile can make such a difference.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Costs

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

On average, expect to pay $5-10 per square foot for tile materials and $50+ per hour for professional installation. Simple subway tile starts around $3-5 per square foot. High-end materials like stone and marble range $15-50+ per square foot.

What is the cheapest option for a kitchen backsplash?

Ceramic subway tiles and vinyl backsplash sheets offer affordable options starting around $3 per square foot. Limiting the backsplash area to just behind the stove or sink saves on cost too.

Is it worth it to hire a contractor for a backsplash?

For DIYers with tiling experience, doing it yourself can certainly save on labor fees. But for beginners, hiring a pro ensures proper installation and avoids headaches. Consider your skill level and budget tradeoffs.

Can I install a backsplash in 1 day?

It’s possible for very small areas. But allow 2-3 days for proper prep, setting tiles, and grouting even modest jobs. Larger or intricate backsplashes take multiple days for an experienced installer working alone.

What is the most popular backsplash tile size?

The 3×6 inch subway tile is a classic and versatile option. But mosaics, 4×4 inch tiles, and other sizes like 4×12 allow creativity. Mixing tile shapes and sizes creates interest too. Choose sizes that suit your design style.


The cost of a new backsplash ranges widely but typically falls between $3 – $50 per square foot depending on materials and professional installation fees. Carefully measuring the space needed, choosing affordable tile, and limiting complexity in the design can help lower overall project costs. With a well-executed backsplash that suits your taste, investing in this important kitchen feature pays dividends for years to come in enhanced beauty, function, and value.