How Much to Do a Kitchen Backsplash

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. However, before diving into a kitchen backsplash project, it’s important to understand how much a backsplash installation typically costs. The price can vary significantly based on the size of your kitchen, the materials you choose, and whether you do it yourself or hire a pro. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the factors that impact the cost of a kitchen backsplash.

Estimating Your Backsplash Size

The first step in budgeting for a backsplash is measuring the area you want to cover. This will allow you to estimate how much material you need to purchase. Here are some tips for measuring your backsplash space:

  • Focus on the wall area between your countertops and kitchen cabinets. This is generally where a standard backsplash is installed.
  • Measure the linear feet around your perimeter counters and islands. Be sure to measure any interruptions like windows, appliances, or focal points.
  • For a full wall backsplash, measure the height of your walls and multiply by the width. Standard backsplash height is 4 feet.
  • Add up the measurements for each section to get your total square footage. This is key for estimating material quantities.
  • Allow for 10-15% overage especially if using tile. Extra tiles are useful for replacements and pattern matching.

As an example, for a 10 ft x 4 ft kitchen wall area = 40 sq ft. With 15% overage that’s around 46 sq ft of backsplash material needed. Use your measurements to estimate how much material to purchase.

Backsplash Material Costs

The material you select for your backsplash will be the biggest driver of overall project cost. Here’s an overview of price ranges for popular kitchen backsplash materials:

Tile Backsplash

  • Ceramic tile: $5 – $20 per sq ft installed
  • Porcelain tile: $15 – $40 per sq ft installed
  • Glass tile: $20 – $50 per sq ft installed
  • Mosaic tile: $15 – $35 per sq ft installed
  • Stone tile: $40 – $100 per sq ft installed

Tile offers the widest variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Ceramic and porcelain are the most budget-friendly options. Mosaic and stone tiles add visual interest but are pricier. Overall tile, installation costs average $20-30 per sq ft.

Metal Backsplash

  • Stainless steel: $40 – $80 per sq ft installed
  • Copper: $100 – $300 per sq ft installed
  • Tin: $80 – $120 per sq ft installed
  • Aluminum: $100 – $250 per sq ft

Metal backsplashes like stainless steel, copper or tin add contemporary, industrial style. Stainless and aluminum are lower cost than premium metals like brass or nickel. Pro installation is recommended due to cutting and shaping complexities.

Glass Backsplash

  • Standard glass tiles: $20 – $50 per sq ft installed
  • Back-painted glass: $50 – $100 per sq ft installed
  • Backlit LED glass: $100 – $250 per sq ft installed

Back-painted and backlit glass backsplashes make a sleek, modern design statement. Simple glass tile options start around $20 per sq ft but customized backlit installations can cost $100+ per sq ft.

Natural Stone Backsplash

  • Marble: $80 – $150 per sq ft installed
  • Travertine: $50 – $100 per sq ft installed
  • Slate: $60 – $120 per sq ft installed
  • Granite: $80 – $150 per sq ft installed

Natural stone like marble, travertine, slate and granite create a timeless, elegant look. However, natural stone is one of the pricier backsplash options ranging $80 – $150 per sq ft installed. Granite and marble also tend to be more delicate and prone to staining.

Brick Backsplash

  • Clay brick: $10 – $20 per sq ft installed
  • Faux brick: $25 – $35 per sq ft installed

Both natural clay brick or faux brick veneers offer an old-world, rustic charm. Real brick is very budget-friendly. Faux panels cost a bit more for materials but are easier to install.

Wood Backsplash

  • Real wood planks: $30 – $50 per sq ft installed
  • Wood paneling: $100 – $300+ per sq ft installed

Real wood adds gorgeous warmth but needs special treatment to withstand moisture. Pricier architectural wood panel systems, like those from Montana Woodworks, offer a beautiful custom look.

Laminate Backsplash

  • Plastic laminate: $15 – $30 per sq ft installed
  • Stainless laminate: $25 – $50 per sq ft installed
  • Colorful patterned: $40 – $75 per sq ft installed

Laminates come in realistic stone and metal patterns or bright solid colors for an affordable backsplash option. Patterns cost slightly more than basic glossy white. DIY-friendly and lower maintenance.

Backsplash Installation Cost

In addition to material costs, installation is a major cost factor for any kitchen backsplash project. Here are average per sq ft installation costs:

  • Professional full install: $10 – $25 per sq ft
  • Just labor, no materials: $200 – $500 fixed rate
  • DIY install: $2 – $10 per sq ft for supplies

Pro installation often equals $150+ for an average 10×4 backsplash area. DIY provides major cost savings but is more labor intensive.

Some other installation factors that impact cost:

  • Layout complexity – Simple grid patterns are cheapest
  • Access issues – Tight corners or high walls increase price
  • Permits – Projects over a certain budget may require permits
  • Demolition – Removing old backsplash adds $200-500 more

When budgeting your backsplash, be sure to account for the installation work involved. This is a specialty skill, especially for intricate tile designs.

Additional Backsplash Costs

Beyond just the backsplash materials and installation, there are a few other costs to factor into your kitchen backsplash budget:

Backsplash design fees – Hiring a kitchen designer or interior decorator to help select materials and layout will add $50 – $200 to your total budget. Well worth it for a complex or high-end backsplash.

Lighting – Ambient and accent lighting really enhances a backsplash. Undercabinet and track lighting typically adds $200 – $800 depending on electrical work needed.

Cabinet modifications – Adjusting cabinet height for a full-height backsplash averages $50/linear ft. Raising cabinets also impacts countertops.

Plumbing – Moving or hiding pipes and fixtures behind a backsplash costs around $200 per fixture on average.

Additional cleaning – Backsplashes require gentle cleaning. Specialized stone cleaners average $10-$30 per bottle.

Factors That Increase Backsplash Cost

Certain backsplash factors can significantly increase your total installation cost. Be aware of these price inflators as you plan your backsplash project:

  • Intricate patterns like mosaics or herringbone layouts require more cutting skill and add 20-50% more in labor costs.
  • Hard-to-reach areas, high walls, and ceilings will drive up installation time and complexity. Add 20%+ to the final cost.
  • Natural stone, premium metals, or custom materials have much higher base costs. Unique options like backlit glass or handcrafted tile can increase cost per sq ft dramatically.
  • Large backsplash areas in expansive kitchens require buying more materials. Larger projects often progress into the thousands for total spend.
  • Heavily textured backsplashes take longer to install properly. Natural stone slate or distinct 3D tile adds time and cost.
  • Changing countertop heights to accommodate a full backsplash requires cabinet modifications and countertop adjustments.
  • Cement board, waterproofing, added lighting, and other special prep also increases project scope and budget.

Cost Saving Tips

To make your dream backsplash work within your budget, keep these cost saving tips in mind:

  • Use accent strips – Frame your focal point with decorative tiles instead of tiling a whole wall.
  • Install in phases – Start with a small prep area backsplash now and add more later.
  • DIY installation – Invest your sweat equity instead of paying a premium for labor.
  • Buy tile on sale – Check home improvement stores for tile clearance sales or overstock discounts.
  • Simpler is better – Opt for large format tiles in basic colors for easiest installation.
  • Price shop materials – Compare costs at local stone yards and tile showrooms.
  • Provide your own lighting – Use your own undercabinet or pendant lights vs. hiring electricians.

Average Cost to Do a Backsplash Yourself

Doing your own backsplash installation cuts labor expense significantly. Here is an overview of expected DIY backsplash costs:

  • Tile materials: $100 – $500
  • Grout, mortar, cement board: $50 – $150
  • Tools: $50 – $200 if starting from scratch
  • Total DIY Cost: $200 – $850

With basic tiling skills and proper planning, a DIY backsplash is very achievable. Be sure to account for learning curve and imperfections in your finish work. Shop used marketplaces like Facebook or Craigslist for discounted tools.

Hiring a Pro Backsplash Installer

For those wanting a flawless, headache-free backsplash installation, hiring a kitchen pro is money well spent. Here’s what to expect:

  • Average overall cost: $2000+ for a 10×4 backsplash area
  • Material cost: Varies based on your selections
  • Professional labor: $50 – $100 per hour
  • Timeline: 1-3 days depending on size

Choose a pro backsplash installer with plenty of experience, photos of past projects, and strong references. Confirm they properly prepare the surface, use quality materials, and guarantee their workmanship.

Should I Install a Backsplash Myself or Hire a Pro?

Deciding between DIY vs pro backsplash installation depends on your budget, skills, and project needs. Here’s how to decide which route is best for you:

Consider DIY if:

  • You have beginner/intermediate tiling skills already
  • Your backsplash design is simple – basic subway tile for example
  • You’re on a tight budget and have time for DIY
  • You don’t mind learning as you go and imperfect results

Pro installation is better if:

  • You want intricate designs like mosaics or herringbone patterns
  • Your backsplash area is very large, high or hard to access
  • You want custom finishes like metal or stone
  • Flawless results are important for resale value
  • You lack the tools, skills or time for DIY

Assess your specific backsplash goals and situation to choose whether the cost savings of DIY are worth the effort or if hiring a pro is the better investment.

Backsplash Maintenance Cost

Don’t forget to budget for keeping your new backsplash looking like new. Here are the main maintenance costs:

  • Cleaning supplies: $2 – $5 per month average for tile cleaners, scrub brushes, microfiber cloths, etc.
  • Re-grouting: $200 – $400 every 2-5 years to refresh discolored or missing grout
  • Re-caulking: $50 – $100 every 1-2 years as caulk lines show signs of mold or wear
  • Replacing broken tiles: About $10 per tile depending on original material
  • Sealing: $50 – $150 every 1-2 years for porous natural stone

Regular gentle cleaning is essential for all backsplash types. Re-grouting, re-caulking, sealing and tile repairs may be needed over time. Budget around $50 – $100 per year for supplies and upkeep.

Backsplash Return on Investment

While not a direct money maker, a backsplash upgrade does add value to your home. Here’s how backsplashes can boost resale value:

  • Increased buyer interest – stylish, updated backsplashes help sell your home faster
  • Higher listing price – renovated kitchens allow an average 1-4% pricing premium
  • Stronger offers – buyers are willing to pay more for move-in ready kitchens
  • Easier selling – fresh backsplashes minimize buyer concerns over damage or wear

Overall, a well-designed backsplash makes your kitchen more desirable. The National Association of Realtors estimates mid-range kitchen remodels like adding a backsplash recoup around 70% of costs at resale.

Average Backsplash Cost: Key Takeaways

The total cost to install a kitchen backsplash runs $2000 on average but can vary widely based on:

  • Backsplash size – Measure wall space to estimate material quantities
  • Material selected – Tile, metal, glass and stone all come at different price points
  • Installation complexity – Layout patterns, access issues, demo work
  • DIY vs hiring a pro – Professionals complete work faster with fewer flaws
  • Added costs like lighting, design fees, cabinet adjustments
  • Ongoing maintenance for cleaning, sealing, replacing tiles

Focus your backsplash budget on the key impact areas that matter most for your kitchen. Invest in durable, quality materials suited for your design style. Review material samples in person before purchasing. Get professional installation for intricate designs or challenging layouts. With smart planning and budgeting, you can achieve the backsplash of your dreams.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a 10×4 backsplash cost?

For a 10 foot long by 4 foot high backsplash area, total costs average around $2000. This assumes mid-range tile at $20 per sq ft for materials plus $150-$200 for professional installation labor. High-end stone tiles can drive costs up to $4000+ for this size.

How can I get a backsplash on a budget?

For budget backsplash options focus on lower cost tile like ceramic, laminates or faux panels instead of natural stone. Install in smaller sections vs. full wall. Use large simple tiles and basic colors that are easy to install. Consider DIY vs hiring a pro. Shop discount retailers, reuse stores and clearance sales.

What is the most cost-effective backsplash?

The most budget-friendly backsplash options are ceramic, porcelain or mosaic tiles, plastic laminates, faux brick panels and painted glass. Prioritize easy DIY materials and simple grid layouts. Add accents selectively vs tiling an entire wall.

How much does it cost to remove a backsplash?

Removing an existing backsplash during a kitchen remodel costs $200 – $500 depending on demolition work needed. The demo process can damage walls behind, requiring added patching and repairs. Professionals charge around $1.50 – $3.00 per sq ft for tear out.

Can I install backsplash over existing tile?

It is possible to install a new backsplash over old tile if the original tile is firmly adhered and provides a smooth, uniform surface. However, it’s generally best to remove old backsplash completely to address any underlying damage and allow for proper thinset application to the wall.


Installing a backsplash transforms the look of your kitchen and can even boost the value of your home. Carefully measure your space, select materials suited to your budget and style, and hire a pro if needed for specialty designs. Invest in quality durable materials to reduce long-term repairs or replacements. With some planning and smart decisions, you can achieve the backsplash of your dreams and enjoy it for years to come.