How Much to Do Backsplash: The Complete Guide for 2023

Backsplashes are a great way to add visual interest and protect your walls in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas. But how much do backsplash installations actually cost? The pricing depends on several factors, including the size of your space, the materials you choose, and labor costs. This comprehensive guide examines the costs of backsplashes and provides tips to help you budget for your project.

Factors That Impact Backsplash Costs

Several key factors influence how much you’ll spend on a new backsplash:

Size of the Area

The overall size of the backsplash is the primary cost driver. Larger backsplashes require more tile and labor. On average, costs range from:

  • Small backsplash (30-50 sq ft): $300-$800
  • Medium backsplash (50-100 sq ft): $800-$1,500
  • Large backsplash (100-250 sq ft): $1,500-$3,000

Backsplashes over 250 square feet have even higher costs. Measure your space carefully to estimate the scope and budget accurately.

Tile Material

Tile material impacts cost in two ways – the tile itself and the installation. More expensive tiles raise costs. Complex tile patterns, special shapes, natural stone, and high-end finishes also increase labor time and expenses. Here are average costs by tile type:

  • Ceramic: $5-$20 per sq ft
  • Porcelain: $10-$30 per sq ft
  • Glass: $15-$50 per sq ft
  • Natural stone: $40-$100 per sq ft
  • Metal: $30-$100 per sq ft

Installation is also more difficult and time-consuming for stone, glass, and metal tiles. Review tile samples and get contractor quotes.

Custom Designs

Custom backsplash patterns, shapes, and accents add cost. Hand-cutting mosaic sheets, special ordering non-standard tiles, and detailed installations require more labor and materials. Simpler grid, brick, or subway tile layouts are the most budget-friendly.

Labor Costs

Contractor fees account for 50-70% of the total backsplash cost. Experienced installers charge $40-$80 per hour. Complex patterns, natural stone, large areas, and special tile cuts can double installation time. Get an itemized quote with hourly rates.

Additional Expenses

Other backsplash costs can include:

  • Demolition/removal of old backsplash
  • New drywall, repair, or smoothing uneven areas
  • Backerboard, thinset, and grout
  • Sealing and grouting natural stone tiles
  • Accent tiles, trim, and decorative touches

Factor in an extra 20% of the tile and labor costs for these items.

Cost to Install Different Types of Backsplash

Here are average costs for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials and styles:

Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway tile is an affordable, classic choice made from glazed ceramic or porcelain. The rectangular tiles have a brick-like look and standard 3×6 inch size.

Cost: approximately $5-$20 per sq ft for tile and installation

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $1,000 – $3,000

Subway tiles come in tons of colors, finishes, and patterns. Keep costs lower by using a basic grid layout and standard grout lines. Mini subway tiles (3×4 inches) have slightly higher costs due to their small size.

Glass Tile Backsplash

Glass backsplash tile provides brilliant shine and visual interest. The tiles come in an endless array of colors, shapes, and styles. Small mosaic sheets make up most glass backsplash designs.

Cost: approximately $15-$50 per sq ft installed

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $2,500 – $7,500

Hand-cutting mosaic sheets bumps up installation time. Larger glass tiles are easier to install. Clear, frosted, and iridescent glass tiles fall on the higher end of the range. Distinct patterns like chevrons or designs also increase costs.

Marble Tile Backsplash

Marble backsplashes bring natural elegance with veining, swirls, and movement. The stone tiles require extra care during installation and maintenance compared to ceramic or porcelain.

Cost: approximately $40-$100 per sq ft installed

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $5,000 – $12,000

Marble backsplashes work best installed in a simple brick pattern. Intricate marble mosaic sheets are considerably more expensive. Be sure to seal the marble properly and use color-matched grout to protect the stone.

Metal Tile Backsplash

Metal backsplash tiles add contemporary style through stainless steel, copper, and tin options. The tiles often use recycled content and have an artisanal look.

Cost: approximately $30-$100 per sq ft installed

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $4,000 – $12,000

Metal backsplashes pair nicely with modern appliances and fixtures. Pay close attention to the type of metal and gauge to gauge costs. Heavier gauge metals and natural finishes fall on the higher end of the spectrum.

Stone Tile Backsplash

Natural stone like granite, travertine, and slate bring rustic, earthy appeal to backsplashes. Stone has more variation and depth than ceramic or porcelain tile.

Cost: approximately $50-$150 per sq ft installed

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $6,000 – $15,000

Stone backsplashes require extra installation considerations like sealing and added structural support. Small stone mosaic tiles boost costs due to the intricate work. Larger subway-shaped stone tiles keep expenses lower.

Wood Backsplash

Wood adds warmth and texture to backsplashes. The most common types used are maple, cherry, oak, cedar, and bamboo. Wood backsplashes are made from planks or parquet style blocks.

Cost: approximately $10-$30 per sq ft installed

Average range for 100 sq ft backsplash: $1,200 – $3,500

Keep wood backsplashes away from direct water contact. Expect to pay more for specialty wood types and custom patterns. An epoxy coating helps protect the wood from moisture, stains, and scratches.

Backsplash Installation Costs

Tile installation represents the biggest portion of your backsplash budget. Hiring an experienced contractor ensures proper installation and waterproofing. Here are typical tile backsplash installation costs:

  • Tile removal/demo: $3-$5 per sq ft
  • Prep work (drywall repair, backerboard, layout): $5-$10 per sq ft
  • Basic tile installation: $15-$25 per sq ft
  • Glass or stone installation: $25-$50 per sq ft
  • Sealing/grouting: $2-$5 per sq ft

You’ll also pay hourly labor fees for the project. Skilled tilesetters charge $40-$80 per hour. Total installation time ranges from 5-30 hours depending on the backsplash size and tile type.

Many homeowners tack on the backsplash installation when already remodeling a kitchen or bath. Combining projects usually saves around 20% on labor costs.

Backsplash Cost by Location

Like all home renovations, local labor costs impact your backsplash installation price. Materials and tile shipping expenses also vary by region.

Here are typical installed backsplash costs for a medium 50 sq ft area by location:

  • New York City: $1,600 – $4,000
  • Dallas: $900 – $2,100
  • Atlanta: $950 – $2,300
  • Chicago: $1,100 – $2,700
  • San Francisco/Bay Area: $1,600 – $3,800
  • Los Angeles: $1,200 – $2,800
  • Seattle: $1,100 – $2,600
  • Denver/Boulder: $900 – $2,200

Labor makes up the biggest difference across locations. Expect to pay 25-50% more for backsplash installation in major metro areas compared to outlying suburbs and small cities.

Backsplash Maintenance Costs

While durable, backsplashes require occasional maintenance. Properly sealing natural stone tiles is critical to prevent stains and moisture damage. Re-sealing costs around $350 every few years.

Grout also needs periodic cleaning and potential re-grouting every 5-10 years ($250+). Use a gentle everyday tile cleaner to keep the backsplash sparkling.

Overall maintenance runs $50-$150 per year. Glass and metal backsplashes are easier to keep clean long-term.

Should You Install the Backsplash Yourself?

Want to save on labor and tackle the project as a DIY? Small backsplashes under 30 sq ft provide the best opportunity for self-installation.

You’ll need to invest in or rent basic tiling tools like a wet saw. Prep the area by thoroughly cleaning and creating a smooth, watertight surface. Carefully apply thinset mortar and properly space/align the tiles. Allow the recommended drying time before grouting.

Larger or complex backsplash designs are difficult for DIYers. Mistakes in layouts, improper seams, and crooked lines will be obvious. The project often takes much longer compared to hiring a pro tilesetter charging $40-$80 per hour.

Carefully weigh the cost to purchase or rent equipment, your skill level, and overall project scope before deciding on DIY installation.

5 Tips for Budgeting Your Backsplash Project

Here are 5 tips to help estimate costs and work within your backsplash budget:

1. Measure accurately – Precisely calculate the square footage and order 10-15% extra tile. You’ll avoid mid-project shortages.

2. Get multiple quotes – Prices often vary drastically between contractors. Get 3-4 itemized quotes for accurate comparisons.

3. Ask for a discount on materials – See if your tile installer can get wholesale rates on the tile and supplies to save 10-20%.

4. Use simple layouts – Opt for basic grid or brick patterns instead of diagonal, herringbone, or intricate designs.

5. DIY demo and prep – Save on labor by removing the old backsplash yourself and prepping the work area.

Backsplash Design Ideas to Fit Any Budget

You can create a stylish backsplash on nearly any budget. Here are gorgeous yet affordable backsplash ideas:

High-impact penny tile

A penny tile backsplash delivers eye-catching polish. The small rounded tiles catch the light beautifully. Choose an affordable porcelain or ceramic penny tile and install in a brick pattern to control costs.

Blue glass subway tile

Blue backsplashes are trending. Pick an aqua, teal, or navy glass subway tile. Mixing in some clear glass tiles adds dimension without additional expenses.

Geometric marble and ceramic

Combine expensive marble mosaic tiles sparingly with affordable ceramic to create a geometric pattern. The marble delivers luxe texture and contrast while keeping costs reasonable.

Antique mirror

For magical reflectivity, try a mirrored backsplash. Use full mirror sheets or design a pattern with mirror tiles. Chrome grout lines enhance the sleek visual effect.

Black metal & copper

Combine metal types and finishes for contemporary cool. Try a dynamic checkerboard pattern mixing black stainless steel and copper tiles.

Wood plank with metal edge

A reclaimed wood plank backsplash trimmed with a thin metal edge strip combines natural and industrial elements. Use an inexpensive metal like aluminum to contain costs.

FAQs: Backsplash Costs and Installation

Use this FAQ to get answers to common backsplash questions and learn insider tips for budgeting your project.

Does the backsplash have to match the countertop?

Not at all! Contrasting your backsplash with the counters actually creates more visual interest. Coordinate the tiles with your cabinetry or flooring instead of matching to the countertop.

Should I install the backsplash before or after countertops?

It’s best to install the backsplash after the countertops are in place. This allows you to ensure a tight fit. It also prevents the backsplash tiles from being damaged during countertop installation.

What’s the best backsplash for a small kitchen?

Small spaces look best with light,bright backsplash tile colors. White, off-white, light gray, or blue hues open up the area visually. Tiny mosaic tiles or mini-subway styles also suit small kitchens well.

Is it cheaper to do a full wall backsplash?

Generally, no. Full backsplashes require more tile and labor. Standard height backsplashes (4 feet or under) keep costs manageable. Carry painted drywall color up to the ceiling instead of tiling the entire wall.

Can I install a backsplash over existing tile?

In some cases, yes. The old tile must be in excellent condition with no cracks or damage. Use a bonding agent to adhere the new tiles. Irregularities in the old tile may still cause uneven lines.

How do I cut costs on my backsplash?

Pick affordable tile material like ceramic or porcelain. Opt for basic subway or brick layouts. Factor in DIY demolition and prep work. Provide your own tile spacers, grout float, and mixing pail to save money.


The cost of a new backsplash runs $300-$3,000 depending on the size, tile choices, and installation factors. Carefully estimate your square footage and compare material/labor quotes to stay within budget. While backsplashes are an investment, they provide big visual impact and added function for your space.

With smart planning and design choices, you can install a backsplash that fits both your exact area dimensions and price range needs. Use the information in this guide to feel confident tackling your next backsplash installation or renovation.