How Much To Do Kitchen Backsplash

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can transform the look and feel of the space. However, before embarking on a backsplash project, it’s important to understand how much a kitchen backsplash costs. The price of a backsplash depends on several factors, including the materials used, the size of the area being covered, and labor costs. With proper planning and budgeting, you can create the backsplash of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Factors That Impact Cost

Several key factors determine the total cost of a new kitchen backsplash:


The material you choose for the backsplash plays a major role in price. Ceramic tile is very affordable, starting around $5 per square foot installed. Stainless steel, enamel, marble, and granite tile fall in the moderate price range of $15 to $50 per square foot. Handmade glass or mosaic tile is on the high end, $50 to $100 or more per square foot.

Size of the Backsplash Area

The overall size of the backsplash also affects cost. Larger backsplash areas require more tile and labor. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches from the counter to the underside of wall cabinets. For a typical 10-foot by 5-foot kitchen, the backsplash area would be approximately 50 square feet.

Labor Costs

In addition to material costs, professional installation adds $5 to $10 per square foot for tile setting labor. Complex patterns or difficult materials like marble, granite, or glass tile may cost more to install.

Tile Backsplash Patterns

Simple patterns like a brick layout are the most budget-friendly. Intricate designs, mosaics, medallions, and accents will increase the installation time and labor costs.

Custom Designs

A custom backsplash with specialty materials and shapes typically costs more. For example, a backsplash that incorporates metal inlays, creative curves, or custom-cut tiles requires extra fabrication and design fees.

Average Costs for Common Backsplash Materials

To give you a better idea of price ranges, here are approximate installed costs for some popular kitchen backsplash tile materials:

  • Ceramic tile – $5 to $20 per square foot
  • Porcelain tile – $10 to $50 per square foot
  • Glass tile – $50 to $100 per square foot
  • Marble tile – $50 to $150 per square foot
  • Granite tile – $40 to $120 per square foot
  • Metal tile – $15 to $50 per square foot
  • Stainless steel – $40 to $100 per square foot
  • Mosaic tile – $10 to $50 per square foot

Keep in mind you’ll pay more for specialty tiles like handmade, antique, or artisan styles. These prices also reflect professional installation. If you plan to DIY, you’ll just pay for materials.

Cost to Install Backsplash Tile Yourself

Installing a tile backsplash yourself can save on labor fees. With proper planning, the right tools, and basic DIY skills, you can complete a tile backsplash in a weekend. Here’s a realistic budget if you want to tackle a backsplash as a DIY project:

  • Tile materials – $200 to $500, depending on tile type and coverage area
  • Backerboard – $10 to $30
  • Thinset mortar – $20 to $40
  • Grout – $10 to $20
  • Trowel, grout float, sponges, buckets – $30 to $60
  • Primer/sealer – $20 to $40
  • Tile cutter rental – $30 to $100 per day

Total estimated cost for DIY tile backsplash: $350 to $800

While a DIY backsplash requires more hands-on work, you can save at least 50% over professional installation. And you’ll gain tile setting skills and the satisfaction of completing the project yourself.

Hiring a Pro: Estimated Costs

Hiring a professional tile setter is advisable for large or intricate backsplash designs. Experienced contractors have the skills to handle complex patterns and challenging tile materials. Here are typical costs to hire a tile pro:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile installation – $400 to $1200
  • Glass, granite, or marble tile – $600 to $2000
  • Mosaic tile or creative designs – $800 to $2500
  • Demo of existing backsplash – $200 to $500

To install a backsplash in a 100 square foot kitchen, expect to pay around $1000 to $2000. High-end tile or larger areas could run $3000 or more. Get quotes from 3-4 contractors before selecting a tile installer.

Tips to Reduce Your Backsplash Tile Costs

If your backsplash budget is limited, here are some smart ways to cut costs:

  • Choose affordable ceramic, porcelain, or glass mosaic tiles rather than natural stone.
  • Limit the backsplash area to just behind the stove or sink rather than full wall height.
  • Install tile on drywall rather than cement board to avoid the added material cost.
  • Select standard sizes like 4×4 or subway tile which require less cuts.
  • Use a bricklay pattern or straight design instead of diagonal tile setting.
  • Set the tile yourself if you have tiling experience.
  • Shop big box stores for tile clearance selections.
  • Watch for seasonal tile sales throughout the year.

Even small backsplash projects can have big impact. With savvy planning and budgeting, you can achieve the backsplash look you want at a price you can afford.

Backsplash Ideas on a Budget

If your budget is tight, don’t worry. You can still get a beautiful, high-end looking backsplash without breaking the bank. Here are some stylish options that won’t drain your wallet:

Painted Backsplash

For a quick, wallet-friendly backsplash alternative, paint your wall with kitchen-friendly acrylic latex paint. Choose a gloss finish for durability and wipeability. Paint allows you to easily change colors down the road. Cost for a 50 square foot painted backsplash: approximately $50 to $100.

Peel-and-Stick Backsplash

Peel-and-stick backsplash panels, available at home improvement stores, provide the look of tile without installation hassles. Smart Tiles and NuWall are two popular brands. Cost for a 50 square foot peel-and-stick backsplash: about $250 to $550.

Decorative Vinyl Backsplash

Another budget-friendly option is decorative vinyl backsplash sheets, which offer designs that mimic ceramic, metal, or glass tile. Prices start around $10 per square foot. Installation is easier than tile.

Laminate Backsplash

Laminate sheets provide the illusion of high-end materials like stainless steel, travertine, or marble. Affordable and easy to install using caulk and silicone adhesive. Cost estimate: $300 to $700 installed for 50 square feet.

Remnant Tile

Big box home stores sell leftover or returned tile at a steep discount. With some hunting, you can find quality tile remnants for bath or backsplash projects at 50% or more off retail pricing.

Glass Mosaic Sheets

Glass mosaic tiles add shine and visual interest. Instead of individual mosaic tiles, sheets of mosaic mesh make installation far easier. Prices start around $10 per square foot.

With strategic choices, you can install an elegant backsplash on a strict budget. Let your creativity guide you to the money-saving backsplash solution that fits your style and wallet.

Steps for Installing a Tile Backsplash Yourself

Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen is an achievable DIY project. Follow these steps for a successful backsplash tile installation:

1. Gather Supplies

First, ensure you have all the necessary supplies: tile, thinset mortar and grout, backerboard, trowel and grout float, tape measure, tile cutter, sponges, buckets, and mixing paddle. Have any specialty tools for cutting curved or angled tiles.

2. Prepare the Surface

The surface must be clean, dry and free of grease and debris. Install backerboard if needed, sealing seams with mesh tape. Prime with backsplash primer.

3. Plan Tile Layout

Measure the area and mark the center point. Dry lay tiles to determine positioning. Balance cut tiles at the perimeter. Adjust layout to avoid narrow cut pieces.

4. Apply Thinset Mortar

Spread thinset using a notched trowel. Apply even 1/4” layers over sections of 2-3 square feet at a time to prevent thinset from drying out.

5. Set the Tiles

Firmly press tiles into thinset, using spacers for consistent grout lines. Check tiles are level and aligned. Allow thinset to cure 24 hours before grouting.

6. Apply Grout

Push grout float at a 45° angle to fill joints. Avoid smearing grout on tile faces. Let grout harden slightly and then wipe clean with a damp sponge.

7. Seal and Finish

Once grout has cured 24 hours, apply grout sealer. Caulk perimeter gaps with silicone. Your backsplash is complete and ready to enjoy!

With proper planning and careful technique, you can install a backsplash yourself and save on labor costs. Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask experts for tile setting advice.

Common Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

When planning your dream backsplash, there are lots of stylish design options to explore. Consider these popular backsplash tile trends:

Subway Tile

Classic rectangular white subway tiles arranged in a brick pattern provide a clean, timeless look. Offset the grout lines or stack the tiles for interest.

Mosaic Tile

Tiny mosaic tiles form eye-catching geometric, floral, nature-inspired or abstract designs full of visual texture.

Marble Tile

Elegant marble tile adds a touch of luxury. Carrara, Emperador, Calacatta, and Statuario are gorgeous backsplash options.

Herringbone Pattern

Angled tiles in an overlapping herringbone layout bring dimension and movement to a backsplash. Works in any style from modern to farmhouse.

Moroccan Fish Scale Tile

For exotic flair, colorful moroccan-style tiles are arranged in rows resembling overlapping fish scales.

Hexagon Tile

Hexagon-shaped tiles create a honeycomb effect when installed in a tessellated pattern. Choose bold colors for serious visual impact.

Brick Pattern

Stagger rows of rectangular subway, penny, or hexagon tile in an offset brick layout. Classic, yet still intriguing.

Floral Accent Tile

Add a focal point over the range with intricate floral ceramic tile designs. Perfect for cottage or vintage kitchens.

Mixed Tile Materials

Combine glass, porcelain, marble, and stone tiles together for eclectic charm. Mixing tile shapes also adds interest.

The backsplash possibilities are endless. Choose a look that matches your personal style – from modern metallic to old-world charm. The backsplash is an opportunity to showcase your design aesthetic.

How High Should a Kitchen Backsplash Be?

Many homeowners wonder exactly how high to make their backsplash installation. While standard backsplash height is 4 inches above the countertop, extending your backsplash to the bottom of upper cabinets or beyond can provide visual impact. Here are some typical backsplash configurations:

Standard Partial Backsplash

The most common backsplash height is 4 inches. This backsplash strip protects the wall behind sinks and ranges. Partial backsplashes are simple and budget-friendly.

Full Backsplash Under Cabinets

For a built-in look, continue tile from countertop to bottom cabinet frame. This full backsplash complements any kitchen style.

Extra Tall Backsplash

Make a design statement with tile from countertop to ceiling. Works well on one focal wall or a room divider wall between kitchen and dining room.

Backsplash Niche

Frame out a rectangular niche in the backsplash area for shelving. Great for storing spices or displaying cookbooks and decor.

Backsplash with Accent Strip

Add a decorative row of mosaic, marble, or glass tile 3-4 inches above main backsplash as an accent. Coordinate with your backsplash colors.

Backsplashes on Multiple Walls

Install full backsplash treatment on countertop peninsulas or islands. Surround cooktops or sinks with tile on two adjoining walls.

Determine the look you want before deciding on backsplash size and coverage. Gather inspiration photos to help you visualize the perfect backsplash design for your kitchen.

Backsplash Ideas for Small Kitchens

Just because your kitchen is small doesn’t mean you have to skimp on backsplash design. Creative backsplash choices can maximize and enhance tiny kitchen spaces. Here are some stellar backsplash ideas for small kitchens:

Mini Subway Tile – Standard 3×6 subway tile may overwhelm a petite kitchen. Choose diminutive 2×4 or 2×6 sizes instead for the same look scaled down.

Mosaic Backsplash Accent – Just a small section of eye-catching mosaic tile over the stove or sink provides ample visual impact.

Etched Mirror Backsplash – Mirrored backsplashes impart an airy, open feeling. Etched designs add interest without competing with the reflections.

Slate or Soapstone – Materials like slate and soapstone installed in a simple stacked pattern give small kitchens an earthy yet sophisticated vibe.

Blackboard Backsplash – Chalkboard-painted backsplashes allow for regularly changing creativity. Write messages, draw art, or jot grocery lists.

Stainless Steel – Sleek and modern stainless steel backsplashes make even the tiniest kitchen feel upscale. Bonus – easily wipes clean.

Glass Tile – Translucent glass tile maintains light and brightness. Combine with opaque white grout for defined grid designs.

With smart choices, a small kitchen backsplash can elevate style without overwhelming the compact space.

Modern Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Contemporary kitchen backsplashes do more than protect the walls – they make a stylish design statement. Bring your modern kitchen to life with these backsplash ideas:

Geometric Tiles – Bold geometric shapes like hexagons, chevrons, and triangles create modern impact. Try a patchwork or tessellated pattern.

Graphic Subway Tile – Standard white subway tile gains contemporary edge with wide grout lines or varying tile sizes.

3D Tile – Dimensional tile adds sculptural depth with tile “cubes” protruding from the surface.

Metallic Tiles – From bronze and copper to silver and gold, sleek metal tiles lend mid-century modern flair.

Digital Image Murals – Transform backsplashes into a captivating focal point with high-resolution imagery. Photos of cityscapes, landscapes, or abstract art designs work beautifully.

Glass Mosaic – Frosted, opaque, and iridescent glass mosaics in modern color palettes exude contemporary sophistication.

Textured Porcelain Tile – Choose porcelain planks or tiles with natural stone textures like concrete, travertine, or limestone.

Bold Colors and Patterns – Make a statement with vividly colored tile or graphic modern motifs like chevron stripes.

Embrace these contemporary backsplash trends to create a kitchen backdrop that’s undeniably fresh and current.

Creative Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Why stick with boring backsplashes? Get innovative with one of these creative backsplash ideas to add interest to your cooking space:

Repurposed Dishware: Transform old plates, teacups, or china pieces into a patchwork ceramic tile mosaic backsplash.

Scrabble Tiles: Leftover Scrabble game piece tiles spell out words or fun phrases perfectly suited for your family kitchen.

Wine Cork Bulletin Board: Compress and glue on corks from memorable bottles to make a functional memo board backsplash.

Etched Copper: Hammered copper sheets with custom etched designs, names, or emblems make stunning backsplash focal points.

Tin Ceiling Tiles: Classic tin ceiling panels as a backsplash add vintage character with decorative shapes and pressed patterns.

Barn Wood Planks: Reclaimed aged barn siding or salvaged wood cut into planks create rustic farmhouse charm.

Peel and Stick Faux Brick: Brick veneer sheets and stone wall stickers achieve the look of authentic materials in a fraction of the time.

Corrugated Metal: For industrial edge, use corrugated roofing panels or siding to make a textured, rippling wave backsplash pattern.

Let your backsplash reflect your personality with these innovative, unexpected materials and methods.

Large Tile Backsplash Ideas

Oversized tile backsplashes make a bold, modern design declaration. Here are striking ways to utilize large format tiles:

Oversized Subway Tile

Super-sized 4×12 or 6×12 subway tiles have dramatic visual impact. Lay them vertically or horizontally. Pair with pencil moulding for a framed look.

XL Handmade Ceramic Tile

Extra large slab-style artisan tiles in earthy hues add organic, boho flair to kitchens. Create a statement with fewer grout lines.

Porcelain Plank Tile Backsplash

Rectangular plank tiles resemble wood but offer the durability and water-resistance of porcelain. Perfect for rustic or Tuscan-style kitchens.

Oversized Marble Tile

Large marble backsplash tiles project luxury instantly. Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario marbles larger than 12 inches make a bold impression.

Giant Mosaics

Some mosaic sheets come in 12×24 or larger dimensions while maintaining a handcrafted look. Use for fewer seams and quick installs.

Extra Long Subway Tile

Stretching horizontally, extra long 6×24 or 8×24 subway tiles create uninterrupted bands of color. Install vertically or horizontally.

Maximize impact with supersized backsplash tile. Choose oversized tile designs that balance proportion with your cabinets and kitchen layout.

Can You Use Floor Tile for a Kitchen Backsplash?

Homeowners looking for an affordable backsplash option often wonder – can I use extra floor tile? The answer is