How Much to Have a Backsplash Installed

Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can transform the look and feel of the space. But before installing a new backsplash, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget accordingly. Here’s a detailed look at how much it costs to have a backsplash installed.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Installation Cost

There are several key factors that influence the total cost of installing a new backsplash in your kitchen:

Backsplash Material

The material you choose for the backsplash is the biggest cost factor. Materials like ceramic tile, metal, glass, and stone come in a wide range of prices. For example, a basic ceramic subway tile may cost $5 per square foot, while a high-end metal or stone tile may cost $50 or more per square foot.

Some popular backsplash materials and average costs include:

  • Ceramic, porcelain, or glass tile: $5-$50 per sq. ft.
  • Natural or engineered stone: $40-$100 per sq. ft.
  • Metal or mosaic tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft.
  • Brick, wood, or laminate panels: $10-$30 per sq. ft.

The amount of material needed depends on the size of your backsplash area. Measure the backsplash space carefully to determine square footage.

Backsplash Design

The complexity of the backsplash design will also impact installation costs. A simple subway tile layout will take less time and labor than a detailed mosaic pattern. Custom designs, border tiles, specialty tiles, and tile inserts can all drive up the price.

Labor Costs

In addition to material costs, professional installation is key for a quality finished product. Labor will account for 50% or more of your total backsplash installation cost.

Labor prices typically range from $40-$80 per hour, with the national average around $65 per hour. The exact rate depends on your location and the tilesetter’s experience level. More complex tile layouts will also take more time and increase labor fees.

Additional Costs

Other factors that can affect the final price include:

  • Removal and disposal of old backsplash
  • Special preparation (e.g. repairing drywall, leveling floors)
  • Grout and mortar
  • Sealing treatments
  • Accent trims or edges
  • Travel fees for tilesetters working in remote areas

When getting quotes, ask tile contractors what is included in their estimate to avoid surprise charges.

Backsplash Size and Layout

The size of your backsplash is a major cost determinant. Larger backsplash areas require more materials and longer installation times.

Some typical backsplash sizes and layouts include:

  • Partial backsplashes: 4-18 inches tall, along a section of counter or stove. Cost: $3-$8 per sq. ft.
  • Full backsplashes: Extend to bottom of upper cabinets. Cost: $5-$15 per sq. ft.
  • Mosaic backsplash: Decorative mosaic tiles cover a partial or full backsplash. Cost: $10-$30 per sq. ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling backsplashes: Span from countertops to ceiling. Cost: $15-$50 per sq. ft.

Measure the area needing a backsplash and multiply by the per square foot cost of your chosen material and labor to estimate the total installation price.

Average Cost by Backsplash Size

Here are typical price ranges for backsplash installations based on size:

Partial Backsplash

Covers a section of wall, typically 4-18 inches tall above a countertop or range.

  • Small (25 sq. ft.): $125-$250
  • Medium (40 sq. ft.): $200-$400
  • Large (55 sq. ft.): $275-$550

Full Backsplash

Extends from countertops to bottom of wall cabinets, usually around 4-5 feet tall.

  • Small Kitchen (50 sq. ft.): $400-$750
  • Medium Kitchen (75 sq. ft.): $600-$1,125
  • Large Kitchen (100 sq. ft.): $800-$1,500

Mosaic or Decorative Backsplash

Small mosaic tiles or intricate designs cover all or a portion of the backsplash area.

  • Partial (25 sq. ft.): $250-$750
  • Full Backsplash (60 sq. ft.): $600-$1,800
  • Full Wall (100 sq. ft.): $1,000-$3,000

Floor-to-Ceiling Backsplash

Spans from countertops up to the ceiling, around 6-9 feet tall.

  • Small (50 sq. ft.): $750-$2,500
  • Medium (100 sq. ft.): $1,500-$5,000
  • Large (150 sq. ft.): $2,250-$7,500

Cost to Install Specific Backsplash Materials

Here is an overview of what it generally costs to install some popular backsplash materials:

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

A classic material, available in tons of colors, shapes, and sizes. Subway tiles are a popular budget-friendly choice.

  • Tile cost: $1-$15 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $3-$5 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $5-$20 per sq. ft.

Natural Stone Tile

Elegant and durable, but quite heavy. Granite, marble, travertine and slate are commonly used.

  • Tile cost: $15-$50 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $5-$10 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $25-$60 per sq. ft.

Engineered Quartz or Stone

Man-made composite materials that mimic the look of natural stone but are less expensive.

  • Tile cost: $10-$30 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $3-$5 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $15-$35 per sq. ft.

Metal or Mosaic Tile

Intricate mosaic patterns or metal tiles like copper, tin, or stainless steel.

  • Tile cost: $10-$50 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $5-$10 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $20-$60 per sq. ft.

Glass Tile

Tiles made from glass pieces, available in wide range of colors, shapes, and transparency levels.

  • Tile cost: $10-$30 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $5-$10 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $20-$40 per sq. ft.

Brick, Wood, or Laminates

Rustic, natural material options applied in a panelized format for easy installation.

  • Material cost: $5-$20 per sq. ft.
  • Labor cost: $2-$5 per sq. ft.
  • Total installed: $10-$25 per sq. ft.

Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Installation

Installing a backsplash yourself can save on labor fees, but has some downsides:

Benefits of DIY Installation

  • Saves on labor costs
  • Greater flexibility in schedule
  • More control over the project

Drawbacks of DIY Installation

  • Learning curve with tools and techniques
  • Potential for mistakes in layout or tile-cutting
  • May take significantly longer
  • No warranty or guarantee on work

Hiring a professional tilesetter ensures proper installation and quality results, but has added costs:

Benefits of Hiring a Pro

  • Experienced with layout, cutting, leveling, and grouting
  • Access to specialized tools
  • Work is warrantied and guaranteed
  • Project completed quickly
  • Handles material procurement and disposal

Potential Downsides

  • Labor fees increase project cost
  • Less control over schedule
  • Communication issues possible

Consider how comfortable you are tiling and whether quality or budget is a bigger priority for your project.

Factors That Increase Backsplash Installation Costs

Several variables can drive up the total price of installation:

  • Complex designs – Intricate patterns, mosaics, borders, and accent tiles require more planning and labor.
  • Heavily textured walls – Deeply textured drywall will need smoothing to allow for proper tile adhesion.
  • poor wall conditions – Repairs to fix cracks, holes, moisture damage or other issues adds costs.
  • Niche or cutout installation – Adding a niche for storing kitchen items requires precise tile cuts.
  • Outdated electrical – Electrical improvements needed to add outlets or lighting.
  • Specialty grout/sealants – Upgraded waterproofing or colored grout increases material costs.
  • Added accessibility features – If tile will be installed at extreme heights, scaffolding may be required.

Cost-Saving Tips for Backsplash Installation

There are several ways to get quality results for less:

  • Use budget-friendly tiles like ceramic or porcelain instead of pricier options. Subway tiles work especially well.
  • Standardize on one tile size instead of incorporating different sizes, which complicates installation.
  • Install tiles in a straight vertical or horizontal pattern rather than diagonal layouts or patterns, which take more time.
  • Opt for solid color grout instead of specialty colored or sanded grout.
  • Seal existing countertops and cabinets instead of removing them first to save on demolition.
  • Do prep work yourself like removing old backsplash tile, fixing drywall issues, or painting before installers arrive.
  • Provide your own materials bought at wholesale prices to avoid markup. Coordinate with tilesetters first.
  • Schedule during tilesetter’s slow periods for potential discount if not in a rush.
  • Get multiple bids and be flexible on timing to possibly reduce labor rates.

Enhancing Your Kitchen with a New Backsplash

Upgrading your backsplash brings many benefits beyond just aesthetics. The right backsplash can transform the entire look and functionality of your kitchen.

Design and Decor

A new backsplash offers an opportunity to enhance your kitchen’s overall design in terms of colors, textures, and ambiance. From sleek glass mosaics to rustic distressed wood panels, your options are limitless.

You can also integrate decorative accents like borders, medallions, or accent tile bands. Use the backsplash to complement your cabinets, floors, and other finishes.

Easier Cleaning and Maintenance

The right backsplash materials are easier to keep clean and maintain over time. Tile, metal, glass, and other surfaces can handle kitchen messes and spills much better than drywall.

Plus, grout lines provide texture that helps conceal stains and dirt. A properly sealed tile backsplash is simple to wipe down and keep looking new.

Durability and Protection

Kitchen backsplashes see a lot of wear and tear. Stovetops emit grease and moisture that can damage drywall or painted surfaces. Quality backsplash materials like tile, metal and stone are impervious to heat and water damage.

This protects your walls while also reflecting light and adding visual texture. Durable backsplash surfaces are ideal for busy kitchens.

Increased Functionality

The backsplash area offers prime real estate for adding functionality. Many homeowners incorporate backsplashes into islands, drink stations, or prep areas.

You can also integrate shelving, floating ledges, pencil molding, and other design elements to make the space more useful. Electrical updates can embed outlets, under-cabinet lighting, or accent lighting into the backsplash during installation.

Backsplash Installation Process

Installing a kitchen backsplash is a multi-step process best left to professionals in most cases. Here is an overview of what’s involved:

Planning and Design

First, measure the space and determine the layout. Select your materials, colors, grout, accents, and design elements. Hiring a design professional can help if you need inspiration.

Prep Work

Proper prep work ensures the tiles adhere properly. This includes:

  • Removing old backsplash tile or materials
  • Sanding and smoothing wall imperfections
  • Cleaning and sealing the surface
  • Applying primer coat(s)
  • Marking layout lines on the wall to guide installation


The tilesetter cuts and arranges all materials according to design specifications. The tiles are carefully adhered to the wall surface using mortar adhesive applied with a notched trowel.

Cutting any specialty pieces around outlets, edges, and corners comes next. Tiles are periodically checked for levelness and alignment.

Grouting and Sealing

Grout fills the joints between tiles to create a finished look. The tilesetter grouts all joints and then wipes away excess. Additional sealing provides waterproofing.

Finishing Touches

The final polish includes sealing the grout and tiles, caulking edges, adding trim pieces, cleaning dust, and inspecting the final product. The new backsplash should be allowed to set fully before use, usually 24-48 hours.

How Much Does It Cost To Have a Backsplash Professionally Installed?

In summary, most professional backsplash installations cost $10 to $50 per square foot including materials and labor. Simple ceramic tile backsplashes start around $5 per square foot, while intricate stone, metal or glass backsplashes can run up to $50-$100 per square foot with labor.

For the average sized kitchen backsplash of 30 to 60 square feet, expect to invest $300 to $3,000+ for a contractor installation.

Many factors impact the total price, including the size of the space, the materials used, complex designs, and local labor rates. Carefully measure your backsplash area and get detailed quotes from at least 3 contractors before proceeding.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost is primarily driven by backsplash material and the size of the installation space.
  • Labor accounts for 50% or more of total cost for professional installation.
  • Simple tile layouts are the most budget-friendly, while intricate patterns, mosaics, and stone tiles increase cost.
  • DIY installation can save significantly but has a learning curve and higher margin of error.
  • Most professional installs range $10-$50 per square foot; measure your space to estimate pricing.
  • Prep work, electrical improvements, complex designs, and other factors can drive up cost.
  • Budget versions use low-cost tile and simplified designs for significant savings.


What is the average cost per square foot to install a backsplash?

The average cost is typically $10 to $25 per square foot for professional backsplash installation. Simple ceramic tile can be as little as $5 per square foot, while premium materials like natural stone, glass mosaics, or metal tile may be $25-$50 per square foot installed.

What is the cheapest option for a kitchen backsplash?

Ceramic subway tiles are generally the most budget-friendly backsplash option starting around just $1 per tile. Standard white 3×6 or 4×4 subway tiles kept in a basic brick pattern can be installed by a pro for as little as $5 per square foot.

Should you install backsplash before or after cabinets?

It’s generally best to install the backsplash after cabinets and countertops are in place. This allows the backsplash tile to be precisely cut to fit around the perimeter of the cabinets and counters. Installers also have an easier time working around completed cabinets.

How high should a backsplash be?

The most common backsplash height is 4 inches above counters or stoves. Full height backsplashes extend from countertops to the bottom cabinets, typically 18 inches to 4 feet high depending on cabinetry. For a farmhouse look, you can install backsplashes from countertops all the way up to the ceiling.

Can backsplash tile be installed over existing tile?

In some cases, yes – tile can be installed over existing backsplash tile if the old tile is properly secured and prepared. But this depends on the type of tiles, wall consistency, and installer’s recommendation. Many choose to remove old backsplash tile first for better adhesion.

Should you seal backsplash tile?

It is highly recommended to seal and grout backsplash tiles during installation. Sealing tiles provides waterproofing and stain resistance. Along with waterproof grout, this makes your backsplash much easier to maintain over time.

Is tiling a backsplash hard?

Tiling a backsplash is considered an intermediate to advanced DIY project. Proper prep, precise tile cutting, level installation, and quality grouting all require some experience. Novices can certainly learn but should expect a trial-and-error process. Professional installers have the skills to complete the job more quickly and flawlessly.

Can backsplashes increase home value?

Yes, upgrading to a backsplash can increase home value for what’s typically a very reasonable investment. The refreshed look also makes the home more enticing to potential buyers. In kitchens especially, stylish and practical backsplashes go a long way towards modernizing the space in an affordable way.

Is a backsplash necessary in a kitchen?

While not required, most kitchen remodeling experts recommend backsplashes. They protect the walls above countertops from splatters, moisture, and daily wear-and-tear. Tiles are also much easier to clean. Backsplashes add style, help reflect light, and allow the space behind counters to contribute to the overall kitchen design.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional installation typically costs $10-$50 per square foot including tile and labor.
  • Ceramic subway tiles provide a low-cost backsplash option starting around $5 per square foot installed.
  • It’s best to install backsplashes after cabinetry and countertops are in place.
  • Standard backsplash height is 4 inches above countertops, but can extend up to the cabinets or ceiling.
  • Sealing and grouting tiles properly is crucial to create a durable, waterproof backsplash surface.
  • DIY installation