Installing a herringbone backsplash can add beautiful visual interest and texture to your kitchen. However, installing this unique geometric pattern does require some special considerations when it comes to layout and installation. In this article, we’ll break down the costs associated with installing a herringbone backsplash so you can determine if this stylish design fits your kitchen remodeling budget.
Supplies Needed for a Herringbone Backsplash
The main supplies you’ll need for a herringbone backsplash installation include:
- Tile: The herringbone pattern requires small, rectangular ceramic, stone or glass tiles ranging from 2-4 inches in height. Popular options include subway tile, marble, travertine and glass mosaic tiles. Expect to pay $5-$20 per square foot.
- Tile adhesive: Thinset mortar adhesive costs around $15 per 50-pound bag and is used to apply the tiles to the wall.
- Grout: Grout fills in the spaces between the tiles. A 25-pound bag costs $15 on average. Opt for sanded grout for joints wider than 1/8 inch.
- Backer board: Cement backer board provides a water-resistant surface for tiling around $10 per 3×5-foot panel.
- Tools: A notched trowel, grout float, spacers, cutter, sponges and mixing bucket will also be needed.
Other supplies like sealant and trim pieces may also be required depending on the installation area. Be sure to purchase 10-15% extra tile to account for cuts, waste and breakage.
Herringbone Tile Layout
The careful layout and angle of the tiles are what give the herringbone pattern its unique look. The tiles are set in an overlapping arrow or “V” design, with the direction alternating row by row.
Some special considerations for laying out a herringbone pattern include:
- Tile orientation: Tiles may need to be laid out horizontally or vertically depending on the dimensions of the backsplash area.
- Starting point: Many installers start in the center and work outwards for optimal symmetry.
- Overlapping rows: Rows will need to overlap halfway at opposing angles to create the arrows.
- Borders: Cut border tiles likely will be needed to fill edges and finalize the layout.
Sufficient layout planning is crucial to ensuring the pattern aligns properly. Using spacers, levels and other tools can help maintain symmetry.
Cost to Install a Herringbone Backsplash
The total cost of installing a herringbone backsplash will depend on the size of the area being tiled, tile selections, and whether you DIY or hire a professional.
DIY Herringbone Backsplash Installation
For DIY installation, your main expenses will be supplies. Assume the following costs:
- Tile: $5-$20 per square foot
- Adhesive and grout: $30
- Backer board: $10 per panel
- Tools: $50-100
A 10-square foot herringbone backsplash could cost around $200-$400 in supplies for a DIY install. The key is having the skills and tools to cut the tiles precisely and lay out the pattern accurately.
Be aware that mistakes are difficult to remedy with herringbone layouts. Damaged tiles often cannot be replaced without disrupting the pattern symmetry.
Professional Installation Costs
Hiring a professional tile installer is advisable for many homeowners attempting the intricate herringbone layout. Pros have the experience to plan and execute the layout accurately.
The typical costs for professional installation include:
- Tile setters: $45-$75 per hour
- Total install: $6-$10 per square foot
For a 10-square foot herringbone backsplash, professional installation may range from $600-$1000. Complex patterns, high-end tile and extensive backsplashes increase costs.
Keep in mind the finished product will have fewer mistakes and better symmetry when hiring a pro. Be sure to get an itemized estimate and verify experience with herringbone tile layouts.
Factors That Affect the Cost
Several factors can influence the total installation costs for a herringbone backsplash:
Size of the Backsplash
Larger backsplash areas require purchasing more tile and supplies. Complex installations also take professionals more time driving up labor costs.
The material and style of the tile impacts price per square foot. For example, handmade subway tiles cost more than machine cut ceramic. Prices also go up for stone tiles like marble or travertine versus porcelain.
Smaller tiles are more challenging for the herringbone layout driving up installation time and cost. Optimal tile size is 2×4 inches or 4×4 inches. Mosaics with 1-inch tiles can get very labor intensive and expensive.
Simple herringbone patterns contained on one wall are the most budget friendly. Having the layout wrap around corners or span multiple surfaces makes installation more difficult and costly.
Limited backsplash areas around a kitchen window tend to cost less than full wall installations. Measure your space carefully to estimate an accurate tile count.
Tile installer rates vary greatly by region from $45-$75 per hour on average. High cost of living areas typically have the priciest installation rates.
How to Save on Installation Costs
There are a few ways to control costs with a herringbone backsplash installation:
- DIY the demo: Removing old backsplashes yourself can save $200 or more.
- Use budget-friendly tiles: Standard ceramic or porcelain tiles cost much less than stone or mosaics.
- Install a smaller area: Concentrate the pattern over the stove or sink to use less tile.
- ** Shop sales:** Look for tile and supply deals at big box stores or tile distributors.
- Provide your own labor for pros: Offer to assist with preparing the work area, mixing thinset and cleanup to reduce hours charged.
Herringbone Backsplash Maintenance
Once installed, a herringbone backsplash requires proper care and maintenance:
- Seal grout and natural stone annually to prevent staining.
- Use gentle cleaners and avoid abrasive scrubbing.
- Immediately clean up spills to prevent stains.
- Recaulk perimeter as needed to prevent moisture issues.
With proper care, a herringbone backsplash can remain an elegant focal point in the kitchen for years. Protect your investment by keeping the pattern clean and well-maintained.
Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Herringbone Backsplashes
How difficult is it to install a herringbone backsplash?
Herringbone layouts are more challenging than basic tile layouts. The overlapping rows and precise angles require skill and patience. Many homeowners choose to hire professionals to ensure proper layout and pattern alignment.
What tools do I need for installation?
In addition to basic tiling tools, useful tools include tile spacers, levels, a tile cutter for angled cuts, mixing paddles for thinset, a notched trowel, and grout floats.
How is herringbone different than subway tile?
Subway tile is laid in simple straight rows. Herringbone has overlapping rows set at opposing 45-60 degree angles to form a V or arrow pattern. The layout is more complex.
Should the tiles be installed horizontally or vertically?
Orientation depends on the dimensions of the backsplash. Horizontal Parallel arrows aligned with the countertop is common. Vertical looks best on tall, narrow areas.
What type of tile works best?
Small format tiles 2-4 inches tall are ideal. The size range allows for easier cutting of border tiles. Popular choices are marble, glass and ceramic like subway tile.
Can I install a herringbone backsplash over existing tile?
It is not recommended. The uneven surface makes it difficult to achieve proper layout. Remove old tile for best results.
Final Thoughts on Planning a Herringbone Backsplash
The elegance of a herringbone backsplash comes at somewhat of a cost premium due to the meticulous installation required. Creating a flawless layout requires cutting border tiles precisely and maintaining symmetry by overlapping the rows seamlessly.
If working within a tight budget, keep the project manageable by using affordable tile choices and limiting the size of the installation area. However, it is worth investing in a professional installer if you want the pattern executed perfectly.
With careful planning and preparation, a herringbone backsplash can be an achievable project that provides a dramatic focal point in your kitchen for years to come. Just be sure to accurately estimate both material and labor costs based on the complexity of your desired layout.