Installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can completely transform the look and feel of the space. However, before taking on a backsplash installation project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget accordingly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about how much it costs to install a new backsplash.
A backsplash serves both form and function in a home. Not only does it protect your walls from water damage and stains, but it also adds visual interest and ties your design together. The cost to install a new backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of the space, the materials you choose, and if you plan to do it yourself or hire a professional. Prices can range dramatically based on your design, from as low as $300 for a simple DIY subway tile backsplash to $3000 or more for a custom designer backsplash installed by a contractor. As you’re planning your project, it’s important to think through your goals, develop a budget, and understand what’s involved so you can make informed decisions.
Factors That Impact the Cost
Several key factors influence how much it will cost to install a new backsplash in your home:
The material you choose for your backsplash will significantly affect the total project cost. Simple ceramic or porcelain tile tends to be the most budget-friendly option, while materials like marble, quartz, or glass tile will be more expensive. Keep in mind that natural stone backsplashes usually require more installation labor too, further adding to costs.
Tile Size and Shape
In addition to the material, the size and shape of your backsplash tiles impacts the price. Large tiles are quicker and easier for a contractor to install than small mosaics or penny tiles, reducing labor time. Complex tile patterns will also drive the price up compared to basic straight-set tiles.
Amount of Tile/Coverage Area
The total square footage you need to cover will factor into materials and labor costs. A small focal-point backsplash may only require 15-25 square feet of tile while a full wall backsplash can be 50 square feet or larger. Measure the space carefully to determine how much tile you’ll need.
Simple rectangular spaces are the most straightforward to tile, while niches, corners, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures will require careful tile shaping and cuts, likely increasing installation time/cost.
Grout and Accents
Don’t forget to account for grout and accent materials like decorative listellos, special trim pieces, or border tiles when budgeting your project.
DIY vs Professional Installation
Tackling a backsplash install yourself can save substantially on labor costs, but know that this is an advanced DIY project, especially for complex designs. Hiring a professional ensures expertise.
Features like undermount lighting or a tile backsplash niche can enhance the design but will also boost the installation price.
With all these factors in mind, let’s look at cost estimates.
Backsplash Installation Costs
Here are typical price ranges you can expect for a new backsplash installation:
- Basic DIY Backsplash: $300 to $700
- Simple Professional Installation: $800 to $1500
- Designer Materials and Features: $2000 to $3000+
To break things down further:
- Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: $3 to $20 per sq. ft. materials
- Glass or Mosaic Tile: $15 to $50 per sq. ft.
- Marble or Stone: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.
- Labor: $5 to $25 per sq. ft.
- Accent Trim/Borders: $1 to $5 per linear ft.
- Grout and Mortar: $.50 to $1.50 per sq. ft.
Keep reading for a detailed look at expected costs based on specific design factors.
Cost by Tile Material
One of the biggest cost factors is the type of tile you select. Let’s examine pricing for some of the most popular backsplash tile materials:
The most budget-friendly option is ceramic or porcelain tile. This includes:
- Glazed ceramic
- Tile: $3 to $10 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $5 to $10 per sq. ft.
- Total: $8 to $20 per sq. ft.
The affordable price and endless style options make tile a top choice. The classic subway tile backsplash starts around $10 per sq. ft. total.
From sleek and modern to richly colored, glass backsplash tile creates drama. Types include:
- Clear glass
- Tile: $15 to $30 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $5 to $10 per sq. ft.
- Total: $20 to $40 per sq. ft.
Handcrafted or specialty tile can be up to $50 per sq. ft. The reflective qualities make the space feel more open.
Metallic backsplashes are trending, from copper to stainless steel. Options include:
- Stainless steel
- Tile: $15 to $40 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $5 to $10 per sq. ft.
- Total: $20 to $50 per sq. ft.
Benefits are the modern style, durability, and rustic-industrial feel.
Mosaics use small tiles arranged in decorative patterns. Choices include:
- Tile: $10 to $50 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $10 to $15 per sq. ft.
- Total: $20 to $65 per sq. ft.
Mosaics cost more due to their intricate installation. The artistic style makes a statement.
Natural stone like marble, travertine, or slate bring elegance. Types are:
- Tile: $40 to $100 per sq. ft.
- Installation: $10 to $25 per sq. ft.
- Total: $50 to $125 per sq. ft.
Stone is pricier but adds high-end flair. Careful sealing is required.
Cost by Tile Size
Tile dimensions also factor into backsplash costs. Larger tiles are quicker to install than small ones:
- Mosaic sheets/penny tiles: Starting around $10-15 per sq. ft.
- Standard tiles (4”x4” to 6”x6”): Starting around $15-25 per sq. ft.
- Oversized tiles (12”x24” or larger): Starting around $25-40 per sq. ft.
With mosaics, the sheets help tile faster. Oversized tiles require less cutting and fewer grout lines.
Cost by Project Size
As mentioned earlier, the total coverage area is a major cost factor. To illustrate:
- 4 foot by 2 foot focal backsplash: 8 sq. ft.
- Single wall 4 foot by 6 foot backsplash: 24 sq. ft.
- Full 4 foot by 15 foot kitchen backsplash: 60 sq. ft.
Here are rough estimates for these sample sizes:
- 8 sq. ft. focal backsplash
- Ceramic tile: $160
- Glass tile: $320
- Natural stone: $600
- 24 sq. ft. single wall backsplash
- Ceramic tile: $480
- Glass tile: $960
- Natural stone: $1800
- 60 sq. ft. kitchen backsplash
- Ceramic tile: $1200
- Glass tile: $2400
- Natural stone: $4500
Measure your exact backsplash area when calculating costs.
Cost by Project Complexity
Simple, straight backsplashes are cheaper to install than intricate designs. Factors impacting price include:
- Number of difficult cuts: Angle cuts for fitting around cabinets, outlets, etc. add time and price.
- Special shaping needs: Creating a mosaic medallion, niche or decorative border is more labor-intensive than square tiles in straight lines.
- Multi-level installation: Backsplashes that wrap multiple walls or have accent areas require working at different heights/locations.
- Outlets/Obstacles: Cutting tiles to fit around outlets, pipes or fixtures takes precision.
- Grout lines: Small tiles means more grout lines that boost labor time.
- Borders/accents: Adding decorative trim, accent tiles or inserts increases material costs and installation time.
In general, expect to add $200-500 or more onto a simple tile backsplash if your design includes higher-complexity features.
Additional Factors Affecting Cost
A few other considerations that can alter your total backsplash installation costs:
- Demolition/tear-out: Taking out an existing backsplash adds $1-3 per sq. ft.
- Substrate preparation: Drywall repair, leveling, etc. to prep the surface can add $100-300.
- Primer/membrane: Waterproofing or surface primers average $.50-2 per sq. ft.
- Trim/accessories: Decorative accents like metal trim, chair rail, or accent tile inserts range from $2-10 per linear ft.
- Niche: Adding a backsplash niche typically ranges $200-500.
- Undercabinet lighting: Hardwired lighting averages $75-150 per linear foot. Battery operated is simpler to add.
- Installation products: Thinset, grout, sealant, etc. averages $.50-1.50 per sq. ft.
- Permits: Some areas may require pulliing permits for electrical or major demolition.
Backsplash Installation Cost by Location
Like all home renovations, local labor rates influence the total installed price. Additional factors like job complexity and material costs also impact the price range in your area. Here are sample average costs for professionally installed backsplashes by location:
- New York City: $1500 – $3000+
- Dallas: $1000 – $2500+
- Atlanta: $800 – $2000+
- Las Vegas: $800 – $2000+
- Seattle: $900 – $2500+
- Orlando: $800 – $2000+
For a basic tile backsplash, expect to pay $40-60 per sq. ft. on average if hiring a professional installer. More complex designs with designer tile selections can easily be $75 – $150+ per sq. ft. installed.
DIY Backsplash Installation Cost
One way to save substantially on a backsplash project is to tackle it as a DIY. While still a challenging task, a beginner can manage a basic tile backsplash install with proper planning and preparation. Here’s a look at potential DIY costs:
- Tile: $3 to $50 per sq. ft. depending on material
- Thinset and grout: $.50 to $1.25 per sq. ft.
- Tape and tools: $50 – $150
- Your time: 20-40 hours
Overall, a DIY tile backsplash can cost $300-700 or more depending on tile selection and size of project.
The advantage is avoiding labor fees of $400+ for installation. The tradeoff is the time commitment and learning curve involved. Carefully assess your skill level before deciding between DIY vs. hiring a pro.
Hiring Professional Installers
Backsplash installation is advanced DIY. For complex designs or if you want to ensure top-quality results, hiring professionals is usually worth the price.
Tile Installer Rates
Typical tile installer hourly rates are:
- Tile setter laborer or helper: $30 to $80 per hour
- Experienced tile setter/contractor: $60 to $120 per hour
Rates vary based on location, skill level, and complexity of the project. Expect to pay at the higher end of these ranges for specialty materials like natural stone or mosaic tile.
Factors Affecting Project Timeline
While a simple DIY backsplash may only take 15-20 hours, professional installation time varies:
- Tile demolition/tear-out: 1-2 days
- Surface preparation: 1-2 days
- Standard tile install: 1-3 days
- Mosaic or intricate tile patterns: 3-5 days
Total turnaround is often 2-5 business days from start to finish.
Tile installers may also offer services like:
- Design consultation
- Tile curating/shopping
- Grout sealing
- Decorative trim enhancement
- Niche or shelving addition
Discuss all your needs upfront and request an itemized bid. Many pros offer package deals on both materials and labor.
Backsplash Design CostConsiderations
Beyond basic installation costs, there are a few other things to keep in mind for an impactful backsplash:
Select Complementary Materials and Colors
Your backsplash color palette and materials should coordinate with counters, cabinets, and other finishes. A designer can ensure it enhances your overall kitchen or bath aesthetics.
Certain backsplash materials like natural stone require resealing over time.
Proper illumination showcases the tilework. Undercabinet lighting or accent lighting boosts the visual appeal.
Balance Form and Function
While you want an attractive backsplash, don’t sacrifice durability, moisture-resistance, and easy cleaning ability.
Set Realistic Budget Expectations
Backsplash projects can easily cost more than anticipated. Have a minimum 10-20% buffer when budgeting in case of incidentals.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about backsplash installation costs:
How much does it cost to install a kitchen backsplash?
For a typical 10×5 foot kitchen backsplash, expect to pay $1000-2000 professionally installed. The price can go up significantly for premium tile choices like marble or glass mosaics.
How much does a stone backsplash cost?
Due to the high cost of materials, a stone backsplash averages $2500 for a 10×5 kitchen, ranging from $2000 for slate up to $5000+ for high-end marble or granite.
How much does backsplash installation cost per square foot?
The typical per square foot cost for professionally installed backsplash tile ranges $10-50. Simple ceramic tile can be as low as $10 per sq. ft. while specialty tiles like handmade mosaics can be $50 per sq. ft. or more.
Is it cheaper to do backsplash yourself?
DIY installation can save 50% or more on labor costs. However, tile setting is an advanced skill. For intricate or stone backsplashes, the cost to have a pro fix mistakes may outweigh DIY savings.
Can I install backsplash over existing tile?
In some cases, it may be possible to install a new backsplash over existing tile if the old tile is properly prepared. However, most pros recommend removing old tile for the best results.
How much does it cost to remove a backsplash?
To demo an existing backsplash, expect to pay $1-3 per sq. ft. in labor fees. So for a 60 sq. ft. backsplash removal,Allow $60 to $180 total. The contractor will dispose of old tile and prepare the surface.
The Bottom Line
Installing a new backsplash transforms the look of your home. Costs vary widely based on the size of your backsplash, the tile material and style you select, and the complexity of the design. For a professionally installed backsplash in a typical kitchen, expect to invest $1000 to $3000+. Carefully evaluate your budget, level of DIY skill, and design goals before embarking on your backsplash project. With smart planning, you can create a stunning focal point that enhances your living space within your budget.