How Much To Install Tile Backsplash

Installing a tile backsplash can be a great way to add visual interest and style to your kitchen. But before taking on a tiling project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget accordingly. Here is an overview of the main factors that influence how much it costs to install a tile backsplash.

Tile Selection

The type of tile you choose is one of the biggest factors affecting the overall project cost. Ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, and stone tiles all vary significantly in price. Some main considerations include:

  • Material: Ceramic and porcelain tend to be the most budget-friendly options, starting around $2-5 per square foot. Stone and glass tile can run $15-50+ per square foot.
  • Size: Larger tiles are quicker to install so they tend to be more affordable. Small mosaics and penny tiles have more grout lines and take longer to lay, increasing labor costs.
  • Specialty tiles: Handmade, antique, or artisan tiles understandably cost more, ranging from $10-100+ per square foot. Their unique look may justify the added expense for some homeowners.
  • Backsplashes with borders or designs: Using two different tiles or adding a decorative inset can increase the material costs.

Consider your design goals and overall budget when deciding on a tile. Prices can really vary, but $5-20 per square foot is typical for most quality ceramic or porcelain tile.

Labor Costs

In addition to the tile itself, you’ll need to factor in labor costs for installation. Rates for qualified tilers typically range from $40-$80 per hour. The time required depends on:

  • Tile size: Smaller tiles or mosaic patterns take longer to install than larger, uniform tiles.
  • Backsplash size: The total square footage you’re tiling impacts overall job duration.
  • Layout complexity: Simple grid layouts are quicker than intricate designs. Decorative borders, patterns, and accent tiles add time.
  • Experience level: Professional tilers with years of experience generally work faster with higher quality results.
  • Project conditions: Tricky site access, awkward angles, or problem wall surfaces can all drive up installation time.

For a simple 4×4 ceramic tile backsplash spanning 15-25 square feet, you can expect to pay $200-$500 for labor. Intricate or large backsplashes covering 50+ square feet could cost $800-$1,500 or more in installation fees.

Additional Costs

Besides the tile and basic installation, your tile backsplash job will require a few additional purchases:

Tile adhesive / thinset mortar: $20+ per 50 lb. bag. Allows tiles to stick to the wall.

Grout: $15-30+ per bag or bucket. Fills in joints between tiles.

Tiling tools: Spacers, grout float, cutter, etc. $50-100.

Sealer: $20-30. Protects grout and makes tiles easier to clean.

There may also be costs for:

  • Tile edging / trim pieces
  • Backerboard if needed to create a smooth, durable surface
  • Extended tile layout planning if using a pro
  • Removal and disposal of old backsplash (if replacing one)

In total, you should budget $100-200+ for these extra tiling supplies, accessories, and preparatory work.

DIY vs Professional Installation

One of the biggest cost factors is whether you plan to install the backsplash tile yourself or hire a professional tiler.

DIY tiling has the advantage of saving on labor, which often makes up 50% or more of the total budget. With some basic skills and the right tools, an experienced DIYer can install their own simple backsplash for under $500 in many cases.

However, there are some downsides to keep in mind:

  • It takes time and patience – evenings and weekends over 1-2 weeks. Not a quick project.
  • Mistakes or uneven tile setting are more likely for an amateur.

-safety risks from working at height and handling ceramics.

Hiring a pro tiler ensures expertise gained from years of experience. The job will likely take just 2-3 days with superior results. This especially pays off for large, intricate tile designs.

A typical professional backsplash installation may cost $1000-2000+ depending on tile selection and project scope. The extra expense is worthwhile for many homeowners to have it done quickly and correctly.

Factors That Increase Cost

Certain backsplash tile installations have higher costs due to added time, labor, or expenses:

  • Small mosaic tiles: More tedious and time consuming to lay individual tiny tiles.
  • Intricate patterns or designs: Coping tiles for borders and decorative accents is skill intensive.
  • Natural stone tile: Needs extra care in sealing and may have uneven thicknesses.
  • Glass tile: Requires very careful handling and perfectly flush setting.
  • ** Removing old backsplash:** Adds demolition, disposal fees, and potential wall repairs.
  • Problematic installation area: Tough access, awkward angles, uneven walls and other issues slow down installers.
  • Backsplashes over 50 sq ft: More tiles, supplies, and work time drives up overall budget.
  • Hiring a designer: For specialty backsplashes, a designer’s fees range from $50-$150/hour.
  • Use of accent lighting / sconces: Electrical work can add $200 or more to the cost.

Knowing these items that can increase the installation price allows you to plan and budget accordingly.

Cost Saving Tips

Luckily, there are also some great ways to control costs on your backsplash tile project:

  • Use budget-friendly tiles like ceramic, porcelain, or smaller mosaics to reduce material expenses.
  • Standardize on one tile type and size rather than using many varieties.
  • Choose a simple layout with straight lines rather than ornate designs.
  • Use bullnose edging rather than decorative border tiles to finish edges nicely.
  • Install yourself if you have tiling experience and time.
  • Shop sales and clearance for tiles. Home improvement stores often discount overstock tile.
  • Buy premixed thinset and grout instead of mixing from bags to save time.
  • Plan the layout carefully to minimize tile cuts and waste.
  • Use painters tape for straight lines rather than specialty tiles.

With some savvy planning and cost-conscious choices, you can install an attractive, on-trend backsplash tile for a reasonable budget.

Average Cost to Install a Tile Backsplash

Given all the factors involved, what’s the typical total cost for a tile backsplash installation?

The average cost ranges from $800-$1,200 depending on the size of your backsplash project.

Here’s an overview of typical costs for materials, labor, and other expenses:

  • Tile: $100-$500
  • Mortar, grout, accessories: $80-$150
  • Labor, if hiring a pro: $400-$800
  • Prep work, removal of old backsplash: $50-$100
  • Design fees (optional): $50+ per hour

Total average cost: $800-$1,200

On the low end, DIY installations in a small space using inexpensive tile can cost $500 or less. For larger backsplashes with high-end tile and professional installation, costs can easily exceed $1,500.

The variety of backsplash designs makes it impossible to pin down an exact universal cost. But with the above estimates, you can budget for this popular kitchen upgrade based on the details of your specific tiling project.

Factors That Reduce Cost

Fortunately, there are ways to install an attractive, durable backsplash while keeping your budget in check:

  • Use a tile backsplash rather than more expensive materials like natural stone, metal, or glass. Tile provides the best value.
  • Standardize on one inexpensive tile variety rather than using a combination of different tiles.
  • Choose a simple layout with straight lines rather than a complex pattern.
  • Install a smaller backsplash area – for example, just behind the cooktop rather than full wall height.
  • Do the work yourself if you have tiling knowledge and can invest sweat equity.
  • Purchase tiles on clearance or overstock to get significant discounts.
  • Choose large, uniform tiles as they install much faster than small mosaic tiles.
  • Use white grout rather than colored grout which increases cost.
  • Use caulk for corners/edges rather than pricey specialty trim tiles.

With smart design choices and cost-conscious tile selection, it’s possible to install an attractive backsplash yourself at a reasonable price. Careful planning is key to controlling expenses.

Backsplash Size & Cost

The size of your backsplash also affects the total installation cost. Let’s look at typical costs based on square footage:

  • Small, 10-15 sq ft backsplash: $400-$700
  • Tile cost: $50-$150
  • Labor, if pro install: $200-$400
  • Other materials/prep work: $100-$200
  • Medium, 20-30 sq ft backsplash: $600-$900
  • Tile cost: $200-$300
  • Labor, if pro install: $300-$500
  • Other materials/prep work: $100-$200
  • Large, 40-50+ sq ft backsplash: $800-$1,200+
  • Tile cost: $400-$500
  • Labor, if pro install: $400-$800
  • Other materials/prep work: $100-$200

As you can see, the installed cost rises at about $25-$50 more per added square foot on average due to increased time, tile, and materials. Backsplashes above 50 square feet could cost $1,500+ for high-end tile.

Carefully measuring your target backsplash area before budgeting allows you to estimate the tile square footage and get a reasonable cost estimate.

Luxury Backsplash Costs

What if you want to install an extra luxurious backsplash using top-of-the-line tiles and designer details? Here are some examples of premium backsplash projects and their typical price points:

  • Stone slab backsplash – Marble, travertine, or granite slabs hand cut to fit your space can cost $2,500 or more with installation.
  • Mosaic art or medallion backsplash – An intricate copper, glass, or ceramic mosaic focal point starts at $1,500 installed.
  • Handcrafted ceramic tile backsplash – Artisan tiles with custom glazes or shapes can be $50-$200 per tile with labor on top.
  • Metal tile backsplash – Stainless steel, tin, or copper tiles add up, with costs starting around $2,500 installed.

Natural stone and glass combinations – Blending stone and glass mosaics creates depth with costs between $5,000-$10,000.

Backsplash with lighting – Wiring sconces and accent lighting behind a high-end backsplash can add $1,000 or more.

For the ultimate kitchen showpiece, it???s certainly possible to invest $5,000 or exponentially more on exotic backsplash materials and professional design expertise. The result is a truly custom, one-of-a-kind backsplash worthy of a luxury home.

DIY Installation Costs

If you’re up for a DIY challenge, installing a tile backsplash yourself in your kitchen can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in labor fees.

The main costs for a DIY backsplash project include:

  • Tile: $100-$300
  • Thinset, grout, tools: $100-$200
  • Backerboard, if needed: $50-$100

Total: $250-$600 or more depending on tile selection and existing kitchen backsplash surface.

With basic tiling skills and proper preparation, a DIY backsplash installation in a standard 10-15 sq ft area can be completed over a weekend for $500 or less. Youtube tutorials can provide excellent step-by-step guidance.

Be sure to account for your valuable time as well when comparing DIY vs. professional installation. While DIY is cheaper, you’ll spend many hours over several days on the work – time you may prefer to spend elsewhere.

Hiring a Professional Installer

For those wanting the best results without the hassle, hiring a backsplash installation pro is often money well spent.

With an experienced tiler, you can expect costs around:

  • Tile: $100-$500
  • Tiler labor: $400-$800
  • Misc materials/prep work: $100-$200

Total: $600-$1,500+ depending on project scope and tile type.

Reputable tilers are in high demand, so get quotes and book early. Many tiling pros can install an average sized backsplash beautifully in just 1-3 days.

Be sure to check reviews and examples of past backsplash projects when choosing a tiler to ensure top notch results. Their skill and care will make the expense worthwhile.

Factors That Increase DIY Difficulty

Want to install a backsplash tile yourself but aren’t sure of your skill level? Here are some factors that make a DIY backsplash more challenging:

  • Small or mosaic tiles: Tedious prep and grouting for hundreds of tiny tiles.
  • Intricate tile patterns: Harder to lay out evenly and keep lines straight.
  • Natural stone tile: Needs extra care with wide color variation and sealing.
  • Glass, metal or other fragile tiles: Prone to breaking and require gentle handling.
  • Removing old backsplash: Adds demolition work and potential wall repairs.
  • Outlets to work around: Fiddly tile cutting and coping needed.
  • Poor wall surface: May require installing backerboard if walls uneven.
  • Limited workspace: Tight corners or cramped room makes installing difficult.

While simple ceramic tile backsplash designs can be DIY-friendly, materials like glass and stone should be left to the pros. Carefully assess your skill level before deciding between DIY or professional install.

Hiring Specialty Contractors

For some backsplash projects, hiring additional specialists beyond a tiler makes sense to get the best outcome:

Kitchen designer – For a customized luxury backsplash, an expert designer can make your vision a reality. Their fee is typically $50-$200 per hour.

Electrician – If installing backsplash lighting, sconces, or outlets, hire a licensed electrician to do this specialized wiring work.

Plumber – May be needed if your design includes a pot filler faucet or other plumbing additions by the backsplash.

Painter – Helpful for painting the wall area above the backsplash to match your new tile work.

Carpenter – To remove cabinetry or make other structural changes to facilitate the backsplash installation.

With intricate designs or specialty features, take advantage of expert help to ensure your backsplash project goes smoothly.

Appointment Scheduling Tips

Once you’ve decided to move forward with a backsplash installation, whether DIY or hired, make sure to:

  • Schedule tile delivery 1-2 weeks in advance so it’s ready when needed.
  • Book your tiler at least 2-3 months out, if hiring a pro. Good tilers book up quickly.
  • Have all materials and tools on hand before work begins to prevent delays.
  • Plan to be home during the install in case any questions come up.
  • Clear countertops and remove items from the backsplash area beforehand.
  • Allow for extra time in case extensive wall prep work is needed.
  • Confirm appointment dates and times as the install nears.

Proper planning and coordination ensures your backsplash project stays on schedule and your kitchen usable with minimal disruption.

Hiring a Tiler – What to Look For

When hiring a professional tiler for your backsplash installation, here are the key qualifications to look for:

Skills & Experience

  • 5+ years of experience installing tile backsplashes
  • Knowledgeable on all types of tile including porcelain, ceramic, glass, and stone
  • Familiar with backerboard, thinset mortars, grout, and other materials
  • Artistic ability to lay out tile patterns evenly and attractively


  • Will provide all necessary materials and tools
  • Offers tile design consulting if needed
  • Provides removal and disposal of old backsplash if required
  • Prepares the surface properly – cleans, repairs drywall, installs backerboard, etc

Business Credibility

  • Fully licensed, bonded, and insured
  • Positive online reviews from past backsplash clients
  • Provides a detailed written estimate
  • Offers a warranty on workmanship

Reliability & Professionalism

  • Responsive communication
  • Arrives on time and keeps the jobsite neat
  • Completes the project on schedule
  • Respectful of your home with minimal disruption

Taking time to vet tile installation pros can prevent headaches down the road. A true backsplash specialist will produce results you’ll enjoy for years.

When to Hire Other Contractors

While a tiler can handle most basic backsplash installations, certain situations call for additional professional help:


  • If installing lighting, cords, or outlets near the backsplash
  • For specialty wiring like low voltage LED tape lighting


  • Adding new plumbing lines for a pot filler faucet or soap dispenser
  • For any relocation of existing valves, supply lines, or drains


  • To paint the wall area above the new backsplash
  • For specialty techniques like sponge painting or stenciling


  • Removing wall cabinets or sections of countertop that impede the backsplash
  • Rebuilding uneven walls prior to backsplash installation

Securing the appropriate help for each task ensures your backsplash