A backsplash is an important design element in any kitchen. Not only does it serve as a decorative focal point, but it also protects the walls from splashes, spills, and stains. However, over time backsplashes can become outdated, damaged, or worn. If your backsplash is looking worse for wear, you may be wondering – how much does it cost to redo a backsplash?
The cost to redo a backsplash can vary greatly based on the size of the area being covered, the materials used, and whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. In this article, we’ll break down the factors that influence backsplash installation costs and provide average price ranges so you can determine how much it will cost for your kitchen redo project.
Estimating Your Backsplash Size
The first step in estimating your backsplash installation cost is figuring out the square footage of the area you want to cover. This will depend on the size of your kitchen and layout.
A few measurements that are helpful for determining backsplash size:
- Countertop length – Measure the linear feet of counter space along the walls that will have a backsplash. This includes behind sinks, stoves, and other appliances.
- Countertop depth – The standard counter depth is 25 inches, but this can vary. Measure from the wall to the outer counter edge.
- Height – Most standard backsplashes are 4 inches tall, but you can opt for more or less coverage.
Multiply the linear counter feet by counter depth and height to get your square footage. For example, if you have 10 linear feet of counter space at a standard 25 inch depth and 4 inch backsplash height, that equates to approximately 10 sq. ft. (10 x 2.08 = 20.8 sq. ft).
Be sure to multiply all sections of counter space individually, then add them together for the total. Also include any additional backsplash areas, like behind a kitchen island.
Factors That Impact Cost
Many variables affect what you’ll ultimately pay for a kitchen backsplash installation or redo. Prices fluctuate based on:
The material you choose for the backsplash is the biggest factor in total cost. Pricing can range dramatically based on whether you use ceramic tile, metal, glass, stone, mosaics, or other materials. More exotic or high-end materials like marble, quartz, or semi-precious stone will be pricier. Even among tile options, there is a wide range, with prices starting around $5 per square foot on the low end.
The complexity of the backsplash design will also impact installation costs. Solid tiles in a basic grid pattern are quicker and easier for an installer to handle than intricate mosaics or multi-piece patterns. The more difficult the design, the higher the labor time which results in a higher price.
Contractor vs DIY
Hiring a professional contractor or handyman vs installing the backsplash yourself has a major influence on the total project budget. Contractor rates can vary based on your geographic location, but generally fall in the range of $50 – $100 per hour. This covers the cost of their expertise, tools, site preparation and cleanup, materials transport, and other overheads.
Doing it yourself cuts these labor costs, but make sure you accurately estimate the time commitment and complexity so you don’t take on more than you bargained for. Many novice DIYers underestimate the learning curve with new materials and meticulous measurements required for a quality finished product.
Removal of Old Backsplash
If this is a redo of an existing backsplash, you’ll also need to factor in removal costs. The more difficult it is to take out the old backsplash, the more time and expense will be involved. Tile applied directly to drywall can usually be chiseled off relatively smoothly. Full sheets of metal or glass may require completely redoing the wall surface underneath.
Consider if your backsplash installation will require any special materials or modifications to the existing kitchen that add steps or costs. This might include:
- Backing boards – Cement, Durock, or other backing materials improve adhesion and reduce moisture damage.
- Underlayment – Help level uneven walls and provide extra moisture protection.
- ** Updated electrical** – If removing backsplash exposes electrical, it may need to be extended or raised to meet codes.
- Plumbing modifications – Adjust sink faucets or backsplashes around protruding pipes.
- Cabinet or counter modifications – Accommodate backsplash installation around existing structures.
- Trim pieces – Built up trim or decorative edging for a finished look.
Cost by Material
Here is an overview of estimated price ranges for some of the most popular backsplash materials, including installation:
- Ceramic tile – $10-$50 per sq. ft. installed
- Inexpensive, easy to install
- Wide range of color/pattern options
- Prone to cracks and stains
- Glass tile – $15-$75 per sq. ft. installed
- Reflective, shiny surface
- Prone to cracks and scratches
- Grout can discolor
- Metal – $15-$150 per sq. ft. installed
- Durable and water-resistant
- Usually requires special cutting tools
- Prone to scratches and dents
- Can dent from direct high heat exposure
- Stainless steel – $40-$100 per sq. ft. installed
- Resilient, easy to clean finish
- Modern, sleek look
- Can be scratched or dented
- Shows fingerprints easily
- Not ideal for high heat areas
- Mosaic tile – $10-$50 per sq. ft. installed
- Intricate, artsy designs
- Often handmade or custom
- Challenging installation
- Grout can discolor
- Marble – $40-$150 per sq. ft. installed
- Luxurious, elegant look
- Heat and stain resistant
- Chips and scratches easily
- Regular resealing needed
- Granite – $60-$150 per sq. ft. installed
- Durable natural stone
- Resists heat, scratches, stains
- Requires sealing
- Can chip if hit
- Stone – $40-$200 per sq. ft. installed
- Natural beauty of real stone
- Travertine, limestone, slate options
- Heat and scratch resistant
- Porous, requires sealing
- Peel-and-stick – $10-$30 per sq. ft. installed
- Very easy DIY installation
- Often plastic or wood looks
- Prone to damage/lifting over time
- Reclaimed wood – $10-$30 per sq. ft. installed
- Rustic, natural appearance
- Eco-friendly reused wood
- Requires precise cutting
- Prone to staining, damage
- Not heat or water resistant
Average Installation Costs
Based on industry data, here are typical backsplash installation costs:
- Low end – $400-500
- Small area, simple tile, DIY
- Mid-range – $1000-$1500
- Medium area, moderately priced tile, professional installation
- High end – $3000+
- Large and/or complex project, premium materials, contractor installed
That breaks down to around $10-$25 per square foot for installation costs for a typical professionally installed tile backsplash. Glass, metal, or stone tiles on the higher end of that range, budget ceramic or peel-and-stick on the lower end.
Always get multiple estimates before starting a backsplash installation or remodel project. Many factors can influence pricing. Carefully review what is included – some contractors charge extra for tile cutting, grouting, preparation work, etc. Make sure you understand what the quote covers.
DIY Backsplash Installation Costs
For a DIY backsplash makeover, your main expenses will be materials. Assume spending:
- $5-$20 per sq. ft. for the backsplash tile or panels
- $40-$60 for tile adhesive and grout
- $30-40 for sealing and caulk
- $100+ for specialty tools like a tile cutter and adhesive trowels
Factor in another $100-$200 for incidental supplies – safety gear, drop cloths, buckets, sponges, etc.
Beyond these direct costs, evaluate how much your time is worth for the labor itself. While DIY can save on contractor fees, tile installation is tricky. Watch online tutorials to gauge your comfort level before committing.
Always add an extra 10-20% to your DIY budget for mistakes and rework. The initial materials and tools investment can add up fast.
Backsplash Maintenance Costs
Keep in mind – installing a backsplash is only part of the cost equation. You’ll also have ongoing maintenance:
- Sealing and caulking – $200 every 2-3 years
- Grout cleaning – From $150 yearly
- Polishing metal or stone – From $100 yearly
- Replacing broken tiles – At least $50 – $200+ per tile
- Re-grouting – From $250 every 5-7 years
Factor long-term upkeep into your backsplash material selection. More durable materials like granite require less frequent maintenance for scratches, cracks, and water damage.
Should I Redo My Backsplash?
Given the costs involved, here are some signs it’s time to redo your backsplash:
- Outdated color scheme or style
- Fading, yellowing, or stained grout lines
- Cracked, broken, or missing tiles
- Damage from moisture or heat
- Damage around faucets or appliances
- Desire to change kitchen aesthetic
Updating a backsplash can entirely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. It also protects walls and increases your home’s value.
If your backsplash is in good condition structurally but you want to refresh the appearance, consider regrouting or painting the tiles first. This provides a cheaper facelift.
But if the backsplash tile or grout is deteriorating, a redo project may be worthwhile, especially if aligning with bigger kitchen remodels.
Hiring a Contractor vs. DIY Backsplash
Deciding between a professional backsplash installation or DIY project depends on your budget, skills, and time commitment.
Benefits of Hiring a Contractor
Hiring a backsplash installation pro ensures a high-quality result. The benefits of hiring a contractor include:
- Expertise with materials – Pros have experience with intricate tile patterns, specialty grouting, and finishing. Most DIYers don’t have the specialized tools and skills for working with metal, glass, or stone.
- Precise cuts – Contractors have tile cutters and tools to make accurate mitered edges and customized pieces you can’t produce yourself.
- Smooth installation – Professionals know all the tricks for proper tile prep, setting, leveling, and grouting for a seamless final look.
- Wall preparation – Contractors will ensure walls are properly prepped and reinforced to support the backsplash long-term.
- Code compliance – Licensed professionals guarantee all electrical and plumbing modifications meet local regulations.
- Warranties – Many contractors provide 1-5 year installation warranties and protect against defects.
- Time savings – Hiring a pro gets the project done much faster.
Benefits of DIY Installation
While DIY backsplash projects require more work, the advantages include:
- Cost savings – You avoid paying for professional installer labor fees.
- Customization – You control every design decision, color choice, and tile placement.
- Learning experience – You gain transferrable skills in tile setting, grouting, tiling around obstacles, etc.
- Satisfaction – Successfully installing your own backsplash is tremendously rewarding.
Assess your abilities honestly before committing to a DIY backsplash. While tutorials make it look straight-forward, intricate tile work is easy to mess up. Many DIYers end up calling in a contractor (and paying extra) to fix installation mistakes.
Carefully consider the effort involved before taking on a backsplash project yourself. There is a learning curve.
Preparing for a Backsplash Installation
Proper planning and preparation ensures your backsplash installation goes smoothly, whether DIY or hiring a pro. Here are some top tips:
- Have contractor provide a detailed quote outlining exactly what is covered. Get quotes from 3+ companies.
- For DIY, practice tile cutting beforehand on scrap materials. Invest in quality tools.
- Empty the counters and protect surrounding surfaces with drop cloths. Remove existing backsplash carefully to avoid damage.
- Clean walls thoroughly and fill any holes or imperfections for a smooth surface to tile onto.
- Lay out your tile design ahead of time in a mock-up for accurate measurements and cuts. Leave 1/8” joints between tiles.
- Follow all manufacturer instructions precisely for adhesive, grout, caulk, and sealant. Don’t rush curing times.
- Start installation in the least visible corner or edge. Dry fit tiles first before applying any adhesive.
- Use painter’s tape and spacers to keep tile joints uniform. Carefully inspect for any raised or uneven tiles before grouting.
- Seal and polish grout lines once completely cured. Use caulk where the backsplash meets countertops or other surfaces.
- Do a final clean-up of tile surfaces and grout haze once installation is complete.
Following these backsplash installation best practices will help ensure you have a stunning, long-lasting accent wall that enhances your kitchen’s style and function. Investing in the right materials and taking the time to properly prepare means you’ll enjoy a beautiful backsplash you can admire for years to come.
FAQs about Redoing a Backsplash
Here are some frequently asked questions about redoing a kitchen backsplash:
How long does it take to redo a backsplash?
The timeline depends on the scope of the project, but allow at least 2-5 days with a contractor. DIY projects often take 2-3 weeks working on weekends.
Can I install a backsplash over existing tile?
It is possible to install a new backsplash over the old, but this is generally not recommended. The extra layer of tile can cause adhesion issues down the line. It’s best to remove the old backsplash completely first.
What’s the easiest backsplash tile to install?
Ceramic, porcelain, or mosaic sheets are easiest for beginner DIY. Peel-and-stick vinyl backsplashes are quickest. Avoid natural stone or glass for first timers.
How do I cut backsplash tile?
Use a wet saw with a diamond blade. Mark cuts precisely with painter’s tape and ruler. For circular holes, use a tile bit drill attachment. Use a grinder for tricky curved or angled cuts.
How do you attach a backsplash to drywall?
On drywall, apply a cement backer board first, secured with screws. This provides a water-resistant base. Then attach tile using adhesive mortar combed onto the backer board.
How do I choose a backsplash color?
Pick a backsplash that ties into your cabinetry, countertops, and flooring while adding contrast. Warm earth tones, green, blue, black, white, and gray are versatile options that complement most schemes.
How long does backsplash tile adhesive take to dry?
Tile mortar adhesive dries quickly, but wait 24-48 hours before grouting or walking on the tiles. Wait 7 days before heavy use or additional installations on top.
Enhance Your Kitchen with a New Backsplash
Redoing your backsplash offers an opportunity to give your kitchen just the facelift you need. By reviewing your goals, budget, and the factors that influence cost, you can determine the investment that makes sense for an impactful kitchen upgrade. Whether applying new grout, painting existing tile, or a full backsplash replacement, ensure you prepare the space properly for long-lasting results. With strategic planning and skilled installation, you can enjoy a stunning new backsplash that makes your kitchen shine.