Kitchen backsplashes not only serve as an attractive focal point in your cooking space, but they protect the walls from water damage, oil splatters, and stains. Over time, backsplashes can become outdated, damaged or stained. Replacing them can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. But before taking on a backsplash replacement project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget appropriately.
Factors That Affect Backsplash Replacement Cost
There are several key factors that impact the total cost to replace a kitchen backsplash:
The material you choose for the new backsplash will significantly affect the price. Materials like tile, metal, glass and stone come in a wide range of quality levels and costs. More exotic or intricate materials will be on the higher end of the cost spectrum.
Some popular backsplash materials and average installed costs:
- Ceramic tile: $10-$40 per sq. ft.
- Porcelain or stone tile: $15-$50 per sq. ft.
- Glass tile: $20-$60 per sq. ft.
- Stainless steel: $35-$75 per sq. ft.
- Copper: $100-$300 per sq. ft.
- Natural stone: $40-$100 per sq. ft.
Size of the Backsplash Area
The overall size of the backsplash in your kitchen will determine how much material is required and the amount of labor for installation. Standard backsplashes range from 4-6 feet in height. The amount of linear footage that needs covered will multiply the per square foot price of your chosen material and installation.
If accessing the backsplash area requires demolition of cabinets, countertops or appliances, this can add complexity and labor costs. Simple swaps of backsplash material behind an existing sink, stove or installed shelves will be cheaper than if major features need removed and later re-installed.
While tile and stone need mortared to the wall, some materials like stainless steel or glass mosaic sheets can be adhered directly over existing surfaces. This can save time and labor costs versus “setting” traditional tile in mud. The ease or complexity of the install impacts price.
Special Shaping or Patterns
Intricate backsplash designs, mosaics, special edge treatments, mixing multiple materials or introducing 3D elements will increase the installation time and expertise required. Simple uniform squares or rectangles are the most budget friendly.
Additional Kitchen Updates
Sometimes a backsplash replacement happens in conjunction with other kitchen remodels like new countertops or cabinets. Combining projects may yield some cost savings if multiple tradespeople are already working on the space. But additional upgrades will also increase the total budget for your kitchen makeover.
Now that we’ve reviewed the key factors that change the cost of a new backsplash, let’s look at typical price ranges you can expect.
Backsplash Replacement Cost by Size of Project
On average, a 5×8 foot kitchen backsplash will cost $1,500 to $4,000 to replace, with most homeowners spending $2,200 to $2,800 on average for a tile backsplash installed. Here are typical costs based on common backsplash dimensions:
Average Cost for 25 sq.ft. Backsplash
This is suitable for a small kitchenette or galley kitchen with lower 4 foot height splashes behind a compact sink and stove area.
- Tile: $250 to $1,000
- Glass tile: $500 to $1,500
- Metal: $875 to $1,875
- Stone: $1,000 to $2,500
Average Cost for 40 sq.ft. Backsplash
Fits a medium 5 foot wide kitchen with standard height backsplashes behind a single sink and range/oven.
- Tile: $400 to $1,600
- Glass tile: $800 to $2,400
- Metal: $1,400 to $3,000
- Stone: $1,600 to $4,000
Average Cost for 60 sq.ft. Backsplash
Works for a larger 8 foot wide kitchen with full 4-6 foot high backsplashes spanning a double sink and stove/oven area.
- Tile: $600 to $2,400
- Glass tile: $1,200 to $3,600
- Metal: $2,100 to $4,500
- Stone: $2,400 to $6,000
Average Cost for 100 sq.ft. Backsplash
Covers a very spacious cook space with backsplash continuing behind counters, islands, desks and bar seating areas.
- Tile: $1,000 to $4,000
- Glass tile: $2,000 to $6,000
- Metal: $3,500 to $7,500
- Stone: $4,000 to $10,000
In addition to the backsplash materials and installation costs, also plan for expenses like new drywall, sealants, grout and mortar when budgeting your backsplash replacement project.
Should I Just Paint My Existing Backsplash?
If your current backsplash is structurally sound but dated or dingy, one lower cost option is repainting it instead of a full replacement. Painting over existing tile, plastic laminate or wood with specialty bonding primers and acrylic paints can give it a fresh facelift for several hundred dollars instead of thousands.
Benefits of painting a backsplash versus replacing:
- Much cheaper – $300 to $800 versus $2,000+ for new materials
- Faster project that takes 1-2 days rather than 4+ days for full replacement
- No demolition or debris removal needed
- Can be done as a DIY project to further reduce costs
However, painting a backsplash has some downsides to consider:
- Doesn’t fix any functional issues like cracked or missing grout
- Paint may not adhere well or last over time
- Glossy surfaces like ceramic tile are harder to paint
- Tough to reverse if you don’t like the painted look
Overall, a painted backsplash can be a short term, affordable solution. But full replacement is better for an updated look that will last.
DIY or Hire a Pro: What’s More Cost Effective?
Is it worth trying to replace a backsplash yourself to save on labor, or best to hire a pro? Consider the following:
Reasons to Hire a Professional
- Experts get the project done faster. DIY takes 4-6x longer!
- Professionals have the right tools and skills for a higher quality job.
- You avoid mistakes that can ruin surfaces or require expensive changes.
- Contractors have sources for wholesale materials to reduce supply costs.
- Experienced installers can handle tricky layouts and special materials.
While pro installation has added costs, it often yields better results that can justify the price premium over DIY projects.
Reasons to DIY the Project
- Big cost savings – labor makes up 50-70% of pro quotes.
- Flexibility over timing and process.
- Opportunity to customize with special treatments.
- Learn a new skill and the satisfaction of completing your own work.
DIY is the most affordable route overall. But be realistic on your skill level, and remember that backsplash demolition and installation is labor intensive!
Best Practices to Save on Costs
Whether you DIY or hire out your kitchen backsplash replacement, some tips to keep the project on budget include:
- Select affordable materials: Stick to basic ceramic or porcelain tile rather than premium stone or mosaic sheets.
- Use existing layout: Keep the original backsplash footprint vs. enlarging it.
- Install simply: Avoid complex patterns that take more precision to install cleanly.
- Work over sound surfaces: Add layers on top of existing backsplashes when possible vs. new drywall.
- Schedule smartly: Have the work done in conjunction with other kitchen upgrades or repairs.
- Hire a handyperson: Consider skilled tradespeople rather than expensive specialized tile installers.
- Do demo yourself: Saving on demolition and prep work saves labor dollars.
With strategic planning, it is possible to achieve an updated backsplash look while taking a frugal approach to replacing your existing kitchen backsplash.
Backsplash Replacement Cost FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the cost to replace a kitchen backsplash:
How much does it cost per square foot to replace a kitchen backsplash?
On average, expect to pay $10-$50 per square foot for new backsplash materials, then an additional $5-$20 per square foot for professional installation. Simple ceramic tile can be as little at $15 per sq.ft total, while premium materials like natural stone, metal or glass tile can be $75 per sq.ft or more installed.
Is it cheaper to replace the whole backsplash at once?
Yes, doing the entire backsplash area at one time is more affordable than a phased approach. You save on labor costs by only needing one install of prep materials like mortar and grout. Bulk orders of backsplash tiles are also cheaper per piece versus multiple small purchases.
Should I just redo part of my existing backsplash?
Spot repairs are ideal if only portions are damaged or stained beyond surface cleaning. But partial updates to tile look mismatched. If more than 25% needs work, consider replacing the entire backsplash for a cohesive finish.
What upgrades add the most value for resale?
While costs are higher, backsplashes using materials like marble, glass and stainless steel add more visual appeal and desirability for potential home buyers versus basic tile. They also give a more updated, modern look which appeals to buyers.
Can I install a backsplash over existing tile?
In some cases, new tile or panels can be installed over old backsplashes. This saves time and money on demo costs. However, covering over more than one layer is not advised as the weight can compromise adhesion. Removing old tile for a fresh surface is best for durability.
Is DIY backsplash installation difficult?
For an experienced DIYer, installing backsplash tile is very attainable. But tasks like meticulously leveling for even coverage, properly spreading mortar, cutting rounded edges, and wide grout lines take skill. Patience is also required as it’s time consuming. Hiring a pro guarantees quality results.
The Bottom Line
Budgeting $1,500 to $3,000 for the average kitchen backsplash replacement will allow for new tile installation or a quality alternate material like glass or metal. Higher end slate, marble or travertine tiles can multiply the price but add luxury. Carefully compare the costs of different backsplash materials against the size of your kitchen. An experienced contractor can also provide a free quote tailored your specific backsplash size and layout. With some smart planning, you can achieve the fresh backsplash look you want at a reasonable price.