How Much to Replace Kitchen Backsplash

Replacing your kitchen backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. However, before taking on a backsplash replacement project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget accordingly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the main factors that influence backsplash replacement cost and provide typical price ranges so you know what to expect.

What is a Backsplash?

A backsplash is a protective surface installed on the wall behind a countertop, stove, or sink. Backsplashes are typically made of tile, metal, glass, or other water-resistant materials. Not only do they serve a functional purpose by preventing water damage, they also provide an opportunity to add visual interest and personality to your kitchen design.

The most common location for a backsplash is behind the kitchen sink and stove. However, they can also be installed behind bathroom sinks and counters. The key is choosing a material that will stand up to the type of splashes and spills that will occur in that area.

Why Replace a Backsplash?

There are several reasons you may want to replace your existing backsplash:

Update the Look

Over time, backsplash styles can start to feel dated. Replacing your backsplash offers an easy way to update the look of your kitchen by selecting a new tile pattern, texture, or color. It can make the space feel fresh and modern without requiring a full kitchen remodel.

Correct Installation Issues

Sometimes backsplashes were poorly installed or have grout/caulking issues. This allows moisture to get behind the backsplash and cause damage over time. Replacing it gives you a chance to correctly install a new backsplash.

Match Other Updates

If you’re remodeling other parts of the kitchen like the countertops or cabinets, you may want to replace the backsplash so it coordinates.

Fix Damaged Areas

Backsplashes can become cracked or stained over the years. It’s easier to replace the entire backsplash rather than trying to patch damaged sections.

Create a Focal Point

The backsplash is a great spot to incorporate colorful tile, interesting patterns, or textural elements. Updating it allows you to create a focal point and add visual interest.

Factors That Impact Backsplash Replacement Cost

Several key factors determine how much it will cost to replace your existing backsplash:

Type of Material

The material you choose for the new backsplash will significantly impact the total project cost. Tile is the most popular choice because of the wide variety of styles and price points. But other materials like stainless steel, glass tile, and natural stone tend to be more expensive.


The complexity of the backsplash design will affect labor time and material requirements. A simple subway tile layout will be quicker to install than a mosaic pattern or inset designs. The amount of bordering and accent tiles will also impact cost.

Size of the Area

The total square footage that needs tiling will determine how much material is required. Larger kitchens with more counter space mean you’ll need more tile.

Labor Costs

Backsplash installation is typically handled by a general contractor, tile setter, or handyman. Labor will likely be your biggest expense for the project. The installer’s hourly rate and the estimated time it will take to complete will depend on the factors above.

Demolition/Disposal Fees

You’ll need to factor in fees for safely removing and disposing of the old backsplash prior to installation. This prep work is important for achieving proper adhesion.

Additional Modifications

Sometimes other updates are needed before installing the new backsplash, like redoing the drywall or plumbing improvements. This will add to the project costs.

With these factors in mind, let’s look at typical backsplash replacement cost ranges.

Typical Backsplash Replacement Costs

It’s difficult to provide exact universal costs for backsplash installation since there are many variables at play. Here are some typical price ranges you can expect:

  • Low end: Starting around $350 for a simple DIY project in a small area using basic tile and minimal labor.
  • Mid-range: $750 – $1500 for a medium-sized project with standard tile installation by a professional. Includes average demolition, materials, and labor.
  • High end: $2000 – $3000+ for a larger or more complex project using high-end tile and detailed designs requiring significant labor.

To give you a better idea, here are some rough estimates based on square footage:

  • 10 sq ft backsplash – $300 to $700
  • 30 sq ft backsplash – $800 to $2000
  • 50 sq ft backsplash – $1200 to $3000

Keep in mind, even a small backsplash project can exceed $1000+ when you factor in quality tile, skilled installation, and multiple days of labor.

Get free estimates from at least 3 contractors before setting your budget. Next we’ll look more closely at material and labor costs.

Backsplash Tile Costs

The tile you select is a major component of the project budget. Prices per square foot can range from $2 per square foot on the low end to $50+ per square foot for high-end tile:

  • Ceramic tile – $2 to $10 per sq ft
  • Porcelain tile – $8 to $20 per sq ft
  • Glass tile – $15 to $25 per sq ft
  • Mosaic tile – $5 to $15 per sq ft
  • Metal tile – $15 to $30 per sq ft
  • Stone tile – $15 to $50 per sq ft
  • Hardwood tile – $5 to $20 per sq ft

Keep in mind, costs for accent tiles, borders, trim pieces, and other accessories will be in addition to the main tile square footage. Be sure to add an extra 10-15% to your budget for incidentals.

You can save money by using basic white 3”x6” subway tile or 4.25”x4.25” square ceramic tiles which start around $5 per square foot. Mosaics, large format tiles, and natural stone will be much higher.

Also factor in additional materials like thinset mortar, grout, sealant, tile spacers, and tools. Your tile supplier can provide a total materials estimate.

Backsplash Labor Costs

Assuming you don’t want to tackle the project yourself, professional installation will be your biggest expense. Labor rates typically range from $50 to $100 per hour. The total time required will depend on the size of the job and complexity of the design.

Here are rough estimates for installation only:

  • Small project (5-10 sq ft) – 8-10 hours at $50/hour = $400 to $500
  • Medium project (10-25 sq ft) – 16-24 hours at $75/hour = $1200 to $1800
  • Large project (25+ sq ft) – 32+ hours at $100/hour = $3200+

Demolition and prep work also takes time. Some pros charge hourly for this while others include it in the overall project quote. Be sure to get all pricing details in writing up front.

Many tile installers have minimum job requirements, such as a half or full day of work. Keep this in mind for small backsplash projects.

Cost to Remove Existing Backsplash

Before the new backsplash goes up, you need to tear out and dispose of the old one. Some tile professionals include demolition and prep in their price quotes. If not, be prepared to budget the following:

  • $150 to $300 for demolition – The rate is usually hourly and depends on how difficult the old tile is to remove.
  • $25 to $100+ for disposal fees – You’ll need to haul old tile debris away to a dump. Fees vary by local rates.

Should You Do It Yourself?

Installing a tile backsplash is a beginner DIY project, but it’s still challenging. With proper planning and patience, you can save on labor costs. Expect it to take 30 hours or more for a first timer.

The right tools (tile cutter, mixing paddles, spacers, grout float, etc.) will make it easier, though the initial investment is around $200.

Watch online tutorials to learn proper thinset application techniques. Taking your time is key for straight, properly spaced tiles. Applying grout is also trickier than it looks.

Before attempting a DIY backsplash, be sure you can:

  • Invest several days into the project
  • Do careful measurements
  • Cut tile cleanly
  • Work off a tile spacer grid
  • Apply thinset and grout properly
  • Handle the mess/dust

DIY is rewarding but be realistic before committing. Paying a pro may be worth it for large or intricate backsplash projects.

How Long Does It Take To Replace a Backsplash?

Another factor that affects overall cost is the project timeline. The amount of labor time equates to how many days or weeks the project will take. Here is a rough timeline from demolition to completion:

  • Demolition & Prep: 1-2 days to tear out old backsplash and prep the surface
  • Installation: 2-5 days depending on size of project and tile complexity
  • Grouting/Finishing: 1-2 days after tile is set
  • Curing and Sealing: Let thinset and grout fully cure for 24-48 hours before sealing
  • Total Time: Small projects around 1 week. Larger complex jobs 2 weeks or more

The tile setting process itself can’t be rushed. Thinset mortar needs to dry between rows and grout needs ample curing time.

Should You Replace the Backsplash When Remodeling the Kitchen?

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel involving the countertops, cabinets, or appliances, it’s smart to include backsplash replacement in the project scope.

The existing backsplash likely won’t match your new kitchen components. And since the backsplash is linked functionally and visually to counters and cabinets, you’ll get a more cohesive look by replacing it.

Be sure your contractor provides a separate line item quote for the backsplash portion so you know the specific cost.

Ideally start the backsplash installation after countertops go in so the height aligns correctly. The new backsplash can be the finishing design touch that ties the whole new kitchen together.

Upgrading Your Backsplash on a Budget

If your current backsplash is in good shape functionally but you want to update the look, consider these budget-friendly options:

  • Regrout/recaulk – Freshen up existing grout lines and caulking for under $50
  • Whitewash tile – Paint tiles white for an airy look with $30 enamel paint
  • Stick-on backsplash – Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles cost around $5 per sq ft
  • Contact paper – Cover backsplash in trendy contact paper for $20
  • Removable wallpaper – Self-adhesive wallpaper rolls cost $25+

With minimal effort, you can give your existing backsplash a whole new look for less than $100.

Hiring a Backsplash Installation Contractor

Unless you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need to hire a contractor for the installation. Here are tips for finding the right pro:

  • Get recommendations – Talk to friends, read online reviews. Make sure they have experience with backsplash projects.
  • Verify licensing & insurance – Ensure they are properly licensed and insured for liability and workers comp.
  • Check their background – Do they have training credentials from the National Tile Contractors Association?
  • Ask about experience – How long have they been specializing in tile work? Do they have a portfolio?
  • Get 3+ quotes – Always get multiple estimates to compare rates. Make sure bids are based on the same scope of work.
  • Confirm timeline – Ask how long the project will take from start to finish. Get it in writing.
  • Get a contract – Require a written contract that outlines the tile plan, costs, timeline, and contingencies.

Hiring a qualified tile installation contractor is worth the investment to ensure your backsplash replacement project goes smoothly from start to finish.


Does backsplash height matter?

Standard backsplash height is 4 inches above the countertop. But you can customize it based on your cabinets, stove height, and preferences. Make sure your contractor checks measurements so the new backsplash aligns properly.

Should backsplash tile match floor tile?

Matching your backsplash tile to floor tile can create a cohesive look. However, it’s more common to treat them as separate elements. Mixing and matching tile gives you more design flexibility. Just ensure the styles complement each other.

Do backsplashes need special grout?

Regular sanded grout works for most backsplash installations. But you may want to use non-sanded grout for grout lines 1/8 inch or smaller. Epoxy grout is more stain-resistant and ideal for heavy use kitchen areas.

Can I install backsplash tile over existing tile?

It is possible to install a new backsplash directly over the old one. But this can create adhesion issues down the road since mortar sticks better to drywall than tile. It’s best to remove old tile prior to installing the new.

How do I waterproof drywall behind backsplash?

Waterproofing helps protect drywall from splashes. Either use a membrane like RedGard or apply a couple coats of drywall sealer. This should be done before installing new backsplash tile.


The cost to replace a kitchen backsplash runs $300 to $3000+ depending on the size of your project and materials used. Key factors include tile choice, overall square footage, labor rate, demo/disposal fees, and additional modifications required. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of DIY vs professional installation. Be sure to get multiple quotes before setting your budget. With some planning and smart choices, you can control backsplash replacement costs and get the kitchen update you’ve been dreaming about.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Kitchen Backsplash?

Installing a brand new kitchen backsplash is one of the most effective ways to update the look and function of your space. The costs vary widely based on the size of your kitchen, the materials used, and who does the installation. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the factors that influence backsplash installation costs and what you can expect to budget for your project.

What Does a Backsplash Do?

Before looking at the costs to install one, it helps to understand the purpose of a backsplash. As the name implies, a backsplash is installed onto the wall “splash zone” behind sinks, stoves, and countertops. It serves multiple functions:

Protects the Wall – Backsplash tile or other waterproof materials prevent moisture damage and stains on the drywall. This saves you from costly repairs down the road.

Easiness to Clean – Backsplashes create a smooth, wipeable surface. Food splatter and grease are easy to clean compared to porous drywall.

Stylish Focal Point – Backsplashes are highly visible, so they provide an opportunity to add eye-catching designs, colors, and textures to your kitchen decor.

Ties the Room Together – Matching your backsplash to your countertops or other finishes gives the entire space a pulled-together look.

Cost Influencers

Several factors determine how much you’ll pay for a new kitchen backsplash installation:


The overall size and shape of your backsplash area impacts material requirements and labor time. Long spans or angled kitchens require more tile-cutting and careful layout.

Tile Choice

Ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, and stone tile range from $5 to $50+ per square foot. More elaborate tile patterns also take more time to install correctly.

Grout vs Groutless

Groutless tiles (peel-and-stick, floating panels) are quicker to install than traditional grouted tile. But groutless materials are also typically more expensive.


Accent tiles, trim pieces, decorative inserts, and borders add cost in both materials and labor time.

Demolition & Disposal

Removing an old backsplash needs to be factored into the total project budget, along with proper debris disposal fees.

Electrical Modifications

Moving outlets or installing backsplash lighting adds steps. New GCFI outlets near sinks or stoves may be needed to bring things up to code.

Contractor vs DIY

Hiring a backsplash installation contractor typically costs $50-$100 per hour. DIY is possible for motivated beginners but requires patience.

Now that we’ve covered the main elements that influence cost, let’s look at typical price ranges.

Typical Backsplash Installation Costs

It’s impossible to give universal backsplash installation costs due to significant variability in materials and labor expenses. However, here are some typical ranges:

  • Small DIY project – $200 to $500
  • Medium professional install – $1000 to $2000
  • Large high-end project – $3000+

For a 10 square foot backsplash area behind a single sink, you can expect to budget:

  • Economy tile & DIY labor – $300 to $700
  • Mid-grade tile & professional install – $800 to $1500
  • Designer tile & complex patterns – $2000+

Get free estimates from contractors to compare rates for your specific project. Now let’s examine material and installation costs more closely.

Backsplash Tile Costs

One major component of your backsplash budget is the tile itself. Material costs per square foot vary based on type:

  • Porcelain, ceramic, mosaic – $5 to $25/sq ft
  • Marble, granite, slate – $15 to $50/sq ft
  • Glass, metal – $15 to $30/sq ft
  • Peel-and-stick – $5 to $10/sq ft