How Much to Retile Kitchen Backsplash

Retiling your kitchen backsplash can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. However, before undertaking a backsplash retiling project, it’s important to understand the costs involved so you can budget appropriately. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how much it costs to retile a kitchen backsplash.


The backsplash is one of the most visible parts of any kitchen. Covering the wall space between countertops and cabinets, the backsplash serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. Aesthetically, it provides an opportunity to add visual interest, color, and texture. Functionally, it protects the walls from splashes, spills, and stains.

Over time, backsplashes can become outdated, damaged, or stained. Retiling the backsplash is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to update the look of your kitchen. By retiling, you can achieve a fresh new backsplash design without undertaking a full kitchen remodel.

Below, we’ll explore the various factors that influence the cost of retiling a backsplash. We’ll provide average price ranges and tips to help keep your project affordable. Whether you’re retiling a small backsplash over a stove or a full wall of tile, read on to learn just how much it costs to retile a kitchen backsplash.

Cost Factors

Many variables affect the total cost of retiling a kitchen backsplash. Key factors include:

  • Tile selection: The type, size, texture, and quality of the new tile. More exotic, high-end tiles cost more.
  • Layout complexity: Simple layouts with big uniform tiles are cheaper than intricate patterns or mosaics.
  • Size of the area: Total square footage to be tiled.
  • Prep work required: Amount of time/work needed to remove old backsplash and prepare the surface.
  • Design accents: Specialty tiles for borders, niches or trim raise costs.
  • Professional vs DIY: Hiring a pro tilesman is more expensive than DIY.
  • Geographic location: Labor and material costs vary regionally.

We’ll expand on each of these factors in more detail throughout the article. Keep reading for money-saving tips on material selection, contractor hiring, and DIY installation.

Tile Material Costs

One of the biggest cost factors in a backsplash retiling project is the tile itself. Tile comes in a vast range of materials, sizes, shapes, textures and colors. Simple, inexpensive tile may run $2 – $5 per square foot. For high-end tile with special finishes or designs, costs can exceed $50 per square foot.

Some of the most common backsplash tile materials include:

  • Ceramic: Traditional and affordable option available in gloss, matte and textured finishes. Cost per sq ft: $2 – $10
  • Porcelain: More durable and water-resistant than ceramic. Cost per sq ft: $3 – $15
  • Glass: Adds a shiny, sleek contemporary look. Cost per sq ft: $10 – $20
  • Metal: Stainless steel, copper, etc. for an industrial vibe. Cost per sq ft: $15 – $50
  • Mosaic: Small tiles mounted in sheets create intricate patterns. Cost per sq ft: $5 – $20
  • Stone: Natural products like marble, granite, or slate. Cost per sq ft: $15 – $50+
  • Engineered quartz: Offers the look of natural stone without the maintenance. Cost per sq ft: $20 – $50

To calculate the total tile cost for your project:

Tile Cost per sq ft x Total sq ft of backsplash area = Total tile material cost

Also budget extra for accent tiles like borders or niches. We’ll break down total project costs in more detail later in the article.

Backsplash Sizing

The overall size of the backsplash area significantly impacts retiling costs. Larger backsplash installations require more tile material, take more time to demolish and install, and therefore cost more overall.

Some typical backsplash sizing scenarios include:

  • 4 inch backsplash: Simple strip of tile along countertops behind sinks or stoves.
  • Partial backsplash: Tile covering the wall around the cooking surface, approx 4 ft x 2-3 ft.
  • Full backsplash: Tile extending to the bottom of wall cabinets, typically about 4 ft high.
  • Full wall: Tile covering the entire wall from counter to ceiling.
  • Multiple walls: Sprawling tile design spanning multiple walls.

Let’s examine the tile quantity needed for each of these backsplash sizes in a typical 10 ft x 10 ft kitchen:

  • 4 inch backsplash = 10 linear feet approx. 7 sq ft
  • Partial backsplash = 40 sq ft
  • Full backsplash = 80 sq ft
  • Full wall = 150 sq ft
  • Multiple walls = 250+ sq ft

The more surface area needing tile, the higher the overall project costs. Be sure to accurately measure your backsplash space before estimating your budget.

Layout Complexity

Simple backsplash designs with large uniform tiles are much more budget-friendly than intricate patterns or mosaics. Complicated layouts require more tile cuts, specialized tools, adhesive, grout, and professional installation expertise.

Some examples of backsplash tile layout patterns include:


  • Single large format tile like subway tile or 12 x 24” ceramic
  • Stacked rectangular tiles
  • Basic brick pattern

These straightforward designs take less time to install.


  • Herringbone
  • Penny tile rounds
  • Intricate mosaics
  • Combining many small mosaic sheets
  • Diagonal set tile
  • Inlaid metals or stone accents
  • Niches or shelves

These intricate layouts have higher material and labor costs.

If aiming for an ornate backsplash design, remember to account for the additional install complexity in your project budget.

Demolition and Prep Work

Before setting new tile, the old backsplash must be demolished and removed. The wall surface then needs to be prepped to create a smooth, even substrate for the new tile.

Time and costs for this prep work depend on:

  • Existing backsplash material: Ceramic tile is firmly bonded with mortar and difficult to remove. Painted drywall can be easily scraped smooth.
  • Condition of existing surface: Severely damaged drywall may need repairs or full replacement.
  • Presence of plumbing fixtures: Working around pipes, valves and outlets adds time.
  • Required wall repairs: Hole patching, drywall replacement, etc.
  • Cleanup needs: Thoroughly removing old mastic adhesive and grout residues.
  • Priming: Applying specialty primers and sealers to prepare the wall for new tile.

Expect demolition and prep to take 15-30% of the total project timeline and costs.

Design Accents

Backsplashes can be spruced up with specialty tiles used as borders, niches, trim pieces or other accents:

  • Borders: Decorative tiles along top, bottom, and side edges of backsplash.
  • Niches: Recessed shelves built into backsplash to hold cookbooks, spices, etc.
  • Trim: Bullnose, chair rail, or decorative tiles that frame the area.
  • Medallions: Focal point mosaic circles.
  • Inserts: Colorful glass, metal or stone tiles placed sporadically in the field.

These details add design interest and customization. However, specialty tiles, niche boxes, and added cuts increase material and installation costs. Keep accents simple if sticking to a tight budget.

Hiring a Professional

Most homeowners hire a professional tiler or contractor to retile their backsplash. Services pros provide include:

  • Demolition of old backsplash
  • Surface prep
  • Planning tile layout
  • Setting tile
  • Grout application
  • Sealing & protection

Pros complete the intensive installation work in far less time than a DIYer, yielding superior results. They also have specialized tools and materials not available to homeowners.

Average pro tiler rates range from $50 – $100 per hour based on experience level and geographic location. Many tilers charge per sq ft installed based on the project scope.

Hiring a pro tilers is more expensive upfront, but can save money by:

  • Ensuring proper installation and preventing do-overs
  • Completing work faster with less mess
  • Allowing homeowners to avoid buying tools or materials

However, if working with a limited budget, a DIY backsplash install is achievable. We’ll cover tips for DIY projects later in the article.

Geographic Location

Tile material and installation costs vary across different regions due to factors like:

  • Labor costs
  • Material shipping expenses
  • Fuel/transportation fees
  • Regional tile grades and brands
  • Contractor supply and demand

Average costs per sq ft installed by location:

  • California: $9 – $20 per sq ft
  • Northeast US: $12 – $18 per sq ft
  • Southern US: $7 – $15 per sq ft
  • Midwestern US: $8 – $12 per sq ft

Labor rates also fluctuate based on if you live in an urban, suburban or rural area. Whenever possible, get multiple bids from tilers in your local market.

Total Project Costs

Now that we’ve examined the many variables that impact backsplash retiling costs, let’s put it all together to estimate total project costs.

The major expenses for a backsplash retiling project include:

  • Tile material
  • Mortar, grout, sealant
  • Tiler/contractor fees OR DIY time investment
  • Rental tools/equipment
  • Surface prep and wall repair materials
  • Disposal fees

Average Cost Ranges:

Here are typical cost ranges for retiling backsplashes of varying sizes:

  • Small 4” backsplash behind a stove or sink: $150 – $500
  • Medium partial backsplash, approx 30-50 sq ft: $500 – $1,500
  • Large full wall backsplash, 80+ sq ft: $2,000 – $5,000
  • Full wall demo and retile: $3,000 – $7,000
  • Multi-wall designer backsplash: $5,000+

As you can see, prices vary widely depending on the scope. Luxury materials like natural stone or detailed layouts also push costs higher.

Saving Money on Backsplash Installation

If your budget is tight, there are ways to complete a backsplash retiling project for less:

  • Select affordable tile material like ceramic instead of natural stone.
  • Use large, uniform tiles rather than intricate mosaics.
  • Look for tile sales at home improvement stores.
  • Consider DIY installation if you have tiling experience.
  • Only demo/replace sections of damaged tile rather than the entire backsplash.
  • Use paint or wallpaper to refresh backsplash appearance rather than new tile.
  • Change the backsplash design from tile to a cheaper material like laminate sheets or metal panels.
  • Only tile a small 4 inch area behind the stove rather than floor-to-ceiling.

Prioritize what matters most – either upgrading the look with nice tiles or professional installation. Trying to save too much on both materials and labor may yield disappointing results.

DIY Backsplash Installation

To complete a backsplash retiling project yourself, you’ll need:


  • Tile and accent materials
  • Mortar or mastic adhesive
  • Grout
  • Trowels, spacers, buckets
  • Grout sealer
  • Drop cloths, rags, sponges
  • Safety gear – gloves, glasses, ear protection


  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Wet saw for cutting tile
  • Mixing paddle or drill attachment
  • Level
  • Carpenter’s square


  • Rotary hammer for demolition
  • Power wet saw for cutting tile

With proper prep work, patience, and attention to detail, homeowners can retile a backsplash DIY. However, first-timers should expect the project to take significantly longer than a pro. Focus on small sections at a time and be diligent about watching online tutorial videos for guidance.

Hiring a Pro Tiler or Contractor

Homeowners with little tiling experience should strongly consider hiring a professional installer for a backsplash retiling project.

Benefits of hiring a pro include:

  • Knowledge of proper installation techniques
  • Efficiency from years of experience
  • Right tools for each job
  • Network of material suppliers
  • Protection against cracked tiles or leaks
  • Ability to create complex patterns

Check tilers’ reviews and examples of past backsplash projects when hiring. Confirm they have experience with your desired tile material and layout aesthetic.

Many general contractors also have tilers on staff or relationships with subcontractors they trust. Learn what services the contractor will provide directly vs subcontracting.

Agree on a payment schedule based on project milestones rather than one lump payment upfront. Holding back the final payment until the job is complete gives recourse should any issues emerge.

Backsplash Installation Process Overview

Whether DIYing or hiring a pro, retiling a backsplash follows a standard process:

  1. Protect surrounding surfaces with drop cloths
  2. Demolish and remove old backsplash tile and adhesive.
  3. Thoroughly clean and smooth the wall surface.
  4. Make any necessary wall repairs and apply sealants/primers.
  5. Plan the tile layout and make any cuts.
  6. Apply mortar adhesive to wall surface.
  7. Place tiles on wall with spacers in between.
  8. Allow tiles to set according to mortar instructions.
  9. Mix and apply grout between tile joints.
  10. Clean any grout residue once dried.
  11. Seal grout and tile surfaces.
  12. Caulk perimeter edges and seal around fixtures.
  13. Enjoy your fresh new backsplash!

Throughout the installation, follow all manufacturer instructions for the products used. Allow adequate drying time between steps. Work carefully and methodically to create a lasting backsplash you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Maintaining and Cleaning the Backsplash

Once your new backsplash is professionally installed or DIYed, maintaining that fresh look is easy:

  • Use a gentle pH-neutral cleaner instead of harsh chemicals.
  • Wipe spills quickly to prevent staining of grout or tile.
  • Re-seal grout annually to protect from moisture damage.
  • Avoid abrasive sponges or cleaning pads.
  • Run water when cleaning to rinse soap residue.
  • Check for any loose or cracked tiles and re-adhere promptly.

With proper care, your newly retiled backsplash will maintain its beauty and function for decades before needing to be redone. Enjoy the process of selecting materials and colors for your redesigned kitchen focal point!

Backsplash Retiling FAQs

Still have questions about retiling your kitchen backsplash? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to retile a backsplash?

For an average 30 sq ft partial wall backsplash, allow 2-3 days total. Demolition and surface prep take 1 day. Installing new tile then takes 1-2 days. Projects with wall repairs or intricate designs take longer.

Can I install backsplash tile over existing tile?

It’s not recommended to install new tile over existing. The layers of mortar will be uneven and likely lead to cracks. Removing old tile completely provides the best subsurface.

Should I remove wallpaper before tiling a backsplash?

Yes, wallpaper (even the paste residue) will impede proper tile bonding. Scrape off all existing layers and provide a clean foundation.

Can backsplashes be tiled DIY?

With proper planning and care, backsplashes can definitely be tiled DIY by homeowners. Watch online tutorials. Start small, work slowly, and ask for help as needed.

Should backsplash tile match countertops?

Matching counters and backsplashes can look cohesive, but it’s not required. Many designs play off the countertop material with complementary or contrasting backsplash tile.

What’s the best grout for kitchen backsplash?

Epoxy grout is best for water-prone kitchen backsplashes. It resists staining, scratches, and moisture better than traditional cement grout.

How high should a backsplash be?

Standard backsplash height is 4 ft from counter to bottom of wall cabinets. Full height backsplashes extend from countertops to ceiling. Partial backsplashes cover a small area behind a stove or sink.


The costs of retiling a kitchen backsplash can range considerably based on the size of the project, tile selections, layout complexity, prep work needed, and DIY vs hiring a pro. Typical price ranges are $500 – $1,500 for a medium sized partial backsplash, and $2,000 – $5,000+ for a full wall backsplash using specialty designer tiles.

Carefully evaluate your goals, tile desires, installation options and budget before embarking on a backsplash retiling project. With proper planning upfront, you can create the refreshed backsplash look you want while avoiding any sticker shock down the road.