How Much to Tile Backsplash in Kitchen – The Complete Guide

Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. Not only are tile backsplashes beautiful, but they are also durable, easy to clean, and resistant to water damage. When budgeting for a kitchen backsplash installation or renovation, one of the biggest questions is how much will it cost?

The cost to tile a backsplash in a kitchen depends on several factors:

Tile Material

The type of tile you select will have a significant impact on the project cost. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most budget-friendly options. While you can find some styles for less than $1 per square foot, most quality ceramic and porcelain tiles will range from $2-$10 per square foot.

More expensive tile materials like stone, glass, and metal tile can cost anywhere from $10 to over $50 per square foot installed. Handmade artisan tiles fall on the higher end of the spectrum.

Some popular backsplash tile material choices include:

  • Ceramic tile: Classic option available in endless colors, styles, and shapes. Budget-friendly at $2-$10 per square foot installed.
  • Porcelain tile: Similar look as ceramic but denser and more durable. Usually $3-$15 per square foot installed.
  • Glass tile: Adds brilliant color and shimmer. Approximately $10-$20 per square foot installed.
  • Metal tile: Modern and sleek metal finishes like stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum. $15-$50 per square foot installed.
  • Stone tile: Elegant natural option like marble, travertine, slate, and granite. $15-$50+ per square foot installed.
  • Mosaic tile: Small tiles mounted to sheets create intricate patterns. $10-$50 per square foot installed.

Tile Size

Smaller tiles like mosaics, 3×6 subway tile, and hexagons will increase the installation cost because they require more grout lines and take longer to install. Larger tiles are quicker and cheaper to install.

12×12 inch tiles or even oversized tiles up to 16×32 inches are popular choices to help minimize the labor expense.

Amount of Tile

The physical size of the backsplash and the square footage needed to cover the area will directly impact the tile cost. Measure the space to determine how many square feet you’ll need to install tile multiplied by the cost per square foot of your tile.

As an example, for a typical 30 inch high backsplash in a 10 foot by 5 foot kitchen, you would need approximately 25 square feet of tile (30inches high x 10 feet long).

If using a tile that costs $5 per square foot, it would cost around $125 in tile (25 sq ft x $5). For a higher end tile at $25 per square foot, that same kitchen would cost around $625 in tile (25 sq ft x $25).


Design Complexity

Simple tile layouts in a grid pattern are the most affordable. Intricate designs, creative shapes, borders, and accent tiles will increase the installation time and materials needed.

Labor Costs

In addition to the tile itself, the cost of hiring a professional tile installer will range from $5-$15 per square foot depending on your area and the complexity of the project. Simple backsplash installations may start around $200-$500 in labor, while more complex tile layouts could be $500 or more.

Additional Costs

  • Grout and thinset to adhere the tile
  • Sealing and grout cleaners
  • Decorative accents like trim pieces or listellos
  • Specialty tools like tile cutters
  • Increased costs if drywall, plumbing, or electrical work is needed

DIY vs Hiring a Professional

Installing a tile backsplash is a beginner-friendly DIY project that can save on the labor expense, but imperfect installations can lead to costly repairs down the road. Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional tile installer to ensure it is done properly, unless you’re comfortable with home improvement projects.

Tips for Budgeting

Here are some tips to help plan your backsplash tile budget:

  • Select mid-range priced tile instead of the cheapest or most expensive options
  • Use large format tiles to minimize installation time
  • Choose simple grid layouts over intricate designs
  • Factor in an extra 10-15% for incidental costs and waste
  • Get 3-4 quotes from tile installation pros before choosing
  • Look for tile sales and discount retailers to save on materials

Average Costs for Kitchen Backsplash Tiling

Based on the factors above, here are some typical price ranges:

  • Small DIY ceramic tile backsplash: Approximately $300-$700
  • Medium porcelain or glass subway tile backsplash: Around $1,000-$2,000
  • Large professionally installed stone or mosaic backsplash: $2,000-$5,000+

No matter your budget, investing in a kitchen backsplash can give you a great return by increasing your home’s value and creating a space you’ll love spending time in. Carefully measure the area, do some research on tiles and costs in your area, and get professional installation quotes to make the most informed decision on how much to invest in your kitchen backsplash project.

Factors That Determine Backsplash Tile Pricing

Installing a new backsplash is one of the most impactful upgrades you can make in a kitchen. Beyond just looking beautiful, a tile backsplash serves the practical purpose of protecting the walls from splashes, spills, steam, and heat.

If you’re ready to tackle a backsplash project, understanding what goes into the costs is helpful for staying on budget. Here are the main factors that will determine the price:

Tile Material

Porcelain, ceramic, glass, metal, and stone tiles range significantly in price from less than $2 per square foot on the low end, up to $50 or more per square foot for premium materials. Even within material types, there are budget and high-end options. The look, quality, and design of the tiles will determine where they fall on that spectrum.

Tile Size

Smaller tiles and mosaics take more time and labor to install, while large format tiles are quicker and easier for backsplash installation. Standard 3×6 or 4×4 inch subway tiles are very affordable, while oversized tiles 12×24 inches or larger are at the higher end.

Amount of Tile Needed

The square footage of your backsplash area will determine how much tile is required. Measure the space carefully to multiply by the price per tile square foot.

Pattern Complexity

Simple designs like bricks or a grid layout are the most budget-friendly. Intricate patterns, creative shapes, mosaics, accents, and borders will increase the installation time and number of tile pieces needed.

Grout, Adhesives, and Supplies

In addition to the tile itself, extras like grout, thinset mortar, spacers, sealants, grouting tools, specialty trim, and backsplash caulk will add to the total project investment, usually an extra 10-15%.

Labor Costs

Depending on your DIY skills, you may incur labor expenses for professional installation. Typical rates range from $5-$15 per square foot based on your region and the complexity of the design.


Depending on the look you love, extras like decorative tile inserts, listellos, mosaic sheets, and metal trim can add style and accent your design but will increase the budget as well.

Additional Repairs

If the existing wall or drywall behind your backsplash needs repairs, prep work and improvements to create a smooth surface will add cost. Electrical or plumbing changes can also add expense if needed.

Backsplash Installation Cost Estimate

To estimate your total backsplash installation cost, follow these steps:

  1. Measure the backsplash area in square feet. Multiply the height x width.
  2. Choose your material and estimate the cost per square foot.
  3. Multiply the square footage by the tile price per square foot.
  4. Add approx. 15% extra for supplies like grout and adhesive.
  5. Get quotes from installers and estimate labor fees of $5-$20 per square foot.
  6. Factor in any additional accessories, improvements, or repairs needed.
  7. Calculate approximately 10%-15% extra as a buffer.

This will provide an approximate total budget for your tile backsplash installation. Get multiple detailed quotes before making final decisions.

Tips for Keeping Backsplash Costs Affordable

If you’re on a tight budget for your kitchen, there are several ways to get the look of upscale tile backsplashes while keeping costs in check:

  • Select ceramic or porcelain tile instead of natural stone or glass, which can save significantly on the tile costs.
  • Choose basic colors like white, gray, or black subway tiles rather than handpainted or artisan tiles.
  • Use tiles sized larger than 4×4 inches, such as a classic 3×6 subway tile or 12×12 tiles, to speed up installation time and labor costs.
  • Opt for the most simple layout possible, like a basic grid pattern. Intricate designs require more tile cuts and time to install.
  • If hiring a pro, find out if they offer package deals on installation. Some companies offer significantly lower per square foot rates if they handle the entire project from start to finish.
  • Purchase tiles and supplies directly from home improvement stores or tile suppliers instead of custom orders through design studios or showrooms.
  • Install backsplash tile yourself instead of hiring a professional installer. This is a DIY-friendly project for many homeowners.
  • Shop end of season clearance sales and discount retailers. Dented or imperfect tiles can provide big savings if you don’t mind minor cosmetic flaws.

With some savvy planning and budget-friendly tile selections, you can achieve the backsplash of your dreams at very little cost. Focus on clean, classic designs with affordable tile sizes and neutral colors from home improvement stores to reduce the price.

Enhancing Your Kitchen on a Budget

Remodeling an entire kitchen can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. However, you can make big visual impacts with small budget updates like:

Painting Cabinets

New cabinet paint in a bold, modern color transforms the look for less than $100.

Adding Molding

Install decorative trim and molding details for classy style on a budget.

Updating Hardware

New knobs, pulls, and handles refresh cabinets for just a few dollars each.

Hanging Shelves

Floating shelves provide pretty display space for dishes and decor.

Changing Fixtures

New pendant lights and faucets update the kitchen’s style affordably.

Applying Backsplash

Tile or peel-and-stick backsplash makeovers are DIY-friendly and affordable.

Getting Organized

Baskets, containers, drawer organizers streamline inside cabinets.

Painting Islands

Adding a bright color to a kitchen island makes it the focal point.

Refinishing Floors

Resurfacing and refinishing worn floors helps them look like new again without replacement costs.

Review your kitchen layout and determine which small updates could make the biggest visual impact for your available budget. Simple upgrades like adding a backsplash, painting cabinets, or hanging open shelving can entirely change the feeling of your space.

Backsplash Ideas on a Budget

If your heart is set on a backsplash but funds are limited, consider these creatively frugal ideas:

Peel-and-Stick Backsplash

Adhesive backsplashes come in many styles from marble and brick looks starting around $10 per square foot, providing an easy and affordable DIY solution.

Painted Backsplash

Choose a coordinating paint color to create a simple painted backsplash on drywall. Use tape and paint edging tools to get sharp lines.

Contact Paper Backsplash

For a temporary solution, contact paper with tile, stone, or wood looks provides an inexpensive peel-and-stick backsplash alternative.

Remnant Backsplash

Checking for tile remnants, leftovers, and discounted overstock tile can provide big savings on quality materials for significant lower prices.

Salvaged Material Backsplash

Look for eclectic materials like old shutters, salvaged tin ceiling tiles, or license plates to create a funky recycled backsplash.

Floating Shelves

Rather than tiles, install floating shelves across the backsplash area for pretty and practical open storage space.

Wallpaper Backsplash

Some removable wallpaper designs mimic tile and natural stone. This rental-friendly idea can create a backsplash look without permanence.

With a little creativity, you can install an eye-catching backsplash on any budget. Evaluate your skills and style to determine the most realistic affordable option for your kitchen goals.

FAQs about Budgeting for a Kitchen Tile Backsplash

Q: Approximately how much does a typical kitchen backsplash installation cost?

A: Most homeowners spend $500-$2,000 on materials and professional installation for a basic backsplash approximately 25-30 square feet. Higher-end materials like natural stone and intricate designs can cost over $5,000.

Q: Should I install backsplash tile myself or hire a pro?

A: Handy homeowners with beginner DIY skills can install their own backsplash, but imperfect installations can lead to issues. Pros ensure it’s done correctly. Evaluate whether the labor savings are worth your time and energy.

Q: What is the most affordable tile material for backsplashes?

A: Ceramic and porcelain tile provides the most budget-friendly quality backsplash material, starting around $2-$5 per square foot installed. Avoid using the cheapest big box store tile as quality is often poor.

Q: Can I install a backsplash without removing old countertops?

A: In many cases, yes. The old countertop can be simply cut around for the backsplash installation, especially if they overhang the cabinets enough to allow backsplash tile to slip behind.

Q: Should backsplashes go all the way to the ceiling?

A: Typically backsplashes are installed to around 18 inches above the countertop. Going all the way to the ceiling can overwhelm a small space but provides uninterrupted protection on the walls so it’s up to personal preference.

Q: How long does a backsplash installation take?

A: Professional installers can often complete a basic backsplash installation in 1-3 days. Allow additional time for drying of mortar, spacers, and grout between steps. DIY projects may take a week or two depending on experience.

Q: Can I install backsplash tile over existing drywall or panelling?

A: Yes, in many cases tile can be installed over existing wall finishes, as long as the surface is in good condition and properly prepared. Any damaged areas should be repaired and uneven textures skimmed with mortar first.

Installing a new backsplash is one of the best investments you can make to improve a kitchen’s style and function. With an understanding of the factors impacting cost and some budget-friendly design choices, you can achieve beautiful backsplash style at the price point perfect for your project goals and resources.


Installing a tile backsplash is a fantastic way to update the look of any kitchen and protect your walls. By planning your design, creating an accurate budget based on square footage, tile choices and labor, and shopping sales and discounts, you can save significantly on costs.

Focus on clean, timeless tile styles in neutral hues from affordable brands. Simple layouts and larger tile sizes help reduce budget as well. With realistic expectations about costs and a willingness to take your time seeking bargains, you can achieve a stunning backsplash transformation while staying on target with your ideal renovation budget.