How to Calculate Backsplash Square Footage

Calculating the square footage needed for a backsplash is an important part of planning for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Measuring the space accurately will ensure you purchase enough backsplash materials to complete the project. With some simple math and measurements, you can determine the backsplash square footage you need.

Measure the Area to be Tiled

The first step is to measure the area that will be covered by the backsplash. This includes the wall space between the countertops and cabinets.

  • Use a tape measure to find the length and height of the backsplash area. Measure in inches.
  • For corners or uneven spaces, take several height and width measurements and add them together.
  • Measure from the top of the countertop to where you want the backsplash to end. Often backsplashes extend 4-6 inches above the countertop.
  • For the width, measure from corner to corner across the backsplash area.
  • Multiply the length by the height to find the total square inches.

Make sure your measurements are accurate since the backsplash tiles need to cover the entire area. Round up to account for uneven corners or edges.

Convert to Square Feet

Once you have the backsplash area in square inches, divide by 144 to convert to square feet.

144 square inches = 1 square foot

So take the total square inch measurement and divide by 144. This will give you the estimated backsplash square footage.

For example:

  • Backsplash area is 36 inches high x 48 inches wide
  • 36 x 48 = 1,728 square inches
  • 1,728 square inches / 144 = 12 square feet

Knowing the square footage will allow you to purchase enough tile and supplies. Most backsplash tiles are sold by the square foot. Use 10-15% more materials than calculated to account for broken tiles, uneven walls, or mistakes.

Calculate Required Tiles

You can also estimate the number of backsplash tiles needed using the square footage.

  • Check the dimensions of your tiles – common sizes are 1 inch, 2 inch, 4 inch or subway tiles.
  • Divide the square footage by the square inches per tile.
  • For example, if using 2 inch x 2 inch tiles, each tile is 4 square inches. For a backsplash of 12 square feet, you would need approximately 288 tiles (12 sq ft x 4 tiles = 288 tiles).

Purchasing 10-15% extra tiles allows for cuts, defects, or replacements. Don’t open all the boxes right away in case you need to return unused tiles.

Consider Backsplash Layout

The backsplash layout may affect the materials needed, especially if using tiles of different sizes or decorative patterns.

  • Make a sketch of your planned backsplash design.
  • Measure tiles needed for borders, insets, or geometric patterns.
  • Add 5-10% more for these special tiles.

Also account for any decorative trim, edging, or accent tiles that are part of your backsplash design.

Purchase Materials

Once you know the backsplash area and tiles required, you can estimate the materials needed:

Tile: Calculate 10-15% extra in case of breakage or mistakes.

Grout: Divide tile square feet by the grout coverage (usually 15-25 sq ft per pound).

Mortar: One 50 pound bag covers 30-35 square feet.

Sealant: One tube covers 15-20 square feet.

Tools: Trowel, spacers, grout float, mixing pail, sponge, towels, tape, razor knives.

Having the right materials on hand will make installing the backsplash much easier.

Tips for Measuring Backsplash Square Footage

  • Use a laser measuring tool for extremely accurate measurements.
  • Take photos of the area to reference when purchasing materials.
  • Measure twice to ensure your calculations are correct.
  • Look at measurements in the tile store to visualize sizes.
  • Order all materials from the same dye lot for consistent color.
  • Have 10-15% extra tiles for inevitably uneven walls or tricky corners.
  • Round up square footage and number of tiles to the next full number.

With precise measurements and a little extra wiggle room, you’ll order the perfect amount of backsplash tile and supplies for your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a backsplash cost per square foot?

Backsplash tile prices range from $2 per square foot for basic ceramic or porcelain to $50 per square foot for high-end tile like marble or glass. Most mid-range backsplash tile costs $5-15 per square foot including materials and installation.

How many square feet are in a 4×4 backsplash?

A standard 4 ft x 4 ft backsplash area contains 16 square feet (4 x 4 = 16 sq ft). This assumes a backsplash height of 4 feet from the counter to where it ends near the cabinets.

What size backsplash tile should I use?

Standard backsplash height is 4-6 inches above the counter. Smaller 1 inch, 2 inch or subway tiles work well. Larger tiles like 4 inch can also look modern and sleek. Mix different size tiles for interest.

How much tile do I need for 20 square feet?

For a 20 square foot backsplash using 2×2 inch tiles (4 square inch each), you would need approximately 500 tiles (20 sq ft x 4 tiles per sq ft = 500 tiles). Always order 10-15% extra.

How do you calculate square footage for irregular shaped backsplash?

For irregular backsplash areas, take several measurements of the length and height, then add them together to get the total square inches. Convert to square feet by dividing by 144. This ensures you have enough tile for uneven wall shapes.


Measuring backsplash square footage is a key first step to a successful tiling project. Accurately calculating the size of the area to be tiled will give you the square footage and number of tiles required. Have your measurements and design planned before purchasing materials. And don’t forget the extra 10-15% for cuts, mistakes, or defects. With the right preparation, you can create a stunning backsplash that transforms your kitchen or bathroom.