Installing a tile backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With so many tile sizes, patterns, and materials to choose from, calculating the right amount of tile for your backsplash project may seem daunting. But with some simple math and planning, you can determine exactly how many tile squares you’ll need. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate tile backsplash.

## Measure the Area to be Tiled

First, you’ll need to measure the area where you plan to install the backsplash. Using a tape measure, measure the length and height of the backsplash area in inches. Be sure to deduct any areas that won’t be tiled, like the space taken up by outlets, windows, or appliances. Multiply the length by the height to get the total square footage.

For example, if your backsplash area is 54 inches long and 36 inches high, the area would be 54 x 36 = 1,944 square inches.

To convert to square feet, divide by 144. So 1,944 square inches ÷ 144 = 13.5 square feet. Round up to 14 square feet.

## Determine the Tile Size

Next, you’ll need to know the size of the tile you plan to use. Tile sizes are usually expressed in inches like 4×4, 3×6, or 12×24.

Standard subway tiles are 3×6 inches. Glass mosaic tiles are usually 1×1 inches. Large format tiles might be 12×24 or even 16×32 inches.

If you’re unsure, take a measurement of one of your tiles. Write down the length and width of your tile in inches.

## Calculate the Number of Tiles

To determine the number of tiles needed, divide the total square footage of your backsplash area by the square footage of one tile.

For example, if your backsplash area is 14 sq ft, and your tile is 2×2 inches (4 sq in), you would need 224 tiles:

14 sq ft backsplash area x (144 sq in / 4 sq in tile) = 224 tiles

If working with fractional measurements, round up to the nearest whole number. It’s better to have a few extra tiles on hand than to run short during your installation.

## Account for Cuts and Waste

The above calculation determines the minimum number of tiles needed. But it doesn’t account for tile cuts or waste. Experts recommend adding 10-15% more tiles to account for unusable damaged or cut tiles.

For our example of 224 tiles needed, add 15% more:

224 tiles x 0.15 = 34 extra tiles

224 tiles + 34 extra tiles = 258 tiles

So for this project, you would want to purchase approximately 258 tiles.

## Purchase Extra Accent Tiles

If using decorative accent tiles, such as a glass mosaic for the niche, be sure to measure and calculate this separate area. Then purchase about 10-15% extra to account for waste.

## Purchase Adhesives, Grout, and Tools

In addition to the tiles themselves, be sure to purchase enough thinset mortar and grout. Check manufacturer recommendations based on the tile size and coverage area. You’ll also need tile cutting tools, grout float, spacers, and sealer.

## Do a Final Calculation

Once you have your materials purchased, do a final tile calculation to determine the optimal tile layout. Factor in grout lines and any patterns or borders. Adjust if needed and create a neat working diagram for reference during installation.

With some careful planning and math, you can determine the precise tile needs for your backsplash. Calculating tile quantities may take some time upfront, but it can prevent headaches and extra costs down the road.

## Frequently Asked Questions About Calculating Tile Backsplash

### How do I calculate square footage for a backsplash?

Measure the length and height of the backsplash area in inches. Multiply the length by the height to get the total square inches. Divide by 144 to convert to square feet.

### What size tile is best for backsplash?

Smaller tiles like subway tile or mosaics are commonly used. But any tile size can work, depending on your design. Larger tiles will require less grout and may be quicker to install.

### How much extra tile should I get?

Purchase 10-15% more tiles than your initial calculations to account for cuts, waste, and warranty claims.

### Should I include the area under the cabinets?

Usually only the exposed area is tiled. But for a seamless look, some people continue the backsplash under the cabinets too. Measure and calculate this separately.

### How do I calculate tiles for a decorative accent?

Measure the separate niche or border area. Calculate tiles needed and purchase 10-15% extra of those accent tiles.

### Can I return extra tiles?

Check return policies. Most tile stores will not accept returns on surplus tile. Plan on keeping extras for future repairs or re-orders.

## Summary

Measuring your backsplash area and understanding tile sizes is key to purchasing the right quantity. Calculate the total square footage and tile squares needed. Add 10-15% extra for waste. For accents, measure and calculate those areas separately. With smart planning using these tile math tips, you can create a gorgeous and efficient backsplash design.