How to Determine How Much Backsplash to Buy

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can dramatically transform the look and feel of the space. But before installing a new backsplash, one of the most important decisions is determining exactly how much you need to purchase. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to measure and calculate the right amount of backsplash tile or panels to buy for your project.

Measure the Space

The first step is to accurately measure the backsplash area in your kitchen. This will determine how much tile/panels you need to purchase.

Determine the Height

Measure from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets. This will give you the height of the backsplash area. Standard backsplash height is 4 inches, but can be taller depending on your design.

Measure Width

Measure the linear width of all backsplash sections in the kitchen. This includes behind the sink, stove, and any other areas where backsplash will be installed. Add all the measurements together to get the total linear footage.

Measure Around Obstructions

Carefully measure around windows, outlets, appliances, or any other obstructions in the backsplash area. This ensures you calculate the total square footage accurately.

Multiply Height x Width

For each backsplash section, multiply the height by the width to get the square footage. Add together the square footage of all sections to determine the total amount of backsplash needed.

Factor in Tile Size

Once you know the total square footage of the backsplash space, you can determine how many tiles or panels need to be purchased.


If using tile, divide the total backsplash square footage by the square footage of one tile. This will tell you how many whole tiles are needed. Don’t forget to account for cut tiles and add 10-15% extra.

For example, if your total backsplash is 25 sq ft and the tiles are 1 sq ft each, you would need 25/1 = 25 tiles, plus 3-4 extra.


For backsplash panels like subway tile sheets, simply divide the total square footage by the square footage of each panel. Round up to account for any partial panels.

Account for Pattern and Design

If installing a patterned backsplash, you may need to purchase more materials than the square footage alone requires.

Offset Patterns

With brick patterns or other offset designs, overlapping tiles require buying more to complete the pattern across the whole backsplash.

Accent Tiles

When using decorative accent tiles in addition to a field tile, calculate this additional material needed.

Mixing Sizes

Combining different tile sizes will require calculating each size separately based on the design.

Calculate Adhesives, Grout and Supplies

In addition to the backsplash tiles/panels themselves, be sure to calculate the other supplies needed:

  • Adhesive – Calculate the amount recommended based on square footage.
  • Grout – Purchase grout based on the joint size and total square footage.
  • Tile edging/accent strips – Measure linear footage needed.
  • Sealant, caulk, and other finishing supplies.

Order Extra Tiles

It’s always smart to order 5-10% more tiles than the measurements indicate. Having spare tiles allows you to account for:

  • Breakage during installation
  • Minor measurement miscalculations
  • Repairs or replacements down the road

Getting a few extra tiles ensures you don’t end up just short after installing.

Consider Delivery Timelines

When purchasing materials, factor in shipping or delivery time. Make sure tiles and other supplies arrive well before you plan to start installation. Nothing is worse than realizing your backsplash tiles won’t arrive in time!


Installing a kitchen backsplash is a big project, but determining how much to purchase doesn’t need to be difficult. Follow these steps:

  • Accurately measure the height, width, and total square footage of the backsplash area.
  • Factor in tile/panel size and order at least 10% extra.
  • Account for pattern and design layouts that require more material.
  • Calculate recommended amounts of adhesive, grout, and other supplies.
  • Order 5-10% extra tiles to have on hand.
  • Plan shipping/delivery timelines for all materials.

With the right measurements and planning, you’ll purchase the perfect amount of backsplash materials for a stunning finished project!