How to Figure Out How Much Backsplash Tile You Need

Having a beautiful backsplash that complements your kitchen decor is an important design element. But before installing a new backsplash, it’s crucial to determine how much tile is required. With some simple calculations and measurements, you can accurately estimate the quantity of backsplash tile needed for your project.

Measure the Backsplash Area

The first step is to precisely measure the surface area that will be covered by the backsplash tile.

For a Full Wall Backsplash

If tiling a full wall from counter to ceiling, measure the width and height of the wall. Multiply the width by the height to get the total square footage.

For example:

  • Width of backsplash wall: 10 ft
  • Height of backsplash wall: 6 ft
  • 10 ft x 6 ft = 60 sq ft

So for this full wall backsplash, you would need enough tile to cover 60 square feet.

For a Partial Backsplash

If installing a backsplash that starts at the counter and ends partway up the wall, only measure the portion that will be tiled.

Start by measuring the width of the backsplash area, from one end to the other. Then measure the height, from the counter to the desired end point. Multiply the width by the height to get the square footage.

For example:

  • Width of backsplash area: 10 ft
  • Height of backsplash area: 3 ft
  • 10 ft x 3 ft = 30 sq ft

So for this partial backsplash, you would need tile for 30 square feet.

Measure Carefully Around Obstacles

Be sure to take accurate measurements, carefully accounting for anything that protrudes into the backsplash area like electrical outlets, switches, windows and stove hoods. Measure around these obstacles to get the precise backsplash dimensions.

It’s better to calculate a little extra, so having some leftover tiles is better than coming up short during installation.

Determine the Number of Tiles

Once you know the total square footage of the backsplash area, divide by the dimensions of your selected backsplash tile to determine how many whole tiles are needed.

For example:

  • Total backsplash area: 30 sq ft
  • Backsplash tile size: 4″ x 4″ (0.11 sq ft)
  • 30 sq ft / 0.11 sq ft = 272 tiles

So for a 30 sq ft backsplash using 4″ x 4″ tiles, you would need approximately 272 tiles.

If your tile has a diagonal dimension, be sure to use that in the calculation instead. For example, if using a hexagon tile that is 4″ from point to point, the diagonal measurement would be 4.8″.

When calculating, round up to the next full tile. It’s better to have a few extra tiles than to run out before the job is done.

Factor in Pattern and Design

If laying the tiles in a particular pattern, be sure to account for the layout in your tile quantity calculations. Patterns like herringbone often require cutting many tiles into smaller pieces, so purchasing extra tiles is advised.

The direction the tiles are running and how full tiles fit into corners should also be determined. Try laying out a few tiles in the planned pattern and orientation on the counters to visualize how the design will come together. This will help accurately estimate the number of tiles needed.

For backsplashes with decorative accents like borders or medallions, measure and calculate those tile sections separately. Be sure to add any specialty tiles into the total tile count.

Order Extra Tiles

It’s always smart to order 5-10% more tiles than the calculations estimate. This provides extras in case any tiles become damaged during installation or need to be cut down to fit. Leftover tiles are also useful for future repairs if the backsplash sustains any cracks or chips over time.

Also, consider ordering extra tiles to have on hand as spares. Backsplash tiles can be difficult to find after the initial purchase, so keeping spare tiles makes it easy to make repairs and replacements.

Use a Tile Calculator for Help

There are many free online tile calculators that can help streamline the process of determining how much backsplash tile is required.

These calculators allow inputting the dimensions of the backsplash space along with the size of the tiles. The calculator then does the math and provides an estimate of the quantity of tile needed.

Tile store websites often offer calculators specific to the tiles they sell. These can account for the unique sizes and shapes of the tiles available.

Tile calculators provide a handy starting point, but it’s still smart to order slightly more than the estimated amount.

Check with a Design Consultant

For larger or more complex backsplash projects, work with a tile design specialist. They can help you design the layout, recommend the best tile sizes and quantities, and account for pattern and installation factors.

Design experts are skilled at calculating the right amount of materials for the job and minimizing excess tile purchases. Their experience saves time, money, and headaches throughout the installation process.

Many tile showrooms offer free design consultations to assist customers in planning and executing their projects.

Purchase Extra Materials

In addition to the wall tiles, be sure to purchase enough tile edging, trim pieces, grout, adhesive and sealant to complete the project. Check that you have all the required materials before starting, as nothing slows down a tile job like running out of grout midway through!

With some careful planning and calculations, you can determine exactly how much backsplash tile you require. Order the quantities estimated along with some extras to be prepared for any intricacies of installation. Then you can install your beautiful new backsplash with confidence, knowing you have all the materials needed to successfully complete the project.

FAQ About Figuring Out Backsplash Tile Quantity

How do I calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the width and height of the backsplash area in feet, then multiply the width by the height to get the total square footage. Be sure to account for any protrusions and only measure the area that will be tiled.

How much extra tile should I get for a backsplash?

Order at least 5-10% more tiles than calculated to have extras on hand. More may be needed for intricate patterns. Leftover tiles are useful if repairs are needed down the road.

What size tile is best for a backsplash?

4×4, 3×6, 4×12 and 6×6 inch tiles are common choices. Larger tiles mean fewer grout lines for easy cleaning. Smaller tiles allow more design flexibility.

What is the standard height for a backsplash?

The most common backsplash height is 4-6 inches above the countertop. Full backsplashes go from counter to cabinets or ceiling. Standard height depends on personal preference and design style.

Should you use a tile calculator or do it manually?

Online tile calculators provide quick estimating, but doing the measurements and math yourself ensures you account for all the details and intricacies of your specific project.

How do you calculate tiles for a patterned backsplash?

Make a mock layout with tiles to determine the pattern dimensions and direction. Account for cut tiles at edges and corners. Order extra tiles for intricate patterns as more tiles will be cut down.

Should I hire a designer for help with backsplash tile planning?

For complex designs or large projects, hiring a tile design consultant can be beneficial. Experts assist with technical planning, tile recommendations, installation factors and material calculations.

Can I return extra backsplash tiles after my project is done?

Check return policies where you purchased the tiles. Most tile dealers will not accept returns on surplus tile materials, so be sure to calculate carefully when ordering.

Final Thoughts on Calculating Backsplash Tile Quantity

Installing a backsplash tile project requires careful planning and accurate measurements in order to purchase the right quantity of materials. First, precisely measure the backsplash area, accounting for obstacles and partial walls. Next, divide by the size of the selected tiles to estimate the number needed based on square footage.

Be sure to calculate any decorative accents and border tiles separately. Factor in the tile layout pattern which may require additional tiles for cutting. Order 5-10% extra for damages and future repairs. For complex designs, work with an expert tile design consultant to ensure you get the measurements right.

With some meticulous planning and calculations, you can determine the ideal backsplash tile quantity for your upcoming project. Then you can shop worry-free and focus on the excitement of installing your gorgeous new backsplash that perfectly suits your space.