How to Figure Out How Much Backsplash You Need

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can add visual interest, protect your walls, and make clean-up easier. But how do you determine how much backsplash material to purchase? Here are some tips for figuring out how much backsplash you need for your kitchen.

Measure the Area to be Covered

The first step is measuring the area that you plan to cover with backsplash tile. This will include:

  • The wall area between your countertops and kitchen cabinets. Measure the length and height. Don’t forget to account for any windows or appliances set into the backsplash area.
  • If you plan to extend the backsplash onto any other walls, measure those wall lengths and heights as well.
  • For subway tile or other vertical tile arrangements, make sure to measure the height of the backsplash as it extends up the wall. 4-6 inches is common above the counter.
  • If doing a full-height backsplash, measure from counter to ceiling.

Tip: Make a sketch of your backsplash area with measurements for easy reference.

Determine Tile Size

Knowing the size of your backsplash tile is key for calculating how much you need. Make sure to account for:

  • Tile dimensions – common sizes are 1×1 inch, 2×2 inch, 3×6 inch, 4×4 inch.
  • Any border or accent tile – this is often a different size than the field tile.
  • Grout line width – 1/8 inch is standard but verify the spacing needed for your tile.

Tip: Have your tile selected or take a sample with you when measuring to account for exact size and grout lines.

Use the Square Footage Method

To determine how much tile you need, take the measurements of your backsplash area and divide into square feet.

  • Multiply length x height of each wall section to get square footage.
  • Add all sections together for total square footage.
  • Divide the total square footage by the square inch size of your tile. This will tell you how many tiles are needed.
  • Add 10% extra for cuts and waste.

Tip: Use a tile calculator online for help with the square footage math.

Order a Little Extra

It’s always smart to order 5-10% more tile than your calculations show. This provides extras in case:

  • Your measurements were a bit off.
  • Tiles get damaged during installation.
  • For future repairs if tiles crack or come loose.

Starting with extras is better than running short! Remnants may be returned or used elsewhere.

Purchase Adhesive and Grout

Be sure to buy tile adhesive and grout at the same time you get your tile. Approximately 65-100 sq ft of tile coverage per gallon of adhesive is needed. Grout coverage is 100-150 sq ft per pound. Consult manufacturer specs for amounts needed.

Hire an Experienced Tiler

Calculating how much backsplash tile you need is just the first step. An experienced tile installer is key for a quality backsplash installation. Be sure to hire a professional tiler for the best results.

With careful planning and measurement, determining how much backsplash tile to buy doesn’t need to be complicated. Use these tips and techniques to find the right backsplash tile amount for your kitchen project.

Frequently Asked Questions About Backsplash Tile Amounts

How much backsplash do I need for a 10 foot wall?

For a 10 foot backsplash wall, measure the height and multiply by 10 feet to get the square footage. For example, a 4 foot high x 10 foot long backsplash is 40 square feet. Use your tile size to calculate how many tiles would cover 40 square feet.

How much tile do I need for 30 square feet of backsplash?

If using 4×4 inch backsplash tile with 1/8 inch grout lines, each tile covers around 15 square inches. 30 square feet is equal to around 430 square inches. So for a 30 square foot backsplash, you would need approximately 28 tiles for every square foot, or 840 tiles total.

What size backsplash tile should I use in a small kitchen?

For a small kitchen, stick with smaller backsplash tiles like 1×1, 2×2 or 3×6. The small scale creates a feeling of space and is easier to cut and fit in tight areas. Larger tiles can feel overwhelming in petite kitchens.

How high should I make my backsplash?

The most common backsplash height is 4-6 inches above the counter. However, you can go higher for a full wall effect. Standard backsplash heights are:

  • 4-6 inches: Partial backsplash
  • 8-10 inches: Mid-height backsplash
  • Full height: To ceiling for maximum impact

How much does a kitchen backsplash installation cost?

Backsplash installation costs range from $800 – $1500 depending on tile size, wall space, and professional tiling fees. Tile prices, adhesive and grout will add $5-20 per sq ft. Expect to pay $1000 or more for a full professional backsplash installation.


Determining backsplash tile quantities takes careful measurement and planning. Measure the backsplash area, account for tile sizes with grout lines, calculate the total square footage, and add extras for waste. Provide this quantity info to your tile supplier to get the right amount of backsplash tile for your kitchen project. With an experienced tiler, you’ll get a beautiful, high-quality backsplash installation.