How to Figure Out Square Feet for Backsplash

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can add visual interest, protect your walls from splatters and spills, and even increase the value of your home. But before you head to the home improvement store, you’ll need to calculate how much backsplash you need to purchase. Figuring out the square footage for a backsplash is easy with a few simple calculations.

Measuring Your Backsplash Area

The first step is to measure the area where you plan to install the backsplash. Here’s how:

Measure the Perimeter

Use a measuring tape to measure the length of each wall section that will be covered by the backsplash. This includes the wall area behind the sink, stove, and countertops. Make sure to write down the measurements.

For example, if one wall section is 5 feet long and the other is 8 feet long, your total perimeter length is 5 + 8 = 13 linear feet.

Measure the Height

Determine how high up the wall you want the backsplash to extend. Most backsplashes are installed to a height of 4 feet or from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets.

Measure the height in inches for each wall section and write it down. For our example, let’s say the height is 48 inches (4 feet).

Multiply Length x Height

For each wall section, multiply the length by the height to get the square footage.

For our example:

  • Wall 1: 5 ft long x 48 in high = 240 sq in
  • Wall 2: 8 ft long x 48 in high = 384 sq in

Add the square inches of each section together to get the total square footage.

240 sq in + 384 sq in = 624 sq in total

To convert to square feet, divide by 144 (there are 144 sq in in 1 sq ft).

624 sq in / 144 = 4.33 sq ft

So for our example kitchen, the total backsplash area is 4.33 square feet.

Ordering Your Backsplash Tile

Once you know the square footage of your backsplash, you can figure out how much tile you need to order. Here are some tips:

  • Measure tile size – Tile comes in different sizes like 1×1 inch, 4×4 inch, etc. Measure the width and height of your tile.
  • Account for imperfections – Add roughly 15% extra to account for tile cuts, mismatches, and wasted pieces.
  • Divide square footage – Take your total backsplash square footage and divide by the square footage of one tile.

For example, if your backsplash is 4.33 sq ft, and your tile is 2×2 inches (4 sq in), you would need approximately:

4.33 sq ft x (144 sq in / 1 sq ft) = 623 sq in
623 sq in / 4 sq in per tile = 156 tiles
Add 15% more: 156 * 1.15 = 180 tiles

So for 4.33 sq ft backsplash with 2×2 inch tile, you’d want to order around 180 tiles with a 15% overage.

Planning Your Layout

Once you know how much tile you need, plan out your backsplash layout:

  • Make a grid – Map out the tile layout on the wall using a pencil and ruler. This will help you visualize the pattern.
  • Account for outlets & switches – Work these items into your grid so you know where to place cut tiles.
  • Decide grout line width – The grout line width will affect the square footage calculation. Wider grout lines mean using more tile.
  • Pick starting point – Determine the focal point and work outward in each direction.

Planning ahead will make tiling go smoother and help you avoid surprises!

Backsplash Square Footage FAQs

How much tile do I need for a standard backsplash?

For a 4 foot x 4 foot section, you will need approximately 16-20 square feet of tile, including extras.

What size tile is best?

Smaller tiles like 2×2 inches are popular for backsplash. Larger tiles over 4×4 inches can be trickier for inexperienced DIYers.

How much does a backsplash cost?

On average, expect to pay $3-$5 per square foot for budget tile, $5-$10 per square foot for mid-range tile, and $15+ per square foot for high-end, designer tile.

What is the standard height for a backsplash?

The standard backsplash height is 4 feet or from the countertop to the bottom of the upper cabinets. However, you can install a full height backsplash from countertop to ceiling for a dramatic look.

How do I calculate square feet for a non-rectangular backsplash?

For irregular shaped areas, divide the space into rectangles/squares and calculate each section individually then add them together. Or use graph paper to map out the entire shape and count the squares.

Key Takeaways: Calculating Backsplash Square Footage

  • Carefully measure the length, height, and overall perimeter of the backsplash area.
  • Multiply length x height for each wall section to get the total square inches, then convert to square feet.
  • Add 15% extra when ordering tile to account for cuts, defects, and waste.
  • Map out your backsplash layout and tile pattern before installing.
  • For non-rectangular areas, divide into sections or map on graph paper and count squares.
  • Use the square footage to estimate how much tile you’ll need and overall cost.

With the right measurements and planning, installing a stylish, eye-catching backsplash is an easy weekend project for any DIYer. Just be sure to accurately calculate the square footage first so you buy the right tile quantities. Happy tiling!