How to Figure Out Square Footage for Kitchen Backsplash

Installing a new backsplash in your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But before you start shopping for tiles or materials, you’ll need to calculate the square footage of your backsplash area to determine how much you need to purchase. Figuring out backsplash square footage is easy with some simple measurements.

What is a Kitchen Backsplash?

A kitchen backsplash is the section of wall that protects the space between the countertops and wall cabinets from water damage and stains. Backsplashes are typically made of tile, metal, glass, or other water-resistant materials. The backsplash serves both functional and decorative purposes in the kitchen. When calculating square footage, you’ll need to measure the entire backsplash area – from countertop to ceiling.

Why Square Footage Matters

Measuring the square footage of your backsplash area is important for several reasons:

  • Determines how much tile/material to purchase – Tile and backsplash materials are sold by the square foot. Without proper measurements, you may end up buying too much or too little.
  • Aids in cost estimation – Knowing the total square footage allows you to multiply by the cost per square foot of your material to estimate the total cost of the project.
  • Helps plan the layout – The size of the area will inform the tile layout pattern, type of material, etc. Square footage gives you the info needed to design the backsplash.

Accurately measuring square footage takes the guesswork out of buying materials and budgeting for a new backsplash.

How to Calculate Square Footage for Backsplash

Calculating square footage requires just two measurements – height and length. Here are the simple steps:

1. Measure the Length

  • Use a tape measure to measure the length of the backsplash area from one end to the other in inches.
  • Be sure to measure along the countertop, not the wall. This gives you the true “working” length.
  • Record the length measurement.

2. Measure the Height

  • Measure from the countertop to the bottom of the wall cabinets in inches. For full height backsplashes, measure from countertop to ceiling.
  • Record the height measurement.

3. Multiply Length x Height

  • Multiply the length by the height to calculate the area in square inches.
  • Convert to square feet by dividing by 144 (the number of square inches in a square foot).
  • This final number gives you the total square footage of the backsplash area.

Tips for Accurate Measurements

Follow these tips to get the most accurate measurements for your backsplash area:

  • Use a steel tape measure for durability and precision.
  • Take measurements right against the countertop – don’t estimate above.
  • For height, measure in multiple spots and use the shortest length – this accounts for any unevenness.
  • If you have multiple disjointed sections, calculate each section separately.
  • Round up to the nearest 1/4 inch when estimating material.
  • Add up the square footage of any focal points or accent sections.

Considerations for Layout Planning

Once you have the total square footage amount, you can start planning the backsplash layout. Keep the following in mind:

  • Smaller backsplash areas often use larger format tiles.
  • Make sure tile layout is aligned with features like range hoods, outlets, etc.
  • Mixing sizes, shapes, and materials adds interest.
  • Don’t forget about decorative accents and borders.
  • Order 10-15% extra tile to account for unusable cuts and breakage.

Knowing the square footage for your kitchen backsplash takes the guesswork out of the planning and purchasing process. Follow these simple steps to measure length, height, and multiply for an accurate total for flawless installation. With essential measurements in hand, you can design a stylish, functional backsplash suited perfectly to your space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Measuring Backsplash Square Footage

How do I calculate square footage for an L-shaped backsplash?

For L-shaped backsplashes, take measurements and calculate the square footage for each section separately. Then add them together for the total.

What about outlets and windows in the backsplash area?

When measuring length, measure as if the outlets and windows weren’t there – go wall edge to wall edge. This gives you total coverage space.

Should I measure total wall space or just the area between countertops & cabinets?

Only measure the area between the countertops and bottom of wall cabinets/ceiling. Don’t include the wall above cabinets.

How do I account for uneven backsplash height?

Be sure to measure height at each end and the middle. Use the shortest height for your calculations to allow for unevenness.

Can I use an online calculator to determine square footage?

Yes, there are many free online backsplash square footage calculators that simply require you to input length and height. These can be useful confirmation tools.


Figuring out square footage for a kitchen backsplash is a key planning step for a smooth installation. By following the simple process of measuring length, measuring height, and multiplying to find the area in square feet, you’ll obtain an accurate total for purchasing materials. Taking precise measurements sets you up for backsplash success.