Adding a backsplash is one of the easiest ways to update the look of your kitchen. Not only does a backsplash provide an additional layer of protection for your walls against splashes and spills, it can also make a strong visual statement and tie your whole kitchen design together. Before installing a backsplash, it’s important to determine how much material you’ll need by calculating the square footage of the area to be covered. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you accurately measure and calculate the square feet for your kitchen backsplash project.
Measuring Wall Space
The first step in determining square footage for a backsplash is to measure the wall area that you’ll be covering. Here are some tips for getting accurate measurements:
Gather Measuring Tools
Have the following supplies on hand before starting:
- Tape measure
- Paper or notebook
- Calculator (optional)
Make sure to use a metal tape measure rather than a cloth one, as metal will give you more precise measurements.
Map Out Backsplash Area
Look at the entire wall space behind the countertop where you plan to install the backsplash. Make note of any spaces like windows, corners, or appliances that will need to be deducted. Mapping it out first helps avoid missed measurements.
Measure Width x Height
Working in inches, carefully measure the height and width of the backsplash area. For width, measure left to right across the bottom. For height, measure from the countertop to where you want the backsplash to end.
If the space is interrupted by corners, windows or appliances, measure and record each section separately.
Double Check Accuracy
It’s easy to misread measurements, so double check accuracy before moving on. Measuring twice avoids costly mistakes. For very long spans, take measurements in several places to account for any inconsistencies in the wall.
Making a quick sketch of the layout can also help ensure correct measurements.
Calculating Square Footage
Once accurate measurements are recorded, next calculate the square footage. Here are some tips:
Use Length x Width
For each section measured, simply multiply the length by the width to find the square footage. For example:
- Section 1: 36 inches (width) x 42 inches (height) = 1,512 square inches
- Section 2: 48 inches (width) x 36 inches (height) = 1,728 square inches
Round measurements to the nearest whole number.
Convert Inches to Feet
To find square feet, convert the square inch measurements to square feet by dividing by 144.
Here is the math for the previous examples:
- Section 1: 1,512 square inches / 144 = 10.5 square feet
- Section 2: 1,728 square inches / 144 = 12 square feet
Again, round to the nearest whole number.
Add Sections Together
If you measured the backsplash space in multiple sections, don’t forget to add together the square footage for each part.
- Section 1: 10 square feet
- Section 2: 12 square feet
- Total: 22 square feet
Deduct for Openings
Remember to subtract any windows, corners, appliances or other openings in the wall space. Measure openings separately to find their square footage, and then deduct from the total backsplash area.
Factoring In Design Elements
Some additional design factors can impact the amount of material needed, including:
With tile or panels featuring a pattern, more material is often needed to match the pattern properly across seams. Consider the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Borders or Accents
If adding a decorative border or other accent tiles, be sure to calculate this additional square footage. Measure border height x length.
It’s impossible to perfectly calculate irregular spaces and pattern matching. Add a waste factor of 10-15% extra to account for unavoidable cuts and scraps.
Grout and Adhesive
When purchasing materials, don’t forget to factor in extra needed for grout lines and tile adhesive. Check manufacturer guidelines.
Once you’ve calculated the square footage required, use this to determine how much backsplash material to purchase. Some tips:
Consult Product Specs
Read product details to find how much material comes in one box, roll, slab, etc. This varies by product type and brand.
Price and quantity per box can vary between retailers. Comparison shop to find the best deals. Buy a little extra if the price difference is small.
Consider Delivery Time
Check delivery timelines, especially for any products sourced online. Order materials well ahead of the project start date so everything arrives on time.
With some smart planning and accurate measurements, determining and purchasing the right square footage of backsplash materials doesn’t need to be a daunting process. Just take it step-by-step to get the information you need. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to create a stunning new backsplash that puts the finishing touch on your kitchen design.
Frequently Asked Questions About Finding Square Feet for Backsplash
Many homeowners have additional questions when calculating how much backsplash material to purchase. Here are answers to some of the most common queries:
How do I calculate square feet for an L-shaped backsplash?
For an L-shaped backsplash, simply break the area into two sections divided by the corner. Measure and calculate the square footage for each section separately, then add them together for the total.
What if I have multiple focal points on one wall?
If there are multiple distinct backsplash sections on the same wall with gaps between them, measure and calculate each backsplash focal point individually. Add together for the total square footage.
Should I include windows or appliances in the square footage?
No, deduct any wall spaces occupied by windows, outlets, appliances, etc. Measure these openings separately and subtract their square footage from the total backsplash area.
How much extra material should I get as a waste factor?
Most pros recommend purchasing an extra 10-15% of tile or other backsplash material to allow for irregular spaces, pattern matching, and cuts or breakage.
How do I calculate the square footage of a backslash with varying height?
For a backsplash with different height sections, break the wall down into individual segments and measure each section separately based on its distinct height and width.
Should I round measurements up or down when calculating?
It’s best to round all measurements up to the nearest whole inch or foot rather than rounding down. This ensures you purchase slightly more materials than needed rather than coming up short.
What measurements are most important for irregular backsplashes?
For oddly shaped backsplashes, focus on getting very precise width measurements along the entire span. Also carefully measure any recessed or protruding sections.
How do I determine linear feet for a backsplash border?
Measure the length of the wall space the border will cover. Convert inches to feet if needed. This gives you the linear footage to know how much border material is required.
What tools can I use to measure large backsplash areas?
For large spans, a laser distance measure can provide very accurate long measurements. Or, use a straight rigid board with a tape measure marked to take continuous measurements.
Final Tips for Measuring Backsplash Square Footage
Here are a few final tips to help ensure your backsplash measurements and square footage calculations are accurate:
- Use a metal measuring tape and double check numbers.
- Break up any irregular areas into smaller rectangular sections.
- Deduct for any appliances, outlets, windows and corners.
- Account for 10-15% extra material as a waste factor.
- Round all measurements up, not down.
- Confirm required materials and quantities with your backsplash retailer.
- Measure carefully to avoid purchasing the wrong amounts.
- Plan delivery timelines – don’t wait until the last minute.
With some careful planning and precise measurements, it’s easy to determine how much backsplash material you’ll need. Just take your time, use proper tools, and double check the math. Calculating square feet correctly means you’ll purchase the right amount on your first try, avoiding costly delays or problems down the road. So measure twice, crunch the numbers, and get excited about the amazing new backsplash coming your way!