Picking out a backsplash for your kitchen or bathroom remodel? An important first step is calculating the square footage you’ll need to cover. Finding the square footage allows you to estimate how much tile, glass, or other backsplash material to purchase. With some simple measurements and math, determining backsplash square footage is easy to do yourself.
Measuring Your Backsplash Area
The first step in finding your backsplash square footage is taking accurate measurements of the area you want to cover. Here’s how to measure for backsplash in different rooms:
For a kitchen backsplash, you’ll typically be tiling the wall space between the countertops and upper cabinets.
- Measure the length of each wall section needing backsplash in inches. Wall sections are any continuous stretches of backsplash. For example, measure the length of backsplash needed along the sink wall, stove wall, and any other areas getting backsplash.
- Measure the height of each wall section needing backsplash in inches. Measure from the top of the countertops to the bottom of the wall cabinets. For areas without upper cabinets, measure from the countertops to the desired height for the backsplash.
- Make sure your measurements are accurate and account for uneven walls, soffits, or other unique spaces. Measure each section separately.
- Write down the length and height measurements for each backsplash wall section. Having these dimensions will allow you to calculate the square footage.
For a bathroom backsplash, measure the wall behind and surrounding the sink vanity and any tub or shower areas getting tile.
To measure for bathroom backsplash:
- Measure the length of the vanity wall in inches. Measure across the entire backsplash area, including inside any recessed medicine cabinets.
- Measure the height from the top of the vanity counter to the desired backsplash height above. Standard bathroom backsplash height is 4-6 inches above the counter.
- Measure the length and height of any tub and shower walls getting backsplash. Keep each wall section separate.
- Record all bathroom backsplash dimensions for calculating square footage.
Backsplashes on Multiple Walls
For kitchens or bathrooms with backsplash on multiple walls, be sure to take measurements of each separate wall section. This allows you to find the square footage for each individual wall area.
Having separate dimensions makes planning layouts and purchases easier. You can calculate material needs for each wall rather than trying to determine it for the entire space.
Calculating Square Footage
Once you have all the length and height measurements, it’s simple to calculate the backsplash square footage using this formula:
Length x Height = Square Footage
You measure a kitchen backsplash wall that is 10 feet long and 2 feet tall.
10 feet x 2 feet = 20 square feet
To calculate, take the length and height of each wall section and multiply them together. Make sure your measurements are in the same unit, like both in inches or feet.
Add together the square footage of each separate wall section to get the total backsplash area.
Square Footage Formula Examples
Kitchen backsplash with three wall sections:
- Sink wall – Length 8 ft, Height 2 ft – 8 x 2 = 16 sq ft
- Stove wall – Length 6 ft, Height 2 ft – 6 x 2 = 12 sq ft
- Corner wall – Length 4 ft, Height 2 ft – 4 x 2 = 8 sq ft
Total kitchen backsplash square footage = 16 sq ft + 12 sq ft + 8 sq ft = 36 sq ft
Bathroom backsplash with two wall sections:
- Vanity wall – Length 5 ft , Height 1.5 ft – 5 x 1.5 = 7.5 sq ft
- Shower wall – Length 8 ft, Height 6 ft – 8 x 6 = 48 sq ft
Total bathroom backsplash = 7.5 sq ft + 48 sq ft = 55.5 sq ft
Backsplashes with Varying Heights
For backsplash areas with varying heights, split the wall into different sections based on the height and calculate each section separately.
For example, if you have a kitchen backsplash wall that is 8 feet long but changes height from 2 feet to 1 foot halfway across:
- Left section – Length 4 ft, Height 2 ft – 4 x 2 = 8 sq ft
- Right section – Length 4 ft, Height 1 ft – 4 x 1 = 4 sq ft
Total square footage = 8 sq ft + 4 sq ft = 12 sq ft
Measuring and calculating in sections accounts for the change in height.
Adding Any Additional Backsplash Areas
Be sure to include any additional backsplash spaces when figuring your total square footage. For example:
- Backsplash around window frames or mirrors: Measure and calculate the area of any wall space around windows, mirrors, or other obstructions in the backsplash area.
- Backsplash on additional walls: Include measurements for any other walls getting backsplash, like side walls, islands, or eat-in bar areas.
- Niche and backsplash accents: Measure inside any backsplash niches for inserts like soap dispensers. Also include strips or geometric backsplash designs within the area.
Accounting for all backsplash sections ensures you calculate the entire area needing tile.
Factors That Increase Square Footage
A few factors can increase the actual amount of tile needed compared to your square footage estimate:
Grout lines between tiles add space that must be covered, increasing the material needed. Wider grout lines and larger format tiles result in more grout.
To account for grout when estimating tile, add an extra 10% to your total square footage.
Diagonal patterns and tile layouts with a lot of cuts can result in wasted tile pieces. This increases the amount of tile required compared to a basic grid layout.
For intricate backsplash designs, order 10-15% extra tile to ensure you don’t run short during installation.
Irregular Shaped Areas
Backsplash around irregular wall shapes, niches, edges, and appliances involves a lot of angled cuts and spacing adjustments. This can lead to more tile waste from cutting.
If tiling around irregular areas, adding an extra 10% onto your square footage estimate helps provide enough extra tiles.
Estimating Tile Quantities from Square Footage
Now that you’ve calculated the total backsplash square footage, use that number to estimate the amount of tile needed.
To determine how much tile to purchase, follow these steps:
- Find the dimensions of your tile, which are usually shown as length x width in inches.
- Calculate the square footage per tile by multiplying the tile dimensions together. For example, a 4×4 inch tile has: 4 inches (length) x 4 inches (width) = 16 square inches Convert to square feet by dividing by 144: 16 square inches / 144 = 0.11 square feet per tile
- Divide your total backsplash square footage by the square footage per tile. For example, if you have a 50 sq ft backsplash area and 4×4 inch (0.11 sq ft) tile: 50 sq ft / 0.11 sq ft per tile = 454 tiles
- Round up to the next full box to account for waste and extras.
- Use this number to determine how many boxes of tile to purchase, based on how many tiles are in a box.
This tile estimate gets you close, but it’s always smart to add in a safety buffer of an extra box or two for waste, breakage, or spacing adjustments.
Backsplash Square Footage FAQs
Here are some common questions about finding backsplash square footage:
Should I include windows, outlets, and switches when measuring?
Yes, you need to account for these areas within the backsplash. Measure the wall lengths including windows and openings. For outlets and switches, you’ll cut tiles to fit around them.
What about if I have a patterned or mosaic backsplash?
Your square footage calculation remains the same. Just be sure to order extra tile – 10-15% is recommended – to account for waste from intricate cuts.
Do I need to measure inside corner spaces?
If tiling into corners, measure and calculate these areas as part of your total square footage. Many people don’t tile inside corners, but if your design extends into them be sure to include when estimating tile.
Should I calculate my backsplash before or after demolition?
It’s best to measure for backsplash square footage after any demolition or changes to your space, like removing old tile or changing countertops. Measuring the current area will be more accurate than working from the original dimensions.
How do I calculate for a brick, stacked stone or other irregular pattern?
Estimate high when calculating material for these patterns, since they involve a lot of cuts and waste. Adding 20% or more onto your square footage is recommended to ensure you purchase enough.
What if I’m not sure of my exact backsplash height?
If you don’t have an exact backsplash height in mind, assume 4-6 inches for a bathroom and 18-24 inches for a kitchen. Measuring and calculating using these typical heights will at least provide a ballpark estimate.
Tips for Accurate Backsplash Measurements
- Use a quality measuring tape that won’t bend, warp, or stretch. A laser measure or measuring app works too.
- Make sure your tape is level and square for each measurement.
- Measure multiple times to verify accuracy, especially on uneven walls.
- Snap photos of each wall area before measuring as a reference.
- Convert all measurements to the same unit when calculating. Mixing inches and feet can cause errors.
- Round up instead of down when estimating to account for extra materials needed.
Hiring a Professional to Measure
If you want to leave the measuring process to the pros, consider hiring a tile contractor to calculate your backsplash’s square footage.
Benefits of having an expert measure include:
- Knowledge of industry standards and best practices for measurements.
- Accuracy using professional-grade tools and accounting for less obvious spacing needs.
- Ability to map out pattern layouts and make material recommendations.
- Experience calculating irregular areas like niches, corners, and angled walls.
Though hiring out adds cost upfront, the precise measurements can potentially save you money on materials in the long run.
Plan Backsplash Purchases Based on Square Footage
Once you know your backsplash’s total square footage, you can more accurately plan the purchase of all necessary tile, stone, glass, or other materials.
Refer to your square footage calculations as you:
- Determine tile quantities: Use square footage to estimate how much tile you need to buy, including extras.
- Select grout: Purchase enough grout based on square footage, factoring in grout line width.
- Buy backsplash accessories: Get the right amount of trim pieces, connectors, and other extras.
- Budget overall costs: Factor square footage into estimated costs for materials and potential installation.
With the backsplash area properly measured, you can feel confident purchasing everything needed to complete the job. Moving ahead with an accurate square footage makes for a smooth install.
Finding your backsplash’s square footage is an important first step for any kitchen or bathroom project. Carefully measuring each wall section and then using the length x width formula to calculate area ensures you get an accurate number to work from. Use the square footage estimate to determine enough tile, stone, or other material to purchase, rounding up as needed to account for extras. With the right backsplash measurements in hand, you can create a flawless backsplash design that turns out exactly as envisioned.
How to Find Square Footage for Backsplash: A Step-By-Step Guide
How to calculate the square footage needed for a new kitchen or bathroom backsplash, including how to accurately measure each space and use that to estimate tile and materials.
Measuring Tips for Backsplash Projects:
- Use a quality tape measure and take multiple measurements to verify accuracy. Account for uneven walls or angles.
- Measure each wall section separately, including inside corners and niches.
- Note varying heights in different areas. Calculate each height section independently.
- Add 10-15% extra for grout lines, intricate patterns, or irregular shaped layouts.
Square Footage Formula:
Length x Width = Square Footage
Estimate Tile From Square Footage:
- Find square inches per tile from tile dimensions
- Divide total square footage by tile square inch
- Round up to next full box
- Purchase that number of tile boxes
Getting accurate square footage is crucial for purchasing enough backsplash tile and materials without overbuying. With these simple steps, you can calculate the perfect backsplash area for your kitchen or bath remodel.