Installing a stylish backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can add visual appeal and protect your walls from water damage and stains. But before installing a backsplash, it’s important to accurately measure the surface area to determine how much tile, grout, and other materials you’ll need to complete the project. With some simple calculations and measurements, you can determine the exact backsplash area in your space.
What You’ll Need
- Measuring tape
- Pen and paper for notes
- Calculator (optional)
Measuring the Backsplash Area
Measure Wall Length
Start by measuring the length of each wall section that will have a backsplash. If there are any outlets, windows, or other openings in the wall, measure and record the length of each continuous section separately. For example, measure from corner to outlet, outlet to window, window to corner. Add all the sections together to get the total length.
Measure Wall Height
Next, measure the height of the backsplash area. This is usually 18-24 inches above the countertop. For example, if your backsplash will start at the counter and extend 18 inches up the wall, record 18 inches as the height measurement.
Measure height in multiple places along each wall section if the backsplash area is uneven. Record each measurement.
Multiply to Find Area
With your length and height measurements, you can now calculate the area of each backsplash section:
Area = Length x Height
So if you measured:
- Wall section 1: 36 inches long, 18 inch height
- Area of section 1 = 36 x 18 = 648 sq in
Repeat for each wall section and add all the areas together. This is your total backsplash area.
You can also estimate the total area if you have multiple uneven sections by taking the average height and multiplying by the total length of all sections.
Convert to Square Feet
To find how many square feet the area is, divide the total square inch measurements by 144 (the number of sq inches in a square foot).
For example, if your total backsplash area is 972 square inches:
972 sq inches / 144 = 6.75 sq ft
Round up or down accordingly for convenience. In this case, we would round to 7 square feet.
This final number will tell you how much tile, grout, and other materials to purchase for the project.
- For best accuracy, repeat measurements in case of any errors.
- If tiling around outlets, make tile cuts accordingly so the area won’t be overestimated.
- Add an extra 10% to your final square footage as a buffer. It’s better to have extra materials than to run out halfway through the install.
With the backsplash area measured properly, you can now confidently shop for your tiles, grout, and tools knowing that you’ll have just the right amount needed to complete your kitchen or bathroom backsplash project.
Frequently Asked Questions About Measuring Backsplash Area
How high should a backsplash be?
The typical backsplash height is 18-24 inches. The most common standard backsplash height is 18 inches above the countertop. This protects a decent portion of the wall from splashes without overwhelming the space.
What’s the standard size of backsplash tile?
4 inch x 4 inch, 3 inch x 6 inch, and 4 inch x 12 inch are common backsplash subway tile sizes. Larger format tiles like 12 inch squares are also popular. Mixing tile sizes can add interest.
How much extra tile should I buy?
It’s smart to buy 10-15% more tile than your measurements show to account for cuts, waste, and broken or damaged tiles.
Should I include windows and outlets in my area?
Only measure the areas that will be tiled. Do not include the dimensions for windows, outlets, or other openings when calculating your backsplash area, as you will be cutting tiles to fit around these.
How do I calculate backsplash area on multiple walls?
Measure each wall section individually, calculating the length x height. Add together the area of every measured section to find the total square inch coverage needed. Convert to square feet and round up slightly for your final tile quantity needed.
Can I install a backsplash directly over drywall or plaster?
It’s recommended to install cement backer board or another suitable tile backing material rather than tiling directly onto drywall. This provides protection against moisture and a more stable surface for the tile.
Measuring your backsplash area accurately doesn’t have to be difficult. By breaking the backsplash into sections, taking length and height measurements, multiplying to find the area, and converting to square feet, you can determine the precise tile and materials needed for your space. With the right calculations, you can feel prepared to take on your backsplash project with confidence.