How to Measure Backsplash

Determine the Area to Cover

First, determine the area you want to cover with the new backsplash. This will likely be the wall area between your countertops and cabinets. Measure the length and height of this area in inches. Be sure to account for any outlets, windows, or other obstructions in your measurements. Having accurate dimensions of the area will ensure you purchase enough tile.

Measure Horizontal Spaces

Next, measure the horizontal spaces you need to cover. Start by measuring the length of any countertops where you plan to install the backsplash. Also measure the width of any appliance areas, like behind a stove or sink. Measure these spaces in inches from end to end. This will give you the total horizontal dimension needed.

Measure Vertical Areas

You’ll also need to measure any vertical backsplash areas, like the height of a wall behind an oven or fridge. Measure from the top of the counter or appliance to the bottom of the upper cabinets. For full height backsplashes, measure from the counter to the ceiling. Measure the height of any focal areas or backsplash accents as well.

Account for Outlets and Obstructions

Be sure to account for any outlets, switches, windows, or plumbing fixtures in your measurements. Measure the height and width of these obstructions and make a note of their placement on your plan. You’ll need to cut tiles to fit around them. Having accurate measurements here will ensure a professional looking finished product.

Mark Your Measurements

As you take measurements, mark them on a sketch or drawing of the backsplash area. This will allow you to visualize the layout and design your pattern. Alternatively, take a photo of the area and mark the measurements right on it. Just be sure to keep track of all of the dimensions.

Measure Multiple Areas

If you are tiling multiple backsplash areas, like behind both the stove and sink, take separate measurements for each section. This allows you to plan the tile layout specifically for each area’s size and shape. Trying to measure multiple spaces together can get confusing.

Purchase Extra Tiles

Once you have all your measurements, purchase 10-15% more tile than your square footage calculations estimate that you need. Having extra tiles allows for cuts, potential breakage, or future repairs. The small upfront investment can save you from a tile shortfall down the road.

Carefully measuring your backsplash area is crucial for getting a professional looking installation. With an accurate plan and tile measurements in hand, you can purchase materials confidently and map out the tile layout ahead of time. Taking the time to measure correctly will lead to a backsplash you will love looking at and enjoy for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions About Measuring Backsplash

How high should a backsplash be?

The most common backsplash height is 4-6 inches. Full height backsplashes that go all the way from the counter to the bottom of the upper cabinets are also popular. Standard backsplash heights range from 18-24 inches. Choose based on your design preference and what fits with your cabinets.

How do I calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the length and height of the backsplash area in inches. Multiply the length by the height to get the area in square inches. Divide this number by 144 to convert to square feet. Add up multiple areas to get total square footage.

What tools do I need to measure for backsplash?

You need a measuring tape, pencil, and paper. A level, square, and straight edge can also help ensure your measurements are accurate. Mark measurements right on the wall or take photos to reference later.

Should I account for grout lines in my measurements?

Yes, add 1/8 inch to your measurements for each tile joint to allow space for grout lines. If using larger format tiles, plan for a wider grout joint of 1/4 inch or more between tiles.

Should backsplash go all the way to ceiling?

It depends on your preference. Full height backsplash protects the wall and elongates the look. Standard height is more common and easier to install. Choose based on your design taste and kitchen style.

How much backsplash do I need?

Measure the area’s length times height to get square inches. Divide by 144 for square feet. Multiply square feet by number of tiles per square foot based on tile size. Add 10-15% extra for cuts and waste.


Measuring carefully is one of the most important steps in planning a backsplash project. Taking accurate width, height, and obstruction measurements ensures you know exactly how much tile is needed. Create a detailed plan assigning measurements to each area, accounting for grout and waste. With a precise tile count based on square footage, you can purchase materials with confidence. A thoughtful approach to measuring means you end up with a tailored backsplash that fits beautifully.