How to Measure for Backsplash in Kitchen

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen not only protects your walls from splatters and spills, but it also adds style and visual interest. When planning for a new backsplash, taking accurate measurements is crucial for a proper fit and professional look. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to measure for backsplash in your kitchen.

Determine the Area to Cover

The first step is to figure out the exact wall area you want to cover with the backsplash. This will depend on your kitchen layout, design plans, and personal preference.

  • For a full backsplash, measure from the countertop to the underside of the upper cabinets. This will cover the entire wall area between the counters and cabinets.
  • For a partial backsplash, decide how high up the wall you want it to extend. Many partial backsplashes end at 4-6 inches above the countertop.
  • You can also do a specific section like just behind the stove or sink. Measure the precise width to determine the size.
  • Make sure to measure any windows, outlets or appliances on the walls and account for them in your measurements. You will need to cut tiles to fit around these areas.

Measure Width

Once you know the height, take measurements of the width of the backsplash area.

  • Start at one end and measure across to the other end, including any spaces between cabinets and appliances.
  • For irregular spaced areas, divide the space into rectangular sections and take measurements of each.
  • Make sure your measurements are in inches from end to end so you can calculate the overall square footage.

Measure Height

Accurately measuring height is important to order enough tiles.

  • Use a level to mark a horizontal line where you want the backsplash to end. Measure from the countertop up to this line in inches.
  • For a full backsplash, measure from countertop to cabinet. For a partial backsplash, measure from countertop to desired height.
  • Make sure your line is perfectly straight and level for an even look.

Account for Outlets and Obstacles

  • Measure the exact location of any outlets, switches or obstacles like pipes on the backsplash area.
  • Make notes of their placement from the countertop or cabinet edges.
  • You need to plan the tile layout to accommodate these fixtures.
  • If removing outlets, do so before installing backsplash and reinstall them afterward.

Order Extra Tiles

It’s always smart to order 5-10% more tiles than you calculated from measurements. This accounts for broken pieces, uneven walls requiring extra tiles, and having leftovers in case repairs are needed later.

Consider Design Elements

  • Measurements should take into account any decorative touches like borders, accents or mosaic tiles.
  • Add a few inches on each side if planning a border or trim.
  • Strategize optimal tile layout to minimalize cuts if using special mosaic or patterned tiles.

Double Check Accuracy

Before finalizing tile order, re-measure everything carefully to confirm accuracy. Even being off by 1/2 inch can leave you short on tiles for the job. Having another person double check your math is wise.

Tools Needed

Having proper tools will make measuring and installation much easier. Recommended tools include:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Ladder
  • Tile spacers
  • Utility knife
  • Safety glasses and gloves

With strategic planning and meticulous measurements, you can create the backsplash of your dreams! Let the measurements guide your tile purchasing and layout plans for a seamless look. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if unsure about any part of the process. Getting it right the first time avoids problems down the road. With a perfectly measured backsplash, you can enjoy a beautiful, functional focal point in your kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Measuring for Backsplash

How high should the backsplash be?

For a full backsplash, measure from the countertop to the underside of the upper cabinets. For a partial backsplash, common heights are 4-6 inches above the countertop. The height is a personal choice based on your kitchen design.

What’s the best way to measure for an uneven wall?

Divide an irregular wall into rectangular sections and take measurements of each section individually. Make sure your measurements account for any uneven spots along the wall.

Should I measure the backsplash before or after installing countertops?

It’s best to measure after countertops are installed since their placement can affect the backsplash dimensions and tile layout.

What should I do about outlets on the backsplash area?

Note outlet placement in your measurements. Either remove outlets and reinstall after backsplash is done, or measure to cut tiles around them.

How much extra tile should I order?

Order 5-10% more tiles than your measurements calculate to account for broken tiles, uneven walls, and needed repairs later.

Should I account for a border or trim in measurements?

Yes, add a few extra inches to the overall measurements if planning to install borders or trim.

What tools do I need for measuring backsplash?

Useful tools include a tape measure, level, pencil, calculator, ladder, spacers, utility knife, and safety equipment.


Measuring correctly is a key first step for a stunning, functional backsplash. Take time to carefully measure the height, width, and any obstacles in the backsplash area. Account for design elements like borders and make sure to order extra tiles. Use helpful tools to ensure precision in your measurements. With strategic planning and attention to detail, you can achieve the backsplash of your dreams and enhance your kitchen’s style.