How to Measure Square Feet for a Backsplash

Choosing the right amount of tile for a backsplash can be tricky. You need to purchase enough to cover the entire area, without buying more than necessary and wasting material and money. Measuring the square footage is essential to determining how much tile you’ll require. Follow this guide to accurately measure square feet for your backsplash installation.

Gather Your Supplies

Measuring square footage starts with having the right tools:

  • Tape measure – Get an accurate standard or laser tape measure. Measure to the nearest 1/8 inch.
  • Pencil and paper – Write down all your measurements. Sketch your backsplash area as you go.
  • Calculator (optional) – Calculate totals as you measure. Double check math.
  • Ladder (optional) – Use a sturdy ladder if needed to reach upper areas.

Map Out the Area

Carefully measure and sketch the shape of the backsplash area. Note any irregular shapes or angles. Identify the:

  • Length – Measure the linear length across the bottom. Round up to the nearest 1/8 inch.
  • Height – Measure from counter to bottom of upper cabinets. Round up.
  • Shape – Draw the basic outline of the area. Note angles.
  • Windows or openings – Measure and mark sink or stove openings to subtract later.
  • Borders – Decide if you want a full tile border. This may increase measurements.

Measure Length and Height

Work systematically to measure every section of the backsplash.

For each wall section:

  • Measure across the bottom lengthwise. Record the length.
  • Measure the height from counter to cabinet bottom. Record the height.
  • Repeat process for any additional sections or windows/openings.

Calculate Total Square Footage

With all measurements recorded, you can now calculate:

  • Wall Section 1: Length (inches) x Height (inches) / 144 = Section 1 Square Feet
  • Wall Section 2: Length (inches) x Height (inches) / 144 = Section 2 Square Feet
  • Repeat for each additional section.
  • Total Square Feet: Add together square feet of each section.

Round up to the nearest 0.5 square feet for a buffer.

Account for Borders and Openings

If adding a tile border, measure and calculate border separately:

  • Border length (inches) x Border height (inches) / 144 = Border Square Feet

For sink or stove openings:

  • Measure opening length (inches) x Height (inches) / 144 = Opening 1 Square Feet
  • Subtract Opening 1 Square Feet from Total

Purchase Materials

Use your total square footage amount to purchase needed:

  • Tile sheets – Calculate full sheets needed rounded up
  • Adhesive mortar – Follow product directions based on square feet
  • Grout – Follow product directions based on square feet

Remember to account for pattern layouts and tile cuts where applicable. Leave an extra 10% buffer to be safe. Now you can shop with confidence!

Tips for Measuring Success

  • Verify measurements by having someone double check your math.
  • Multiply L x W measurements to find total inches, then divide by 144 for square feet.
  • Use a tile layout plan and mark measurements right on the wall.
  • Take pictures of each section for reference as you calculate.
  • Overestimate square footage slightly to avoid a tile shortage.

With careful measurement and planning, you can determine the precise square footage for your backsplash project. Follow this process to calculate an accurate amount of tile and supplies needed. Then install your beautiful new backsplash with ease and confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to measure sq ft for backsplash?

To measure square feet for a backsplash, measure the length and height of each wall section in inches, multiply to find total inches, then divide by 144 to convert to square feet. Add together square footage of each section for the total, rounding up slightly. Account for any borders, openings or irregular shapes separately.

How much tile do I need for a backsplash?

Take the total square footage amount calculated, and divide by the square foot coverage of your tile size. This gives full tiles needed. Round up for extras to account for cuts or waste. Get 10-15% more of adhesive, grout, etc based on final square footage.

What size tile is best for kitchen backsplash?

Popular backsplash tile sizes range from 1 inch mosaics to 4-inch tiles or larger. Smaller tile sizes involve more grout lines but allow greater creativity. Larger tiles have fewer grout lines and faster installation. Standard subway tiles are 3 x 6 inches. Choose based on your design.

How do you calculate square feet for a tile backsplash?

Measure length and height of each backsplash section in inches. Multiply length x height to get total inches for that section. Divide by 144 to convert inches to square feet. Add together square feet of all sections for a total and round up slightly. Order materials based on total.

How much does it cost to install a kitchen backsplash?

Backsplash installation costs typically range from $600 to $1000 on average, which includes labor and materials. Cost depends on tile size, pattern complexity, accessibility, preparation work needed, and local labor rates. High-end tile, intricate designs, or large areas cost more.


Measuring square footage for a backsplash is an important first step in any kitchen tile project. Carefully calculate the total surface area you need to cover, while accounting for border edges, openings, and angled walls. Allow for a slight overage in your final tile and material order. Follow the techniques described above to accurately measure square feet and achieve backsplash success. With the right amount of tile and a beautifully executed design, you’ll love gazing at your new backsplash every time you step into the kitchen.