Installing a backsplash in your kitchen can add visual interest, protect your walls from splatters and spills, and tie your space together. An important first step when selecting, designing, and budgeting for a new backsplash is accurately measuring the square footage you need to cover. Having precise measurements ensures you purchase enough tile or other backsplash materials without overbuying.

Measuring for backsplash square footage is straightforward with some tips and tricks. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the information you need to skillfully calculate the backsplash area in your kitchen or bathroom.

## What is a Backsplash?

Before diving into measurement methods, let’s briefly review what defines a backsplash and where it’s used.

A backsplash is a protective covering applied to the wall area above countertops in kitchens, bathrooms, and other wet workspaces. Backsplashes are commonly made from tile, metal, glass, stone, or other water-resistant materials.

Backsplashes serve both form and function. Their primary purpose is to guard the walls from moisture damage, stains, and scratches. The area directly behind sinks and stoves tends to get splattered often. A backsplash barrier prevents this mess from soaking into the drywall or requiring frequent repainting.

Backsplashes also allow you to infuse decorative flair. An eye-catching backsplash becomes a focal point in the room. It can complement your cabinetry, counters, appliances, and overall interior design aesthetic.

Kitchen backsplashes typically extend 4-6 inches vertically above the counter then run horizontally along the entire wall behind the stove and sink. Bathroom backsplashes surround the mirror and vanity countertop area.

Now that you know what a backsplash is, let’s look at how to accurately measure so you can install the perfect backsplash in your space.

## Backsplash Square Footage Measurement Basics

Measuring your backsplash area precisely before installation ensures you have enough material to complete the project. It also prevents purchasing excess tiles or other backsplash products, which saves you money.

When calculating square footage for backsplash, consider these basic tips:

- Carefully measure any walls that will have backsplash installed. Don’t estimate or guess. Use a tape measure for accuracy. Round measurements up to the nearest 1/8th inch.
- Measure the length and height of each wall section requiring backsplash. Multiply the length x height to determine the square footage of each wall portion.
- Add together the square footage of each measured wall section to get your total backsplash area. Round up the final number.
- Make your measurements based on the exact backsplash dimensions you want, including the desired height above the countertop backsplash border. Standard height is 4-6 inches.
- For kitchens, calculate and total the square footage amounts for the wall behind any sinks, stove, and countertops that will have backsplash.
- To determine tile needs, divide the total backsplash square footage by the size of your tile. This gives you the number of whole tiles required. Buy 10-15% extra to allow for tile cuts and waste.

Let’s now go through the step-by-step process for measuring your kitchen backsplash space. We’ll also cover how to calculate for difficult areas.

## How to Measure for Kitchen Backsplash Square Footage

Follow these instructions to accurately measure your kitchen walls and determine the total backsplash installation area:

### Step 1: Decide on Backsplash Height

First, decide how high you want your new backsplash to extend. The standard height is 4 to 6 inches above the countertop or any backsplash border.

Measure from the countertop up the wall to mark your desired backsplash height with a pencil. Use a level to ensure your mark is straight. This height will be used to measure each wall section.

### Step 2: Measure Wall Sections Individually

Next, measure each wall portion where backsplash will be installed. Break the areas down into smaller, manageable sections.

For example, measure the stove wall from corner to corner in 1-3 foot sections. Do the same for the sink wall, dividing into sections on each side of the window.

Measure any peninsulas or island counters that will have backsplash separately from the perimeter walls.

Make all measurements in inches and write them down. Use a pencil so you can erase and modify as needed.

### Step 3: Multiply Length x Height

For each wall section, multiple the length by the height to get the square footage.

For example:

- Wall section 1 is 36 inches long and 6 inches tall, so:

36 x 6 = 216 square inches

Remember to convert square inches to square feet by dividing by 144. In our example:

216 square inches / 144 = 1.5 square feet

Write down the square footage for each section you measured.

### Step 4: Total the Sections

Add all the individual square footage amounts together to get your backsplash’s total square footage.

For a more accurate total, round each section up to the nearest 1/8th inch before adding them together. Round the final total up as well.

Having extra square footage is better than not having enough tile or materials.

### Step 5: Determine Tile Needs

To calculate the amount of backsplash tile needed, take the total square footage and divide by the size of your tile. This will tell you how many whole tiles are required.

Don’t forget to account for 10-15% extra for tile cuts and waste when purchasing.

Now you know precisely how much tile to buy for your kitchen backsplash installation.

## Measuring Backsplash Areas with Obstacles

Kitchens often present measurement challenges like windows, outlets, and switches. Here are tips for calculating square footage in these special areas:

### Windows

Measure the wall sections on each side of the window separately. Calculate each segment’s square footage.

Don’t subtract the window size from your total backsplash area. You will need to tile across the bottom of the window and up a few inches on each side during installation.

### Outlets & Switches

Include outlets and switches in your measurements, essentially treating them like full tiles.

You will need to cut tile to fit around them during the install process. But the extra inches occupied by the outlets don’t deduct from your total backsplash square footage.

### Inside Corners

For inside corners where backsplash tile wraps around, measure the two walls as separate sections like normal.

When calculating, use the combined height you want the tile to extend on each wall rather than each wall’s individual height. This ensures you have enough to tile around the corner seamlessly.

### Backsplash Borders

Some backsplashes have a coordinating border or trim at the countertop edge. Measure from the upper edge of the border to the height needed, not the countertop.

Account for the inches occupied by the border when calculating so you purchase enough tile. Include border square footage in your total.

### Diagonal Tiling

If installing your backsplash tile diagonally, multiply your total square footage by 1.15 to account for the extra needed to cover at an angle.

### Backsplashes Behind Ranges

For backsplashes behind a stove or range, you typically need extra material to safeguard the wall from greater heat, grease, and moisture exposure.

Consider using tougher metal or stone backsplash tile rather than glass or ceramic in this fire-prone area.

## How to Measure for Bathroom Backsplash

The steps for measuring bathroom backsplash are very similar:

- Decide on desired height above the vanity countertop. Standard is 4-6 inches.
- Measure the backsplash area in sections – side of mirror to corner, corner to corner, etc.
- Multiply length x height of each section to get square footage.
- Add together the measurements. Round up for a buffer.
- Factor in extra tile for cuts, patterns, and waste.

Focus on measuring the area around the mirror and vanity backsplash. Accent areas like behind faucets can be estimated separately.

Tile vertically to the ceiling or stop at an accent border to define the backsplash space, depending on your preference.

## Backsplash Measurement Tools

In addition to a standard tape measure, these tools can further simplify measuring backsplash square footage:

**Laser distance measurement tool**– accurately measures lengths and heights without a tape measure**Smartphone measure app**– uses phone camera to measure dimensions**Backsplash design software**– creates a digital layout of your space for tile calculations**Graph paper**– sketch backsplash diagrams and tile patterns to scale

Using a combination of precision measuring tools will help you determine an accurate tile count.

## Common Backsplash Size Standards

In addition to calculating your measurements, it’s helpful to know standard backsplash dimensions for popular kitchen layouts:

**Single sink**– Approximately 15-25 square feet**Double sink**– Approximately 20-35 square feet**Stove backsplash**– 25-50 square feet depending on stove size**4 foot island**– 16-24 square feet**6-8 foot island**– 24-48 square feet**Peninsula section**– 15-35 square feet depending on size

These ranges account for backsplashes that are 4-6 inches above countertops. Double ovens, larger sinks, and extra counter areas will increase square footage.

Knowing typical backsplash coverage for common kitchen configurations can supplement taking your own measurements.

## Backsplash Patterns and Tile Cuts

Keep in mind that certain backsplash tile patterns like subway brick or hexagon require additional planning and tile purchases to complete compared to basic installations.

- Staggered patterns often necessitate extra tile because tiles must be cut to size to offset each row.
- Mosaics use small tiles so you need to account for higher number of grout lines and overall waste.
- Diagonal designs require up to 15% more tile compared to vertical installation.
- Tile cuts around receptacles, outlets, pipes, windows, corners etc also lead to excess tile waste. Consider 10-15% extra for simple designs and 15-25% more for intricate patterns.

Be sure to factor the intricacy of your backsplash tile layout into square footage measurements and tile quantity needed.

## Cost Estimates with Square Footage

Once final backsplash measurements are complete, use the total square footage to estimate project costs including:

**Tile costs**– Use square footage to determine how much tile you need. Multiply by cost per tile for total estimate. Include extra for cuts/waste.**Labor charges**– Contractors may charge per square foot for installation. Ask for quotes based on your calculated area.**Grout/adhesive**– Use the coverage detailed on product packaging to buy the right amounts for your size space.**Other supplies**– Estimate quantities needed for backing board, sealant, mortar, cement, etc based on square footage.

Precise area measurements allow you to budget accurately for your backsplash tile, materials, and potential installation labor if not DIYing.

## FAQ About Measuring Backsplash Square Footage

Many homeowners have additional questions when calculating their backsplash size:

### How do I measure for backsplash around a window?

Measure the wall sections on each side of the window separately. Calculate each segment’s square footage based on height and length. Don’t subtract window size since tile must run across the bottom and up the sides.

### What about outlets and light switches?

Treat outlets and switches like whole tiles when measuring. You’ll cut tiles to fit around them, but the inches they occupy still contribute to overall square footage.

### Do I need to measure inside corners separately?

Yes, treat inside corners like two separate walls. But use the combined height of the backsplash’s extension around the corner on both walls rather than each one’s individual height.

### How much extra tile should I get?

Order 10-15% more tiles than the square footage requires to account for wiggle room. Get 15-25% extra if installing a more complex tile pattern.

### Can I install backsplash only partially up the wall?

Absolutely! You can install backsplash from the countertop up any height desired. Just tailor measurements and tile to your chosen coverage area.

### How do I calculate subway tile patterns?

Staggered brick or stacked bond subway tile layouts require purchasing 10-15% more tile than square footage due to off-setting rows.

### What measurements do I need for contractors?

Provide contractors your total backsplash square footage along with height above the counter and any special installation needs. This allows accurate quotes.

## Key Takeaways on Measuring Backsplash Area

Ready to measure and calculate the backsplash space in your kitchen or bath? Keep these tips in mind:

- Carefully measure each wall section needing backsplash in inches. Don’t estimate.
- Multiply length x height to get square footage of each area. Convert to square feet.
- Total the measurements of all sections. Round up the final number slightly.
- Divide total square footage by tile size to determine how many whole tiles are needed.
- Add 10-15% more tile than required for cuts, patterns, and waste factor.
- Use square footage to estimate installation labor costs and materials like grout.
- Consider typical size standards for common backsplash locations as a guideline.
- Account for windows, outlets, inside corners, and other obstructions when measuring.

With a detailed understanding of how to determine backsplash square footage, you can install a beautifully tiled backsplash tailored to your precise space. Confident measurements ensure you get the right tile amounts, budget accurately, and gain satisfaction from a job well done.