How to Measure Square Footage for Tile Backsplash

Installing a tile backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Before starting your tiling project, it’s important to accurately measure the square footage of the area you plan to tile. Careful measurement will ensure you purchase the right amount of tile and tile installation materials.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to measure square footage for a tile backsplash:

Gather Your Measuring Tools

You’ll need the following tools:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper or notepad
  • Calculator (optional)

Measuring precisely is crucial for an accurate square footage calculation. Use a good quality, sturdy measuring tape rather than a cloth one which can stretch over time.

Measure the Length and Width

Start by measuring the length and width of the backsplash area.

  • Measure across the bottom of the area from end to end for the length.
  • Then measure from top to bottom for the width.

Take separate measurements for each section if you have an uneven or interrupted backsplash area, like around a window. Record all measurements on your paper or notepad.

Multiply Length x Width

Once you have the length and width measurements, multiply them together to get the square footage.

For example:

Length = 8 ft
Width = 4 ft
8 x 4 = 32 sq ft

Repeat this for each section then add together for the total square footage.

Calculate any Deductions

If your backsplash includes any windows, outlets, or other areas that won’t be tiled, you need to subtract them from the total square footage.

Measure the length and width of each deduction area just like you did for the main sections. Calculate the square footage of each deduction then subtract it from the total.

Add at Least 10% Extra

It’s a good idea to add at least 10% onto your final square footage number to have spare tiles in case of breakage or the need to cut irregular shapes.

For example, if your total is 32 sq ft after deductions, add 10% of 32 (= 3.2 sq ft) to get approximately 35 sq ft. Round up to simplify – in this case you would purchase enough tile for 36 sq ft.

Having extras allows for mistakes and prevents coming up short. Any unused tiles can be saved for future repairs or additions.

Purchase Materials

Now take your total square footage calculation and purchase enough tile to cover the area, plus the 10% extra. Don’t forget to also purchase other necessities like grout, tile adhesive, and sealant.

Tips for Measuring Square Footage

  • Measure carefully and precisely for accuracy.
  • Double check all measurements.
  • Break up uneven areas into separate sections.
  • Account for any deductions like windows and outlets.
  • Add at least 10% extra tile to be safe.
  • Round up final square footage to simplify.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I measure in inches or feet for a backsplash?

It’s best to take measurements in feet when calculating square footage. Multiplying feet by feet is simpler than converting inches into feet. Just be sure your measuring tape shows feet and inches.

How much extra tile should I get?

Add at least 10% onto your total square footage to have extras on hand. Having this tile cushion allows for damaged tiles, imperfect cuts, pattern matching, and future repairs.

What if I make a mistake measuring?

Double check all your measurements to be sure they are precise. Re-measure if you find any discrepancies or just want confirmation. Accurate measurements are critical for purchasing the correct tile quantity.

Should I measure the whole wall or just the backsplash area?

Only measure the area that will be tiled. Don’t include the entire wall height or any adjacent countertop space beyond the backsplash perimeter.

What tools do I need to measure square footage?

A measuring tape, pencil, and paper or notepad are all you need. Optional extras are a calculator for multiplying measurements and a laser measuring tool for extra precision.


Measuring square footage for a tile backsplash takes just a few simple steps – measure length and width, multiply for square footage, subtract deductions, add extra, and you’re ready to purchase materials. While it may sound straightforward, precision is key for an accurate calculation. Taking careful measurements will give you the right tile quantity for a successful project.