How to Measure Square Footage of Backsplash

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can add style, protect your walls, and make cleaning easier. When shopping for backsplash tile or other backsplash materials, you’ll need to know the square footage of the area you plan to cover. Measuring the square footage is easy with some simple math.

What You’ll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator (or spreadsheet program)
  • Pencil and paper for notes

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to accurately measure the square footage of your backsplash area.

1. Measure Wall Length

Use your measuring tape to measure the length of each wall section you plan to cover with backsplash. Measure in inches and write down the length of each section.

For example, if you’re doing a full three-walled backsplash in a 10-foot by 12-foot kitchen, you might get these measurements:

  • Wall 1: 120 inches
  • Wall 2: 144 inches
  • Wall 3: 120 inches

Be sure to deduct for windows, appliances, or anything else that will interfere with a continuous backsplash.

2. Measure Wall Height

Now measure the height of each wall section from the countertop to where you want the backsplash to end. Often backsplashes end 4 inches above the counter, but measure your exact planned height.

Write down the height measurement for each wall section. For example:

  • Wall 1 height: 4 inches
  • Wall 2 height: 4 inches
  • Wall 3 height: 4 inches

3. Multiply Length x Height for Each Section

Take the length and height measurements for each wall section and multiply them together to get the square inches.

For our example kitchen, it would be:

  • Wall 1: 120 inches x 4 inches = 480 square inches
  • Wall 2: 144 inches x 4 inches = 576 square inches
  • Wall 3: 120 inches x 4 inches = 480 square inches

Total = 1,536 square inches

4. Convert to Square Feet

To convert square inches to square feet, divide the total square inches by 144.

For our sample kitchen:

1,536 square inches / 144 = 10.67 square feet

So the total backsplash coverage needed is approximately 10.67 square feet.

An easy way to do the conversion is to take your total square inches and move the decimal point two places to the left.

5. Add 10-15% More for Cuts

It’s a good idea to add 10-15% more square footage to account for any intricate cuts, patterns, or backsplash design.

For our 10.67 square foot kitchen backsplash, adding 15% would be another 1.6 square feet, making the total 12.27 square feet.

This helps ensure you buy enough backsplash material. Any extras can be saved for future repairs or additions.


  • For very complex patterns like subway tile, add up to 20% more for off-cuts.
  • Make a sketch of each wall to help visualize measurements.
  • Photograph each wall section to reference later.
  • Account for outlets, switches, and other obstacles.
  • Round up square footage to the nearest quarter or half square foot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate square feet for a backsplash?

Measure the length and height of each backsplash wall section in inches. Multiply length x height to get square inches of each section. Add together square inches for all sections. Divide the total square inches by 144 to convert to square feet.

Should I add extra for cuts and patterns?

Yes, add 10-15% more square footage to account for intricate cuts, patterns like subway tile, and design elements. For very complex patterns, add up to 20% extra.

What if I have a peninsula or island?

Measure any backsplash sections on peninsulas, islands, or half-walls separately from full walls. Get square inches for each section then add together.

How are square feet calculated for a backsplash with multiple sections?

Measure and calculate square inches for each individual backsplash section separately. Then add all the square inches together and divide by 144 to get total square footage.

Should I round up or down on square feet?

It’s best to round up to the nearest quarter or half square foot increment to ensure you purchase enough materials.

What measurements do I need for backsplash installers?

Provide your installers the length and height of each individual backsplash section. Also give them the total square footage plus 10-15% extra for cuts.


Measuring square footage for backsplash is simply a matter of multiplying length times height for each wall section. Convert square inches to square feet, then add 10-15% extra to account for intricate cuts and patterns. With some simple math and accurate measurements, you’ll know exactly how much backsplash material to purchase for a perfect fit.