How to Measure Wall for Backsplash

Installing a backsplash is a great way to add visual interest and protect your walls in a kitchen or bathroom. However, before installing a backsplash, it’s important to accurately measure the wall area to determine the amount of tile needed. With some simple tools and these step-by-step instructions, you can correctly measure for a backsplash installation.

What You’ll Need to Measure for a Backsplash

Before starting to measure, be sure you have the necessary tools on hand:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper or notepad
  • Laser level (optional)

Ensure the wall surface is clean and dry before measuring. Any debris or moisture on the walls can affect getting accurate measurements.

How to Measure for a Backsplash

Follow these steps to measure the wall area to be tiled:

Step 1: Measure Wall Length

Use your tape measure horizontally along the bottom and the top of the backsplash area and record the length in inches. For example, if the backsplash will go behind a sink, measure from one end of the sink to the other.

Measure along the length of any windows or other openings and subtract those measurements from the total to get the actual backsplash length.

Step 2: Measure Wall Height

Measure vertically from the counter or any bottom stopping point up to the ceiling or top stopping point. Record the height measurement in inches. Account for any outlets or other breaks in the area by measuring the height in sections if needed.

For example, you may measure from the counter to the bottom of a window first, then from the top of the window to the ceiling.

Step 3: Calculate the Total Size

To find the total size of the backsplash area, multiply the length by the height.

For example:

  • Length: 108 inches
  • Height: 36 inches
  • Total size: 108 x 36 = 3,888 square inches

If the measurements are in feet, convert the square inches to square feet by dividing by 144.

Step 4: Factor in Imperfections or Obstructions

Walls are often not perfectly straight or plumb. Use a level and check for any high or low spots, bulges, or uneven areas.

If the wall has imperfections, add 5-10% onto your measurements to account for these inconsistencies and tile cuts.

Also account for any outlets, switches, or other obstructions by measuring around them and subtracting those areas from the total.

Step 5: Measure and Deduct for Backsplash Peninsulas

If your backsplash design extends beyond the main wall as a peninsula, take separate measurements for these sections.

Measure the length from the wall to the end point, and the width from one side to the other.

Deduct the peninsula area from the main backsplash area calculated in Step 3.

Tips for Accurate Backsplash Measurements

  • Use a laser level if possible to account for uneven surfaces and get straighter reference points.
  • Snap multiple pictures of the wall area while measuring for reference.
  • Measure in multiple places for each dimension for consistency.
  • Have extra tile on hand in case more is needed to account for irregularities.
  • Consider Gap widths needed between tiles in your measurements based on tile size and grout lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know how much tile to buy?

To determine how much tile to purchase, take the total square inches or feet measured in Step 3 and divide by the square inch or foot coverage of one tile. This will tell you approximately how many tiles you need to cover the space. Have 10-15% extra tiles on hand.

What about the area behind the stove or refrigerator?

If your backsplash will extend behind a stove or refrigerator, measure this section separately following the same steps. Appliances are often removed during backsplash installation, so exact measurements of the wall behind them are needed.

Should I account for pattern matching in my measurements?

If using a tile with a pattern, ensure your measurements allow room for tile cuts to match the pattern and design layout. Add extra tile to be safe.

What if my walls aren’t straight?

Use tile spacers and be prepared to make small cuts to adjust if your walls have dips, bows, or uneven areas. Measure and account for any imperfections to allow for these adjustments.


Measuring correctly for a backsplash installation takes careful attention to detail but doesn’t have to be complicated. Following these steps will help you get accurate wall measurements to calculate the right amount of tile for your project. Be thorough, precise, and account for imperfections to get it right the first time. With the key wall dimensions in hand, you can create a well-fitted, eye-catching backsplash design.