When to Install a Kitchen Backsplash


Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can completely transform the look and feel of the space. But when is the right time to install a kitchen backsplash? Should you do it during a kitchen remodel or after? What are the benefits of adding a backsplash at different stages of your kitchen design? This article will explore the pros and cons of installing a kitchen backsplash during a renovation versus after to help you determine the best timing for your project.

During a Kitchen Remodel

Installing a kitchen backsplash during a kitchen remodel or renovation allows for a cohesive design.


Since you’re already making design changes to your kitchen, choosing your backsplash tiles and materials at the same time as your countertops, cabinetry, appliances and other finishes creates a unified look. The backsplash becomes part of the overall kitchen design, rather than looking like an afterthought.

Construction Flow

Additionally, installing the backsplash while the kitchen is already under construction allows for better coordination of the tilework with the cabinets, countertops and other elements. The backsplash tiling can be done after cabinets are installed but before the countertops go in, avoiding any complex cutting around the countertop edges.

Cost Efficiency

Combining the backsplash installation with your remodel may also be more economical. Since the contractors are already on site doing the larger renovation, there likely won’t be additional labor costs for installing the backsplash separately later on. Any messes or debris from the tilework will be cleaned up as part of the overall remodel cleanup as well.

After a Kitchen Remodel

However, there are also some advantages to waiting until after you’ve completed your kitchen remodel to install a backsplash.

Design Flexibility

Putting off the backsplash installation gives you time to live with your new kitchen design and make sure you’ve made all the adjustments you want before finalizing your backsplash choice. Since the backsplash is primarily decorative, it doesn’t impact the kitchen layout or functionality.

Budget Considerations

Waiting until after a major kitchen remodel to do the backsplash allows you to spread out costs over time. The backsplash can be an extra project you budget for and complete a little later once your finances have recovered from the main renovation.

Easier Access

Installing the backsplash after the major construction is done also allows for easier access to the wall area without demolition debris or contractors in the way. The tile installer can work cleanly and efficiently.

Key Timing Considerations

When deciding between installing a kitchen backsplash during or after your renovation, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Coordination with cabinets and countertops
  • Access to the backsplash area
  • Budget and timing of costs
  • Workflow and efficiency of contractors/tilers
  • Ability to tweak overall kitchen design

Ultimately, the “right” timing is dependent on your specific kitchen remodel circumstances and priorities. If budget and design flexibility are most important, waiting until after may work best. But if you want your backsplash fully integrated into the kitchen redo, install it during. Focus on which approach best supports your kitchen goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some common questions about the best time to install a kitchen backsplash:

Should I install the backsplash before or after countertops?

It’s generally best to install backsplashes after your countertops are in place. This allows the backsplash tiles to be cut precisely around the contours of the countertops for a seamless look.

Can I install a backsplash myself later?

Yes, it’s often fairly simple for a homeowner to install a self-adhesive tile backsplash later on their own. This can save on labor costs versus paying a contractor.

What if I want to change my backsplash, isn’t it harder after?

If you think you may want to change your backsplash again down the line, it often is harder to remove and replace it after the countertops are in. During a reno may make future changes simpler.

Can I do a partial backsplash first and extend it later?

This is certainly an option. You could save costs by doing a basic backsplash over the stove area during the reno, and then add on with more decorative tilework later.

Should I wait if I’m undecided on my backsplash design?

If you need more time to finalize your backsplash tile choice, waiting until after the remodel finishes allows you that flexibility to get the perfect look.


The ideal time to install a kitchen backsplash depends on your goals, budget and renovation scope. Integrating the backsplash during a kitchen remodel allows for cohesive design, efficient construction and potential cost savings. Alternatively, waiting until after gives flexibility for final backsplash decisions and spreads out costs over time. Assess the benefits in light of your specific kitchen project to decide on perfect timing. With careful planning and coordination, your new backsplash can seamlessly bring your kitchen vision to life.