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Backsplash Installation Cost

Backsplash Installation Cost

National average
$1,500
(installation of 30 square feet of white subway tile with a herringbone cooktop area and decorative border and rail)
Low: $150

(12 square feet of straight-set ceramic tile behind the cooktop with no frame)

High: $10,000

(handmade and hand-painted ceramic tile mural behind the cooktop with chiseled stone backsplash along the counters)

Cost to install a backsplash varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from tile, marble and granite contractors in your city.

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Backsplash Installation Cost

National average
$1,500
(installation of 30 square feet of white subway tile with a herringbone cooktop area and decorative border and rail)
Low: $150

(12 square feet of straight-set ceramic tile behind the cooktop with no frame)

High: $10,000

(handmade and hand-painted ceramic tile mural behind the cooktop with chiseled stone backsplash along the counters)

Cost to install a backsplash varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from tile, marble and granite contractors in your city.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Backsplash?

The backsplash is the most decorative part of a new kitchen design. Backsplashes were used as a practical way to protect the wall behind a cooktop from splatter. With new cleaning implements and tougher paint, the backsplash has evolved into an optional kitchen feature to show style or personal taste.

The average backsplash is roughly 30 square feet and can be made of nearly any material. With varying material costs, this can lead to large price ranges for the project. The national average cost for a new backsplash is $900 to $2,500, with most people spending around $1,500 for a classic, white subway tile with a decorative border and herringbone cooktop area. You can install roughly 12 square feet of straight-set 4-inch tile just behind the cooktop for $150 or a hand-painted mural behind the cooktop with a chiseled stone backsplash along the counters for $10,000.

Backsplash Costs

Backsplash Installation Costs
National average cost$1,500
Average range$900-$2,500
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost$10,000

Backsplash Cost by Material

Backsplashes are a unique area in the home. They have no foot traffic or exposure to moisture. They occasionally see splatters from grease and food substances. You can install nearly any material in the backsplash area, but some materials require stain protection. The amount of cooking you do and the types of foods you cook impact how easy the material is to maintain. Materials you may wish to consider include:


Backsplash Costs

Backsplash Costs


Type of MaterialAverage Costs (Material Only)
Ceramic Tile$2.40 - $50/sq.ft.
Porcelain Tile$3 - $30/sq.ft.
Travertine$5 - $30/sq.ft.
Marble$5 - $75/sq.ft.
Beadboard Panels$7 - $40/sq.ft.
Mirrors$8 - $15/sq.ft.
Granite$10 - $100/sq.ft.
Quartz$10 - $100/sq.ft
Engineered Stone$10 - $100/sq.ft.
Chalkboard Paint$20 - $25/gallon
Glass$20 - $30/sq.ft.
Stainless Steel$20 - $50/sq.ft.
Aluminum$20 - $50/sq.ft.
Wallpaper$30 - $50/roll
Ceiling Tiles$30 - $50/sq.ft.


Ceramic Tile Backsplash Cost

Ceramic tiles are commonly used for creating a kitchen backsplash. Ceramic is a tile made of wet clay that is fired and glazed. They come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and sizes and are easy to take care of. They can be machine-made or handmade and give your kitchen many looks. Handmade ceramic tiles need wider grout joints than others, which makes them harder to care for. Ceramic tiles cost between $2.40 and $50 a square foot.

Porcelain Tile Backsplash Cost

Porcelain is less common on kitchen backsplashes than other materials. This tile is made of compressed clay dust that has been fired to very high temperatures. Porcelain is scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and crack-resistant and lasts years without any care. Porcelain does not come in as many colors, sizes, or patterns as ceramic, so it is not frequently used. Porcelain tile costs between $3 and $30 a square foot.

Travertine Backsplash Cost

Travertine is a unique type of limestone - a natural stone material made mostly of calcite. Travertine is formed deep inside a hot spring. Escaping water vapor forms long tunnels and holes in the cooling stone, and these holes are visible on the surface of the travertine. Travertine tile can be filled or unfilled - meaning the holes may be visible or filled with a compound. Travertine comes in several colors and finishes, all ideal for the kitchen. They cost between $5 and $30 a square foot.

Marble Backsplash Cost

Marble is a metamorphic stone made mostly of calcite. Marble is compressed limestone but is harder and more durable. Marble comes in many colors, patterns, and sizes for backsplashes. Marble requires much care on the backsplash because it stains, but it lasts for years with proper sealing. Marble costs between $5 and $75 a square foot.

Beadboard Backsplash Cost

While beadboard is most commonly used in bathrooms, mudrooms, and ceilings, it gets some use on backsplashes. Beadboard is made up of thin strips of wood or beads placed over the edges of wider boards. It can be found in many types of wood and even some plastics and vinyls today, making them easier to clean. Beadboard can be wood-toned but is usually painted white. Depending on the material, beadboard costs between $7 and $20 a square foot.

Mirror Backsplash Cost

If you have a small or dark kitchen, use a mirror backsplash to look bigger and brighter. Mirrored backsplashes can be made of one large mirror or many mirrored tiles. Mirrors reflect light and their surroundings, making the kitchen seem larger. They are hard to keep clean in this area and require frequent cleaning. Mirrored backsplashes cost $8 to $15 a square foot.

Granite Backsplash Cost

Granite is a less common choice for backsplashes than other natural stones. This is because it is difficult to match a granite tile with a granite slab. You can use a granite slab on your backsplash, but this is expensive and much thicker than tile, requiring special extenders for your outlet boxes. Granite backsplashes cost between $10 and $100 a square foot, depending on whether they are tile or slab.

Quartz Backsplash Cost

Quartz is a man-made material composed of roughly 90% quartz rock and 10% pigments and resins. It is stain-resistant and much easier to care for than natural stone. It comes in tiles or slabs and is much easier to match than granite. Quartz has fewer colors and sizes than other materials, but they work well in modern kitchens. They cost between $10 and $100 a square foot, depending on whether they are tile or slab.

Engineered Stone Backsplash

Engineered stone and quartz are the same material. This is a mixture of pigments, resins, and quartz, which is one of the hardest natural materials used in home surfaces. The resins make the engineered stone more consistent than natural stone and resistant to staining, cracking, and scratching. It comes in several colors and styles, mostly in slab but some tiles as well. It costs between $10 and $100 a square foot.

Chalkboard Backsplash

If you like constantly decorating and drawing on your backsplash, create a chalkboard wall. Chalkboard backsplashes are made by applying chalkboard paint to the wall. This dark paint is easy to clean and allows you to write on your walls. However, painting your entire backsplash black like this can make your kitchen appear dark. Chalkboard paint costs between $20 and $25 a gallon.

Glass Backsplash Cost

Glass backsplashes are another solution for dark or small kitchens. Like mirrors, glass tiles reflect a lot of light, helping dark and small kitchens seem bigger and brighter. Glass tiles come in multiple colors, styles, and sizes. You can opt for handmade glass for a traditional look or sleek, color-backed glass for a contemporary appearance. Glass tile is easy to clean, but it is difficult and expensive to install. It costs between $20 and $30 a square foot on average.

Stainless Steel Backsplash Cost

If you have a modern or contemporary kitchen, stainless steel makes a great statement on the backsplash. Stainless steel backsplashes are easy to clean and care for and have a dramatic appearance. They can be made of solid sheets of steel or tiles in several shapes, sizes, and patterns. An abundance of stainless can make the kitchen seem cold and sterile, so this is best as an accent material. It costs between $20 and $50 a square foot.

Aluminum Backsplash

Aluminum is another choice that makes an interesting and contemporary backsplash. There are many aluminum tiles, including unique mosaics that come in different shapes and sizes. However, aluminum backsplashes can melt easily. It should not be used behind a cooktop or in another hot area. Aluminum costs between $20 and $50 a square foot, depending on the form.

Kitchen Backsplash Wallpaper

If you like the idea of having color, pattern, and texture on your backsplash, but do not want tile, wallpaper makes an excellent choice. Wallpaper for use on a backsplash is often made of thicker material that can be wiped down. This makes it easier to clean and care for and gives you the many patterns of wallpaper. Do not use wallpaper meant for other parts of the home because it could be damaged. Wallpaper costs around $30 to $50 a roll.

Ceiling Tile Backsplash

If you are a fan of repeating embossed patterns, ceiling tiles can make very interesting backsplashes. Ceiling tiles come in sizes starting at 6-inches square and going up to 18-inches or 24-inches square. They come in many materials and colors, including some you can paint. They create intricate and repeating patterns on backsplashes that are very dramatic, but they are hard to keep clean. They cost between $30 and $50 a square foot on average.

Kitchen Backsplash Cost by Tile Shape

While you can use nearly any material, most materials are sold in a tile form, including ceramic, porcelain, natural and engineered stone, metal, glass, mirrors, and ceiling tiles. Many of these materials are available in different shapes and sizes, which you can mix and match to create different patterns. The shape of a tile does not have any impact on the cost of the tile. Materials and the tile size have the most impact, but shape can play a role in your kitchen’s appearance. New waterjet technology can have some materials carved into any shape, but most materials are available in a set range, including:


Kitchen Backsplash Costs

Kitchen Backsplash Cost


Square Tile Backsplash

Square tiles are some of the most basic and simplest to install. Their size ranges from ⅜ to 18 inches, and they can be straight-edged with sharp corners or slightly irregular if handmade or rustic. Square tile backsplashes can be a mixture of different materials and colors or a single color and material, depending on how intricate you want.

Rectangular Tile Backsplash

Many people recognize rectangular tiles as the popular “subway tile,” which is a 3x6-inch tile of any material. But rectangular tiles can be found in sizes from ½x1 inches to 12x24 inches. To be a true “subway” backsplash, the tiles need to be arranged in a running bond or offset pattern. Rectangular tiles can be stacked - horizontally or vertically - and installed in a herringbone pattern for more interest.

Diamond Tile Backsplash

There are two ways to create a “diamond” tile backsplash. The first is taking a square tile and turning it on point. The second is a different tile shape, which is an elongated diamond. These may have clipped ends on the tops and bottoms, so they fit together more tightly, or they may have a more classic diamond shape, depending on the brand.

Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Mosaics are defined as any type of tile measuring 2 inches or smaller in size. They can be any shape - square, rectangle, or circle, and they can be made of any material. To make them easier to install, most mosaics are sold in 12-inch square sheets, mounted either on brown paper that covers their fronts or a mesh on the back.

Penny Tile Backsplash

Penny tiles are a retro tile pattern dating back to the 1940s. They are round or circular tiles, and the classic ones measure slightly over ½ inch. However, you can also find circular tiles called dots. These come in many sizes up to 3 inches in diameter, or you can find them mixed for a fun, playful pattern.

Backsplash Prices by Patterns

It is common to install tile or other materials on your backsplash in a pattern. Any pattern other than a straight-set tile increases the project’s costs by between 10 and 20%, due to the extra material needed and the time to cut and lay. Popular patterns for the backsplash include:


Backsplash Prices

Backsplash Prices


Subway Tile Backsplash Cost

One of the most common patterns for use on a backsplash is the subway pattern. This is a running bond pattern made of rectangular tiles, most commonly 3x6 inches in size. Subway tiles cost between $2.40 and $20 a square foot, and to install them in a running bond pattern, you need about 10% extra material and labor costs over stacked tiles.

Straight-Set Tile Backsplash

This design consists of any tile shape stacked on top of one another in straight lines. It is the simplest and easiest to install. If you install this pattern, you need less material and will pay less for installation than if you chose the same material while using a different pattern.

Diagonal Tile Backsplash

A diagonal tile backsplash takes square tiles and turns them on their point. All the tiles on the perimeter of the installation need to be cut. This increases your total costs by roughly 20% for materials and labor to account for the extra material needed and the installer’s time.

Herringbone Tile Backsplash

Herringbone patterns make great additions to the area behind your cooktop. They can be used on the perimeter, but because this space only measures 18-inches high, the effect is less visible. Herringbone is made out of rectangular tiles set at diagonal angles to one another. This is a complex pattern that increases your project costs by 20% over a straight pattern.

Cut-Corner Pattern

A cut-corner pattern refers to any mixture of two tile sizes, where the larger tile has its corners cut to accommodate the smaller. The octagon and dot pattern is an example of this pattern, where the four corners of the large tile are clipped to make space for the smaller “dot.” This pattern requires much work to create and increases costs by 20% minimum.

Step Pattern

This design includes two tile sizes with the smaller tile “stepping off” the larger corner. This makes the backsplash look like it is moving up and off to one side when done correctly. It is common to use different materials for each, adding depth to the design.

Other popular styles include running a decorative border one tile up from the bottom of the backsplash and framing the area above the cooktop using a decorative molding or border tile. In either case, the field tile may change in the bordered area. For example, a running bond subway tile along the countertops may change behind a framed cooktop to a herringbone pattern.

Cost to Install a Kitchen Backsplash

The labor cost of installing a backsplash varies depending on the material, shape, size, and the backsplash area’s condition. In most cases, the installation rate is around $10 to $15 per square foot. A 30-square-foot backsplash costs between $300 and $450 to install. If you use a complicated pattern or material, it raises costs by about 20%, making labor costs $360 to $540.

Cost to Install a Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway tiles are one of the most common types of backsplash installations. Assuming a good-quality subway tile of ⅜-inch thickness at around $7 a square foot, a 30 sq.ft. backsplash costs roughly $250 in materials - the tile, bullnose edge pieces, grout, and mortar. Installation costs roughly $400 for this pattern. Without any decorative borders or a different pattern behind the cooktop, a basic, white subway tile backsplash costs about $650. Adding colors, using handmade tile, or adding decorative elements increases the costs.


Kitchen with diamond shape backsplash installed


Backsplash Installation Process

Backsplash installation proceeds like any other tile installation. The space is measured, and a dry layout is done nearby. The tiles are placed in an area of the same shape and size to determine the proper layout and make cuts. Cuts are made to fit the tiles or other material to the backsplash and any outlets.

If the backsplash is tile, the most common method of completing the space is to spread a small amount of mortar on the wall. Then, the tiles are set in a predetermined pattern. After tiling, the mortar cures for 24 hours, and the backsplash is grouted and requires another 24 hours to cure. If the material is crackled ceramic, natural stone, or engineered stone, it must be sealed before grouting.

For a 30-square-foot backsplash, the entire process takes just a few hours for installation and another one to two hours the next day for grouting.

Cost to Replace a Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash is easy to replace. If the original tile was installed correctly, it can be gently pried off the wall with little to no damage. This adds roughly $100 to the cost of the backsplash installation, so a 30 sq.ft. backsplash with subway tile, a decorative border, and a framed herringbone accent behind the cooktop costs roughly $1,600.

However, if care was not taken when removing the old tile, you may need new drywall before the new tile can be put up. If this is the case, expect an additional $3 a square foot to put up new drywall, making the total closer to $1,700.


Modern rustic kitchen with backsplash installed


Typical Backsplash Height

The most common backsplash height is 18 inches from the top of the countertop to the bottom of the cabinet’s underside. This amount of space holds 6 rows of 3x6 tiles, 4 full rows plus a 2-inch border of 4-inch tiles, 1 row of 18-inch tiles, 1½ rows of 12x12, or 12x24-inch tiles, or 6 rows of 3-inch tiles. It is very common to mix tile sizes to fill the space, creating a unique pattern.

Older kitchens with shorter upper cabinets and countertops with an integral backsplash usually have a backsplash area of 14 to 15 inches.

Extending Countertops Up the Wall

Most countertops have the option of a small, integral backsplash of about 3 to 4 inches tall. However, you can have your countertop extended to cover the entire backsplash area. The cost for the backsplash material is the same as the cost of the countertop material. For example, if you use a granite countertop at $150 per square foot, the backsplash cost is $4,500 for 30 square feet.

Pros and Cons of Backsplashes

Backsplashes add to the personality, color, and style of the kitchen. They are easy to change out and update, so they can take a classic kitchen style and give it a fresh look. They can pick up colors from the countertop, show off personal tastes or interests, and feature materials that maximize light in the room, such as glass.

Most backsplash materials are easy-to-clean, easier than keeping a painted surface clean. Glass, ceramic, porcelain, and some metal backsplashes are easy to wipe clean of most substances.

However, some backsplash materials, including natural stone, wallpaper, wood, and paint require maintenance. Stone must be sealed to prevent staining, while wallpaper or paint may be damaged by too much scrubbing.

Maintenance

The maintenance of your backsplash depends on the material, how often you cook, and what types of foods you cook. Ceramic, porcelain, and glass are the easiest to maintain, but depending on how much grout you have, you may want to seal it to prevent staining. Otherwise, just wiping the backsplash with soap and water is sufficient.

For natural stone and some engineered stone backsplashes, you need to seal the material to prevent staining. Even then, you should wipe off splashes of acidic material like tomato sauce quickly to prevent etching of the surface. Always wash your backsplash with a cleaner made for the specific material, such as a stone or metal cleaner.

Bathroom Backsplash

Backsplashes in the bathroom may not get the same attention as they do in the kitchen, but they add some interest to your sink area. There are many ways to make a bathroom backsplash. Some people install a single row of tile or strip of border tile behind the sink to protect the wall. Other people tile the entire wall behind the sink, framing the mirror in tile. The bathroom backsplash costs anywhere from $30 for a simple 4-inch backsplash on a 36-inch counter to $2,000 for a fully tiled wall of mosaics framing out a mirror with decorative molding.

If you use a porous material like stone, you need to seal it more frequently on a bathroom backsplash than in a kitchen.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Replacing the Countertops

It is common to switch out your backsplash when you replace your countertops. If this is the case, expect to pay $3,000 for a new countertop.

LED Backsplash Cost

If you want to light up your kitchen, you can create a unique LED backsplash. This is typically done with matts that are embedded with hundreds of tiny lights. These backsplashes start at $100 a square foot and require an electrician to wire them to a GFCI outlet, totaling close to $4,500 for the average backsplash.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Removing an old backsplash to install a new one is a simple job that costs around $2 to $5 per square foot.
  • Using a contrasting color or pattern in your backsplash creates a focal point in the kitchen that improves the space’s aesthetics.
  • When you decide to replace the backsplash, the old one must be removed carefully to avoid wall damage before the new one can be installed.
  • Most tile backsplashes can be easily installed DIY. Ceramic tile can be cut with a score-and-snap tool, so no major equipment is required.

FAQs

  • What is the best material for a kitchen backsplash?

There is no one best material for the kitchen backsplash. That is one of the best parts of this area. It does not get foot traffic, does not get constantly bombarded with water, and food splatters are minimal. If you are worried about ease of care, glass, ceramic, and porcelain are very low-maintenance.

Ceramic subway tile costs around $2.40 to $50 per square foot, while installation runs between $10 and $15 per square foot, plus mortar and grout costs.

  • How much does a new backsplash and countertop cost?

Altogether, the cost of a new backsplash 2 and countertop will run about $4,500.

  • How long does it take to install a kitchen backsplash?

Most backsplashes can be installed within a few hours.

  • How high should a kitchen backsplash be?

The average height of a kitchen backsplash is around 18 inches.

  • How thick should a backsplash tile be?

The standard thickness for most tile is ⅜ of an inch, but a backsplash may be up to 1-inch thick without compromising counter space.

  • Do you put a backsplash behind a stove?

Many people do, but you do not have to. If you have a range hood, you have a much bigger area for a backsplash here than along the rest of the counters. For that reason, this is a great place to install something decorative that can become a focal point in the kitchen.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Subway Tile 1 Subway tile: A flat rectangular piece of glazed ceramic, traditionally 3-by-6 inches, used to decorate indoor walls and serve as a backsplash
glossary term picture Backsplash 2 Backsplash: The upright surface, often made of tile, behind a kitchen counter, sink, or stove, that protects the wall from damage from splatter due to kitchen activities

Cost to install a backsplash varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Modern interior of kitchen with stone wall backsplash

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Anchorage, AK
+35%
Arlington, VA
+38%
Ashburn, VA
+14%
Ashland, NH
+22%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Aurora, IL
+21%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Beaverton, OR
+15%
Boston, MA
+40%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Canton, GA
-5%
Cape Coral, FL
-9%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Coldwater, MI
-21%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Durham, NC
-1%
Easley, SC
-37%
Fairfield, CA
+5%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Hartford, CT
+23%
Henderson, KY
-10%
Houston, TX
+24%
Huntington Beach, CA
+24%
Huntsville, AL
-17%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Irving, TX
+10%
Lafayette, CA
+35%
Laurel, MT
-12%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Madison, WI
+13%
Mcdonough, GA
-11%
Melbourne, FL
-16%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Modesto, CA
-12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New Market, MD
0%
New York, NY
+77%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Pasadena, TX
+16%
Pensacola, FL
-19%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Plainfield, IL
+25%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Labor cost in your zip code
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