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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Tile Backsplash?

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On This Page:

  1. Cost to Install a Tile Backsplash
  2. Backsplash Prices
  3. Other Types of Backsplashes
  4. DIY Backsplash
  5. Conclusion

What is the Average Cost to Install a Tile Backsplash?

The cost to install a backsplash will depend on the amount of backsplash you want to install and the kinds of materials you’ll be using. Some countertops come with a backsplash built into the mold, but many people prefer the look of a backsplash distinct from the countertop. Below is a list of materials commonly used for backsplashes and what professional installation typically costs for each:

Type of Tile20 sq ft.30 sq. ft.40 sq. ft.Per sq. ft.
Stainless Steel$734.00$1,025.00$1,317.00$36.00

Of course, there’s more to installing a backsplash than placing tiles in a pleasing pattern. Angles and hard-to-reach spaces can affect the complexity, and thus the price, of the job. An elaborate pattern takes a lot of planning and skill, which also may add to the price. And, if electrical outlets must be cut in the tile -- or if any edge finishing must be done -- costs will increase as well.

There are also cost factors that can’t be changed by altering your design or materials. These include transportation to your home, seasonal wages and rate adjustments due to the contractor’s workload. Stainless steel is susceptible to fluctuations in steel prices, so keep an eye on the market if you intend to use this material and buy when the price is low.

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Backsplash Prices

Some tile types and materials commonly used in backsplashes include:

  • Ceramic – Ceramic is fairly inexpensive. A basic tile with no pattern costs about $1.76 per square foot. Ceramic is low maintenance and durable, but it is difficult to install by yourself. Ceramic tile should generally be installed by a professional.
  • Porcelain – Porcelain is a sub-type of ceramic, but it is more expensive at $3.00 to $6.00 per square foot. Porcelain has a reputation for toughness, but it requires a special setting material to secure it to your wall.
  • Glass – Glass tiles can be found as sheets in pre-assembled patterns that you can apply to the wall. If you choose professional installation, it costs between $7.00 and $30.00 per square foot, depending on the pattern. It comes in a variety of colors and designs to suit your tastes.
  • Slate – Slate costs about $5.00 per square foot. It’s water resistance makes it a popular stone material for backsplashes. It’s easy to clean -- even when used behind a stove. The downside to slate is that it’s brittle and can crack or break under significant impact. It also requires a sealant to fight off stains.
  • Stainless Steel – Stainless steel costs about $20.00 per square foot. It is easy to clean and fits into a variety of design schemes, but without regular maintenance, it can lose its sleek, clean appearance. The price of stainless steel may also be affected by fluctuations in the steel market.

Ceramic tiles are a popular backsplash choice that falls toward the lower end of the cost spectrum. With a natural terra cotta finish, they can be glazed in many different colors. Averaging just over $1.70 a square foot, they are also easily cut to fit corners and awkward shapes.

Mid-range tiles are the more traditional. Some ceramics, such as those with a pattern stamp, can run from $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot. Most mid-range tiles are comprised of natural stone, such as slate or limestone. Higher-end stone backsplashes are often comprised of marble or granite, costing about $7.00 to $10.00 a square foot.

At the higher end of the cost spectrum are metal tiles. While you can keep costs down using tile with a metal veneer, a full metal backsplash will cost between $15.00 and $25.00 per square foot. Metal tiles are available in many different materials and finishes, including brushed aluminum, matted stainless steel, bronze and copper, to name a few.

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Other Backsplash Types

There are several options in addition to tile for attractive backsplashes. “Slab” backsplashes, for example, offer a smooth, continuous look.

  • Granite, marble, and soapstone make for particularly attractive seamless backsplashes,  as does stainless steel. However, slabs are considerably more expensive than tiles.
    • Granite currently costs around $42.00 per square foot, but materials such as stainless steel can cost around $80.00 per square foot when used as a single, solid piece.
  • Vinyl wallpaper is an inexpensive way to provide backsplash protection as well. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, styles and prices, offering nearly limitless possibilities. The downside to vinyl is that it is not heat resistant; it should not be used as a stove backsplash.
  • Bead board is another popular choice. Bead board used to be sold in slats, but these warped easily due to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Today, beadboard is sold in panels.
    • Bead board costs around $0.64 per square foot, but it’s not normally found in dimensions appropriate for a backsplash. It generally has to be bought in panels that can cost between $40.00 and $85.00 each. It’s easy to install and can be found in durable, medium-density fiberboard or PVC.
  • Thermoplastic panels cost anywhere from $18.00 to $20.00 per 18.5”x24.5” panel. They are available in different patterns and colors and they cut easily with scissors or snips, making them an easy DIY choice. Durable and easy to clean, they offer a designer look without a designer price.

If you’re installing a new countertop, you can save money by using the excess material from your countertop for your backsplash. This ensures that your countertop and backsplash will match, as some materials can change in key appearance aspects (coloration, grain, etc.) from lot to lot.

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DIY Backsplash

Installing a backsplash can be a DIY project if you have the time and patience. However, setting some materials correctly requires knowledge and skill. Although ceramics are easy to cut to fit odd shapes and angles, for example, imperfections in the pattern are noticeable. Some manufacturers sell interlocking panels to make intricate patterns easier to obtain.

If you decide that DIY is the way to go, you’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile nippers or tile saw (depending on the size of the tile)
  • Goggles
  • Notched trowel (for spreading adhesive)
  • Rubber grout float (rubber won’t scratch the tiles)
  • Spacers (to keep the tiles evenly spaced)
  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Flexible caulk

Check the Walls

Before you begin, make sure that your wall is sound enough to hold the weight of the tiles. Any damage to the wall must be repaired. The wall should also be dry. Any moisture that gets covered with tile will be allowed to soak and further damage your walls.

Plan it Out

Decide how far up you want the backsplash to go. Most backsplashes go up about 4 inches, which is sufficient for most kitchens; some backsplashes go all the way up to the cabinets.

Measure it

Estimate how much tile you’ll need by measuring the length and width of the area to be tiled. Get extra tile in case some break during the installation or in case you need to make repairs later on.


If you have a tiled countertop, plan your design so that the bottom layer of backsplash tile lines up with the tiles on the countertop. If you have a slab countertop, start the tiles in the center and work outward.

Electrical Outlets

If your tiles will be going around things such as electrical outlets, remove the plates. When re-installing the plates, make sure they cover the edges of the tile. You will most likely have to use longer screws to account for the increased depth.

Easy Installation

Some tile patterns come in pre-made, interlocking squares. The tiles are adhered to a mesh that is then applied to the tile adhesive. The edges are designed to fit into one another and provide almost undetectable seams. They are a favorite for many DIYers.

Another easy installation is similar to the interlocking squares, but instead of having to spread adhesive, the panels are backed with their own adhesive gel. They are available in many different styles and are quickly installed.

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In Conclusion

Backsplashes are an essential part of your kitchen and bathroom. As well as protecting your wall from moisture damage, they can be an attractive accent or even a focal point of the room. Professionally installed or DIY, it’s up to you how much of a splash to make with your backsplash.

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