Backsplash tiling between kitchen counters and cabinets is aesthetically pleasing and also helps protect kitchen walls from damage. Backsplash tiling makes stains, splashes and spills much easier and more sanitary to clean and maintain than they would be on wallpaper or paint. The cost for professional backsplash tiling depends on materials, square footage, aesthetics, labor required and more.
Numerous materials can be used for backsplash tiling. Stainless steel is one of the more expensive materials, but it goes well modern, industrial-style kitchens. Less expensive materials include ceramic, marble, stone, glass and porcelain. Vinyl and bead board are the least expensive materials. Designer and custom materials can cost orders of magnitude above standard materials. Fortunately, many affordable options are available for average homeowners.
Not surprisingly, the more tile needing to be cut and laid, the more expensive the overall project costs. Many backsplash professionals charge by the square foot for installation after material costs. Average pricing runs from $10 to $40 per square foot.
Removal and damage
Some tile workers charge for the removal of old backsplash materials. If the drywall behind the backsplash is damaged, that will need to be fixed for an additional cost.
Costs rise with more intricate and complex designs. In addition, areas that are difficult to reach or that have awkward angles make the installer’s job more difficult. Working around electrical outlets and finishing edges can also be challenging. Precision is critical to make these areas look good, but this extra work can add to the overall cost.
Most professionals can complete a backsplash job—including cutting and laying the tiles—in about a day. This work makes up a significant portion of the cost. The installer must measure and put up the backer board, lay out and fabricate the tiles, install them, grout the surface and more. This type of tile installation is considered by many to be a work of artistry and requires a fair amount of expertise. Most tile professionals charge an hourly rate for the labor. Some charge an additional transportation cost. Other installers charge a flat rate for their labor. Absolute Tile and Stone in Chicago has a minimum day rate of $340. Others roll the labor cost into their price for square footage.
Use less costly materials for a backsplash. Get the backsplash installed at the same time you are getting new counters or are remodeling your kitchen—some installers may offer discounts when a couple jobs are bundled. Purchase the tile yourself from a distributor and avoid the installer’s markup.