Tile backsplash installation can cost between $10 and $40 per square foot, and the national average cost is $445. However, homeowners may pay more than $1,000 to install backsplash, while others may pay several hundred dollars.
Backsplash pricing depends on several factors, however. And it's important to understand these cost factors when planning your project. Read this guide to learn how to estimate the cost of installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom — and how to find the best pro for the job.
What’s in this cost guide?
- Tile backsplash installation costs
- Cost per square foot
- Labor costs
- Backsplash prices by material
- Backsplash patterns and shapes
- How pricing works
- Installing a kitchen backsplash
- Installing a bathroom backsplash
- How to save money
- Is it worth it to install a backsplash?
- How to hire a professional
- Backsplash FAQs
- Find backsplash installers near you
Tile backsplash installation costs
The total cost of installing backsplash tile depends on several factors, including the square footage of the surface, the cost of labor to install the tile and the type of material you choose.
If you decide to install a tile backsplash instead of using stone, glass or other materials, here’s a quick look at the average cost to install tile.
Average cost to install tile:
|National average cost||$700|
Cost per square foot
Whether you have a small space over a bathroom sink or an extra-long kitchen countertop, the square footage of the surface you want to tile is a big factor. Depending on the tile or the pattern you choose, installation typically costs between $10 and $40 per square foot.
The hourly cost of a tile installation project can be as little as $20 per hour and as much as $94 per hour.
Hourly rate for tilers:
|National average cost||$45/hour|
It’s helpful to get several free estimates from tile contractors in your area to find the best price.
Backsplash prices by material
The material you choose will likely have the biggest impact on how much you pay. There's a wide variety of choices, from tile and glass to stainless steel and peel-and-stick wallpaper.
|Material||Cost per square foot||Pros||Cons|
|Ceramic tile||$2-$8 per square foot||Low cost, easy to clean, moisture-resistant||Simpler design options|
|Porcelain tile||$3-$10 per square foot||Low cost, easy to clean, moisture-resistant||Limited in colors|
|Glass tile||$3-$15 per square foot||Reflects light, which makes a kitchen or bathroom appear brighter||More susceptible to damage|
|Natural stone tile
||$5-$15 per square foot||Creates an organic, earthy look||More expensive, harder to clean|
|Stainless steel or metal||$15-$25 per square foot||Stain-resistant, not easily damaged
||More expensive, could clash with other kitchen metals|
|Beadboard||$0.50-$1 per square foot||Low cost, easy to install||Difficult to clean the grooves|
|Wallpaper||$0.35-$1.50 per square foot||Low cost, variety of styles||Easily stained or damaged|
|Peel-and-stick tile||$4-$30 per square foot||Easy to install, no need for tools like spacers, comes in a variety of patterns, colors and shapes||Can damage drywall upon removal|
Note: Estimated costs are based on prices from home improvement stores and publications.
Keep in mind that although costs will be greater for high-end materials like travertine stone, choosing a higher-quality material might save you money down the line.
Backsplash styles, patterns and shapes
From subway to mosaic tiles, backsplashes come in a variety of patterns and designs. Here’s an overview of three popular options:
Subway tile is traditional, low maintenance and budget-friendly. This style is available in various materials, including ceramic, glass, natural stone and more. However, it can be hard to replace subway tiles.
Mosaic tile is a great option if you want to create a more custom look. Some of the most popular mosaic tile patterns and shapes include penny round, chevron, herringbone and hexagon. And similar to subway, mosaic tiles can be made out of glass, ceramic, natural stones and more. Just know that mosaic tiles are generally more expensive and tricky to install.
Penny tiles can give your kitchen or bathroom a classic yet bold look and feel. You can install glass, ceramic, porcelain and even marble penny tiles. However, it may cost more (and take more time to install) than regular tiling.
How pricing works
These are the main factors that will affect the final cost of installing a tile backsplash in your home:
Because there are many different types of material you can use, the price range varies. For example, polished marble will cost you significantly more than a basic ceramic tile. However, even ceramic tile can vary considerably in price, depending on the tile itself.
Stainless steel, metal, natural stone and marble all fall under high-end, costly materials. Mid-range options include glass, mosaic and peel-and-stick vinyl. The least expensive materials include beadboard, ceramic tile, porcelain tile and wallpaper.
Size of the project
If you’re planning a simple revamp in your small guest bathroom, then the square footage of your project will be fairly small. A kitchen backsplash will likely be more expensive because it requires more materials and longer hours.
The complexity of the project
Installing peel-and-stick vinyl is a much simpler process than creating a custom-designed backsplash, which can significantly increase the labor costs of the project.
The removal of an old backsplash
If you already have a backsplash, you’ll need to factor in the labor cost of removing the old tile before installing the new materials. Removing old tiling may also damage the wall, which would then need repairing.
Tips for installing a kitchen backsplash
Here are a few key things to keep in mind before installing a kitchen backsplash:
Where to put it
There are several places in your kitchen where you can install a backsplash, including above countertops, behind the stove and behind the sink. You can also wrap the backsplash around your entire kitchen. A backsplash behind a stove makes an excellent focal point if you’re planning to incorporate an ornate design or tile.
Cleaning and maintenance
A backsplash protects your walls in high-spill areas like the cooking range or sink — which means it will attract dirt and stains. You’ll need to clean the backsplash tile and grout regularly. A nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner or a tub-tile-sink product should work to clean stains on both, according to Better Homes & Gardens.
Choosing the best material, style or color
The best style and color for your kitchen backsplash will depend on your kitchen. As a connection between the cabinets and countertops, a backsplash should match both.
If you’re looking to create a central focal point, you might choose a bold color or pattern that contrasts or complements the rest of your kitchen. But keep in mind that a less bold choice may be best if you plan to sell your home in the near future.
And don't forget about the grout. It's often recommended that you choose a grout color that's similar to the color of the tile, but don't be afraid to pick a color that will make a statement.
Popular patterns and trends
There are many patterns and designs to choose from, but some are more popular than others. The classic subway tile backsplash never seems to go out of style. Other popular trends for kitchens include herringbone and chevron patterns, horizontal glass tiles, mirrored tiles and solid marble slabs.
Tips for installing a bathroom backsplash
These are a few essential things to keep in mind before remodeling your bathroom with a new backsplash.
Where to put it
Bathroom backsplashes work best behind the bathroom sink and over countertops.
Cleaning and maintenance
Clean your backsplash regularly to prevent hard water stains on the tile and mildew in the grout.
Choosing the best material, style or color
Pick a style that complements the existing style of your bathroom countertops and cabinets. If your bathroom is filled with neutral tones, a backsplash can be an opportunity to add some color to a monotone palette. But keep in mind that bathrooms are much smaller than kitchens, so busy patterns and designs will pop and take over.
Popular patterns and trends
Glass, solid glass, mosaic, waterproof wallpaper, penny tile, beadboard and subway tile backsplashes are all popular choices for the bathroom.
How to save money
The key to saving money is in the materials. If you want to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom without spending a lot, choose low-cost materials like ceramic tile, wallpaper or beadboard.
If you want the look of an expensive backsplash without the cost, another money-saving option is getting peel-and-stick tile sheets. While the price of the materials is mid-range, it’s a speedy and easy install that will cut down on the cost of labor.
To save money on labor costs, get at least two or three free quotes from professionals near you. This will help ensure you’re getting the best price for your project.
Is it worth it to install a backsplash?
If you don't want to invest a ton of money in fully remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, but your want to give your either room a facelift, a backsplash is a fantastic option. Not only is it an excellent focal point, but it also serves a useful purpose.
Backsplashes prevent dents, scratches and water damage to your walls. This is a huge benefit, as water damage can lead to moisture buildup and mold, which can be unsafe and very costly to repair.
A backsplash can also minimize stains and make kitchen cleanup easier (scrubbing away splashed spaghetti sauce is much easier on tile than it is on paint). Backsplashes also come in a variety of materials and styles, which means it can match any home design and budget.
How to hire a professional
Here are a few steps every homeowner should take before hiring a professional to install backsplash:
Step 1: Check licenses and credentials.
Before you hire anyone to do work on your home, research what type of licensing and insurance they have. For a backsplash installation, look for someone with a tile contractor’s license or a general contractor license.
Step 2: Read the reviews.
Find out what other customers had to say about their completed projects. Were the prices fair? Was the work done correctly and on time? Was the contractor or installer professional and respectful? Pay attention to the good reviews — and the bad ones.
Step 3: Look at photos of past work.
Oftentimes, you can find photos of the tile contractor’s past work either on their website or in customers’ reviews. Look at these photos so you can judge the professional’s quality of work and craftsmanship for yourself.
Step 4: Ask the right questions.
Ask potential contractors about their experience installing a backsplash. Find out the estimated timeframe and what hours they can work. And ask if you need to provide the materials or if they will purchase them for you (and make sure you get the costs in writing).
Step 5: Do your research.
Before you hire a professional, you need to know what you want them to do — which means you need to do your homework. Measure the surface you wish to tile to provide a rough estimate of the square footage. Browse online or in stores to find backsplash ideas, and decide what type of material — ceramic, glass, etc. — you want to use.
For more tips on hiring a pro, visit Thumbtack's Smart Hiring guide.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about installing a backsplash.
Do you put backsplash behind a stove?
Yes, you can put backsplash behind a stove, but be mindful of the material you choose. For example, any wood-based material like beadboard or paneling requires clearance from the gas burner. Check your local fire codes and ask a pro for help.
Can I install a backsplash over a painted wall?
You can install backsplash over painted drywall using a pre-mixed adhesive called mastic. It’s also recommended that you hand sand the wall to ensure the tile sticks to the wall.
How do you prep a wall for a backsplash?
If you’re installing directly onto the wall, you will first need to make any necessary repairs. For example, patch up any holes or cracks and remove any loose paint, wallpaper or old tiles. If you’re using a peel-and-stick vinyl adhesive, clean the wall thoroughly. Any dirt or grease might impede the bond and cause tiles to fall off.
Do I need a backer board for a kitchen backsplash?
While a backer board is ideal, you can install the backsplash directly onto the wall as long as you seal the seam between the counter and the backsplash. Backer boards are highly recommended, however, when you’re installing a backsplash in an area where there’s moisture.
What special tools do I need to install backsplash?
Whether you’re using ceramic or stone tiles, the tools and techniques are similar for any tile installation. In addition to the individual tiles, you may need the following:
- a cement backer board
- a trowel
- rubber float
- bull-nose or edge tiles
If you don't have the necessary tools, consider hiring a pro who does.
Can I install a backsplash myself?
It depends on your skills and the complexity of the backsplash. There are dozens of how-tos on the internet that can walk you through installation and give you helpful tips, such as finding the center mark, the importance of starting with the bottom row, and even how to cut tiles. However, if you don't have the proper tools and supplies — spacers, caulk, grout, trowel, etc. — it will be very difficult to complete a backsplash installation project by yourself.
The bottom line: installing a backsplash is (at the very least) an intermediate home improvement project. If you don’t have a lot of experience with tiling, you might want to leave it to the professionals.
Find backsplash installers near you
Installing a new tile backsplash is a simple way to transform your home without spending tons of money on a full bathroom or kitchen remodeling project. As a low-cost project that typically requires minimal labor and time, it’s not hard to see why backsplash installation is one of the most popular home improvement projects.
If you’re ready to start your project, hire a backsplash installer today.