The right backsplash can provide the perfect finishing touch to any kitchen, and can even completely change the look of your kitchen. But how much does backsplash installation cost?
Today we’ll guide you through backsplash installation costs and the things you need to consider when deciding on a backsplash for your kitchen.
How much does it cost to install a backsplash?
Obviously, this depends on a number of factors, but the average cost to install a kitchen tile backsplash is around $1,000 (note that this will vary by quality of tile, and size of your backsplash!).
Depending on a number of factors, your backsplash installation cost could be as low as $450 or over $1,500. The factors that determine the cost include:
- Material and finish of tile
- Area to be covered
- The complexity of the pattern e.g. angles, fixtures to work around, hard-to-reach areas
- The level of skill needed (whether you can do it yourself or someone who has mastered tiling)
How much does it cost to install a backsplash per square foot?
Kitchen tile backsplash installation cost per square foot tends to be somewhere around $10 and $40, although it does depend on the type of material you choose for your backsplash. Here are some examples of tile materials you could choose from and their cost per square foot.
Ceramic tile usually costs $2 per square foot with an installation cost of $25 per square foot, so it’s the most inexpensive material choice.
Ceramic is particularly easy to cut, so it is good for spaces with awkward corners or numerous wall fixtures. It is also durable and low-maintenance, but it is unwise to attempt installation of this material yourself.
Stone tile, typically marble or granite, costs $7 to $10 per square foot with an installation cost of $30 per square foot.
Glass tiles come in at anywhere between $7 and $30 per square foot, with the cost to install glass tile backsplash at $32 per square foot.
Glass tile patterns come pre-assembled and with so many varieties you are sure to find one that matches the style of your kitchen.
A stainless-steel backsplash is priced at $20 per square foot with an installation cost of $36 per square foot.
Stainless steel is easy to clean and works well with many different styles. You should be aware, though, that it may lose its sleek appearance over time.
What are the labor costs involved with installing a kitchen backsplash?
The average labor cost to install backsplash is generally $40 to $60 per hour, with peel-and-stick installations at the budget lower end.
If you want a more complex backsplash design, such as mosaic or herringbone, your contractor is likely to quote you a higher rate. More elaborate patterns require more time and effort, especially if tile cuts have to be frequently made. You may find that a contractor will charge you up to $100 per hour for this type of design, meaning that you could be paying $500 per day in labor costs alone, depending on the scope of the project.
What are the pros and cons of installing a kitchen backsplash?
- Adds a focal point to the kitchen, with color, pattern, and/or texture
- can change the look of your kitchen quickly
- prevents scratches, dents, and water damage to the wall itself
- helps to reduce unsightly stains
- easier to keep clean than paint or wallpaper – simply wipe away splashes and splatters
- some materials, such as natural stone and wood, require a certain level of maintenance to keep them looking as good as they should – for example, natural stone must be sealed or it will stain
- difficult to change compared to painted or wallpapered walls
- difficult to install yourself – you’ll likely need to pay for labor
What are the different styles, patterns, and shapes for a kitchen backsplash?
There is a wide range of different styles, patterns, and shapes for a kitchen backsplash. Some of the most popular options are:
Subway tile – this is a traditional pattern made from materials including, but not limited to, ceramic, natural stone, and glass. This is a low maintenance style with low labor costs; however, it can be hard to remove.
Mosaic tile – this is the perfect option if you want to create a custom pattern for your kitchen backsplash. Examples include chevron, penny round, hexagon, and herringbone, in similar materials to subway style. The main downside to this style is the complexity leads to higher labor costs.
Penny tile – this style can provide your kitchen with a classic yet bold look in glass, porcelain, ceramic, or marble tiles. This pattern could take a long time to install, meaning higher costs, unless you find them as a sheet rather than individual tiles.
Stick-On Backsplash – Stick-on backsplash is like vinyl flooring; it’s usually made of vinyl, but with self-adhesive on the back. It often has embossing, like vinyl flooring, and gives a tile look without the difficulties and costs involved with tile. This is a good option for those on a budget or for anyone going the DIY route, but be aware that they rarely compare to real tile quality-wise.
Glass tile backsplash – Glass tile can look beautiful, as it adds depth, reflects light, and offers a huge range of color options. It’s easy to clean, and often eco-friendly. The downsides are that they are a little more pricey than other options, and you’ve got to hire a professional to do it for you. Because glass is translucent, you can see the adhesive behind it, so if you make a mess of things, you’ll never be able to forget it!
Herringbone backsplash – Herringbone gets its name because the pattern is thought to look like fish bones, but is essentially where rectangular tiles are placed to form arrows up and down the wall. It’s an extremely stylish look, but is best not attempted by DIYers. It would be easy to mess this up if you didn’t have the proper experience.
Brick backsplash – While this effect can be achieved using a bare brick wall, it’s likely not going to look good unless you’re living in a historic urban brownstone, so it’s usually achieved with brick-effect tiles or veneer.
Copper backsplash – If you want a totally unique look, copper offers an incredible finish. Copper sheeting is likely the best way to go, but you can find kitchens that use pennies, copper mosaic tiles, and other designs. Copper offers glamor without garishness, and costs around $35 per square foot for the copper itself.
Marble backsplash – marble gives an elegant, timeless finish, and is well worth the investment. Just be aware that marble stains easily, so if you find yourself cleaning tomato sauce off your backsplash after cooking, it may be better to choose a different material.
Metal backsplash – metal backsplashes are durable, sleek, and modern, but do require proper cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking as good as the day they were installed.
Wood backsplash – you don’t often see wooden backsplashes, but gives kitchens a warm, earthiness which is perfect for homes in rural or green areas. They do require more care and proper sealing, but the unique results are worth it. Note that unless sealed or finished properly, wood would lead to some stains if you often cook with sauces or acids.
How does pricing work for installing a backsplash?
There are 4 main factors that will affect the final backsplash installation cost:
As discussed above, the price range fluctuates greatly depending on the type of material you opt for. For instance, a polished marble tile backsplash will come at a much higher cost than a ceramic tile backsplash, the most basic option.
High-end materials include marble, metal, stainless steel, and natural stone and will fall into a higher price range.
Mid-range materials include glass, some stone, and peel-and-stick vinyl.
Low-end materials include ceramic tile, porcelain tile, and wood paneling known as beadboard.
2. Scope of Project
The cost to install a kitchen backsplash will obviously vary depending on the size of the area that needs to be covered. If you simply want a backsplash in the area between the base cabinets and the top cabinets, this will have lower labor costs than if you want the entire exposed part of the wall covered.
3. Style or Pattern Complexity
As you can imagine, installing peel-and-stick tile is a lot easier, and quicker, than creating an elaborate custom design for a kitchen backsplash, and so labor costs will be much lower.
4. Whether an Existing Backsplash Needs to Be Removed
If you need to have an existing backsplash removed, you will need to think about the labor cost of this, including preparing the wall for the new tile. If removal of the old backsplash has caused damage to the wall, this will have to be repaired before any installation can be done.
How long does it take to install a backsplash?
The length of time it will take to install a backsplash once again depends on the area that is to be covered and the complexity of the design. However, smaller, basic tiling jobs will typically take 2 days to be completed.
One full day is spent prepping the wall and actually installing the tile, and another half day will be spent completing the job by grouting and cleaning the tile, as well as sealing it should needs be.
If you decide to complete the job yourself, it may take you an extra day as you will have to take more time to ensure you get it right.
How much does it cost to install a subway tile backsplash?
The cost of subway tile ranges from $0.15 per square foot up to $15 per square foot, depending on the material and pattern you choose. Herringbone subway tile is very popular at the moment with its V-shaped pattern. Because of the 45˚ or 90˚ angles, the herringbone pattern will be more expensive in labor costs than the more classic, horizontal subway tile. Therefore, it is important to consider whether you want to prioritize aesthetic over cost.
How can I save money on installing a kitchen backsplash?
The best place to save money when installing a kitchen backsplash is to choose lower-cost materials, like ceramic or porcelain. You will still be able to give your kitchen a new look, without breaking the bank.
If you are willing to spend a little more for a more luxurious look, but don’t want to pay for the high-end materials, peel-and-stick tile sheets are a great compromise. The tiles themselves tend to be in the mid-range prices with better quality materials, but the easy installation process will cut the labor costs down considerably.
Finally, make sure that you take the time to gather quotes from a few different contractors so that you can be sure that you are getting the best price for your kitchen backsplash installation, but also, do your research on securing a good kitchen renovation contractor.
Can I install my own backsplash?
Tiling isn’t easy. Or rather, it’s easy to get wrong. You can line up a tile wrong, put a tile with a slightly darker tone or pattern in the wrong place, and not clean grouting off in time and have a messy tile permanently. Generally, if you don’t have at least intermediate DIY skills, it is less than recommended to attempt it.
If you are patient and a perfectionist, and would consider yourself an intermediate or advanced amateur, then it may be possible. You’ll need a range of professional tools, such as a tile cutter and/or saws, a mortar and grout mixer, and trowels and floats. If you have minimal tiling experience, then “sheets” of tiles will be easiest. If you think it looks daunting, don’t attempt it! The same job will take an experienced professional comparatively little time, especially if you prepare the wall.
Is backsplash hard to install?
As we touched on above, yes, it is hard to install. If you have any tiling experience, you may be able to give it a go, but do a lot of research before you buy your materials. You can waste a lot of time and money if you try it and then get it wrong (and worse, you’ll have to pay a professional to remove your mistake before they can put it right!).
Does backsplash increase home value?
Unless you’re thinking of using Swarovski crystal, then the backsplash alone likely won’t increase your home’s value. Of course, a marble backsplash will be worth more than one that’s made of glass, but without a beautiful kitchen to go with it, buyers are unlikely to see the benefit of a backsplash, especially if they’d likely have to remove it to redo the kitchen.
Should I add a backsplash to my kitchen?
If your kitchen currently has no backsplash, then you should definitely consider adding one. Besides the aesthetic benefits, they are incredibly practical. They help keep food from staining your walls and make your kitchen easier to clean, even if you have washable paint on your walls. A backsplash can also give your kitchen a fresh, new look quickly, at (relatively) low cost.
Closing Thoughts: Is it worth installing a kitchen backsplash?
Installing a kitchen backsplash adds a focal point that can totally change the look of your kitchen, pulling in color, adding texture, and giving your kitchen that personality it was missing.
Better still, it will protect the walls from food stains. If you’ve ever had to clean food off of a painted wall where the backsplash didn’t reach, you’ll know that it’s almost impossible, even if the paint is washable. If there’s a chance food may get on the wall, make sure you get a backsplash and that it reaches that area. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later!
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