Let's get started on your project! Get Free Quotes

Helping you plan your home improvement project, from start to finish

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Backsplash?

Get free estimates from local kitchen backsplash contractors.

Once serving only to prevent water from damaging walls or to disguise imperfections in the wall, backsplashes are now a popular design feature in modern kitchens and bathrooms. From simple extensions of the countertop to carefully arranged patterns of tiles that completely cover the wall space, the right backsplash complements the counters and cabinets. Homeowners should know what it costs to install a backsplash, how to select the right one, and how to complete the project.

If you need help with your backsplash installation, ImproveNet can help you find the right kitchen or bathroom contractor near you!

Table of Contents

  1. Backsplash Installation Cost
  2. Backsplash Installation Price Factors
  3. Backsplash Types
  4. Pros Of Kitchen Backsplashes
  5. Cons Of Kitchen Backsplashes
  6. Backsplash Maintenance
  7. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  8. How To Install A Backsplash
  9. Find A Pro

Backsplash Installation Cost

The cost to install a backsplash averages between $22 and $41 per square foot. This varies greatly, depending on the cost of materials and labor in a particular region.

Material

Cost of Materials (per square foot)

Bead board

$0.64 to $1

Ceramic Tile

$1.76 to $25

Glass Tile

$7 to $30

Granite

$42 to $80

Porcelain

$3 to $25

Slate

$5

Stainless Steel

$20

Thermoplastic panels

$4 to $6

Vinyl Wallpaper

$0.86 to $1

Contractors may choose to bill for the total number of hours it takes to complete the project or quote a price based on the amount of space they have to cover. The cost also includes additional materials like mortar, thinset, screws or brackets used to hold the backsplash in place.

Backsplash Installation Price Factors

Backsplash Installation Price Factors

The cost of materials and labor are the two primary factors that influence the cost of installing a backsplash. Homeowners who choose more expensive backsplashes made from granite, marble or high-end ceramic tiles pay more for materials than those who select materials like vinyl wallpaper or laminate. Some of these materials, like stainless steel, go through price fluctuations during the year, which can raise or lower the materials cost for the project.

Labor costs also affect the total cost of the project, as the price goes up or down depending on the amount of time it takes to complete the work. If the existing wall is damaged or if an old backsplash needs to come down, labor costs go up. Similarly, extra cuts in the backsplash material to make it fit around cabinets and electrical outlets or laying tiles in specific patterns increases the cost. One way to lower the labor cost is to install the backsplash at the same time as the counter or cabinets.

Backsplash Types

  • Ceramic tile, including porcelain, comes in a wide range of price points, shapes, sizes, colors and patterns so homeowners can create a custom look. It is also easy to clean and maintain over time. However, keeping the grout clean sometimes requires extra work.
  • Glass tile is strong, durable and easy to install with just a few screws or heavy duty adhesive. It is more difficult to remove, though, so glass tile is not a good choice for people who like to renovate their kitchens regularly.
  • Granite creates a unique backsplash since no two pieces of granite are exactly the same. It is easy to clean and wears well over time, but granite costs more than other backsplash types and requires sealing to prevent stains.
  • Marble comes in slabs that create seamless backsplashes. Each piece has its own distinctive qualities that make it different from the rest. The natural streaks help disguise stains, which is a good thing since the material is not naturally stain resistant.
  • Slate remains a popular choice for backsplashes because the material is water and heat resistant, making it a good option for behind a stove. It is also easy to clean, but it can crack or break under impact and needs to be sealed to prevent stains from seeping into the rock.
  • Stainless Steel gives the kitchen a modern, industrial look. It is easy to clean, heat resistant and durable, but can lose its luster over time if cleaned with regular cleaning chemicals.
  • Vinyl wallpaper or tiles come in an array of colors and patterns, making it easy to match with the rest of the kitchen. It's also an inexpensive option that is easy to clean, but the material is not heat resistant so it only works for walls away from the stove. 

Pros Of Kitchen Backsplashes

Pros Of Kitchen Backsplashes

Backsplashes help protect walls and cabinets from damage caused by water and cooking spatter. Many kitchen walls are not straight enough to line up completely flush with base cabinets, sinks and stoves. This leaves a gap that, without protection, lets water slide between the cabinets and walls and results in water damage or mold and mildew growth. Cleaning cooking spatter off painted walls requires extra scrubbing and can peel the paint. A backsplash between the top of the counter and the bottom of the wall cabinets is easier to clean without damaging the wall.

Cons Of Kitchen Backsplashes

Kitchen backsplashes used to be strictly functional. As a result, certain styles can make a kitchen look dated. Backsplashes that run from the counter to the bottom of the base cabinets become a focal point in the kitchen, but they also can overpower other decor. There are also drawbacks to specific materials commonly used for backsplashes. Stainless steel, for example, is not scratch-resistant, dents easily and is difficult to keep smudge-free. Ceramic and glass tiles require additional work to keep the grout clean. Granite and stone are costly and require sealing to prevent the porous surface from absorbing moisture.

Backsplash Maintenance

Maintaining the kitchen backsplash extends its life and preserves its appearance. Each type of material requires different types of maintenance.

  • Ceramic: Use vinegar and water to clean the surface and the grout between the tiles.
  • Glass: Clean the surface with a mixture of vinegar and water or commercial glass cleaner.
  • Laminate: Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, taking care to avoid soaking the surface with too much water.
  • Marble: Pass a damp cloth over the surface and dry it immediately. Then use soapy water to remove spots and stains.
  • Stainless Steel: Use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the surface and stainless steel polish to keep it shiny.
  • Stone: Wash the surface with a soft damp rag moistened with water and dish soap. Dry with a clean cloth to restore the stone's natural luster.

Backsplash Maintenance

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

Most homeowners choose to hire professionals to install backsplashes, but it is possible to do this as a DIY project. Working with ceramic tile, stone, marble and glass requires special equipment, precise measuring and the ability to maneuver the slabs and attach them securely to the wall. Stainless steel is lightweight, but it has sharp edges and corners that can cause serious injury. These jobs are best left to the pros. On the other hand, homeowners who want to use bead board or laminate should be able to install a backsplash.

How To Install A Backsplash

Installing a backsplash is a straightforward process that requires preparing the wall surface, applying adhesive and attaching the backsplash material.

  1. Measure the backsplash area. Accurate measurements are very important for this project. Start by measuring the distance between the top of the counter and bottom of the base cabinets. Then, measure the width of the wall. These measurements indicate how much adhesive and materials you need to buy for the project.
  2. Prepare the surface. Clean the surface to remove any existing grease or dirt. This is also a good time to sand the wall so the adhesive sticks better to it.
  3. Apply the adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for preparing the adhesive. Then, apply a layer to the wall. For best results, work in small sections at a time so the adhesive does not dry prematurely.
  4. Attach the backsplash.

This video provides a helpful overview of how to install a tile kitchen backsplash:

Find A Pro

If you want to install a new backsplash in your kitchen or replace an aging one, we can help you find a professional in your area to complete the job. Submit a free lead, and we'll help you find a local professional who can do the job right. 

Get free estimates from local kitchen backsplash contractors

Last updated on Dec 21, 2016

Looking for accurate quotes
on your kitchen project?

Find pros near you.

Get Free Quotes
No Thanks

Looking for accurate quotes on your project?

  • Get multiple quotes for any home improvement project
  • See pro's rating, reviews, projects and more
  • 100% free, no obligations
  • Only takes a few minutes

Find pros in your area.

Close ×