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Stone Backsplash Cost Guide

A stone backsplash is a classic way to update the look of a kitchen or bathroom. Stone has a long history for use as tile due to its abundance and natural beauty. Natural stone comes in a variety of textures, colors and patterns to suit the look of nearly any style of decor. Each slab of stone is unique in its coloring and veins, and the installation process can also create added visual interest and aesthetic appeal. To create a stone backsplash, the stone is first cut into thin sheets and then into shapes such as diamonds, squares or rectangles. The tiles are honed for smoothness and to create a polished look. Manufacturers seal the tiles for added durability, strength and resistance to moisture.

The Costs 

Average cost per finished square foot of stone backsplash:

  • Minimum = $8.66
  • Maximum = $16.48

Homeowners preparing to have a stone backsplash installed in their kitchens, bathrooms or another area of their homes will need to plan on some additional costs associated with the project. In addition to the expense of the main material, the project will require additional supplies such as grout and adhesive, which add an average of $1.55 per finished square foot of surface area. The hourly cost of labor for the installation of a stone backsplash averages $72.25. This installation cost is based on a basic project involving a rectangular shape and one level. If the homeowner desires an unusual configuration or multiple levels of backsplash, this will add to the cost of the project.


Natural stone such as granite, marble, slate, travertine, limestone, soapstone and onyx can be used for a backsplash. Each type of natural stone has its own unique characteristics that must be considered by the homeowner. Granite is the most popular choice for use in kitchens due to its strength while marble is the most common choice in bathrooms due to its natural beauty and coloring.


There are several types of natural stone that are primarily used for the creation of tiles or slabs to be used in backsplashes. The most common types of natural stone used to make a backsplash include:

  • Soapstone: This is the least porous type of stone but is prone to scratching. It is available in many neutral colors ranging from light tan to rich shades of golden brown.
  • Travertine: This type of stone has a high level of natural gloss. It is softer and more porous than other types of stones. Travertine is available in many vibrant natural colors.
  • Granite: Granite is the most popular type of stone used for backsplashes and countertops. Its hardness is second only to diamond, and it is highly durable. Granite is available in a wide range of colors.
  • Slate: This decorative stone comes in a surprising range of natural colors such as red, orange, gold, blue, green, black and brown. Slate can also be used outdoors for an extension of the kitchen to an outdoor cooking area or as an extended bathroom area such as a pool shower.
  • Marble: This luxury stone has been used in home interiors for millennia. It comes in many colors and has unique veins that add to its beauty and character.


Manufacturers grade natural stone based upon the quality of its surface, the presence of any pitting and the consistency of color. The grades of stone used for backsplashes include: 

  • Commercial or Builder's Grade: The stone may have large color variations or streaks. The surface of the stone has many holes or pits. This is also known as third grade stone.
  • Standard Grade: Also referred to as second grade, this type of natural stone is free of streaking and has a general consistency of color. The stone may have some holes that can be filled and smoothed.
  • Premium Grade: This is also referred to as first grade stone. This stone will not have any large holes. The color is consistent without streaking or swirls. The thickness of the stone is even from edge to edge. 


Many manufacturers quarry and produce stone to be used in backsplashes. Stone may be sourced locally, within the U.S. or internationally. Some of the most popular brands of stone used for the installation of backsplashes include AlfaLux Ceramiche, American Olean, Anatolia Tile, Cambria, CBS Exotic Stones and Silestone.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stone Backsplashes

A stone backsplash can be custom-made to suit the desires of a homeowner. Stone can be cut into unusual shapes for the creation of complex configurations and patterns. A stone backsplash offers a high level of durability. The wide range of colors in natural stone allows the homeowner to select a variety that complements the existing flooring and cabinetry. Stone is a premium material and may add considerable resale value to a home.

While there are many reasons why a homeowner would choose natural stone for a backsplash, there are some drawbacks to using this material. Natural stone is porous. If the stone backsplash is not sealed annually or even more frequently, it may absorb stains and become discolored. Softer stones such as soapstone and slate are prone to scratching and may become damaged by abrasive cleaning tools, cleaning chemicals, dirt, grime or objects they come into contact with. Limestone and marble require monthly waxing. Unwaxed limestone and marble are susceptible to damage from heat such as the steam from a nearby shower or the heat emanated from an oven. Natural stone backsplashes are more expensive than fabricated stone and other popular backsplash materials. The grout between the tiles may become stained or discolored and is difficult to keep clean. Acidic substances or basic soaps may damage the surface of stone backsplashes. Stone is difficult to repair. If a stone tile in a backsplash chips or cracks, the homeowner may find it challenging to locate a replacement tile that matches the existing tile.

Last updated on Feb 19, 2015

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