Are you renovating your kitchen, or would you like to replace an old or damaged backsplash? You will need to know the correct amount of tile to order, and to do this, you will need to measure your backsplash. Measuring for tile is easy. A measuring tape and some calculations will give you the answer in no time.
- Measuring Tape
- Pen or pencil
- Writing paper
- Calculator (optional)
These kinds of measurements are often easier with someone to help. Over large areas, it may become difficult to hold the measuring tape and still measure accurately. It is advisable to measure the same area more than once and check the measurements against the first set. This will ensure accuracy.
While taking the measurements, always round your numbers up. Rounding up will ensure you do not find yourself in a situation where you have run out of tiles.
Follow these steps to measure the tile you need for a kitchen backsplash installation.
Step 1: Measure the Width and Length of the Backsplash Area
Using the measuring tape for this step. Measure the width and height of the backsplash area. Do this by firmly placing the end of the tape flat on the counter surface and pulling the tape measure up. Note the measurement.
Then pull out enough tape to measure the width of the backsplash and lay it with one edge of the tape on the counter. Ensure that the edge of the tape measure is flush with the edge of the area you need to tile. Note the measurement.
Top Tip: This is a good time to get assistance from a second person. Holding the end of the tape measure firmly in place is important for an accurate measurement. It is often difficult for one person to hold the end and move the tape measure simultaneously while mentally recording the measurement. Though it is not impossible to measure a backsplash on your own, a second person makes it much easier.
Step 2: Measure a Second Time to Confirm Your Measurements
Once you have measured the first time, take the measurements a second time to confirm the original measurements. This may seem unnecessary, but an extra few minutes checking your measurements may save you hours if you accidentally measured incorrectly the first time.
Again, if a second person can help, it will be quicker and easier.
Top Tip: Always round up your measurements once you have confirmed them on the second measurement. Not only will working with round numbers make the calculations easier, but the possibility of running short of tiles during the installation is reduced.
Step 3: Write Down Your Measurements
Write down the rounded measurements on the paper so you can begin the calculations. Some people also draw a diagram with the measurements to get a visual representation. This is useful if you go into the tile store to order tiles. You can show the sales assistant the drawings and measurements to confirm your calculations.
Be sure to accurately record the measurements. Recording the incorrect number will mess up all the calculations, even if you follow the rest of the instructions to the letter.
Step 4: Use These Measurements to Calculate Backsplash Size
With the measurements recorded, use these figures to calculate the size of the backsplash.
For example, we will calculate the area of a backsplash that is 24 inches high and 48 inches wide. We will use these measurements in the calculations below, but your measurements will differ. Substitute the 48 inches and 24 inches in the equations below with your measurements.
Step 5: Calculate the Size of the Backsplash
To calculate the size of a backsplash in square feet, multiply the width of the backsplash by the height of the backsplash and divide that answer by 144.
In our example, the backsplash was 48 inches wide and 24 inches high and will look like the above calculation.
Top Tip: If you are using a calculator, do this equation in two steps: first, multiply the height by the width (i.e., 48 x 24) and press the equals button. This gives an answer of 1152. Then divide 1152 by 144, which gives an answer of 8. The answer may be incorrect if you do all the calculations in one line.
The answer you get is the number of square feet of your backsplash. In this case, it is 8 square feet which is the footage of tile you will need to order to do the job.
Step 6: Calculate the Trim of the Backsplash
First, determine if you will put trim on all three sides of the backsplash or only on two or one. This will alter the calculation you need to determine how many linear feet of trim, so this step is important.
Top Tip: Remember that trim is measured in linear feet rather than square feet. The tiles usually come in thin rectangular or square shapes measured per foot. At the tile store, specify linear feet for the trim.
To calculate the trim of a backsplash where all three sides will be covered, you should add the width to the height plus the height again. In this way, you have added the three measurements of the sides together to get a total. Divide this number by 12.
In our example of a backsplash with a 48-inch width and a 24-inch height, that will be 48 + 24 + 24 = 96. Divide 96 by 12 gives a total of 8 linear feet of trim needed to cover the three sides of the backsplash.
Step 7: Allow For Breakage and Add Extra to Your Total
When ordering tiles, it is important to account for breakage, cutting, and, if you are tiling a backsplash for the first time, for mistakes. There are several ways a tile may break or be cut incorrectly. As color may vary from one tile production run to the next, making separate orders of tiles may end in slightly mismatched tiles.
To ensure you do not need to order extra tiles after you have begun the work, always order 10% extra tiles.
In our example, the total size of the backsplash was 8 square feet. 10% of this is 0.8 feet. Add these two together and round the answer up. That is 8 + 0.8 = 8.8 square feet rounded to 9 square feet of tile that needs to be ordered.
Do the same for the trim measurements.
Top Tip: Increase this 10% extra to 20% if you install patterned tiles. If you want the patterns on the cut tiles to match the pattern on its neighboring tile, you may need to cut away and discard most of the tile. This is extra wastage, but it may be unavoidable to match the pattern.