Welcome to a new series of blogs designed to help you prepare your budget for your remodeling or new construction project. The first topic we are going to tackle is tile for kitchen backsplashes. There are numerous sizes and materials to choose from. How do you know what is right for your budget and your overall design? Here a re a few tips that will help you get started!
Tip #1: Backsplash tile pricing cannot be compared to floor tile. A lot of people think that since they purchased a 12″ x 12″ porcelain floor tile for $4/sq. ft. that the backsplash tile should be the same price or less expensive because they are smaller tiles. This is definitely not the case. It is more expensive for vendors to manufacture smaller tiles and typically you have much less square feet of tile on your backsplash compared to your floor. If you only want to spend $4/sq. ft. on your backsplash, you better love Dal-Tile 4″ x 4″ tile in white, white or white. You need to be prepared to spend around $15/sq. ft. as a starting point for backsplash tile.
Tip #2: Beware of trends. Glass mosaics have been the “rage” for several years now. But how long can it last? It depends on how well you integrate the glass into your overall design. Browse through a tile showroom, like The Gallery at ISC Surfaces, and you are dazzled by brilliant blue glass and different iridescent versions of mosaic tile. Glass manufacturers want to show you all of their capabilities, which are amazing, but many are best suited for commercial applications. Go visit your favorites at the latest hot spot but don’t install them in your kitchen! Paint is easy to replace; tearing out custom tile every 2 years is a whole other ballgame.
Tip #3: Be mindful of your countertop pattern. If you, like most people, have selected a beautiful granite countertop with a large amount of “movement”, you need to make sure your backsplash tile doesn’t compete with it. A simpler backsplash with a busy granite creates a more harmonious kitchen design. The same is true in reverse, the simpler the granite the more leeway with your backsplash. Seeking out photos in magazines is very helpful to narrowing down your style.
Obviously, there are many materials to work with and they will impact your budget in different ways. Here is a general guide to sizes and material costs along with photos for your reference. I always advise my clients to keep their minds open when selecting backsplash tiles. The things you think are expensive sometimes are not and vice versa. It is wise to consult with an interior designer to help create a timeless look while staying within your budget.
Tumbled Stone: There is an abundance of certain natural stones, namely limestone and travertine, that are reasonable for backsplashes. They often come tumbled in the following sizes: 3″ x 6″, 4″ x 4″, 6″ x 6″ and cost around $7/st. ft. – $15/sq. ft.
Natural Stone Mosaics: A few vendors, namely Walker Zanger, seek out higher quality stones and offer unique sizes, colors and shapes. They are very beautiful and often the images seen in magazines. They are also much more expenssive than their tumbled counterparts. You are looking at around $35/sq. ft. – $200/sq. ft. for this type of stone.
Porcelain Tile Mosaics: A small sampling of the offerings above are “re-created” by manufacturers in porcelain tile for two reasons. The first is maintenance and the second is cost. However, mosaic tiles are not cheap and sometimes the “fake” version is almost as expensive as the natural stone, so it is important to do your homework. These range in price from approximately $20/sq. ft. – $40/sq. ft.
Glass Tile Mosaics: Another versatile backsplash idea is the glass mosaic tile. 1″ x 1″ tiles in a huge range of colors and finishes (matte, gloss, iridescent) are available from a variety of manufacturers, some even made from recycled content. Recently, more shapes and custom color blends, including glass and stone combinations, have come on the market adding to the overall confusion for homeowners. Typically, the price range for glass mosaics is close to $35/sq. ft. – $100/sq. ft.
Machine-Made Ceramic Tile: As I mentioned before, Dal-Tile offers a lot of options for $4/sq. ft., approximately ten different very basic shades in a 4″ x 4″ or 6″ x 6″ tile. These are great for bathrooms because of the large quantity needed but for your kitchen you normall want something more special. I will say that basic white 3″ x 6″ “subway” tile set staggered joint has and always will be one of the most timeless backsplashes and is very affordable.
Hand-Made Ceramic Tile: A more unique, organic look is hand-made tile. The undulations in the shading and shape of the tile create a subtle movement without being too busy. These tiles have a very “old world” feel and have increased in popularity in recent years. They are also available in more creative shapes, such as a harlequin/diamond shape and elongated or large scale “subway” tiles along with a multitude of colors and crackle glazes. Hand-made tile can start at $15/sq. ft. and increase to upwards of $55/sq. ft.
Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website. Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at www.kimberlyreuther.com