How-To Measure... February 22 2014

How-To Measure The Backsplash Area For Your Tile Project

A modern kitchen isn't complete without a metal backsplash, be it a stainless steel, aluminum or copper backsplash. However, you don't have to settle for a plain sheet of stainless steel like you would find in a restaurant kitchen. Today you have a nearly unlimited amount of choices to choose from thanks to the availability of affordable metal mosaic tile.

Stainless steel backsplashes are available in two different formats. The most common and the most cost effective is a single stainless steel sheet that is precut to the width of your stove, often 30". This is not overly aesthetically pleasing and its main purpose is to catch spray and grease from the stovetop. In addition these sheets only cover the area behind the stove, not the rest of the kitchen backsplash area leaving it up to you to try and find a material to match. The stainless steel, aluminum and copper backsplash products we offer consist of metal mosaic sheets roughly one square foot in size that allow you to cover your entire backsplash area above your countertops as well as your stove or range. The mosaic sheets install just like regular wall tile or mosaic tile, using light weight wall adhesive and grout. You can choose from over 35 designs and patterns to best suit your taste, all of which are more visually appealing than a flat single sheet of stainless steel.

Measuring Your Backsplash

So how do you go about measuring for your new backsplash? The process isn't complicated at all as the diagram below illustrates:

How to measure your kitchen backsplashThe first thing you need to do is break up your backsplash into separate areas for measuring. In the diagram below you can see there are two areas between the countertop and cabinets, plus an additional area behind the sink (or range/stove). Its easiest to break these up into rectangular sections so calculations are simplified.

You will need any standard measuring tape that can measure in inches. To calculate the area simply multiply the width times the height. So if Section "A" is 32" wide and 16" high then the total area is 32x16 = 512 square inches.

Once you have measured all the sections and calculated the area of each in square inches, simply add all of those numbers together to get a total area. That will give you the area in square inches. To convert that number to square feet simply divide by 144. So if your total kitchen backsplash area is 2554 square inches it works out to 2544/144 = 17.75 sq ft.

Now, lets discuss overages. When installing a stainless steel backsplash using mosaic tile you need to consider there will be wasted material during the cutting and installation process. So we always recommend 10-15% more material than you have measured for. So if your project measures out to 17.75 sq ft simply multiply that number by 1.1 to add 10%. This works out to 17.75 x 1.1 = 19.525 sq ft. Always round up to the nearest square foot, in this example it would be 20 sq ft even.

Choosing The Metal Wall Tile

The next step in the process is to choose the style of your backsplash. Simply visit this page to see all of the metal mosaic tiles that we offer. Once you have selected the mosaic tile you wish to use, simply order the corresponding amount of square feet of that tile. 

Other Required Materials

In addition to the stainless steel backsplash sheets you will also need a wall adhesive to affix the sheets to your kitchen backsplash. We recommend a light weight wall mortar for drywall (assuming you are installing over drywall). This is available at any big box hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowes, as well as any ceramic tile retailer. Simply tell the store associate what you are affixing the tile you and they will recommend the best adhesive for your application.

In addition to the adhesive for attaching the tile to the wall you will likely need grout to fill in the joints between each of the tiles. We recommend a non-sanded grout or epoxy grout. Using a regular sanded grout on a metal backsplash will cause scratching and pitting, ruining the tile installation. However, it is also important to note that some metal mosaic tiles do not have gaps between the tiles and thus do not require grout. Please see our FAQs page for a list of tiles that do not require grouting.

Installation

If you are planning on completing the installation yourself you will also need common tile installation materials such as a tile adhesive applicator, grout float, mixing bucket (or two) and plenty of sponges for wiping away excess grout. In some cases you may require a diamond tipped wet tile saw to cut the individual tiles. If you are hiring a tile installer or contractor to do the backsplash installation then they will likely already have all the required tools. For more information on how to install metal mosaic tiles, please check out our installation section and our 9-min video.

Caring For And Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Backsplash

Once you have successfully installed your stainless steel or aluminum tile backsplash you will want to make sure it stays in the best shape possible. We always recommend that if your backsplash requires cleaning that you use a soap and water solution or a purpose made spray on stainless steel cleaner, similar to what you would use to clean stainless steel appliances. If you use any heavy cleaners, acidic solutions or abrasives on your backsplash you run the risk of scratching or tarnishing the finish.

Check Out Our Customer Installations Page To Get Inspired

Need some inspiration? Check out our customer installation gallery on Pinterest to see what some of our customers have done with our unique metal mosaic tiles.