Mosaic Tile Backsplash Options and Costs

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Feb 18, 2010 | Linda Merrill

A mosaic tile backsplash can be a beautiful additions to a kitchen, bath or bar area. The mixing of colors and textures can create a one-of-a-kind look that takes a simple little space and turns it into a showstopper.

Defining Mosaics

First, let's start with a quick definition. At its most basic level, mosaic is the art of combining small tiles (glass, ceramic, metal and others) together to create a larger image or pattern. The simplicity or complexity of the pattern will affect the final cost to create the desired end result.

Tile Mosaic Backsplash Ideas by Cost

One of the most cost-effective ways to add a touch of mosaic into a backsplash is to add small mosaic tiles into an overall field of larger, simpler tiles. A beautiful classic border treatment can be achieved in a plain white tiled wall by adding a line of contrasting mosaic tiles near the top or bottom of the backsplash. This small detail will go miles toward adding a custom look.

As with many similar home projects, the more detailed and complex the pattern, the higher the price will be in terms of materials and installation fees. A classic Greek key pattern will require more materials and skill to inlay if doing it oneself. For a simple mosaic tile backsplash pattern, the price will start around $12 per square foot, but prices can reach $50 per square foot for fancier tiles. Most tile manufacturers also sell tile borders in many patterns that are relatively easy to install, but increase the cost significantly. They can run from around $20 to $30 per section, which are typically around a foot long.

Complex overall patterns, such as images or scenes, multicolored patterns and the like, are all much more expensive uses of mosaics, but they can be stunners when installed properly.


Proper installation is as important an aspect of mosaics as are the tile patterns themselves, and while many tile backsplashes are easy DIY projects, the more complex the pattern, the greater the need to hire a professional. A professional installer will know how to best prepare the underlying surface to support the mosaics properly, as well as how to estimate the amount of material required to do the job. Experienced tile installers are specialty contactors and their fees can be a pricey addition to your budget. However, their level of expertise and skill can be a money saver in the long run, especially if the mosaic tiles are expensive and the pattern is complex.

Elements That Affect Price

When doing a cost-benefit analysis of installing a mosaic tile backsplash, keep these points in mind.

  • A simple mosaic pattern inlaid on a plain ground requires less material and is easier to install than a more complex pattern.
  • Mosaic tile borders are commercially available in a near infinite variety of colors, patterns and textures. These borders, which come with mesh backing, are fairly easy to install for the average homeowner, but they are more expensive per square foot to purchase. The size, pattern and material that make up the border also affect the price significantly. One can mix and match premade borders to create a unique design pattern that looks entirely custom.
  • Custom-laid patterns or borders using individual tiles can be the most distinctive and beautiful, but they require expert installation as well as an artisan's eye and are therefore generally the most expensive to create.

The benefit of a beautiful mosaic tile backsplash can be counted in the "wow" factor of the final result. The "wow" might come from visiting friends and family, an increase in marketability of the home or just one's own sense of satisfaction and love of beautiful finishes. At nearly any price point, it is possible to install a beautiful mosaic tile backsplash that fits the design plan and the budget.

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