Kitchen tile costs – which type is best for my budget?

Choose the right kitchen tile for walls and floors to suit your style and your budget

Kitchen tile costs
(Image credit: Ca'Pietra)

When you’re considering kitchen tile for walls and the floor, you may be asking which type is best for my budget?

After all, there are a host of different materials to pick from, and which you opt for will have a major effect on the final cost of a project whether you’re undertaking a refresh or fitting a brand new kitchen. And that’s particularly the case when it comes to floor tile because of the relative size of the area compared to a backsplash.  

Some tile is suitable for both the floor and the wall, while other materials or individual tile designs are options for walls only, but after that it’s the budget you have available along with the look you want to create that will determine your choice.

To allow you to make the best decision we’ve answered your top questions on kitchen tile costs. Just read on for the lowdown. 

See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens 

How much does it cost to tile a kitchen?

How much it costs to tile a kitchen depends on a number of factors. 

First, while most tile installers will charge you by the square foot (expect to pay between $5/£3.50 and $35/£25 per square foot), some may quote a per hour charge (expect to pay between $30/£21 and $120/£85 per hour). 

Paying per square foot is by far the most preferable option, since it allows you to forecast your spend accurately.

Another factor to consider this the removal of old tiles or surfaces and the necessity for any tiles you need to be sealed post-installation. Tile removal costs between $10/£7 to $15/£11 per square foot. Tile sealing will cost between $100/£70 and $200/£150, depending on the area to be covered.

Why the wide variance in prices? 

These really come down to your contractor's labor costs – these will be higher in major cities, for example; the size and intricacy of the space to be tiled – a larger kitchen or bigger tiles are more cost efficient to tile than smaller, awkward spaces and smaller tiles that require more grouting and more grout.

Finally, the type of tile used can affect the final cost of tiling the kitchen – for example, larger tiles are quicker to lay and grout than mosaic tiles, but are difficult to install neatly on uneven floors or walls, in which case work on the sub-floor or wall would be needed before tiling could begin.

Costs by kitchen tile types

From cost-efficient ceramic kitchen tile to space-enhancing glass tile, we examine the potential budgets you will need to cater for.

Ceramic tile

If you‘re looking for a low cost option that will give your kitchen a great look, ceramic tile could be the best type for you.

One thing to be aware of if you choose ceramic tile is that some are only suitable for using on the wall as a backsplash and can’t be laid on the floor, so check suitability before buying.

Ceramic tile can start from around $1 per square foot (or around £6 per square meter), and that’s for versions that are suitable for floors and walls. A mid-priced option might be around $15 per square foot (£13 per square meter).

Be mindful that not every ceramic tile is a low cost option, and some can be expensive – patterned and relief designs as well as more unusual shapes can often weigh more heavily on a budget. However, the choice of colors, sizes and styles certainly isn’t limited when your spend is modest.

Terracotta tile

Terracotta tile is actually a type of ceramic tile made from clay and has a characteristic warm red-brown color. They’re popular for farmhouse style kitchen flooring, and terracotta tile can also be attractive as a backsplash.

You might pay from around $12 per square foot for terracotta tiles suitable for floors and walls (£30 per square meter).

Porcelain tile

Porcelain tile is harder and denser than ceramic, less porous, and can stand up to heavy foot traffic, making it a deservedly popular option as flooring. It’s suitable for walls as well with the only caveat being that you should consider the weight of the individual tile in which you’re interested to be confident the wall can take the load.  

Porcelain tile can start from around $2 per square foot (£5 per square meter) at its lowest price point; a mid-priced version might be in the range of $25 to $30 (£25 per square meter).

Just like with ceramic tile, the price of porcelain tile can range considerably and you could pay much more, but you’ll find a wide range of options at lower and mid price points.

Natural stone tile

Each piece of natural stone is unique, so if individuality as well as beauty is high on your agenda, natural stone kitchen tile will appeal. But is this type of kitchen tile best for your budget?

The cost of natural stone varies according to the type of stone: rarer stones or rarer colorways of a particular stone come with a higher price tag, as you’d expect.

Slate kitchen tile comes in formats that can work on walls and floors as well as wall-only designs. Expect to pay from around $3 per square foot (£50 per square meter).

Travertine tile, which can be used on both floors and walls depending on the individual tile design, might cost from around $5 per square foot (£50 per square meter).

Granite tile is available for walls and floors. When it comes to cost, count on spending from around $7 per square foot (£80 per square meter).

Marble is a luxurious and attractive tile for both floors and walls, again subject to the individual tile design. Prices start from around $7 per square foot (£80 per square meter).

Limestone kitchen tile will likely cost from around $20 per square foot (£60 per square meter) and can be used on both walls and floors, depending on the individual tile design.

Glass tile

Glass is used to create attractive tile and mosaic tile. While it can make for an eye-catching backsplash, you’ll need to stick to using it only on walls as it’s not suitable as kitchen flooring.

Glass wall tiles for the kitchen cost from around $4 per square foot (£25 per square meter).

See: Kitchen backsplash ideas – make your kitchen’s vertical surfaces shine

Which tiles are best and cheap?

Ceramic tile can be the best choice and cheap to buy for a kitchen. Of all the tile types you might consider, ceramic should prove the most affordable. 

Which tiles are best for an individual kitchen will, of course, depend on your lifestyle as well as your budget, but ceramic tiles do have a list of advantages.

They’re durable, easy to look after and the glazed versions will keep water and stains out (unglazed tiles should be sealed for protection). The other major advantage of a ceramic tile is that designs are widely available in all the colors you might desire, patterns as well as plains, and in different sizes, so you can get exactly the look you want on the floor and the walls of your kitchen.   

The possible downsides of ceramic tile are that it is less hardwearing than some other materials, and more porous.

Which type of tile is best for a kitchen?

The best type of tile for kitchen will be determined by factors such as foot traffic, likelihood of splashes, care needs, and – of course – style, when it comes to the floor. 

Wall tiles don’t have to be as durable, so it’s likely that aesthetic concerns will dominate the decision here.

For low cost but extremely wide choice, ceramic tile is deservedly popular. Porcelain tile will generally cost a little more, but could be worth it for a higher traffic floor and to withstand spillages better – which could be a winning quality in a home with kids and pets.

Choosing one or other isn’t a necessity. A combination of ceramic tile on the walls and porcelain on the floor could be a cost-effective way to a stylish and functional kitchen.

Natural stone will win out if it’s a unique look you prize. Although ceramic and porcelain can create the appearance of stone, each stone tile is individual in color, veining and character. If you value this above all, that will prove the best tile.