How much does subway tile cost to install?
Ashburn, VA

How much does subway tile cost to install?

Ashburn, VA

How much does subway tile cost to install?

$7 – $35cost per square foot installed
$200 – $1,100average backsplash cost installed
$700 – $3,200average shower walls cost installed

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$7 – $35 cost per square foot installed

$200 – $1,100 average backsplash cost installed

$700 – $3,200 average shower walls cost installed


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Subway tile cost

Subway tile costs $7 to $35 per square foot installed. Subway tile installation costs $200 to $1,100 on average for a backsplash or $700 to $3,200 for a shower. The labor cost to install subway tile is $5 to $20 per square foot, plus $2 to $15 per square foot for materials.

Average subway tile cost to install - chart
Average subway tile cost to install - chart
Subway tile cost
Tile project Average tile area Average cost to install
Kitchen backsplash 30 SF $200 – $1,100
Shower walls 90 SF $700 – $3,200

  • White subway tile costs $2 to $15 per square foot for materials alone, depending on the finish.

  • Tile installers charge $30 to $100 per hour for labor. Most tile setters have minimum fees of $200 to $500 for kitchen and bathroom projects.

  • Contractors charge $2 to $5 per square foot for old tile removal and disposal.

Subway tile cost per square foot

The following table shows the average cost per square foot to install subway tile.

Subway tile cost per square foot - chart
Subway tile cost per square foot - chart
Subway tile cost per square foot installed
National Average Cost $21
Minimum Cost $5
Maximum Cost $52
Average Range $7 to $35

*Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Cost to install subway tile

Subway tile installation costs $7 to $35 per square foot, depending on the material, tile size, pattern, setting materials, grout spacing, prep work, and labor. Removing old tile adds $2 to $5 per square foot in labor. Cutting tiles around outlets or fixtures and installing complex patterns increase labor hours.

Subway tile installation cost
Factor Average cost per square foot
Subway tile materials $2 – $15
Installation labor $5 – $20
Remove old tiling $2 – $5
Total cost to install $9 – $40

  • Labor – Tile installers charge $30 to $100 per hour or $5 to $20 per square foot for labor alone.

  • Materials – Ceramic subway tiles are budget-friendly. Glass and natural stone tiles are more expensive.

  • Variety – Tile with a beveled edge or slope down to the edges costs more.

  • Design pattern – Classic brick or stacked vertical and horizontal patterns are fast and easy to install. Herringbone, chevron, basketweave, and Versailles (French) patterns require more time and skill, increasing labor costs by 10% to 30%.

  • Setting materials – Mastic, thin-set mortar, and grout add an extra $1 to $2 per square foot. A cement-based grout mixture fills the joints between tiles. Mastic sets tiles in non-wet areas like backsplashes, and thin-set mortar is used for wet areas like shower walls.

  • Grout spacing – A 1/16-inch grout space is achievable on wall tiles when using evenly cut rectified tiles. This smaller grout space increases costs since installation requires more tiles and higher-skilled labor.

  • Finish type Glossy subway tiles are only suitable for walls. Matte-finished tiles are safe for use on floors.

  • Shipping and delivery – Tiles are heavy and expensive to ship, especially when delivered to a home address. Delivering to a commercial address with access to a forklift and dock saves money on shipping.

Cost to install subway tile in shower

Installing subway tile in a shower costs $7 to $35 per square foot, depending on the material, shower size, and labor rates. Waterproof barriers behind the shower walls cost $1 to $3 per square foot. Removing old tiles and repairing damaged walls increases labor costs.

Subway tile backsplash cost

The cost to install a tile backsplash is $7 to $35 per square foot, depending on the size and pattern. A backsplash protects the wall from damaging splashes and splatters. An average 30-square-foot subway tile backsplash costs $200 to $1,100.

Cost of subway tile backsplash
Backsplash size (square feet) Average cost to install
20 $140 – $700
30 $200 – $1,100
40 $280 – $1,400
50 $350 – $1,800

White subway tile backsplash in kitchen
White subway tile backsplash in kitchen

Subway tiling bathroom and kitchen walls

Bathroom or kitchen wall tile installation costs $7 to $35 per square foot, depending on the tile material and pattern. Installing tile around corners, laying complex patterns, or adding custom designs increases labor costs.

Labor cost to install a subway tile backsplash

Tile installers charge $30 to $100 per hour or $5 to $20 per square foot for labor to install a subway tile backsplash. Some installers have minimum fees of $200 to $500 for small backsplash areas.

Subway tile prices

Subway tile material prices are $1 to $65 per square foot, without installation. Classic ceramic tile is the cheapest. High-end stone and glass tiles cost up to $25 per square foot, while metal tiles like copper, stainless steel, and tin cost up to $65 per square foot.

Subway tile material prices per square foot
Tile type Average price per square foot*
Ceramic $1 – $8
Natural stone/Travertine $3 – $15
Granite, marble, quartz $5 – $25
Glass tile $5 – $25
Mosaic glass tile $3 – $23
Copper/metal/tin $10 – $30
Stainless steel $15 – $65

*Not including installation.

Subway tile prices by size

Subway tile comes in sizes ranging from 2" x 4" to 12" x 24". Tile material impacts the total price more than tile size. A small glass tile may cost double or triple the price of a large ceramic tile.

Subway tile prices and sizes
Size (in inches) Material price per square foot*
2x4 $7 – $10
3x6 $2 – $12
3x8 $4 – $25
3x12 $4 – $20
4x8 $4 – $15
4x10 $4 – $12
4x12 $3 – $30
6x12 $3 – $11
12x24 $2 ­– $25

*Not including installation.

White subway tile prices

White subway tiles cost $2 to $15 per square foot on average, depending on the material. Polished ceramic tile is a traditional low-cost material. More contemporary materials include artisan glass or natural stone at a higher price.

Subway tile installation FAQs

What is subway tile?

Subway tiles are rectangular glazed ceramic tiles laid horizontally in a 50% offset pattern and gained their name due to their use in New York City subway stations in the early 1900s. Subway tiles provided a stain-resistant, easy-to-clean surface that reflected light in the underground stations.

What size are subway tiles?

The standard subway tile size is a 3" x 6" rectangle between 3/16" and 1/4" thick. Still, any rectangular tile with a 1:2 size ratio works as a subway tile, including these common sizes:

  • 2" x 4" mini tiles

  • 4" x 8"

  • 6" x 12"

  • 12" x 24" large tiles

Modern interpretations have stretched the dimensions, with tiles outside the 1:2 ratio still considered subway tiles. Marble and natural stone subway tiles typically measure 3" x 8" and other popular sizes include 3" x 12", 4" x 10", and 4" x 12".

What size subway tile for a kitchen backsplash?

The most popular subway tile size for a kitchen backsplash is the classic 3" x 6". Use a larger tile for larger, more open spaces. Select small or mid-sized tiles in a small area.

How long does it take to install subway tile?

Installing subway tile takes 2 to 4 days for the whole process due to the drying time. A professional installer lays bathroom or kitchen tiles in 5 to 8 hours. Mortar and grout drying time is 12 to 24 hours for each material.

Finding and hiring a subway tile installer

When hiring a tile backsplash installer near you, be sure to:

  • Search for licensed, bonded, and insured companies that have

    been in business for five years.

  • Visit their showroom or view photos of their completed projects for examples of their work.

  • Look for licensed tile installers who are members of the National Tile Contractors Association.

  • Select a tile setter who is a CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI).

  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Get at least three estimates with equivalent tile and materials to compare.

  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.

  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.

  • Never pay in full upfront. Follow a payment plan and do not make the final payment until fully satisfied.

Questions to ask

  • What experience do you have with subway tile installation?

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

  • Are you a member of the National Tile Contractors Association or other professional organizations?

  • Are you a CTEF Certified Tile Installer?

  • Do you charge an hourly rate or flat fee?

  • Do you charge more to lay a pattern other than the classic offset layout?

  • Will you order the tile once I've made my selection? If not, how much tile do I need to order?

  • Will you help me select the best grout color?

  • How long will the installation take?

  • Will the installation require a permit, and if so, will you obtain it?

  • Do you guarantee your work or offer an extended warranty?

  • What kind of maintenance will the system require?

  • May I have a copy of your insurance policy for my records?

  • Will you provide a list of references with contact information?