Subway Tile Calculator

By HomeAdvisor

Updated February 3, 2021



Area (in ft.)
Tile size (in in.)
Gap size (in in.)
*Includes standard 10% waste.

HomeAdvisor’s Subway Tile Calculator is a handy tool to estimate the amount of material needed to cover any given area and make your next home improvement project a success.

Buy the right amount of material and cut waste on your next project with our useful subway tile calculator. Our simple formula multiplies width by length and then adds the desired gap between each piece to compute the number of tiles needed to complete your job.

On This Page

  1. How to Measure Subway Tile
    1. The Importance of the Gap
  2. Estimated Costs
  3. Things to Consider
  4. What is Subway Tile?
    1. Origin
  5. FAQs

How to Measure Subway Tile

These are the steps to get the perfect amount of subway tile material for your home improvement project:

  1. Measure the length and width of the space you want to cover.
  2. Multiply these measurements to calculate your area.
  3. Convert your result to square inches.
  4. Add the desired tile gap (that you will fill with grout) to the length and width of each tile.
  5. Calculate the area of a single tile.
  6. Divide the total square inch area by the area of a single tile to figure out the number of tiles needed.

Let’s take the example of a kitchen backsplash that is 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall. Since 6 x 4 = 24, this means that our area 24 square feet.

To convert the area into square inches, we multiply this result by 144. In this case, our total is 3456 inches.

If we have a classic subway tile that is 6 by 3 inches and we want to leave quarter-inch gaps between each tile, the area calculation is 6.25 x 3.25 = 20.31. We then divide 3456 by 20.31 for a total of 170.16, which means you need 171 subway tiles for this project.

As a rule of thumb, remember to budget an extra 10% material to account for wasted tiles or last-minute project changes. If you have excess material at the end of the project, you can always store it for individual replacement or other areas of the same room.

The Importance of the Gap

Floor and wall tiles usually include a gap between each other filled with grout. When dealing with square and rectangular tiles, this is a straightforward installation. When mounting hexagonal or unique style shapes, installation and accounting for the gap becomes more a more demanding task. Our 3×6 subway tile calculator accounts for the grout gap and adjusts the total for you.

Estimated Cost

You can expect to pay $2 to $5 per square foot for materials alone. However, prices depend on the local market, availability and specific styles.

The cost to install subway tile ranges between $7 and $13 per square foot. Price varies depending on the materials, size of the project and cost of labor in your area.

Things to Consider

While you can always do the subway tile installation yourself, the following are things to consider before starting the job:

  • Is there old tile to remove?
  • Do you need to repair or replace the drywall?
  • Could your project require a backboard?
  • Will you lay out the tiles in creative patterns?

For more complex installations of subway tile, find a tile & stone contractor to provide professional services. This will ensure the success of your project and a polished look.

What is Subway Tile?

Subway tile is a stylish and refined way to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom. These high-gloss rectangular white tiles are versatile and match almost any existing style. Traditionally, the classic subway tile is white and each one measures 3 by 6 inches. There are also modern takes on this staple of home decor that vary in shape and color. Both types are affordable, long-lasting and deliver a clean look that makes every project more attractive.


As you may guess from its name, this style of tile originated in the New York City subway. When the city opened its underground transportation system in 1904, this distinctive ceramic tile captured the attention of riders. People liked them so much that it the tiles quickly made their way into households across the country.


How many tiles does a bathroom need?

The number of tiles needed for a bathroom project depends directly on the total area you are planning to re-tile. The installation pattern of choice and the width of the gap will also affect the final number of tiles needed.

How many subway tiles are in a box?

Subway tiles sell by the piece. One case typically includes 44 tiles. This is enough to cover around 5.5 square feet.

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