Terribly worried about backsplash removal process

ruthie51March 22, 2013

We had a 6x6 honed marble backsplash installed in our new home 4 years ago. There were a lot of problems with the installer, not to mention the fact that I was never very happy with the tile color. The store (which has since closed) would not allow us to bring the sample board home or let us order tile samples, so we made the decision based on how beautiful the tile looked in the store. Wrong decision, but we were willing to live with it. Problem is, the installer was awful, made a lot of mistakes, one of which was sealing the tile while it was dirty with grout so in certain light you could see smudges all over the surface. We actually didn't notice it for a while because you can't see it when the cabinet lights are on, only when sunlight or other lighting hits it and then it looks just awful. We hired a "stone expert" to fix it, and he used a razor to scrape off the grout and while he did get some of the grout off, he also scratched the tile badly. We finally decided that it was a disaster from day one and recently hired a contractor to remove the backsplash and reinstall another one (he installed two of our neighbors' backsplashes and did a great job). We've selected a honed ivory travertine from a store that allowed us to bring home samples and we're ready to go. The problem is, I'm a nervous wreck about the backsplash removal. Can you give me some pointers to be aware of during the process to assure that our cabinets, wood floors and granite countertops won't be damaged? The contractor said he would cover everything, but I'm still nervous. Thank you!

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Well, ask the guy you hired 'how' he plans to remove the backsplash. That would be a good start to easing your mind or at least being prepared for the work.

Take lots of pictures of your cabinets/countertops/appliances etc. just before the work begins so you know exactly where any new dents/scratches came from.

Ask how they plan on protecting things like your cabinets/counter tops/appliances. Ask what happens if something gets damaged. Have the answers in writing.

If I recall, when I briefly explored having our newly installed backsplash torn out (it was a love/hate thing for a couple weeks but my wife landed on 'love' thankfully), I believe the discussion revolved around removing the actual drywall behind the tile - cutting it out completely. Not trying to remove the tile from the drywall.

So it would involve removing all the outlets, scoring (deeply) the drywall right along the edges of all the cabinets/counter tops, and then likely beginning in one of the outlet openings if there are any, ripping the drywall off along with the tile.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:05PM
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It really should not be a big deal. Some damage to the drywall behind may happen but that's to be expected. The countertops and cabinets should be fine. I removed a 4" tile backsplash myself, they came off intact and tore the paper of the drywall in some places but nothing bad.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Can you give me some pointers to be aware of during the process to assure that our cabinets, wood floors and granite countertops won't be damaged?

You can put Ramboard or masonite on the floor or countertops to protect them. The contractor you hired should take care of that. If you are especially worried about cabinets, I would tape corrugated cardboard over them.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Thank you all for your responses. My husband plans on doing a lot of the protection process before the contractor gets here. And I plan on vacating during the removal process to spare everyone a lot of grief including myself (my husband will be here). Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:35AM
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I had my first backsplash in my brand new kitchen removed because it looked terrible! Yes there will be some damage to the sheetrock, but that is easily taken care of.
True, you want someone who is careful not to damage your counter or your cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:50AM
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So the new backsplash is in; the removal of the old backsplash did not go as planned. The old tile did not want to come off, so the tile guy ended up removing the old sheetrock and installing all new, for which he charged an additional $200 (which didn't include the cost of the sheetrock, which my husband bought while the old sheetrock was being removed). I'm happy to report there was no damage to cabinets, countertops or floor which we carefully covered with cardboard or layers of heavy plastic. Here's a shot of the partially completed new backsplash. So, aside from the fact that it took longer than expected...and cost more....we're very happy with the final results.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:13PM
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It looks great! I also love the double door end cabinet.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Very pretty! The ivory color is warm and complements the cabinets beautifully. I'm so glad things went relatively smoothly (at least in terms of no damage to your cabinets, counters and floors).

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Ooh that looks great! I love the tone of your wood cabinets and the strip of accent mosaics.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Thank you....you guys are great!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:30AM
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