Any tips on removing stone tile backsplash?

msubobcatJanuary 9, 2007

We are planning a remodel of our kitchen counter top and backsplash. The kitchen currently has a travertine tile backsplash, which extends from the silestone counter top up to the bottom of the kitchen cabinets. Once a new granite countertop is installed, we will start on the backsplash. We would like to remove the old backsplash ourselves in order to save a few $$s, but want to be careful as to not destroy the underlying material, which I THINK is a layer of hardi-plank or cement board. The new backsplash will be of simple painted beadboard to compliment the style and period of this home. How difficult is this removal for DIY'rs to tackle? Any tips on how to proceed?

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Gee, I wonder where YOU went to school [wink]...

Removing the stone isn't difficult, but whether the surface beneath is salvageable depends on what that surface is, what adhesive agent was used, and how good the stone was to start with. Travertine is going to have less integrity than [say] a porcelain tile, and is less likely to pop off in a single intact piece: more bashing, more potential for damage...

Start at an edge with a hammer and chisel, and see what happens.

If the underlayment is cement board and the stone was good quality [few fisures and inclusions], the stone may pop off relatively easily.

If they were set straight on drywall, the paper facing will probably pull away from the gyp board before the thinset lets go of the tile.

But I'm not sure its really worth the time and effort to try to salvage the underneath layer. Compared to the rest of the work you are talking about, a new layer of greenboard is no big deal. You may be able to remove the stone and leave a surface smooth enough to apply beadboard [which doesn't exactly require a flat surface], but for me, it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 3:59PM
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I agree...chip and gouge away, it's not worth the time and hassle you'll go thru to preserve the underlayment. It's really not that expensive to put down new greenboard.

Even though you'll be doing the labor to remove the travertine, think about your own time. How much do you make at your regular job per hour, multiply that out by the amount of time you'll be chipping away, and sometimes it's cheaper to just rip it out and pay someone to put in clean new underlayment.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 2:00AM
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Thanks oruboris and brunosonio! It sounds like you both believe that the removal of this backsplash is something that an amateur DIY'er like myself can attempt. I agree that attempts to preserve the underlayment may not be worth the effort.

Oruboris...not many of us MSU alumuni down here in Houston. Sure miss Montana!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 6:43AM
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I'd remove the backsplah PRIOR to the granite install.
I've done this with ceramic tile on sheetrock and while it was tedious, it does not require special skills.
As oruboris stated - try a hammer and chisel.
We ended up having to skim coat the drywall, which was by far the worst part of the job.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 9:11AM
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