How do we remove an old tile backsplash?

susankaApril 28, 2010

We want to replace our old tile backsplash. It's about 24 sf of tile. The grout runs right under the cabinets. We have granite countertops. Can you give us any ideas about how to best remove this tile? We plan to hire someone to put in the new tile, but would like to remove the old stuff ourselves to keep down the cost. Thank you very much.

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gzec

Have you considered adding the new tile on top of the existing tile. Unless the existing tile is attached very poorly its going to take the sheetrock with it. Then all the sheetrock will need replaced. What a mess in that nice kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 3:22AM
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Billl

Hammer + pry bar/chisel .

Start from an edge, get the pry bar on the side of the tile as close to the wall as possible and give it a whack. Repeat.

Obviously, you'll need to remove all the stuff from the counters, take the outlet plates off, and put something down to protect the granite from falling tiles.

If you damage the drywall, it isn't a big deal. You just cut the damaged sections off and replace. Drywall is super cheap and you don't need a good drywall finish job behind tile.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:33AM
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susanka

Hi, gzec. Yes, I've asked about that; most likely the drywall will come off too. It will be a mess for sure.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:51AM
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susanka

bill, thank you. This sounds like the right recipe.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 10:23AM
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HandyMac

There are several brands of multitrools now that can help you remove grout/thinset/mastic along with the tiles.

Below it the cheap brand, about $60. Fein, Bosch, SDears, and several other companies make more expensive models.

Here is a link that might be useful: HF multitool

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 11:49AM
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brickeyee

"There are several brands of multitrools now that can help you remove grout/thinset/mastic along with the tiles."

Not worth the effort.

If the tile is on drywall, just cut at the top and bottom and remove it in larger pieces.

If it is on cement board a hammer and chisel will pop it off.

Be sure to protect the counter.
Pieces of 3/8 inch plywood would not be out of line.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 3:39PM
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susanka

Thank you both. We don't have a tile saw if we want to saw it off. It is on drywall. Do we need an actual tile saw? There is grout at the top and bottom.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 7:56PM
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metaxa

I'll go with Brickeyee's method...quicker, faster, easier.

Most of all its the better one.

Use a proper carpenter's knife or a lino knife to cut along the bottom and top then use a drywall saw to come down each stud. (buy a couple or three drywall saws, you will need them) You only have to smack out the tiles that are in the way of the up/down cuts. Less broken tile bits flying about, the better.

(I'm assuming you don't have power tools...me, I'd tape/cover/protect the counter top, etc*. and use a recip saw with short blades...those blades will have Demo stamped or marked on them, wood blades won't work very long)((Actually the Demo blades may not either, depends on if its mastic or thinset right now))

I'll also back up his suggestion to lay ply or at least hardboard on the counter tops.
*I'd also bag the upper cabs, paper the lowers and use a movable sheet of ply or board right under where I was actively smacking tile, lean this up against the lower cab faces, between you and the cabinets. I'd have the floor covered with paper and mover blankets in that order at the least.

Then a sheet and a half of cement board re-installed where the drywall used to be, set your electrical boxes back in, thin set, tile, grout, caulk, done.

Going over the old drywall is not a long term fix.

Two day affair and that only to allow the thinset to set up overnight. If you spring for modified thinset with accelerated dry time you could do it in a long day. I know mastic works but I use thinset anywhere water is present. Even a backsplash.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 12:59AM
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HandyMac

A tile saw is for cutting tile before installing.

The tool I mentioned would be for removing the stuff still left on the wall after all the tile has been removed.

It will not cut tile, but will cut mastic/grout/thinset off the drywall. Particularly the kind you mentioned at the top and bottom of the tile.

Or, you can try to hammer/chisel that off the same way you do the tile.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 1:01AM
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susanka

thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 8:28AM
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metaxa

Its going to be messy no matter how you proceed.

Plastic off the doorways, open a window if you have one and place a box fan blowing out in it. Sweep carefully, the debris is abrasive.

Don't use your home vac to suck stuff up, either a proper shop vac with drywall filter or buy a cheap one and treat it as disposable.

Bag or cover everything you can, especially appliances.

Work with thought. Think like a dust mote or a piece of flying grit. Be one with the process, lol.

Go slow as you take down all your protection stuff, don't shake the debris out of it in the kitchen, eh?

I will tell you this, the feeling of satisfaction that will come over you is priceless. I still get it after many, many renos.

Do plan out how you are going to obtain finished edges, along the new tile/backsplash junction; along the backsplash/under cabinet junction and where the tile runs out at windows, hood vents, end of wall areas, etc.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 1:05PM
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brickeyee

"...a proper shop vac with drywall filter or buy a cheap one and treat it as disposable."

Do not use a cheap vac with a standard filter.
You will end up with VERY fine dust all over.

Try Cleanstraem filters for stopping the finest dust.

Purchase two filters so you can wash one and let it dry while using the second.
If you install a damp filter and suck up drywall dust the filter is pretty much ruined.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 8:53AM
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Tish54

My tiles are cemented firmly to the drywall and each other. I cannot "pop" them off. They do not break off. I already cut much of the grout with a roto tool, to no avail. I cut the drywall across the top of the tiles and tried to pry and break them with a crowbar, but only the drywall behind them breaks up. How do I break the tiles and or cement? The electrician is coming in 2 days. HELP

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Innercityskyline

I believe with most on this forum. The backsplash does need to be removed but if its gonna cause damage to the drywall it might be the smartest thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inner City Skyline

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:44PM
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