Return to the Remodeling Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

Posted by hickorywood (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 18, 06 at 15:56

In remodelling my kitchen, I am replacing my Formica countertops and backsplash. The countertops will be Corian and the backsplash will be tiled. The existing backsplash goes from the countertop to under the wall cabinets, approximately 17 inches. This backsplash is now covered in Formica adhered to 3/8 inch thick sheetrock. Selectively removing the Formica covered backsplash will be difficult but not impossible. If I remove existing sheetrock down to the studs, is it acceptable to replace what is existing with 1/4 inch thick cement board as an underlayment to cemented 5/16 inch thick tile? With 1/4 inch thick cement board, the new wall will be approximately 3/16 inch thicker than it is now, about maximum acceptible without compensating the extra thickness to accommodate adjacent door and window casings. Do not want to use 1/2 inch thick cement board if I do not have to. Will the thin cement board be strong enough as the sole backing to the tile? (I am not removing my wall cabinets and the existing rear wall exhaust range hood. Because the depth relationship between the hood and cabinets must be retained, I need to keep this backsplash wall as thin as possible to the original.) (Covering the existing Formica with 1/4 inch cement board and tile is not the best option because the wall will end up being 1 inch thick affecting existing electrical outlet and switch installations. Also, in some areas, the tile edge will be exposed, and detailing the exposed edge of the new tile to look good will be difficult.)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

I can relate to your dilemma and having to improvise to avoid creating other problems like not having the face of the tile too high, finishing the exposed edge and making it look good. Even if you did this, the tile edge coming out past the door and window frames wouldnt look right. Anyway, to answer your question, the " cement board would be fine as a way around this. Good luck with the reno!

Ontario DIYguy

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

I'd prefer to see half-inch over studs. 1/4" will be too flimsy, too flexible, and possibly cause you problems down the road.

How about adding a simple back band around the window and door trim? It's quite simple to do and not expensive.

It'll add additional detail to your trim, giving you more attractive shadow lines on the trim as well as with the 1/2" backer, a more durable tile installation.

Couldn't get the system to accept this as a link, kept getting error messages. Here are examples of backband molding:

Best, Mongo

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

I WOULD NOT use only a 1/4" cement board. It would be too flexible, allowing the tile and grout to move, cracking the grout.

What you COULD do is remove existing d/w, and install 3/4" plywood in between the studs, securing it to furring strips you would nail to the studs. Then use 1/4" CB over that.

This would be a lot of work, and I don't know how it would affect the outlets, but that could be dealt with.

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

Cement board is very rigid but not very strong even the 1/2" stuff. cement board is not required under a backsplash. What might be possible is when you have the sheet rock removed. Add 2x4 cross pieces between the existing studs, probably 3 rows to keep the maximum spacing down to 6" then put 1/4" exterior plywood on top with a 'lot' of nails, then tile on top with mastic.

this will be a fair amount of work but it is probably the thinest wall you can get. 1/4" cement board could probably be used with 6" unsupported width instead of the plywood, but would not be as strong.

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

Thanks to all for the replies. As a follow up to my original concern, I talked to a local contractor regarding removal of the Formica backsplash prior to tiling. He suggested that I try to heat the material and pry it off the wall surface. I decided to use my wife's hair dryer to heat the Formica, and starting on an exposed edge, used a wide bladed spackle knife to pry it off gradually while selectively applying heat to it. The contact cement softened enough to loosen the bond between the Formica and sheetrock and the method I used worked like a charm! Took some surface paper off the sheetrock, but I do not think this is a big problem. Now with this problem resolved, I can tile over the existing sheetrock, saving considerable time and money. Have a few more walls to go, but now I have confidence of success.

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

I thought it would be too thick if you didn't remove the 3/8 drywall and replace it with 1/4"?

Quote"With 1/4 inch thick cement board, the new wall will be approximately 3/16 inch thicker than it is now, about maximum acceptible without compensating the extra thickness to accommodate adjacent door and window casings."

Did something change? Or did you decide that the 1/8" extra would be no big deal?

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

Wow, that's great that you got the formica off with the hairdryer-I'm looking at doing the exact same thing and I had been thinking that putting up new drywall/cementboard/plywood was probably more of a job than I was willing to tackle, but now I'm psyched to try it! I can't wait to get rid of the formica backsplash with the ugly metal 'trim' around the edges....

RE: Kitchen backsplash construction concerns

Here are examples of Kitchen backsplash construction techniques and Tips:


Kathy White

Here is a link that might be useful:

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Remodeling Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here