How to Remove a Tile Backsplash

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  January 7, 2014 — 3 Comments

Even if you didn’t read yesterday’s post about my plans for updating our kitchen you may have already known that I recently removed our tile backsplash thanks to these two pics I posted on instagram and facebook.

how to remove a tile backsplash

I read a bunch of online tutorials about collecting various tools, protecting the countertops, etc. etc., but as I sat on the sofa researching I looked over into the kitchen and decided I had nothing to lose by just going for it. So on a sleepy Sunday afternoon right before Christmas I grabbed my hammer and a flathead screwdriver and chipped out just one tile, just to see how hard it would be. It came right off, so I knocked out another one. And another one after that. And before I knew it I had tackled a whole section. I thought briefly about whether I might damage the counters, but, ya know, whatever. I figure that if I haven’t scratched them so far with just my regular careless/clumsy daily behavior then they must be pretty tough (they’re quartz, which a quick google search tells me is, in fact, highly scratch resistant). But if you’re wanting to try this at home and are working with a more delicate surface maybe try taping down a dropcloth or even some thick paper.

This was my technique: position the screwdriver flat against the wall with the tip resting just behind the top of the tile.

how to remove a tile backsplash

Then tap, tap tap with my hammer until the screwdriver is wedged in there nice and deep. See that crack along the bottom of the backsplash where it meets the counter? Another quirk of living in a house that was sort of haphazardly renovated by previous owners. I could have fixed it with some caulk but now I never get around to it. The new beadboard backsplash will be trimmed out at the bottom and probably caulked as well.

how to demo a tile backsplash

From there I could use the screwdriver to pry the tile off. Sometimes they came up several at a time and sometimes I had to fight for each one. The drywall got messed up pretty badly in the process but, again, whatever. I’m covering it with beadboard. What I feel less cavalier about but still didn’t address properly is the issue of lead paint. I didn’t think about it until I was more than halfway done and by then I figured I may as well just go ahead and finish and do a good job of cleaning up all the dust afterwards. So that’s what I did. Hope I don’t regret it.

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I am so glad it’s done! This is definitely one of those cases where things look worse before they get better. I’ve started cutting in with the new paint on the walls and am hoping I’ll get a chance to roll on the rest sometime this week, then I can start the process of hanging beadboard (painting before I install the backsplash will save me a little bit of cutting in around those edges). I’m SO excited but trying to take it slow and not get ahead of myself. No beadboard will be purchased until those walls are painted!

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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3 responses to How to Remove a Tile Backsplash

  1. Should you go get one of those lead test kits?

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap January 7, 2014 at 11:31 am

      I could, but I don’t know what good it would do other than giving me peace of mind if it was negative (which I think is unlikely). The best way to deal with lead paint is to cover it up, which is what I plan on doing with the beadboard.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Beadboard Backsplash Complete! | Living Well on the Cheap - February 3, 2014

    […] nearly four years after moving in, I’m finally tackling the kitchen. Earlier this month I removed the tile backsplash, painted the walls,¬†installed beadboard paneling, trimmed it out, and now this weekend I put on […]

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