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How To Remove Tile Backsplash

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove Tile Backsplash

Tile backsplashes are a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms for their aesthetic appeal and practicality. However, there may come a time when you want to update your space or repair damaged tiles, which requires removing the existing backsplash. While this may seem like a daunting task, with the right tools and a bit of patience, you can tackle it successfully. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of removing a tile backsplash.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need:

Before you begin, gather the following tools and materials:

  1. Safety gear: Safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from debris and dust.
  2. Screwdriver or utility knife for removing outlet covers and switch plates.
  3. A pry bar or putty knife.
  4. A hammer.
  5. A chisel or thin scraper.
  6. A drill with a masonry bit.
  7. A container for debris and a trash bag.
  8. A drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect the surrounding area.
  9. A bucket of warm, soapy water and a sponge.
  10. A patching compound and a putty knife for repairing any wall damage.

Step-by-Step Guide:

Prepare the Workspace:

  • Start by removing any items from your countertop or vanity.
  • Lay down a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect your countertops, cabinets, and floors from debris and dust.
  • Turn off the power to any electrical outlets and switches that may be covered by tiles.

Remove Outlet Covers and Switch Plates:

  • Use a screwdriver or utility knife to remove any outlet covers and switch plates that are within or near the tile backsplash area.

Start with a Corner:

  • Locate a loose or damaged tile in one corner of the backsplash.
  • Insert the putty knife or pry bar behind the tile, gently tapping it with a hammer to loosen it.
  • Once you have enough space to grip the tile, carefully pry it away from the wall.

Work Slowly and Patiently:

  • Continue to work your way along the row, removing one tile at a time.
  • If a tile doesn’t come off easily, use the chisel or scraper to carefully chip away at the adhesive or grout beneath it.
  • Be patient to avoid damaging the wall surface.

Remove Adhesive and Grout:

  • After removing all the tiles, you’ll likely have adhesive or grout residue left on the wall.
  • Use the chisel or scraper to gently scrape away as much of the adhesive and grout as possible.

Drill Pilot Holes for Tough Spots:

  • If you encounter stubborn adhesive or grout that won’t budge, use a drill with a masonry bit to create small pilot holes.
  • Gently tap the chisel or scraper into these holes to break up the material.

Clean the Wall:

  • Once you’ve removed all the tiles and adhesive, clean the wall thoroughly with warm, soapy water and a sponge to remove any remaining residue.

Patch and Repair:

  • Examine the wall for any damage caused during the removal process.
  • Use a patching compound and a putty knife to fill in any holes or gouges.
  • Allow the compound to dry and sand it smooth before priming and painting, if necessary.


Removing a tile backsplash may require some time and effort, but with the right tools and careful execution, it’s a manageable DIY project. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing protective gear and turning off power to electrical outlets. Take your time, be patient, and soon you’ll have a clean slate to work with for your next home improvement project.

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