Granite countertops and backsplashes can add beautiful, durable surfaces to kitchens and bathrooms. However, there may come a time when a granite backsplash needs to be removed and replaced. Homeowners may wish to update the look of their kitchen or deal with damage to the existing backsplash. Thankfully, granite backsplashes can be removed with some effort and care.
Preparing for Removal
Before starting the removal process, it is important to take a few preparatory steps:
- Clear the countertops and surrounding area of any items, appliances, dishes, etc. This creates open workspace to complete the job.
- Have all necessary tools assembled and ready to use. This includes items like a hammer, chisel, putty knife, pry bar, and safety gear like gloves and eye protection.
- Turn off electricity to any outlets in the backsplash area to prevent shocks.
- Cover nearby surfaces like floors and cabinets with drop cloths to protect from debris.
- Have a new backsplash material on hand and ready for installation after the old one is removed.
Removing the Granite Backsplash
With the prep work completed, it’s time to get into removing the granite backsplash itself:
Step 1: Detach from the Wall
- Use a utility knife or thin putty knife to cut through any caulk or adhesive between the backsplash and wall.
- Work the knife carefully along the seam to detach the granite from the wall while avoiding damage to the drywall behind.
Step 2: Remove Mounting Screws
- Locate any screws used to mount the backsplash to the wall studs or surface behind it.
- Using a drill/driver, remove all mounting screws working top to bottom.
Step 3: Pry Away Granite
- Insert a pry bar gently between the granite and wall at the top of the backsplash.
- Apply slight pressure to loosen the granite piece and work down gently.
- Take care not to crack the granite or gouge the wall surface.
Step 4: Detach from Counter
- Once released from the wall, focus on detaching it from the countertop.
- If caulked, cut the bead with a utility knife and pry up gently with putty knives.
- For backsplashes adhered to the counter, carefully pry/chisel it away from the counter edge.
Removing Adhesive and Finalizing
With the granite backsplash removed, a few final steps will get the area ready for a new installation:
- Scrape away any remaining adhesive, mortar or caulk from the wall using a putty knife or chisel.
- Sand or grind down any uneven spots for a smooth surface.
- Wipe away dust and debris, vacuum thoroughly, then mask off the area for painting if needed.
- Check that the wall and countertop edges are clean and ready for fresh caulk/adhesive.
- Measure carefully and cut the new backsplash material to size before installation.
With some care, patience, and elbow grease, granite backsplashes can be removed successfully in most home kitchens or bathrooms. Just take preparations to protect surroundings, work gently to pry the granite away, and prep the area for a replacement backsplash. In no time, you can update the look or replace damaged granite with a beautiful new backsplash surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I remove a granite backsplash myself or do I need to hire a professional?
In most cases, granite backsplashes can be removed safely as a DIY project. With some basic tools and by working slowly and carefully, homeowners can likely tackle it themselves. However, for very complicated or fragile installations, it may be wise to hire a professional to avoid damage.
How can I avoid cracking the granite as I remove it?
Work slowly and use care not to apply too much force in prying the granite away. Use protective items like old towels between tools and granite to prevent cracking. Scoring along the top caulk line helps detach it without putting force on the granite.
What tools will I need to remove a granite backsplash?
Common tools needed are a utility knife, putty knife, pry bar, hammer, chisel, drill/driver, gloves, eye protection, drop cloths and a vacuum. Have replacement materials on hand too.
What’s the easiest way to remove caulk or adhesive?
The best way is to score or cut along the caulk line with a sharp utility knife before attempting to pry the granite away. This helps break the seal cleanly so the granite can detach with minimal force.
How can I remove adhesive or mortar fully after taking the backsplash off?
Scraping, sanding, or grinding with putty knives, chisels and power tools after removal can eliminate leftover adhesive on the wall. An adhesive remover solution also helps break the bond prior to scraping.
Can I put up the new backsplash right after removing the old one?
It’s recommended to clean the area fully, make any wall repairs, sand/grind uneven spots, wipe or vacuum away dust, then paint or prime before installing the new backsplash. Prepping provides the smoothest surface.
Removing an outdated or damaged granite backsplash is definitely achievable for many DIYers. The keys are proper preparation, having the right tools on hand, carefully detaching the granite from surfaces, cleaning away residual adhesive, and prepping the area for a fresh backsplash installation. With adequate care and patience, even large granite backsplash removals can be performed successfully without professional help in many cases. Just take it slow and employ the techniques mentioned here when tackling a granite backsplash removal in any kitchen or bath.