How Much to Remove Backsplash

A backsplash is an important design element in any kitchen. Not only does it serve a functional purpose by protecting the walls from splashes and spills, it’s also a great way to add visual interest, color, and personality. However, there may come a time when you’re ready for an update. Removing and replacing a backsplash is a big project, so it’s important to understand what’s involved before taking it on. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how much it costs to remove a backsplash and what the process entails.

Factors That Impact Cost to Remove Backsplash

Several key factors determine how much it will cost to remove your existing backsplash:

Size of the Backsplash

The overall size of the backsplash area is the primary driver of cost. The more square footage that needs to be removed, the longer the project will take and the more labor and materials will be required. Standard backsplash areas are around 15-30 square feet. For a larger backsplash that extends along multiple walls, plan to spend more for removal.

Type of Backsplash Material

The type of material used for the original backsplash installation influences removal costs. Tile backsplashes, whether ceramic, glass, or stone tiles, are relatively easy to dismantle. Large format tiles may require some special tools. Mosaic sheets can take more time. Materials like metal, marble, or stone slab backsplashes are harder to take down and remove.

Method of Installation

How the original backsplash was installed is key. Backsplashes installed with mastic, adhesive, or grout are easier to remove versus backsplashes installed directly on the wall or with mortar. The amount of demo and potential repairs needed will be greater for more permanently adhered backsplashes.


The complexity of the design and how accessible the backsplash area is can add time and effort to the removal process. A simple backsplash in an open kitchen area is easier to access versus a intricate backsplash behind appliances and in tight corners.

Disposal Needs

Disposal fees for landfill dumping of demolition debris can add cost. The weight and volume of material being disposed of must be considered. Recycling tile or repurposing materials saves on disposal costs.

Based on these factors, the typical range for professional backsplash removal costs is:

  • Ceramic or stone tile backsplash: $3-$8 per square foot
  • Mosaic tile backsplash: $5-$10 per square foot
  • Metal, marble, or slab backsplash: $8-$15 per square foot

So for a 30 square foot tile backsplash, expect removal costs around $100-$250. A more complicated slate slab backsplash around 50 square feet could be $400-$750 or more to take out.

DIY Removal vs Hiring a Pro

You can DIY a backsplash removal project to save on labor costs, especially for simpler tile backsplashes. However, there is a risk of causing damage if not done properly. Older materials like mastic or mortar can be very difficult and tedious to chisel out. Safety is also a concern when handling broken materials and dust.

The pros of hiring a professional backsplash removal company include:

  • Specialized tools and knowledge: Professionals have the right tools, like oscillating multi-tools, needed to efficiently remove backsplashes. They know techniques to safely and effectively dismantle the materials. This speeds up the process and reduces damage risks.
  • Proper disposal: Companies have resources to dispose of backsplash debris properly. They recycle materials when possible. This removes a significant hassle.
  • Experience with repairs: If drywall or plumbing gets damaged during removal, a pro can make repairs seamlessly so new backsplash installation goes smoothly.

DIY removal can be wise for simple tile backsplashes or if you have specialty demolition skills. But for more complex backsplash projects, the benefits of hiring a contractor often outweighs the cost.

What’s Involved in Removing a Backsplash?

Taking out a backsplash requires methodically deconstructing it piece by piece. Here is an overview of the removal process:

1. Prepare the Workspace

First, clear the area around the backsplash of any items, appliances, or décor. Have all necessary demolition tools on hand. Turn off electricity to any nearby outlets. Protect nearby surfaces with drop cloths. Wear safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.

2. Score the Backsplash

Use an oscillating multi-tool or chisel to score grout lines and create seams in caulk or adhesive. This frees the edges of tiles or sheets to pry off. Work slowly and carefully.

3. Remove Backsplash Sections

Starting at the top, use a pry bar and hammer to remove material pieces working row by row. Apply even pressure to avoid cracking tiles until freed. Stack and organize removed pieces neatly.

4. Clean Off Adhesive

Use a chisel or putty knife to scrape off any remaining mastic, mortar, thinset, or adhesive from the wall down to the bare substrate. Avoid damaging the drywall.

5. Dispose of Debris

Load all backsplash debris into trash bags or bins. Transport and offload at a landfill or recycling center. A cooler, cloudy day is best for disposal to avoid breathing dust.

6. Clean the Walls

Vacuum up all remaining dust and particles from the backsplash area. Use water and mild soap as needed to clean the wall surface in preparation for new backsplash installation. Let fully dry.

7. Make Any Repairs

Inspect for any underlying damage that may need repair. Fix drywall holes or tears with joint compound and patching. Address any plumbing or electrical issues discovered behind the backsplash before installing the new one.

And with that, the old backsplash is removed and the kitchen is ready for a fresh new look!

Tools and Supplies for DIY Removal

If tackling a backsplash removal DIY, ensure you have the proper equipment:

  • Safety gear: goggles, N95 dust mask, gloves
  • Drop cloths
  • Flat pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Oscillating mutli-tool with tile blade
  • Masonry chisel and hammer
  • Grout removal tool
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knives
  • Shop vacuum
  • Bucket for debris
  • Garbage bags
  • Drywall repair compounds and mesh tape

A combination of hand and power tools allows you to carefully dismantle the backsplash while protecting walls from excess damage. Safety is also paramount when handling hazardous debris.

Hiring a Backsplash Removal Contractor

For many homeowners, hiring a professional backsplash removal company is the easiest and safest option. When choosing a contractor, here are some helpful tips:

  • Check reviews and referrals. Choose a company with a proven record of success on similar backsplash removal projects.
  • Verify proper licensing. Contractors should have general contracting or specialty demolition licenses as required in your state.
  • Get proof of insurance. Only work with insured removal pros in case of incidental damage.
  • Compare bids. Get estimates from at least 3 contractors and compare scope of work. Beware very low bids.
  • Confirm timeline. Ask how long the removal will take so you can coordinate any repairs afterwards.
  • Get full disposal details. Will they recycle materials? What disposal fees may be incurred?
  • Request a contract. Get everything in writing, including price, timeline, work details, and warranty.

Hiring backsplash removal experts ensures a smooth experience from demolition to disposal so your kitchen is soon backsplash-ready.

Backsplash Removal Cost Calculator

Use this simple cost calculator to estimate the cost of your backsplash removal project:

Backsplash square footage:

Type of backsplash material:

  • Ceramic tile
  • Glass tile
  • Mosaic tile
  • Metal
  • Stone slab
  • Other

Installation method:

  • Tile mortar
  • Mastic/adhesive
  • Grout
  • Affixed directly to wall


  • Open/straight backsplash area
  • Partially obstructed
  • Tight corners and spaces

Estimated demolition costs:

For a _ square foot backsplash made of installed with in a space that is _ accessible, typical professional removal costs range from $___ to $_____.

Get free estimates from contractors to confirm exact pricing for your project.

FAQs About Removing Backsplash

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about backsplash removal:

How long does it take to remove a backsplash?

Removal speed depends on the backsplash size and complexity. A simple 100 square foot tile backsplash can take 2-3 hours for demo and clean up. Multi-day projects are common for larger or intricate backsplashes.

Can I remove backsplash myself?

With proper tools, safety precautions, and demolition skills, a DIY backsplash removal is definitely possible. Tile backsplashes are the best type for DIY removal. Get help removing heavy stone or concrete backsplashes.

Does backsplash have to be removed to replace?

You can install some materials like tile and metal over existing backsplash. But for smooth finished results, it’s best to take the old backsplash down to the studs or wall surface.

What tools do I need to remove backsplash?

A typical backsplash removal tool kit includes a pry bar, putty knives, hammer, oscillating multi-tool, chisels, grout saw, gloves, eye protection, and vacuum. You may also need a reciprocating saw for thick backsplashes.

Can I sell old backsplash tile?

Definitely check if your backsplash tiles can be salvaged and resold. Vintage or high-end tile is very popular for reuse. Even scrap can be made into mosaic art pieces. Recycling tile keeps it out of landfills.

How do I protect walls when removing backsplash?

Use drop cloths and painter’s tape around the backsplash area. Wedge wood blocks between pry tools and wall to prevent damage as you work. Smooth any wall damage with drywall joint compound.

Removing and replacing a backsplash brings a fresh new look to your kitchen. With proper planning, tools, and help from pros, you can take out your old backsplash efficiently. Follow this guide for a smooth backsplash removal process. Soon you’ll have a clean slate for installing an inspiring new backsplash design.