How to Cut Backsplash Off Laminate Countertop

Installing a new laminate countertop can instantly update the look of your kitchen. However, removing the existing backsplash can be tricky if it’s adhered to the countertop. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut the backsplash off a laminate countertop safely and cleanly.

Assess the Backsplash

First, examine the backsplash material. Ceramic tile is more durable and firmly attached. Plastic or acrylic backsplashes can be pried off more easily. Also, check if the backsplash is caulked or grouted to the wall versus adhered only to the countertop.

Determine if you want to remove the whole backsplash or cut it off flush with the wall. Removing the entire backsplash gives you a clean surface but requires refinishing the drywall. Cutting it flush takes less work but leaves a thin strip attached.

Gather the Proper Tools

You’ll need the following tools:

  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Pry bar or putty knife
  • Oscillating multi-tool or hacksaw with fine-tooth blade
  • Screwdriver
  • Dust mask
  • Shop vacuum

Avoid power tools like circular saws that can damage the laminate or countertop below. Hand tools give you more control.

Prepare the Countertop

Clear everything off the countertop and remove any caulk or grout between the backsplash and wall with a screwdriver. Cover the countertop with painter’s tape to protect the laminate from getting scratched.

Place a drop cloth on the floor to catch debris and tile pieces. Have the shop vac ready to control dust. Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask throughout the process.

Cut Through Any Adhesive

Slide a pry bar or stiff putty knife between the backsplash and countertop. Gently twist and pry upwards, working your way along to cut through the adhesive.

Apply steady, even pressure as you pry to avoid cracking the tiles or laminate. Stop if you meet significant resistance. Switch to the oscillating tool if needed.

Make the Cut

Once adhesive is freed, it’s time to cut through the backsplash itself. For ceramic tiles, score along the line with the hacksaw blade and snap pieces off.

For plastic backsplash, use the oscillating tool with a fine-tooth wood or metal blade to cut through it. Work slowly and keep the blade flush against the wall. Allow the tool to do the work.

Control dust by periodically vacuuming. Wipe excess debris off the countertop with a damp rag. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.

Remove Remaining Adhesive

With the backsplash detached, inspect the laminate counter for any remaining adhesive. Coating a putty knife with mineral spirits can help soften difficult adhesive residue.

Gently scrape in the direction of the laminate grain, avoiding too much pressure. Clean with soapy water, rinse thoroughly, then dry. Use caulk filler if any gouges need smoothing.

Finish the Job

Fill any unevenness on the wall from old adhesive globs with spackle, allow to dry, then sand smooth. Remove the tape and clean the countertop one last time. Add new backsplash, caulk the seams, and enjoy your updated kitchen!

FAQ About Cutting Backsplashes Off Laminate Countertops

How do I remove stubborn caulk or grout?

Use a screwdriver or utility knife to carefully cut through old caulk or grout. Avoid digging into the backsplash or wall. Apply gentle pressure.

What if the backsplash won’t pry up from the laminate?

Try heating the area with a hairdryer to soften the adhesive before prying. Use a wide putty knife and wedge it gradually. Stop if it won’t budge to avoid damage.

Can I use a circular saw to cut off the backsplash?

It’s not recommended. The fast spinning motion can burn or melt laminate. Use an oscillating tool or hacksaw instead for controlled cuts.

What’s the best way to cut ceramic tile backsplash?

Score the tiles with a hacksaw blade where you want to cut. Use a putty knife to tap and snap pieces off. Sand any rough edges.

How do I prep the wall after removing backsplash?

Inspect for any remaining adhesive globs and scrape smooth. Fill uneven spots with spackle, allow to dry fully, then sand. Wipe away all dust before installing new backsplash.

Should I replace the laminate countertop too?

If it’s in good shape, you can likely keep the existing laminate countertop. Thoroughly clean it after backsplash removal and test for levelness. Only replace if warped, damaged, or wanting a whole new look.


Removing an outdated backsplash is a big step in upgrading your laminate countertops. With the proper tools and techniques, you can cut off ceramic, plastic, or any backsplash material without harming the surrounding countertop. Work slowly, use hand tools for control, and protect the work area. Finish by cleaning, prepping, and installing a fresh new backsplash to completely transform the look of your kitchen.