Removing a brick backsplash can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be accomplished successfully. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a brick backsplash in your home.
Assess the Brick Backsplash
Before starting demolition, thoroughly examine the backsplash area. Note the type of brick, mortar, and how the bricks were installed. This will help determine the best way to remove them. Check for any hidden electrical outlets or plumbing that could get damaged during removal.
Gather the Necessary Materials
You’ll need safety gear like gloves, eye protection, and a mask. Have a pry bar, hammer, chisel, putty knife, and heavy-duty trash bags on hand. A mini sledgehammer and masonry blades for a circular saw can make quicker work of removal. Make sure you have a new backsplash material ready to install.
Protect the Surrounding Areas
Cover nearby surfaces like countertops and floors with drop cloths. Mask off adjacent walls with painters tape. This guards against damage from dust and debris. Turn off electricity and water supply lines in the backsplash area.
Remove Accessories and Appliances
Detach any soffits, lighting fixtures, outlets, or plumbing fixtures from the backsplash before starting demolition. Uninstall and remove kitchen appliances like the stove or refrigerator if they are surrounded by brick.
Clear Away Grout
Use a hammer and chisel to carefully chip away old grout between bricks. A putty knife or oscillating multi-tool also helps clear grout. Removing the grout first makes prying off whole bricks much easier. Vacuum up grout debris as you work.
Pry Off Bricks
With grout removed, start prying bricks from the wall using a pry bar. Apply force at the mortar joints, not the bricks themselves, to avoid breaking them unnecessarily. Tap bricks with a hammer to help dislodge them. Remove nails, screws, or wire lath as you go.
Once all bricks are taken down, use a chisel, putty knife, or oscillating tool to scrape away leftover mortar on the wall surface. Try to get it as smooth as possible for the new backsplash. Avoid damaging the drywall too much.
Dispose of Debris
Place old bricks, mortar, grout, and other demolition debris into heavy-duty trash bags. Seal them up and transport to a dumpster for disposal. A wheelbarrow helps move larger chunks.
Prepare the Surface
Fill any gouges or irregular spots in the wall with spare drywallcompound or mortar to create an even surface. Sand rough areas. Clean the bare wall surface thoroughly before installing the new backsplash.
FAQs About Removing Brick Backsplash
How do I soften old mortar when removing bricks?
Spraying water on mortar joints helps soften them. Vinegar or chemical mortar softeners also work. Allow time for the products to penetrate before prying.
Can I pry off only select bricks and leave some intact?
Yes, removing only certain bricks is possible but achieve best results taking the whole backsplash down.
What tools should I rent to remove brick backsplash?
For DIYers, consider renting a demolition hammer, mini sledgehammer, jackhammer, or oscillating multi-tool to ease removal.
How long does it take to tear out a brick backsplash?
Removal time depends on backsplash size and installation method. Small projects could take 2-6 hours. Larger backsplashes could take 1-2 days.
What is the easiest way to remove thin brick sheets?
With thin veneer sheets, score grout lines with an oscillating tool then pry off whole sheets at once. Chiseling individual bricks takes longer.
How do I remove brick backsplash adhesive?
Adhesive may remain after prying off thin brick sheets. Use a putty knife, chisel, or grinder to scrape off residual adhesive. Solvents can help dissolve it.
Removing an existing brick backsplash takes time and physical effort. But with proper planning, safety precautions, and the right tools for prying, chiseling, and scraping, you can successfully demolish a brick backsplash in your kitchen or bath. Just be sure to dispose of debris properly and prep the wall for your beautiful new backsplash material.