Corian is a popular solid surface material often used for backsplashes in kitchens and bathrooms. While durable, Corian backsplashes may need replacement due to damage, a remodeling project, or simply a desire to change the look of your space. Removing an existing Corian backsplash can be done as a DIY project with the right tools and techniques. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to remove a Corian backsplash successfully.
Assessing the Corian Backsplash Installation
Before starting demolition, take time to examine how the Corian backsplash was installed. This will help you understand how best to remove it with minimal damage.
Check Attachment Method
Corian backsplashes are typically adhered directly to the wall surface with construction adhesive. However, they can also be installed using mechanical fasteners like screws or nails. Identify the attachment method before proceeding.
- Adhesive only: The backsplash should pry off relatively easy. Be prepared to deal with adhesive residue on the wall.
- Mechanical fasteners: You will need to locate and remove all screws or nails. Holes will need patching and touch up.
- Combination: Expect adhesive as well as fasteners. The most time-consuming to remove but inspect carefully beforehand.
Examine Seams and Joints
Take note of all seams and joints in the Corian backsplash. This includes seams between sheets or strips of Corian as well as joints at corners, where the counter meets the backsplash, around outlets, etc.
Understanding these joints will help you avoid cracking or breaking the Corian when prying it off. Take it slow around seams and joints.
Look for Backer Material
Sometimes a water-resistant backer board is used behind the Corian backsplash. This provides an extra moisture barrier near sinks and stoves. Determine if a backer is present before starting.
If so, expect more difficult prying since the backer board is mechanically fastened to studs. You may need to tear off the backer in pieces too.
Gather the Right Removal Tools
Removing a Corian backsplash requires a few special tools to make the job easier and minimize wall damage. Gather these before starting:
- Pry bar: A stiff, strong pry bar is essential for popping the backsplash free from adhesive and any fasteners. An 8-10 inch size works well.
- Utility knife: Useful for slicing caulk seams to free the backsplash. Have extra blades on hand.
- ** reciprocating saw:** For cutting through backer board or studs if necessary. A Sawzall® tool is ideal.
- Hammer: Sometimes necessary for breaking adhesive’s grip or tapping fasteners loose. Use a small sledge or claw hammer.
- Putty knife: After removal, a stiff putty knife helps scrape off excess adhesive from the wall.
- Plastic putty knife: Softer than metal, plastic putty knives prevent gouging of the drywall during adhesive removal.
- Safety gear: Wear goggles, work gloves, and a dust mask when demolishing. The process is dusty.
Prepare the Work Area
You’ll be generating a lot of debris during backsplash removal. Take time to properly prepare the space:
- Clear countertops and remove anything breakable from the backsplash area.
- Protect floors and countertops with drop cloths. Tape plastic sheeting over cabinets and appliances.
- Have a wheeled cart, wheelbarrow, or large buckets nearby to quickly discard debris.
- Turn off electricity to any outlets in the backsplash area.
- Cover vents and HVAC equipment to avoid dust infiltration.
Proper prep makes the work faster and cleaner once you start swinging the pry bar!
Removing a Corian Backsplash Step-by-Step
Once you have the right tools and prep work done, follow these steps to safely remove a Corian backsplash:
1. Score Backsplash Perimeter
Use a sharp utility knife to cut any caulk bead between the backsplash and wall. Also cut along the seams between backsplash sheets or strips.
This scoring breaks the caulk seal. It also prevents cracking of the Corian when you pry it off.
2. Loosen from Wall
Insert the pry bar behind the backsplash and gently pry outward from the wall. Start at a bottom corner joint and work up and across.
Apply steady force on the pry bar to break the adhesive’s grip. Be patient and go slowly to prevent cracking the Corian.
3. Work Around Plumbing Fixtures
Use extra care when prying the backsplash free around faucets, soap dispensers, and other plumbing fixtures.
Destroying them would require expensive replacement. Gently rock the pry bar to pop the backsplash off fixtures.
4. Remove Mechanical Fasteners
If screws or nails were used, locate and remove them as you go. This may require drilling through the Corian to access screw heads.
Use a hammer or pry bar to pull nails out. Take care not to damage the drywall behind. Remove any backer board fasteners too.
5. Take Down Backer Board
For installations with backer board behind, use a reciprocating saw to cut it into manageable pieces. Sawzall blades designed for wood and drywall work well.
Pry each cut section of backer material off separately. Avoid damaging wall studs if possible.
6. Break Up Large Pieces
As sections pry free, they may get too heavy or unwieldy. Break them up into smaller, lighter pieces for easier handling and disposal.
A few whacks with a sledgehammer usually does the trick. Wear eye protection to avoid injury from flying pieces.
7. Discard Debris
Quickly discard pulled off sections of backsplash and backer material. Carry them outside or load directly into a dumpster.
For small debris, line buckets or wheelbarrows with heavy contractor bags. Take care not to scatter sharp pieces.
8. Inspect and Patch Wall
With the backsplash demolished, carefully inspect the wall for any damage that needs repair. Use joint compound to patch small holes or gouges.
For larger areas of missing drywall, cut and screw new pieces in place before finishing. Sand smooth when dry.
9. Remove Excess Adhesive
Use a stiff putty knife, plastic scraper, or chisel to remove any large globs of leftover construction adhesive from the wall surface.
Then take a coarse rag with adhesive solvent to scrub off residual stickiness. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact.
10. Clean and Prepare for New Backsplash
Once all adhesive is removed, do a final cleanup using degreasing wipes or TSP cleaner on the wall. This removes film and prepares for a fresh backsplash installation.
Now you have a smooth, clean, damage-free wall ready for a beautiful new backsplash!
Tips for Easier Corian Backsplash Removal
Removing a Corian backsplash takes patience and careful technique. Keep these tips in mind to make the process smoother:
- Go slowly and take frequent breaks to avoid getting frustrated and damaging the wall.
- Try applying heat with a hair dryer or heat gun on adhesive. This can help soften it for easier prying and scraping.
- For minimal damage, before prying try loosening the backsplash at the seams to break the adhesive grip gradually.
- If necessary, saw through the Corian to separate long, continuous pieces into smaller and more manageable ones.
- Have joint compound, drywall, primer, and paint on hand for immediate wall repairs as you go.
- Wear knee pads to protect yourself when kneeling on hard or rough floors during demolition.
- Work “top down” removing the backsplash. Grabbing the bottom and ripping upwards risks creating a larger tear area on the wall.
- Have a shop vac handy to contain dust, or invest in zip wall containment systems for a cleaner workspace.
Follow safety precautions, work carefully, and pay attention to details like seams and fixtures. With the right approach, you can tear out that dated Corian backsplash quickly and move on to installing an eye-catching new one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Corian Backsplashes
Many homeowners have additional questions when preparing to remove a Corian backsplash. Here are answers to some of the most common inquiries:
Can I remove a Corian backsplash myself or do I need to hire a contractor?
With the proper tools and preparation, an experienced DIYer can usually tackle a Corian backsplash removal successfully as a weekend project. Pay attention to how it was installed and take care not to damage walls. Contractors can remove it quicker if you want to avoid the heavy work.
What is the easiest way to separate Corian backsplash from the wall?
Scoring around all edges with a utility knife before prying helps immensely. This weakens the caulk adhesive seal so the backsplash pops off easier with less cracking. Go slowly and apply even force.
How do I deal with adhesive residue left on the wall after removing the backsplash?
A combination of tools works best – scrape large globs with a stiff putty knife, then scrub remaining film off with adhesive solvent applied to a rough rag or brush. Wear gloves to prevent skin irritation.
Can I salvage or reuse a removed Corian backsplash?
This is tricky but possible depending on the demolition technique. Take extra care when prying to avoid excessive cracking or breakage. Any intact pieces can potentially be re-cut and reinstalled in another project, so remove it in bigger sections if salvaging it.
Is it OK to throw away large Corian pieces in my regular trash?
Due to its durable composition, Corian is very difficult to break down and should not go into a standard landfill. Hire special haulers who recycle construction waste if your local rules don’t allow it in regular trash pickup.
How do I prepare the wall for a new backsplash after removing the Corian one?
Fill any gouges or holes with spackle, then sand smooth. Clean with TSP or other degreaser to eliminate residue. Once dry, prime and paint before the new backsplash installation for best adhesion.
Removing an outdated or damaged Corian backsplash takes work, but gives you a fresh start for creating a beautiful new kitchen or bathroom focal point. Use smart techniques and safe practices to make the demolition process smooth.
How to Remove Corian Backsplash Using Heat
Heating up the adhesive behind a Corian backsplash is an effective technique that can make removal much easier. When heated, the adhesive softens and loses its grip, allowing the backsplash to pry off with less effort. Here are some tips on using heat for removing Corian backsplashes:
Why Try Heat?
Here are some of the benefits of using heat during Corian backsplash demolition:
- Softens adhesive: Heating adhesive makes it pliable and gummy, reducing its bond strength. This decreases the force needed to pry off the backsplash.
- Prevents cracking: With the adhesive softened, the backsplash separates cleanly from the wall with less cracking or breaking.
- Speeds up removal: You can pull off pieces faster once the adhesive is heated and melted. The entire process moves along quicker.
- Better for salvage: Less damage to the backsplash occurs for potential reuse or repurposing when using heat during removal.
- Fewer leftovers: Softened adhesive scrapes off easier post-demo, leaving less residual stickiness on the wall.
Best Heat Application Methods
You can use heat in several ways when tackling a Corian backsplash removal:
A simple hair dryer generating hot tap provides very controllable, localized heat. Use it to soften adhesive in small sections as you work across the backsplash.
Hold the dryer 6-10 inches from the surface and heat for 30-60 seconds before prying. Be careful not to scorch or burn the Corian.
More powerful than a hair dryer, a heat gun delivers concentrated heat that penetrates thicker adhesive layers. Use the same targeted technique heating only where you are prying.
Exercise caution as high heat can damage the backsplash and wall. Keep the heat gun moving and avoid prolonged exposure.
Set up portable construction heat lamps directed at the backsplash area. This floods the whole surface with radiant heat, making the entire adhesive bed release better.
Monitor temperatures closely with this flood method and shut off periodically to avoid overheating risks. Turn lamps off when not prying.
Some adhesive removal contractors use steam machines to blast hot vapor behind backsplashes. The combination of heat and moisture softens the glue quickly.
Renting a wallpaper steamer can accomplish similar adhesive-loosening results if you don’t have professional steam equipment.
Safety Tips for Heating
Heat can make backsplash removal much more efficient. But exercise proper safety precautions:
- Never leave heating tools unattended or allow open flame near flammable materials.
- Wear heat-resistant gloves when handling hot surfaces or heating equipment.
- Avoid direct heat contact with wiring, plumbing lines, or delicate wall coverings.
- Have an ABC fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire ignites from overheating.
- Turn heating devices off promptly once you have softened the adhesive in a removal area.
With the right amount of controlled heat applied properly, you can conquer that Corian backsplash demolition and enjoy your updated space even sooner!
How to Patch and Repair Walls After Removing Corian Backsplash
Taking down a glued-on Corian backsplash usually leaves some amount of damage to the drywall behind it. Once the backsplash is out, proper wall repairs are needed to restore a smooth surface for the new backsplash installation. Here is a step-by-step guide to patching and refinishing walls after removing a Corian backsplash:
Gather patching and refinishing materials prior to starting demolition. Having them ready allows you to immediately fix any wall damage that occurs during backsplash removal. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Drywall joint compound (pre-mixed all-purpose or lightweight spackling)
- Joint tape and corner bead
- Drywall replacement scraps, shims, and screws
- Sandpaper and sanding block
- Polyurethane construction adhesive
- Primer and matching paint
- Putty knives, mud pan, and plastic smoothing tools
Inspect and Evaluate Damage
With the Corian backsplash totally removed, thoroughly inspect the exposed wall for any damage. Look for:
- Holes from screws/nails
- Gouges and scrapes in the drywall face paper
- Torn or missing drywall in larger areas
- Compromised or exposed corner joints
Take notes on all damage and formulate the needed repairs. This inspection also ensures no moisture issues exist behind the backsplash.
Prep and Clean Surface
Before patching, cleaning is critical. Scrub off all adhesive residue using solvent and abrasive pads.
Remove any loose drywall pieces or sections. Vacuum away all dust and debris from the repair areas.
Wipe with a degreaser like TSP and let fully dry.
Patch Holes and Small Gouges
For small nail holes or screw indentations, fill with lightweight spackle using a putty knife. Apply two coats, allowing complete drying in between.
For scrapes or gouges in the wall’s outer face paper, carefully sand the edges to taper them before filling with joint compound. Avoid exposing more of the gypsum core.
Allow compound repairs to dry fully (24-48 hours) and sand smooth.
Repair Larger Sections and Corners
For more substantial backsplash removal damage, cut out any loose or protruding drywall pieces containing torn face paper or core material.
Cut square or rectangular replacement sections to fit the repair area. Secure new drywall patches with adhesive and drywall screws.
Protect vulnerable outer wall corners with corner bead nailed or glued in place before applying joint compound.
Apply multiple coats of compound over seams and in damaged areas. Let dry fully, then sand smooth.
Skim Coat Larger Areas
If adhesive residue, fastener damage, or drywall repairs have affected a whole wall area, skim coat with a thin layer of joint compound to create one uniform surface.
Use a wide drywall knife to spread compound across the damaged zones, feathering the edges. Sand when fully cured.
Prime and Paint
Once smoothing and skim coating repairs are complete, prime the entire backsplash wall area with an appropriate primer like Kilz or Zinsser.
When dry, apply two finish coats of interior latex paint in the existing or a fresh, new color.
Now you have restored the backsplash walls to like-new condition!
With some careful demolition technique and these patching tips, you can remove any Corian backsplash without major drywall damage. Proper wall repairs ensure your new backsplash looks fantastic.
How to Dispose and Recycle Old Corian Backsplashes
A key part of any Corian backsplash removal project is dealing with disposal of the old material responsibly. While durable, Corian should not be treated as normal construction trash due to its composition. Here are smart tips for recycling and disposing of old Corian backsplashes:
Why Responsible Disposal Matters
Corian is made from a blend of natural minerals and acrylic resins. It contains materials like aluminum, acrylic, pigments, and silica.
If sent to standard landfills, Corian does not break down well. It also has potential to leach chemicals or metals over time.
Some regions prohibit Corian and other solid surfaces from regular construction waste pickup. Responsible disposal is important.
Best Practices for Corian Disposal
Here are some recommended practices for old Corian backsplash tear-outs:
- Check regional construction debris disposal regulations and sort materials accordingly.
- Break removed backsplash sections into smaller pieces for easier handling