How to Remove Fake Brick Backsplash

Want to update your outdated faux brick backsplash but aren’t sure where to start? Removing a faux brick backsplash can seem daunting, but it’s actually a straightforward DIY project that you can tackle in a weekend. Here’s a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about how to remove fake brick backsplash panels safely and efficiently.

An Introduction to Fake Brick Backsplashes

Before we get into how to remove a faux brick backsplash, let’s go over what they are and why homeowners decided to install them in the first place.

A faux brick backsplash refers to backsplash tiles made from materials like plastic, vinyl, or laminate crafted to resemble authentic brick. Faux brick backsplash panels became popular in the 1970s and 80s as an affordable and low-maintenance alternative to real brick.

Homeowners chose faux brick backsplashes for several reasons:

  • Inexpensive – Fake brick is much more budget-friendly than authentic brick or natural stone. The panels are mass-produced, making them cheaper.
  • Lightweight – Vinyl and plastic faux brick is lighter than real brick, making installation easier. The lightweight materials also put less strain on walls.
  • Easy to install – Faux brick panels can be installed using construction adhesive rather than mortar, saving time and hassle.
  • Low maintenance – Fake brick resists stains, doesn’t require re-sealing, and is easy to clean.
  • Aesthetic appeal – Faux brick offers the visual look of real brick’s texture and color without the maintenance.

While faux brick backsplash panels have their benefits, many homeowners opt to remove their outdated fake brick as trends change. The panels can appear obviously artificial as they age. Luckily, a faux brick backsplash can be removed fairly easily with the right tools and techniques.

Preparing for Faux Brick Backsplash Removal

Removing a faux brick backsplash requires careful preparation and safety precautions. Here are some tips on getting prepped for the project:

Assess the Backsplash

Start by looking closely at the backsplash area and panels. Make note of a few things:

  • What size are the faux brick panels?
  • How are they attached – mortar, adhesive, nails?
  • Is there a moisture barrier behind the panels?
  • Any special tools needed based on attachments?

Understanding your panels and how they were installed will determine the removal process.

Gather the Right Tools

These tools can make faux brick backsplash removal much simpler:

  • Safety gear – glasses, gloves, mask
  • Utility knife – cuts through caulk and adhesive
  • Pry bar – helps pry off panels
  • Hammer – breaks adhesive bonds
  • Putty knife – scrapes off adhesive
  • Heat gun – heats adhesive to loosen panels
  • Dustpan and shop vac – cleans up debris

Protect Surfaces

Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to protect countertops, floors, and other areas from damage during removal.

Turn Off Electrical and Plumbing

Shut off power to any outlets in the backsplash area. Turn off water supply valves to the sink faucet and dishwasher to prevent leaks.

With the right prep, you’ll be ready to safely tackle removing those outdated fake brick backsplash panels.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Faux Brick Backsplash

Once you’ve completed your prep work, it’s time to get rid of that dated faux brick backsplash. Follow these steps:

1. Remove Caulk and Clean

Use a utility knife to slice through any caulk sealing the backsplash panels to the countertop or walls. Scrape off all the old caulk residue. Give the entire backsplash area a thorough cleaning to remove grease and grime.

2. Detach Entire Sheets First

Start by attempting to remove any full faux brick backsplash sheets intact if possible. This prevents having to pry off individual bricks later.

Wedge a pry bar or putty knife into the seam and gently pry up while tapping the sheet with a hammer. Heat guns help soften adhesive bonds for easier removal.

Remove nails or screws using a drill if present. Place removed full sheets in a waste pile.

3. Heat and Scrape Off Adhesive

For any adhesive left behind, use a heat gun to warm it up. This helps it release its grip.

Once heated, use a putty knife to gently scrape off the softened adhesive. Avoid gouging into the drywall or plaster behind.

Wipe the area down with a rag as you remove adhesive patches.

4. Pry Off Individual Panels

If unable to remove full faux brick panels intact, the next step is removing individual panels or “bricks”.

Wedge the pry bar under the edge of a faux brick and tap it gently to break the adhesive bond. Test spots first to find the optimal prying approach without damaging your wall.

Twist and pry the released panel to remove it. Toss panels into your waste pile as you remove them.

5. Clean Adhesive Residue

Once all panels are removed, scrape off any remaining adhesive residue using a putty knife.

You can also use adhesive remover chemicals if needed. Follow the product instructions closely.

Thoroughly wash the former backsplash area to get rid of any gunk or residue. Let it fully dry.

6. Remove Any Nails/Screws

Check for any nails or screws left behind from the faux brick installation.

Use a hammer or drill to remove any remaining fasteners. Fill the holes with spackle compound once removed.

7. Dispose of Faux Brick Waste

Sweep up all the little pieces of fake brick using a dustpan and shop vac. Bag up the larger panels and sheets.

Most waste disposal services accept faux brick. Some recyclers may even take laminate sheets.

With the tedious removal process complete, you now have a blank canvas ready for a fresh new backsplash!

What to Consider When Choosing a New Backsplash

Gone are the days of that outdated faux brick backsplash. Now you get to choose a stylish, modern backsplash option. Consider these factors when selecting your new backsplash:

Material Options

  • Tile (ceramic, porcelain, glass, granite, marble)
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Natural stone slab
  • Metal like stainless steel or copper
  • Cement
  • Glass tile


  • Ease of cleaning is key in kitchens
  • Porcelain, glass and metal tiles are low maintenance
  • Natural stones require resealing


  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles most budget-friendly
  • Solid stone slab and glass tile cost more
  • Factor in professional installation cost


  • Sleek subway tile for modern simplicity
  • Hearth-style brick for rustic warmth
  • Geometric patterns and mosaics for visual interest

Countertop Compatibility

  • Backsplash color should complement countertops
  • Natural stone pairs well with granite or quartz
  • Vibrant glass mosaic complements solid surface countertops

Once you settle on the perfect backsplash material for your kitchen, make sure to hire a qualified installer to ensure it’s affixed properly.

FAQs About Removing Faux Brick Backsplash

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about taking out a fake brick backsplash:

Is it cheaper to remove or tile over faux brick backsplash?

It’s generally more affordable to remove faux brick entirely instead of tiling over it. Trying to tile over uneven plastics or laminates without removal can lead to adhesion issues down the road.

Does faux brick contain asbestos?

Faux brick backsplash panels from the 70s/80s are highly unlikely to contain asbestos. Asbestos exposure risks were identified in the late 1970s, leading to stricter product manufacturing.

Can I salvage the old faux brick backsplash?

You won’t be able to salvage full faux brick backsplash sheets as they are thin laminates designed for one installation. Individual plastic “bricks” also can’t be realistically reused. Faux brick is unfortunately not recyclable.

What’s the best way to dispose of faux brick panels?

Check with your local waste disposal company about their policies. Most accept faux brick panels as standard waste. You may also look into commercial recycling centers that take laminates.

How long does it take to remove faux brick backsplash?

Removing a faux brick backsplash typically takes 2-3 hours for an average sized kitchen. The amount of time will vary based on backsplash size and what it’s adhered using. Have an extra few hours handy in case unknown issues arise.

How do I patch drywall after removing backsplash?

Use drywall joint compound and tape on any gouges or uneven spots created during faux brick removal. Apply in thin layers allowing drying in between until flush with wall. Sand smooth before applying primer and paint.


Removing a faux brick backsplash may seem intimidating, but armed with the right tools and preparation it can be an achievable DIY project. The key steps include prying off panels intact whenever possible, heat-loosening adhesive, and thoroughly cleaning the area afterward.

With your outdated fake brick backsplash gone, an exciting new backsplash awaits. From sleek modern tile to cozy reclaimed wood, the options are endless. Choose a material that pairs perfectly with your countertops and kitchen style. With some strategic planning and skilled installation, your new backsplash will provide a stylish focal point you’ll enjoy for years to come.