How to Remove Glass Backsplash

Installing a glass backsplash can instantly upgrade the look of your kitchen or bathroom. The sleek, modern material makes a stylish statement and is easy to keep clean. However, glass backsplashes are not necessarily permanent. Here is a guide on how to remove a glass backsplash if you decide to renovate or change your décor.

Assessing Your Glass Backsplash

Before removing your backsplash, examine it closely to determine what type of glass it is and how it was installed. This will help you understand the proper removal process.

  • Tempered glass: This is the most common type of glass used for backsplashes. It is durable and shatter-resistant. Tempered glass is held in place with silicone or mastic adhesive.
  • Laminated glass: This is made by bonding two pieces of glass together. It’s not as strong as tempered glass. Laminated glass is installed similarly, with adhesive.
  • Mirrored glass: This has a mirrored coating on one side. It installs the same way but may need extra care to avoid damaging the reflective surface.
  • Float glass: This common glass is annealed rather than tempered. It is more delicate and prone to breaking.

Gather Your Materials

You’ll need the following materials handy for removing a glass backsplash:

  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Plastic sheets or drop cloths
  • Utility knife or glass scraper
  • Putty knives
  • Soft rags
  • Mineral spirits or paint thinner
  • Silicone sealant (optional)

Make sure you have a step stool or ladder ready if needed to reach the top of your backsplash. Protect nearby surfaces from damage.

Prepare the Workspace

Take time to prepare your workspace before starting demo.

  • Clear countertops or any items surrounding the backsplash.
  • Cover surfaces with plastic sheets or tarps to catch debris and drips.
  • Have a trash can or bag ready to discard removed glass and adhesive.

Make sure you have adequate lighting and ventilation when working with chemical solvents.

Cut Through Any Sealant

Begin by cutting through the bead of silicone or other sealant applied along the top and bottom edges of the backsplash. You want to free the glass from the walls or countertop.

  • Use a new, sharp utility knife and gently score through the sealant.
  • Go slowly to avoid scratching surfaces or damaging backsplash.
  • Cut any caulk along top and bottom edges.

Loosen the Adhesive

Once sealant is sliced through, you can begin separating the backsplash glass from the wall.

  • Wedge putty knives in gaps behind glass. Work gently side-to-side.
  • Apply mineral spirits to adhesive areas using a rag as needed. Don’t oversaturate.
  • Persistently work in putty knives until glass releases. Take care not to crack glass.

Have someone support large panes as you free them to prevent breaking and fall hazards.

Remove the Glass Pieces

After loosening adhesive, you can start removing glass pieces. Take precautions not to shatter the glass.

  • Remove any broken shards sticking in adhesive using putty knives.
  • Carefully tip glass pieces off wall and pull free. Get help for large sections.
  • Place removed glass on tarps or cardboard to transport safely.

Inspect behind backsplash for any stubborn adhesive left on wall. Scrape off remaining residue.

Clean the Area

Once all glass is taken down, some cleanup is needed:

  • Wipe residual adhesive or mastic using mineral spirits and rags.
  • Use glass scraper to remove stubborn adhesive without damaging drywall.
  • Vacuum up all debris, shards, and residual silicone.
  • Seal leftover holes or uneven spots with silicone caulk. Let dry completely.

Thoroughly wash the entire area to eliminate dust and debris from demolition.

Dispose of Leftover Glass

You’ll be left with the glass pieces you just removed. Make sure to dispose of them properly:

  • Place intact glass horizontally on cardboard or plywood. Stack neatly.
  • Wrap broken glass in newspaper or plastic before discarding to prevent injury.
  • Contact local recycling centers to arrange drop off of glass pieces. Many accept tempered glass.
  • Alternatively, schedule special pickup from your waste management company for a fee.

With the glass backsplash fully removed, the wall space is ready for a fresh new backsplash design! Just be sure to carefully install the new materials. Let any adhesive or grout dry completely before exposing to moisture and use. And consider glass again – it wipes clean easily!

FAQs About Removing Glass Backsplashes

How do I remove mastic adhesive from drywall after taking down glass backsplash?

Use a plastic scraper to gently remove leftover mastic. Avoid digging into drywall paper. Mineral spirits on a cloth can help soften and dissolve residual adhesive. Warm, soapy water also helps remove adhesive film.

Can I reuse a glass backsplash by reinstalling it elsewhere?

It’s possible but tricky. The adhesive makes glass fragile and prone to breaking when pulled off the wall. Plus, you need very smooth walls and precise installation to get reused glass to sit properly. New glass is often easier.

Is it cheaper to remove or replace a backsplash?

Removing glass yourself takes labor and care but saves the glass purchase cost. Replacing with new material involves dump fees, purchase price, and installation work. Assess the time and cost tradeoffs for your specific project.

What tools do I need to take down a glass backsplash?

A basic toolkit of putty knives, utility knives, plastic sheeting, gloves, mini-scrapers, and mineral spirits can take down most simple glass backsplash designs. Always use eye protection during demo.

Can I hire a handyman to remove glass backsplash instead of doing it myself?

Yes, many professional handymen have expertise removing backsplashes. They have the right tools and experience doing precision demo work. Get an estimate in advance for the project scope.


Removing a glass backsplash requires careful demolition work but can be completed as a DIY project. Always wear protective gear and work slowly to get the backsplash off the wall intact. Proper cleanup and glass disposal makes way for a fresh start. With some patience and the right approach, you can take out an outdated glass backsplash and prepare the space for a stylish new one soon.