Removing a glued laminate backsplash can be a tricky process, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be accomplished. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a glued laminate backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom.
What You Need
- Pry bar
- Putty knife
- Mineral spirits
- Eye protection
- Dust mask
Prepare the Workspace
Before starting demolition, make sure to prep the workspace to minimize dust and debris.
- Clear the countertops and remove anything breakable from the backsplash area.
- Cover nearby surfaces with drop cloths.
- Have a vacuum ready to collect debris as you work.
- Wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself.
Heat the Adhesive
Applying heat will soften the adhesive and make the laminate easier to pry off.
- Use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the laminate and adhesive for 30-60 seconds. Apply heat evenly across the surface.
- Test a corner and see if the laminate pulls away more easily. Reheat as needed.
- Be very careful not to scorch or burn the laminate or surrounding surfaces.
Score the Perimeter
Use a sharp utility knife to score along the top and side edges where the backsplash meets the wall.
- Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle and apply firm, even pressure as you slice through the caulk bead.
- Try not to cut into the drywall. Just cut through the laminate and caulk.
- Scoring will help prevent chunks of drywall from ripping off.
Lift a Corner
Insert a pry bar under one corner and gently pry up while pulling the laminate away from the wall.
- Work the pry bar along the edge to separate the laminate from the adhesive.
- Start in an inconspicuous spot like next to the stove or fridge.
- If needed, reheat the area to loosen the bond before prying.
Once you’ve freed one corner, work horizontally across the backsplash.
- Keep prying up the laminate while pulling it away from the wall.
- Apply heat as you go to soften the adhesive’s grip.
- Use a putty knife to help lift edges.
Remove Adhesive Residue
Use a scraper, putty knife, or mineral spirits to remove any leftover adhesive.
- For small amounts, peel, chip, or scrape it off.
- For larger areas, soften the adhesive with mineral spirits and a rag. Then scrape off.
Clean the Wall
- Once all the laminate and adhesive are removed, clean the wall with soapy water to remove residue.
- Fill any gouges in the drywall with spackle and smooth once dry.
- The wall is now ready for a new backsplash!
Tips and Warnings
- Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the wall behind the laminate.
- The pry bar can scratch surfaces, so protect nearby countertops and floors.
- Wear gloves when handling mineral spirits.
- Avoid breathing in dust by wearing a mask.
- Film the process in case you need to remove more laminate in the future.
Removing a laminate backsplash takes time and patience, but following these steps will allow you to successfully remove the glued backsplash without damaging the wall behind it. Just work methodically with the proper tools and safety gear to get your kitchen ready for a backsplash makeover.
FAQs About Removing Glued Laminate Backsplash
Here are some frequently asked questions about removing a glued laminate backsplash:
Can I just peel off the laminate?
Trying to peel it off won’t work well since the adhesive is very sticky. You need to heat and pry to gently release the bond. Peeling could damage the drywall.
What’s the safest way to heat the adhesive?
Using a heat gun or hair dryer on a low setting is safest. Apply heat evenly across the surface to soften the adhesive before prying. Avoid any burning or scorching.
What kind of pry bar should I use?
A small pry bar with a curved end works best since it allows you to grip just the laminate edge without gouging the wall. Avoid large, straight pry bars.
What should I do if parts of the drywall paper tear off?
First, stop and thoroughly remove all adhesive residue from that spot. Then skim coat it with drywall joint compound to smooth it out once dried. Prime and paint when done.
Can I reuse the laminate pieces somewhere else?
Unfortunately, once removed, the laminate pieces won’t be smooth enough to cleanly re-adhere somewhere else. It’s best to discard them and install new laminate.
Is there an easier way to do this?
Removing laminate backsplash is just tedious. The process can’t be sped up too much. The only tip is to work slowly and carefully to avoid damage. Using heat and the right tools helps.
How can I prevent this next time?
Choose tile or metal backsplash materials since they can be removed more easily. Using backsplash panels hung on a cleat system also allows for removal. Avoid permanent adhesives.
Removing a laminate backsplash takes patience and care to pry it off without harming the wall behind it. By heating the adhesive, scoring the edges, and slowly working across the surface, you can successfully free the laminate from the wall fully intact. Just be sure to wear protective gear and use the appropriate tools to avoid injury or damage. With some perseverance and the right technique, that stubborn glued laminate can be removed and prepared for a stunning new backsplash design.