Removing a granite backsplash from your kitchen or bathroom wall is a project that requires time, patience, and the right tools. With careful planning and execution, you can safely detach the backsplash without damaging the wall behind it. Here are the steps to follow for a smooth backsplash removal process.
Assess the Backsplash Installation Method
The first step is to look at how the existing backsplash was installed and attached to the wall. Granite backsplashes are typically adhered using one of two methods:
If thinset mortar was used, the backsplash will be firmly bonded to the wall. You’ll need to carefully pry and chisel it off.
With construction adhesive, the backsplash will be tightly stuck but easier to remove than mortar. Use a pry bar and hammer to slowly detach it.
Understanding the installation technique will help you plan the correct backsplash removal process.
Gather the Right Tools
Removing a granite backsplash requires having the proper tools on hand. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Safety gear – glasses, mask, gloves
- Pry bar
- Chisel and mallet
- Utility knife
- Plastic pry bar or putty knife
- Drop cloths
- Garbage bags
- Shop vac
Gather all these tools before starting the backsplash removal to make the process smooth and efficient. Protective gear is vital for safety when chiseling and prying stone.
Protect Surrounding Areas
Before attempting to pry off the backsplash, thoroughly protect the surrounding countertops, floors, and walls. Use drop cloths and masking tape to cover surfaces and prevent damage during removal.
Clear out anything below the backsplash and place drop cloths to catch fallen pieces. Cover countertops and backsplashes with cardboard or blankets. Mask off outlets, switches, and fixtures.
Taking time to safeguard the work area will make cleanup much easier later on.
Score the Top Edge
With your surroundings shielded, you can start detaching the backsplash. Use a sharp utility knife to score along the top edge where it meets the countertop or cabinetry.
Run the blade along the length of the top, pressing firmly to cut through the adhesive or mortar. This scored line will give you the right spot to pry off the upper portion.
Pry Off the Top Section
With the edge cut, you can begin carefully prying off the uppermost portion of the backsplash. Work slowly and patiently using a pry bar.
Wedge the pry bar into the scored line and gently lever it back and forth, loosening the top as you work across. Apply even pressure to slowly detach the top section completely.
Chisel the Lower Portion
After removing the top half, switch to a chisel and mallet to chip away the lower parts. Hold the chisel at a 45° angle and firmly tap to chip off pieces bit-by-bit.
Make sure to wear safety glasses and gloves during this process, as shards will likely fly. Take your time chiseling to avoid damaging the drywall underneath.
Clean Up the Wall
Once the backsplash is fully removed, inspect the wall for any remaining thinset, adhesive, or debris. Use a plastic pry bar to scrape off any excess buildup.
Smooth the surface and clean with warm, soapy water. Use a shop vac to remove all dust and crumbs from the vacant backsplash area.
Properly prepping the wall will make installing a new backsplash much simpler.
Remove Adhesive Residue
If the original backsplash was installed using construction adhesive, there will likely be sticky residue left on the wall. This needs to be fully removed for proper backsplash adhesion.
Use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape off any thick glue. Then wipe the entire surface with an adhesive remover or mineral spirits to eliminate the stickiness.
With the wall blank and residue-free, it’s ready for a new backsplash to be added.
Safely Dispose of Debris
The final step is properly disposing of the broken granite pieces and other debris. Carefully contain shards in garbage bags rather than loose in the trash. Granite dust can also be hazardous, so wear a mask when cleaning up.
Properly removing an existing granite backsplash takes planning, precision, and care. But with the right process, you can detach it smoothly without wall damage. Be sure to take safety precautions and fully prep the surface for your new backsplash installation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Granite Backsplash
Removing an existing granite backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom is a major project. Here are answers to some common questions about safely and effectively detaching a granite backsplash from the wall.
Can I remove a granite backsplash myself?
Yes, with proper tools and preparation, a homeowner can tackle a granite backsplash removal. But it requires patience and care to pry it off without damaging the wall. Consider hiring a pro if you’re unsure about doing it yourself.
What’s the easiest way to remove a granite backsplash?
Scoring the top edge with a utility knife before prying is the easiest method. This weakens the adhesive bond so the top portion can be slowly pried off. Chiseling the lower half is more tedious.
How do I avoid damaging the drywall underneath?
Go slowly and carefully when prying and chiseling to avoid digging into the drywall itself. Stop if you see signs of damage and reconsider your technique. Protecting surrounding surfaces also minimizes wall harm.
What should I use to pry off a granite backsplash?
A standard pry bar works best to start detaching from the scored edge. For chiseling, use a mason’s chisel and small hand sledgehammer. Tap gently to chip away rather than gouge the wall.
Can I reuse a removed granite backsplash?
Unfortunately, no. The granite will break apart during removal. Plus, the back side won’t be smooth enough to reinstall. It’s not feasible to salvage granite backsplash pieces.
What’s the best way to prep the wall for a new backsplash?
Once removed, scrape off any remaining debris or adhesive residue. Wipe the bare wall down with an adhesive remover. This leaves a clean, smooth surface for the new backsplash.
Is it better to remove granite backsplash before installing new?
Yes, it’s typically recommended to take out the old backsplash completely rather than installing over it. This allows proper prep and ensures the new backsplash adheres correctly.
How do I safely dispose of a removed granite backsplash?
Carefully contain broken shards and dust in heavy garbage bags, sealing them tightly. Granite can be hazardous waste, so package it well and check local regulations for disposal.
Can I sell or recycle old granite backsplash pieces?
Unfortunately granite backsplash scraps aren’t recyclable and have no resale value due to their broken, thin shape. You can only dispose of shards and dust at a waste management facility.
Removing an outdated or damaged granite backsplash takes time but opens up opportunities for a new, fresh look. With the right tools and techniques, homeowners can tackle this project carefully on their own. Just be sure to prep the wall properly afterward for the next backsplash installation.
How to Remove Granite Backsplash from Wall
Granite backsplashes can give kitchens and bathrooms a beautiful, upscale look. But over time, damage or outdated styles may make removing the original backsplash necessary before installing a replacement. Taking out an existing granite backsplash requires patience and the proper method to avoid harming the wall underneath. Here are some step-by-step tips for smoothly detaching a granite backsplash.
- Pry bar
- Chisel and mallet
- Utility knife
- Adhesive remover
- Drop cloths
Step 1: Cover and Prep the Area
Clear anything below the backsplash and cover nearby surfaces with drop cloths. Use painter’s tape and masking paper to protect countertops and walls from damage. Make sure outlets are powered off and fixtures shielded.
Step 2: Score the Top Edge
Use a sharp utility knife to cut along the top edge, scoring the caulk or mortar line where the backsplash meets the wall or cabinetry. Score the entire length.
Step 3: Pry Away Top Section
Wedge a pry bar into the scored line and slowly work back and forth to detach the top portion. Be patient and apply even pressure. Remove any nails as you go.
Step 4: Chisel Lower Half
Use a masonry chisel and hammer to chip away the bottom section by tapping lightly. Angle the chisel to avoid gouging the wall. Wear safety gear.
Step 5: Remove Adhesive Residue
Scrape off any remaining debris, then use adhesive remover to eliminate sticky residue left behind on the wall’s surface.
Step 6: Dispose of Backsplash
Carefully contain shards and dust in heavy duty bags, sealed tightly for safety. Check local regulations for granite disposal.
Step 7: Prep Wall for New Backsplash
With the old backsplash fully removed, wipe the wall down well so the new backsplash can be installed onto a pristine surface.
Be slow and steady removing a granite backsplash to avoid wall damage. With the proper tools and technique, you can achieve a clean removal for your new kitchen or bath design.
Removing an existing granite backsplash gives you a fresh canvas to install an updated tile or stone backsplash. With strategic scoring, prying, and chiseling, homeowners can detach a granite backsplash themselves, though hiring a pro is another solid option.
The key is taking it slowly and carefully to avoid harming the underlying drywall. Thoroughly prep and clean the bare wall afterward so it’s ready for your new backsplash adhesive and tiles. With some patience and the right approach, you can have that granite backsplash removed smoothly.