Assess the Backsplash
The first step is to assess the backsplash and determine how it was originally installed. In most cases, the laminate backsplash is glued directly to the wall behind the countertop. You’ll need to inspect the edges and seams of the backsplash to see if any adhesive is visible. This will give you an idea of what type of adhesive was used so you can be prepared with the proper solvent.
It’s also important to note if the backsplash was caulked or sealed to the countertop and wall. You’ll need to slice through this seal carefully with a utility knife when prying off the backsplash.
Gather the Proper Tools
Removing a glued on laminate backsplash requires gathering a few specialty tools:
- Pry bar – A long, flat pry bar is needed to get behind the backsplash to pop it off the wall. Look for one at least 24 inches long.
- Utility knife – For slicing through any caulk or adhesive beads.
- Paint scraper – Useful for scraping off any adhesive residue left on the wall.
- Adhesive solvent – Such as mineral spirits, denatured alcohol, or acetone to dissolve the adhesive.
- Rags – For applying the solvent and cleaning the wall.
- Eye protection – Safety glasses or goggles should be worn.
- Dust mask – To prevent inhaling dust or chemical fumes.
Carefully Pry Off the Backsplash
With your tools gathered, you’re ready to start prying off the backsplash. Take care not to damage the countertop or drywall during removal.
- Insert the pry bar between the backsplash and wall. Slowly apply pressure to pop it off.
- Slice through any caulk or adhesive you encounter with the utility knife.
- Work your way across by prying and slicing until the entire backsplash releases.
- If necessary, apply adhesive solvent to help loosen the backsplash from the wall.
- Once removed, scrape off any remaining adhesive from the wall with a paint scraper.
- Wipe the area clean with solvent and rags until only the bare drywall remains.
Prepare the Surface for a New Backsplash
With the old laminate backsplash removed, some repair and preparation may be needed:
- Fill any gouges or uneven areas in the drywall with spackle and sand smooth.
- Wipe away all dust before applying any new backsplash.
- Paint the wall if needed so it has a uniform color and appearance.
- Allow paint to dry fully before installation of the new backsplash.
The wall is now ready for a new backsplash to be applied. Careful removal of the old laminate backsplash is key to getting a smooth surface for the new installation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Laminate Backsplashes
What tools do I need to remove a laminate backsplash?
You’ll need a pry bar, utility knife, paint scraper, adhesive solvent, rags, safety glasses and a dust mask. The pry bar is essential for getting behind the backsplash to pop it off.
How do I remove caulk from a backsplash?
Use a utility knife or thin putty knife to slice through the caulk seal. Then you can pry and pull the backsplash off. Any remaining caulk can be scraped off and solvent used to clean the area.
What solvent removes adhesive for backsplashes?
Adhesive solvents like mineral spirits, denatured alcohol or acetone work well. Test a small area first. Apply the solvent, let it soak in for a minute or two, then scrape off any residue.
Can I pry off a backsplash without damaging drywall?
Yes, with care and the proper tools you can remove a backsplash without damaging drywall. Use a long pry bar and work it slowly behind the backsplash to pop it off. Repair any minor drywall damage with spackle.
How do I prepare wall after removing backsplash?
Fill any gouges with spackle, sand smooth, remove any remaining adhesive, wipe away dust, and apply primer/paint if needed so the surface is ready for the new backsplash installation.
Removing an outdated or damaged laminate backsplash is a manageable project with the right prep and proper tools. Always assess the backsplash first to see how it was installed. Carefully pry it off and use solvents and scrapers to remove any remaining adhesive. Finish by smoothing and painting the wall so it’s ready for your new backsplash. With time and care taken during removal, you can eliminate the old backsplash without harming the countertop or drywall underneath.