How to Remove Marble Backsplash

Removing a marble backsplash can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done successfully. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to remove a marble backsplash in your home.

Assess the Marble Backsplash

The first step is to assess the existing marble backsplash. Consider the following:

  • What type of marble is it? Softer marbles like Carrara will be easier to remove than harder options like Emperador.
  • What size are the marble tiles? Smaller tiles will be easier to maneuver than large format marble slabs.
  • What type of grout was used? Cement grout will be more stubborn to remove versus epoxy or latex-modified grout.
  • How was it installed? Knowing the installation method will help determine the best way to detach the marble.

Thoroughly inspecting the backsplash will allow you to plan the most efficient and safe removal process.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Removing marble backsplash requires having the right tools ready to go. Here are some recommended supplies:

  • Safety gear – gloves, eye protection, mask
  • Hammer and chisel – for chipping away grout and marble
  • Pry bar – helpful for prying off tiles
  • Putty knives & scrapers – to scrape off old adhesive and grout
  • Utility knife – for cutting mesh backing or felt
  • Dustpan and garbage bags – for debris cleanup
  • Wet/dry vacuum – for managing dust
  • Shovel and bucket – for hauling away marble rubble

Having these tools on hand will make for a smoother process. Consider renting or buying any tools you lack.

Protect Surrounding Areas

Before starting demolition, properly protect the surrounding workspace. Cover nearby countertops, floors, and cabinets with drop cloths. Use painter’s tape and plastic sheeting to mask off adjacent walls or tilework.

Turn off circuit breakers if removing portion of backsplash around switches or outlets. Protecting the surrounding space will save cleanup time later.

Score Grout Lines and Remove Grout

With your workspace prepped, it’s time to begin removing the marble backsplash. Start by scoring all grout lines with a utility knife or oscillating tool. Use a grout removal blade to penetrate the full depth of the grout.

Once scored, begin chiseling out the grout using a masonry chisel and hammer. Wear eye protection and work carefully to avoid damaging the marble tiles. Remove all grout within the backsplash area being demolished.

Having the grout removed will allow the marble tiles to detach easier. Discard and wipe away grout debris as you work.

Carefully Detach and Remove Marble Tiles

After clearing out the grout, the marble tiles can be detached. Start prying off tiles in a controlled manner using a pry bar. Wedge and twist the bar gently to pop each tile off.

For stubborn areas, use a hammer and chisel to carefully tap tiles loose. Be cautious not to crack tiles in the process. Remove mesh backing or felt as needed.

As tiles detach, carefully lower them to the ground. Stack and transport them outside to dispose responsibly. Inspect the wall and remove any remaining tile fragments or adhesive chunks.

Scrape Away Adhesive Residue

With the marble tiles gone, scraper tools can now be used to remove the adhesive residue remaining on the wall. Start scraping in smooth strokes using putty knives, scrapers, or chisels.

Adhesive may be cement, mortar, thinset, or mastic. Continue scraping until the area is free of residue buildup and debris. Wipe the wall with damp rags to clean.

Be sure to wear a safety mask during scraping to avoid inhaling adhesive particulates. Work methodically and carefully.

Clean and Dispose of Rubble

Once fully removed, properly clean up and dispose of the backsplash debris. Sweep up all marble fragments and adhesive dust using a broom and dustpan. Wipe down the full workspace and wall area when finished.

Bag all marble rubble securely in garbage bags for proper disposal. Marble can often be recycled or repurposed if in good shape. Consult your local guidelines for marble disposal options. Leave the work area clean.

Next Steps for Installation

With your marble backsplash successfully removed, the wall is now ready for a fresh start. Light repairs may be needed before installing a new backsplash.

Be sure to carefully read and follow all manufacturer instructions for your new tile or backsplash material. Take time to make any needed preparations to ensure successful installation.

Removing an outdated or damaged marble backsplash takes work, but restores your kitchen or bathroom for an exciting new design. With patience and the right approach, you can take on this project and achieve beautiful results!

FAQs About Removing Marble Backsplash

Here are some frequently asked questions about removing marble backsplash:

How long does it take to remove a marble backsplash?

Removing a marble backsplash takes 2-3 hours on average for a 10 sq ft area. Larger jobs can take 1 or more full days to complete safely and thoroughly.

Can I pry off marble tiles by hand without tools?

It’s not recommended. Marble tiles are usually too durable to pry off safely by hand. Using proper pry bars and chisels helps avoid breaking tiles or damaging walls.

What’s the easiest way to remove marble backsplash?

Scoring all grout lines first allows tiles to detach easier. Using an oscillating tool with grout blade makes quick work of grout removal before prying tiles. Removing in sections is also less overwhelming.

Can I smash marble backsplash with a sledgehammer?

It’s best not to. Such heavy demolition risks damaging walls or countertops. More controlled methods using chisels and pry bars are safer options.

Is it cheaper to remove or replace marble backsplash?

For dated or damaged marble, removing and replacing is often more cost effective than a full tear out. But removal labor costs can add up quickly. Price compare options.

What should I know before removing marble backsplash?

  • Assess the type of marble, tile size, grout, and installation method
  • Turn off relevant circuit breakers
  • Protect surrounding furniture, countertops, walls
  • Wear proper safety gear like goggles and mask
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid damage


Removing an existing marble backsplash completely revitalizes your space for replacement with a fresh new look. While it requires time and physical effort, the sense of accomplishment and updated ambiance is worth it. Follow safety precautions closely throughout the process. With the right preparations and tools, you can take on a marble backsplash removal successfully.