Installing a stick on backsplash can be a quick and affordable way to update the look of your kitchen. Stick on backsplashes come in a variety of materials like metal, glass, and acrylic and are available in different colors and patterns. They simply stick to the wall with adhesive, allowing you to install a backsplash without remodeling.
However, there may come a time when you want to remove your stick on backsplash and install something new. Whether you are renovating, moving out, or just want a change, removing a stick on backsplash is doable as a DIY project. With some preparation and the right tools, you can remove your backsplash cleanly and easily.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a stick on backsplash from your kitchen or bathroom walls.
Gather the Necessary Materials
Removing a stick on backsplash starts with having the proper materials ready. Here is what you will need:
- Painter’s tape
- Plastic sheets
- Backsplash scraper or putty knife
- Heat gun or hair dryer
- Mineral spirits or adhesive remover
- Clean rags
- Safety gear like goggles and gloves
Make sure you have these materials on hand before starting the project. The right tools will make removing the backsplash much simpler.
Prepare the Workspace
To avoid damage to counters, floors or other surfaces while removing the backsplash, you will want to prep the workspace.
Start by clearing the counters and moving any small appliances that are nearby. Cover the countertops with plastic sheets or painter’s tape to guard against scrapes or spills.
Place plastic sheets on the floor as well to catch any debris or drips while working. If possible, remove any items from the cabinets or drawers near the backsplash area.
Preparing the space will allow you to work efficiently and avoid accidental damage.
Heat the Adhesive
Stick on backsplashes use a strong adhesive to bond to the wall. To release the adhesive’s grip, you will need to soften it first.
Use a heat gun or hair dryer set on the highest setting. Run the heat over the tiles or sheets, moving slowly across the entire backsplash. Wave the heat up and down and concentrate on the edges.
Heating the adhesive will make it pliable and easier to scrape off the wall. Be careful not to hold the heat in one spot too long, as it could damage the wall.
Take your time and heat thoroughly behind each tile or sheet before scraping. Reapply heat as needed while working to keep the adhesive soft.
Scrape Off the Backsplash
Once the adhesive is warmed up, you can begin removing the backsplash pieces.
Start in a corner or at an edge. Insert the scraper or putty knife behind the tile or sheet and slowly work it off the wall.
Apply constant pressure and slide the blade evenly to lift off the backsplash piece without gouging the wall. Scrape in quick strokes going with the grain of the adhesive.
As you remove pieces, set them gently on the covered floor or counter. Toss any broken shards or debris into a waste bin immediately to avoid cuts.
Work systematically across the backsplash, heating and scraping off each section. Go slowly to avoid tearing the water-resistant drywall behind it.
Be prepared for the adhesive to be stubborn in some spots. Reapply heat as needed and scrape carefully. The adhesive will eventually soften enough to remove the entire piece.
Clean Off Adhesive Residue
Once the backsplash pieces are off, there will still be adhesive clinging to the wall. Removing the residue is crucial for installing a new backsplash.
Pour some mineral spirits or adhesive remover onto a rag and gently rub the wall in circular motions. Take care not to press too hard.
The solvents will dissolve the sticky residue without damaging the drywall. Clean with mineral spirits and fresh rags until all traces of adhesive are gone.
For stubborn spots, let the mineral spirits sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. The adhesive will eventually scrape off clean.
Finish by washing the wall with an all-purpose cleaner and warm water to remove any leftover debris or grease. Let the area dry completely before moving on.
Fill Any Wall Holes
Removing stick on backsplash pieces may leave small holes, cracks, or uneven spots on the underlying wall.
Examine the area closely and use drywall joint compound to patch any imperfections. Apply compound with a putty knife and smooth it level.
Let the compound dry fully and then sand until the patches are flush with the wall. Carefully fill and sand any deep gouges left behind by the tiles.
Patching holes will leave you with a pristine wall surface ready for your new backsplash installation.
Tips for Easy Removal
- Try scoring around tiles or sheets with a utility knife before heating. This will make the pieces easier to lift off.
- For glass backsplashes, dampen the wall first with hot water or a tile release solution. The moisture allows the glass to slide off smoothly.
- Use denatured alcohol for cleaning off oily residue instead of mineral spirits.
- Wear gloves and eye protection when handling solvents and scraping.
- Take your time with heating and scrapping. Rushing can damage the wall.
With the proper supplies and techniques, you can remove stick on backsplash without damaging your walls. Just work methodically and carefully. Soon you will have a clean slate for your next kitchen or bathroom backsplash project.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the easiest way to remove stick on backsplash?
The easiest method is to heat the adhesive with a heat gun or hair dryer, which softens it and allows you to scrape off the tiles or sheets cleanly. Heating releases the adhesive’s grip on the wall so you can pry up the backsplash pieces without gouging.
Can I remove backsplash using just a putty knife?
Trying to simply pry or scrape off backsplash with just a putty knife is very difficult and risks damaging the wall. You need to first heat the adhesive thoroughly so it is pliable enough for the tiles or sheets to come off easily with gentle scraping.
What solvent is best for removing leftover adhesive?
Mineral spirits work well for dissolving and removing sticky residue after taking off the backsplash pieces. Dampen a rag and gently rub the adhesive until it is gone. Other options are denatured alcohol or adhesive remover.
Do I need to remove all the adhesive for a new backsplash?
It’s ideal to remove all traces of the adhesive so the new backsplash can adhere properly. Any residue left behind can interfere with the bond of the new tiles or sheets. A clean, smooth wall surface provides the best foundation.
How can I avoid wall damage when removing backsplash?
- Take it slow and heat the adhesive thoroughly before scraping.
- Keep the scraper blade flat against the wall at an even angle as you lift and pull.
- Don’t gouge or dig into the wall, which can tear the drywall or cause uneven spots.
- Stop and reheat areas as needed to totally soften the adhesive.
- Fill any small holes or imperfections with drywall compound before installing new backsplash.
Can I put up new backsplash right after removing the old one?
It’s best to clean the wall fully with mineral spirits and let it dry before installing the new backsplash. Any adhesive residue should be removed so it doesn’t interfere with the bond. Patch any wall holes and let drywall compound cure before applying the new tiles or sheets.
Removing a stick on backsplash takes some work but saves the headache of redoing your whole wall setup. With the proper tools and safety precautions, you can eliminate your old backsplash and clear the space for a fresh, new look. Just work slowly and carefully as you heat and scrape away the adhesive. Be thorough in cleaning the wall afterward so your new backsplash adheres perfectly. With this step-by-step process, you can take on this project yourself and transform your kitchen or bathroom backsplash.