How to Remove Stone Backsplash

Removing a stone backsplash can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and technique, it can be done successfully. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a stone backsplash in your home.

Assess the Backsplash and Gather Materials

The first step is to examine the backsplash and determine what type of stone it is made from. Granite, marble, slate, and travertine are some common stone backsplash materials. This will help you understand how durable the stone is and how much effort will be required to remove it.

You’ll need a few materials:

  • Hammer and chisel – for breaking up stone
  • Putty knife or paint scraper – for scraping off adhesive
  • Dust mask – for protecting lungs from stone dust
  • Goggles – for eye protection
  • Tarp or drop cloths – for protecting floors and countertops

Prepare the area by clearing counters, taping plastic over surfaces, and laying tarps on the floor. Remove any items from the backsplash before starting.

Remove Accessories and Outlets from the Backsplash Area

If your backsplash has outlets, switch plates, or accessories like soap dispensers, remove them first with a screwdriver. This prevents damage as you work on the stone.

Set them aside carefully so they can be reinstalled later. Turn off electricity running to any outlets in the backsplash before disconnecting them.

Break Up the Stone with a Hammer and Chisel

With your eye protection and mask on, take a hammer and chisel to the stone backsplash. Hold the chisel at an angle against the stone and gently tap the end with the hammer.

Apply controlled strikes to break up the stone surface. Work in small sections, attacking the grout lines first before breaking larger pieces. Continue chiseling until the stone is fully broken up.

Be sure to continually sweep away stone dust and debris as you work. The backsplash should now be broken into small, manageable pieces ready for removal.

Scrape Away Adhesive with a Putty Knife

With the stone broken up, you can now access the adhesive underneath. Take a putty knife or paint scraper and begin scraping beneath the stone pieces to loosen the adhesive.

Slide the putty knife horizontally while applying moderate downward force. Remove any leftover adhesive until you get down to the bare wall surface.

Clean and Remove Debris

Once all stone and adhesive is removed, do a thorough sweep and wipe down of the area. Use a shop vac to remove all remaining dust and debris left behind from the job.

Carefully roll up and dispose of tarps and other materials used in the removal process. The wall space should now be clear and ready for a new backsplash to be installed.

Tips for Safely Removing a Stone Backsplash

  • Wear protective eyewear and mask when breaking up stone
  • Lay tarps and tape plastic sheeting over surfaces
  • Watch for hidden wires behind the backsplash
  • Take care not to damage the wall surface beneath
  • Dispose of stone pieces and adhesive properly
  • Work slowly and controlled to avoid accidents
  • Have a helper assist with supporting stone pieces as they are removed

Removing a stone backsplash takes time and effort, but with the proper tools and preparation it can be accomplished successfully as a DIY project. Always use caution when demolishing stone materials. Be sure to prep the area for a new backsplash once the old one is taken out.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Stone Backsplashes

How long does it take to remove a stone backsplash?

Removal time depends on the backsplash size and stone material, but plan on several hours to a full day. Breaking up stone is labor intensive and must be done carefully. Rushing the job can lead to damage.

What tool is best for breaking up stone?

A hammer and chisel are most effective. Start by chiseling grout lines, then break stone into smaller pieces. A mini sledgehammer can also be used. Avoid power tools which can crack the stone unevenly.

What should I do with the old backsplash pieces?

Dispose of stone pieces properly, as you would normal construction debris. Some recycling centers may accept broken up stone. Avoid leaving sharp pieces which could cause injury.

Can I salvage the old backsplash and reinstall it?

Salvaging stone backsplash is not typically advised. The demolition process can damage the original pieces. Reinstallation also requires new adhesive, grout, and effort to cut and place the stones. New backsplash is recommended.

How do I prepare the wall for a new backsplash?

Once old backsplash is removed, ensure the wall is clean, dry, and in good condition for new tile. Repair any wall damage like holes or uneven areas before installing the new backsplash. Follow typical guidelines for backsplash preparation.


Removing an outdated or damaged stone backsplash takes some work, but provides a blank slate for a brand new kitchen look. Always use care when demolishing stone materials. The key steps are protecting the work area, breaking up the stone with chisels/hammers, scraping off adhesive, and proper cleanup and debris removal. With caution and the right approach, you can take out the old backsplash and get ready to install a replacement you’ll love.