How to Remove Tile Backsplash from Kitchen Wall

Removing a tile backsplash from your kitchen wall can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be accomplished successfully. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to remove tile backsplash from your kitchen wall.

What You’ll Need

  • Hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Putty knife
  • Goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Trash bags
  • Pry bar

Preparing for Removal

Before starting demolition, make sure to take a few preparatory steps:

  • Clear the countertops and move appliances away from the backsplash area to allow easy access.
  • Cover nearby surfaces like countertops with drop cloths to protect from debris.
  • Wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from flying shards and dust.
  • Have trash bags ready to collect tile pieces and discard.

Removing Tile

With the prep work done, it’s time to start removing the tiles:

Break Tile Adhesive Bond

  • Use a cold chisel and hammer to break the tile and grout away from the wall. Tap gently to fracture the adhesive bond.
  • Alternatively, use a pry bar by inserting it under tile edges and gently prying outward. Work in small sections.

Pull Away Broken Pieces

  • As you break the tiles free, grab and pull them off the wall. They may come off in full pieces or fragments.
  • As you remove tile chunks, use a putty knife to scrape off any remaining thinset adhesive.

Clean Up Wall Surface

  • Once all tiles are removed, use the putty knife to scrape and smooth the wall surface thoroughly.
  • Make sure to get into corners and edges to remove all traces of adhesive and grout haze.

Discard Debris

  • Place all tile shards, grout, thinset, and dust into trash bags for easy cleanup.
  • Vacuum the area to remove fine particles.

Preparing Wall for New Backsplash

With the tile removed, the wall needs proper prep before installing a new backsplash:

  • Repair any damage or flaws in the drywall surface with joint compound and sand smooth.
  • Wash the wall with a mix of warm water and dish soap using a sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Allow the wall to dry completely before applying any new adhesive or tile.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for appropriate adhesive, grout, and underlayment for the new backsplash material.

Safety Tips

When demolishing a tile backsplash, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Wear eye protection and a dust mask at all times.
  • Work slowly and carefully. Don’t force or pry anything suddenly.
  • Clear electrical outlets before beginning. Turn off electricity to be safe if needed.
  • Use thick work gloves to protect your hands from sharp tile edges and debris.
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby in case of any cuts or abrasions.
  • Lift safely and avoid muscle strains. Tile pieces can be heavy and unwieldy.


How long does it take to remove a tile backsplash?

Removing a tile backsplash takes 2-3 hours on average depending on the size of the area, number of layers, and adhesive strength. Work slowly and carefully for best results.

What is the easiest way to remove backsplash tile?

Using a cold chisel and hammer to systematically break the tile and adhesive bond is the easiest method. Go slowly and be gentle. Prying tools can also help.

Can I put new tile over existing backsplash?

It is not recommended to install new tile over an existing backsplash. The layers can separate over time. Remove the old tile completely before adding new.

What tools do I need to take down tile backsplash?

Essential tools are a cold chisel, hammer, putty knife, pry bar, gloves, goggles, and dust mask. Have a vacuum, drop cloths, and trash bags ready too.

How do I keep walls from getting damaged?

Use drop cloths over countertops and prep the area to limit debris. Take your time removing tile and don’t force anything to avoid wall damage. Repair any drywall flaws before adding new backsplash.


Removing an outdated or damaged tile backsplash is a manageable project for most DIYers with the right preparation and tools. Focus on safety and work at a careful, steady pace. The wall will need proper cleaning and repair before installing an exciting new backsplash to match your updated kitchen decor. With some perseverance and elbow grease, you can transform the look of your kitchen.