How To Remove Tile Backsplash (DIY VIDEO)

Date: December 20, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Removing tile backsplash can seem like an impossible task but in reality, it is not that difficult (most of the time). There are certain ways of doing this the best and easiest way possible depending on how your tile was placed on your wall.

In this article, I am going to share my knowledge of doing a tile tear out the best possible way as well as the easiest way possible.

Tools Needed For Removing Tile Backsplash:

  1. Hammer - Used to beat the end of the tools mentioned below to knock tile from the wall.
  2. 5 in 1 Scraper or Spackle Knife - This helps in tight areas to get the broken tile off the wall behind cabinets. It also helps break the seal between the wall and tile.
  3. Pry Bar - This will be a handy little tool to help pull off the old tile.
  4. Buckets - Old broken tile will be put in here to be disposed of.
  5. Contractor Bags - Bags that will actually hold broken and sharp tiles.
  6. Drop Cloth - This will help to protect your flooring from falling tile debris.

All of the tools listed above are necessary to successfully remove the tile from your walls. All of the links above are affiliate links and we do earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Determine How The Tile Was Installed

Was it glued using liquid nails or mastic? If it was liquid nails then you have a hard job ahead of you and if it was mastic then you should be good to begin.

Liquid Nails

If Liquid Nails glue was used I always cut the sheetrock and replace it with new sheetrock which is much easier but more expensive. You can tear out the tile but it tends to be more difficult compared to other tile adheisives.

The tile was never meant to come off and that is why using Liquid Nails is ok to use but it can be horrible if you ever plan to replace.


Mastic is my preferred adhesive for tile backsplash. It is great for every possible tile you would want to use in your kitchen. Even the fancier trendy tiles.

If mastic was used to install the tile in your home then please jump for joy because you are in for smooth and quick tile removal. It is ok to scream in excitement. Trust me.

Can You Lay Tile Over Old Tile

You can lay your new tile on top of your old tile but I do not recommend doing this. If you expect the tile to never be changed again in the future then it may be the best option however if you think you may want to remodel it again one day then I advise that you tear out your old tile first.

Also, laying tile on top of old tile could cause there to be less space on your kitchen countertops, or overall. This could cause the space you are laying tile to look smaller.

How To Remove Tile Backsplash

The best way to remove your tile backsplash is to chisel at it using the pry bar and 5 in 1 scraper mentioned above. You will need to keep at it and figure out a method to get as much done as fast as possible as this job will exhaust your energy pretty fast.

Some tiles will fall off pretty easily while others aren't so easy. Just stay at it and focus on the end result.

If you are removing the sheetrock then you will need to consult a professional as there are live wires behind the wall which can hurt you and even kill you. If you decide to do this on your own be sure to cut the sheetrock on the studs using an oscillating saw like this one. This saw can even be helpful at getting behind the tile if you are removing tile only and not tearing out the sheetrock.

If you are tearing out the sheetrock be sure to cut as straight as possible so that you can have an easier time replacing the sheetrock. If you have a bunch of messed up and not so straight cuts there will be a lot of work filling these areas.

Also, a piece of sheetrock is pretty heavy on its own but when you add tile and grout the weight increases substantially. Be sure to have help and be sure to hold the wall upright so it does not fall on you.

Can You Remove Tile Without Damaging Drywall

You can remove tile without damaging your drywall. It will likely pull out chunks of drywall which can be filled. This is not a huge concern at all so do not worry about these areas.

Do You Have To Replace Drywall After Removing Tile

There is a risk of the drywall being old and thin which may cause you to have to replace the drywall. It is very easy to chunk out enough of your drywall that will cause you to replace some areas of your drywall.

The glue used to adhere the tile to the wall will play a huge role in how easy the tile comes off.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.
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