| Surplus Warehouse
Expert Contributor

One of the biggest reasons to do a kitchen remodel is to make the area look up to date.

Often, this requires more than repainting and reflooring the room. Other big targets for renovations include appliances, countertops, and backsplashes. Fortunately, it's possible to update these things in a series of DIY projects.

Many people find the idea of replacing a tiled backsplash themselves to be a bit daunting, but it really isn't all that difficult. It does, however, require deciding on the answer to one simple question before starting: Do you want to keep the wall behind the backsplash, or replace that as well? The answer to this will determine how careful you have to be when removing the old tiles.



If you intend to keep the part of the wall the backsplash attaches to rather than replacing it, you'll need to forgo the visceral pleasure of a brute-force demolition. Instead, you must weaken each tile so that it can be removed with relative ease.

Before starting, you'll need to take everything off of the counter. Then, remove any outlet covers that are in the backsplash and cut the power to those outlets. Once that's done, it's time to start taking those old tiles off.

You will need a grout cutter for this step. This machine can also cut through the types of tile used for backsplashes. Use it to cut all of the grout lines in the backsplash. Then, cut an "X" through each tile. After that's done, tapping the tiles with a hammer should dislodge many of their pieces from the drywall, sheetrock, or other wall material. Carefully use a pry bar or a chisel to remove stubborn remaining pieces.

The key to preserving the wall is to be patient and careful during the removal process. This will allow you to avoid making holes in the backboard.

If You Don't Care About the Wall

If you intend to replace this part of the wall, demolition will be easier. In that case, cut the grout and then start hammering with abandon. Then put new drywall or sheetrock up, making sure to attach it to the studs.



Once the old tiles are off and the backboard is clean enough to have new tiles stay flat, apply new adhesive to hold the tiles in place. Then use spacers to make sure you apply the new tiles evenly, and stick them on the wall. Allow the adhesive to cure with the tile attached, and then apply grout. Once that cures, apply grout sealer. Finally, reinstall your outlet covers and reactivate the electricity.

Adhesive, grout, and sealer each take a couple of days to cure. Make sure to keep the tiles dry until all of the curing time has passed.

Doing this job is not especially difficult, and that makes it a great DIY project. Just be sure to allow enough time to do it properly. Then, you'll be able to get great results.


Marilynn F. has been writing professionally since 2009 and writing for her own sites since 2000. She has written a lot of articles for builders and contractors. Most of these articles provide an overview of the services provided by clients in the industry or promote the idea of hiring them to do a certain project. Several articles offer tips for finding a builder in a certain area. Other than writing, Marilynn enjoys gardening, figuring out how to fix things, upgrading her computer on her own, green products, and many other things.