The tedious task of removing kitchen backsplash tiles seems to be a job for a professional. However, if you are careful and patient enough, you could save yourself tens or even hundreds of dollars by learning how to remove kitchen backsplash tiles yourself.
With the use of proper techniques, tools, and precautions anyone could complete this DIY home improvement at very little expense. You can start by gathering the tools that you need to complete the job. Here’s a quick checklist:
1. Heavy-duty kitchen cleaner – before starting the job, make sure to wash the backsplash using a heavy duty kitchen cleaner of any brand.
2. Sponge – use a sponge with an abrasive side.
3. Work gloves – work gloves are essential protection for your hands since you’ll be working with concentrated solutions and work tools.
4. Safety glasses – it is best to use plastic work goggles. If you don’t have one, you could use any safety glasses to protect your eyes from the dust coming from the tiles when you start cutting through the grout lines.
5. Putty knife – this will be used to remove each tile.
6. Rubber mallet – if you don’t have one, you could use a hammer. However, a rubber mallet is safer to use.
7. Screwdriver – if there is a power outlet installed in the backsplash, you’ll have to remove the faceplate using a screw driver.
8. Grout removing tool – when doing any carpentry or home improvement jobs, using powerful tools can get the job done faster and easier. However, that is not always an option especially for homeowners looking to do one-off DIY jobs in their homes.
Heavy-duty grout removal tools cost more than a hundred dollars a pop. However, there are simpler manual versions that you could buy which costs significantly lower than heavy-duty grout removal tools.
The choice is yours but if you are really going to use the tool for just a single job, then it is recommended that you buy the cheaper version.
Now, here’s the easy step-by-step procedure on how to remove kitchen backsplash tiles:
1. First, if there is a power outlet installed in the backsplash, use the screw driver to remove the faceplate off the outlet. Be careful not to touch the outlet’s receiver or it might electrocute you. Thereafter, cover the receivers with electrical tape.
If you are not confident with dealing with the power outlet and there’s good natural lighting in your kitchen, you should first turn off your home’s main power switch for the duration of the job.
2. Thoroughly clean the backsplash tiles using the sponge and the heavy duty kitchen cleaning solution. Use the hard, abrasive part of the sponge to scrub dirt off the grout lines. The hard, abrasive part of the sponge should be adequate enough in reaching and cleaning the dirt which has built up within the creases of the grout lines.
By cleaning the backsplash and the grout lines, you'll be able to easily distinguish where the ceramic pieces and the grout lines begin before you start the cutting process. If you do not clean the tiles, you might mistakenly cut through the ceramic tiles instead of the grout lines causing damage to the tiles and the wall behind it.
3. Put on your safety gears. Wear the work gloves and the safety glasses. Use the grout removal tool to slowly and carefully cut through the grout lines. Make sure to direct your tool carefully, ensuring not to veer of the lines or it could cause the tiles to break off prematurely causing serious damage.
This will prove to be the most tedious task of the job especially if you’re using a manual grout removal tool.
4. Using the putty knife and a mallet, start removing the tiles one by one. The goal is to separate each tile from the wall. Slowly poke at the side of a tile until it loosens up a bit. Continuously do this until the tile is completely detached from the wall. Thereafter, do the same thing with the other tiles until all of them are removed from the wall.
With each tile removal, remember to pace yourself, do not be in a hurry because you might end up damaging the wall and hurting yourself.
Once the backsplash tiles are removed, the next task is to inspect the wall where the tiles were removed from to see how sturdy the wall still is. If the wall has too many damages in it then you will need to repair the damages first before you could attach it with a new set of backsplash tiles.