installing tile

How to Remove Kitchen Tile Backsplash (Without Ruining the Wall)

Are you ready to breathe some new life into your kitchen space by replacing the backsplash? If so, learning how to remove tile backsplash in the kitchen is going to be on your to-do list. More important, you need to learn how to get the job done without ruining the drywall.

While it can be a challenging task, the pros at Mr. Handyman are here to guide you through the process. Before grabbing a hammer and putty knife, keep reading for the handy tips you need to know.

Tips for How to Remove Tile Backsplash in the Kitchen

Removing the kitchen tile backsplash is all about technique, precision and patience. Without all three, you’ll spend hours repairing your poor drywall, so be prepared to take your time and follow the steps carefully. This blog focuses on removing tile that was installed with thinset or mastic.

Before you begin, gather the materials you will need:

  • Hammer
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Electric sander or hand sander
  • 120 grit Sandpaper
  • Drywall sanding pad
  • Drywall joint compound

Once you have tools and materials on hand, it’s time to begin the process:

  1. Clear the counter so you will have easy access to the backsplash.
  2. Remove outlet covers and cut the electricity to the area where you will be removing the tiles.
  3. Carefully use the hammer and putty knife to chisel off the tiles without gouging the drywall.
  4. Once you have removed the tiles, you will see there is an adhesive beneath that is either rock-hard or semi-soft. The rock-hard adhesive will be thinset, a cement based product.
  5. To remove thinset, use a stiff putty knife and some elbow grease to scrape it from the wall.
  6. For semi-soft adhesive (mastic), use 120-grit sandpaper to remove it from the wall.
  7. Fill drywall gouges with drywall joint compound and sand it smooth. Allow to fully dry.
  8. Finish sanding the entire wall with 120 grit sand paper on drywall-sanding pad.

Are you installing a new backsplash over the same area? One trick our experts recommend is to use a trowel with wider teeth to lay down a thicker layer of thinset over the old surface. This extra adhesive will hide the roughness from the old adhesive and provide a good base for the new tile. Mastic doesn’t work as well with this application, so we recommend using thinset.

Now you should be ready for the installation of your new backsplash!

Need Professional Handyman Help?

If you’d rather not risk damaging your kitchen and spending hours on a backsplash home improvement project, turn to the local experts at Mr. Handyman for the professional services you need and schedule service online now or call (877) 685-1377

We have the expertise and tools to get the job done right, with guaranteed results. We can also provide installation for your new backsplash! Our customers often discover they can save both time and money by letting our pros handle the job.

We’re here to make your life easier and to help you achieve a beautiful result for your home improvement projects.


Need help upgrading your kitchen appliances for your new kitchen? Our sister company Mr. Appliance can help!