04:46PM | 07/18/04
Member Since: 07/17/04
1 lifetime posts
What is the best method for removing old kitchen tiles on the counter and backsplash? We are preparing for the installation of new countertops and backsplashs but are trying to do the tear out ourseleves and are not sure how to do it...Thanks patricia


06:34AM | 07/19/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hello Patricia,

In my personal experience (as a homeowner that's done this several times--I am not a professional), this work can be rather heavy, messy, and (strangely) gratifying!

I have had limited success removing tile that's attached to drywall (typical on backsplashes). So I generally take that all off--drywall and all. For a few bucks worth of drywall, I think it's the easiest way to go.

With countertops, sounds like you want to keep existing cabinets--so it's best to go carefully. It kind of depends whether you need to scrape tiles off, or if you'll end up also removing the layer they're attached to. They're generally attached to concrete board or plywood.

Last time I did this (tile was attached to plywood), I scraped off most of the tiles using an old hatchet in the following way: I put the blade of the hatchet FLAT at the base of the tiles, and pop the back of the hatchet with a hammer. It takes a while to determine the proper amount of force to use. With practice, old tiles pretty much just pop up. Of course quite a few of them break--but it's kind of satisfying, too. Thwack! :)

WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES and GLOVES! Protect anything valuable--shards will fly! I broke a brand new shower door this way once myself--ouch!

In my case, the plywood underlayment was attached from above--so once the tiles are out, you can unscrew the plywood (if it was originally screwed down, not nailed). The plywood might also be attached from UNDERNEATH (corner braces on cabinets). You kind of have to see what you're up against.

Depending on what you find, you could end up wanting to take out large pieces of plywood with tiles attached. Be advised that these will be very heavy! When I've had to deal with these, I can more easily deal with them by flipping them upside down and cutting mostly through the plywood with a circular saw (and an OLD carbide blade).

I think the most important thing is to take your time--don't get too rambunctious with a crowbar and mess up your cabinets.

Also please post replies as to what you're finding as you go--we might be better able to help you along.

As for my day, well I gotta do some demolition myself--I'm taking our old decks down (they're falling apart). So I'm kind of in a "demo" mode myself!

Good luck, we look forward to hearing more!


-k2 in CO

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