backsplashIt's time to replace a tile backsplash, which is course textured, thick, and appears cut to fit around cabinets.

Is there a reasonable way to chip it off and preserve the underlying wallboard, or must I demo back to the studs and replace the wallboard as well as the tile?

If a wallboard demo is needed, does this mean removing and re-hanging cabinets?


3 Answers 3


If the tile is not behind the cabinets, which it should not be it is simple to remove. Use a dremel and a good quality diamond grout bit. Start on a edge or the bottom corner and remove most of the grout. Use a hammer and chisel to get under the tile and lightly pry and pound with caution. The maybe a few spots that might be more stuck than others. If tiles break rather than fall apart at grout lines its probably the spot where quikset was used to stick it. Use the same technique with more force it should still come off. If not hit the tile hard and flat to break the tile and it will come off. If cabinets were hung over the tile you could use a diamond blade and cut around the cabinets and re tile around them.


The folks that removed my backsplash just used an oscillating tool to cut around the perimeter down to the studs and carefully pried off large whole pieces (3"by 18"). They followed the cutting tool with a vac and there was no dust or mess. Drywall or cement board is a pretty easy install but will require some support studs where the edges are unsupported. The countertops were installed flush with the studs, and cement board will come down onto the counter top, new tile over that. enter image description here

  • Great picture, helpful comments. Thank you!
    – jbbenni
    May 15, 2022 at 0:02

This is one of those jobs it could go either way. You could get lucky the tile will come off the wall easy or it will just be easier to remove and replace the wall board. If this was my job I would first tape around the cabinets and the countertop using painters tape and craft paper to protect the surfaces. Next I would start in an open space with a hammer and chisel to test how difficult they are to remove and how much damage the removal does to the wall. I would most likely try my oscillating multi-tool with a flat blade running it behind the tile. You will likely have some gouges in the wall board and some small humps were all the thinset was not removed. If you have bad damaged areas repair these. I would then put a skim coat of thinset to smooth the surface and let dry before installing the new tile. If you do have to remove the wall board you can just cut it around the cabinets. You will have to install some deadwood in places before you replace the wall board.

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