I've got an unusual backsplash in my kitchen that I would like to replace.

As you can see from the picture, there's about 6" of granite tile acting as a proper backsplash, but above that it appears they installed sheetrock (flush with the surface of the tile) all the way up to the bottom of the cabinets. So the combination of the tile and the sheetrock is like an additional layer on top of the actual kitchen wall.

I guess the point of this is to give the impression that the tile backsplash is embedded into the wall? In any case, I would like to replace the backsplash with the least amount of work practical.

If it were just sheetrock, I assume I could just tile over it. If it was just tile along the bottom edge, I would remove it first. But the combination of the tile and flush sheetrock is complicating my path forward.

Am I going to have to remove the tile and the "false wall" above it? Or can I just apply the new backsplash right over the top of it?

There's close to 30 linear feet of this stuff, so removing it will be a lot of work I don't want to do if I don't absolutely have to.

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  • Just to be a little more clear, the "stucco" material on top appears to be just 1/4" thick drywall (textured to match all the rest of the walls in the house) applied on top of the real kitchen drywall.
    – abonet
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 15:40
  • Ideally, I would like to cover the entire area (both granite and 1/4" drywall) with a completely different tile (e.g. tumbled travertine or similar). Just not sure if I can really go over both existing surfaces -- or if I have no choice but to just rip everything out?
    – abonet
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 15:44

5 Answers 5


Look on the right side of your picture. You can tell the granite and fake stucco finish is layered on the drywall.

First you will not get drywall or backboard to adhere permanently to granite so it has to go or you have to use it.

Personally I would keep the granite. Then I would scrape off all of the stucco. It might sound like a pain in the ass but its not a HUGE project - 3 or 4 hours. Then you might have to do some minor repairs to it. If anything I would just take this stuff off in chunks and skimcoat the area afterwards.

You don't need backerboard unless you want to put up a heavier stone. Drywall is fine. Just scratch it up good before hand. Throw down some tile that fits in with the granite. I would use thinset instead of mastic so that I can level out any wall issues as I go.

If you keep the stucco and put something over it you are going to have some really odd edges and it just won't look right.

  • I don't want to keep the granite (want a whole new uniform backsplash from counter to cabinet). But I think you may have answered my question when you said things won't really adhere to the granite. Which means I won't be able to tile over it.
    – abonet
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 22:27
  • That is what I was saying - sorry it didn't come out right. You have to get rid of the granite.
    – DMoore
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 1:03

Something else to try might be to place backer board over the whole area. Shim the stucco area out in a few places ( ideally at studs) to support the backer board and provide a sturdy mounting surface. You'd lose a little depth but you wouldn't have to worry about joining tiles to granite or removing stucco; you'll have a nice uniform surface. You may want to adhere the backer board to the granite in addition to screwing it into the shimmec studs, rather than letting it float on the granite. I'm thinking about the need for sturdiness of the surface versus the different behavior of stucco versus granite in temperature swings. Any experts want to rule in on floating versus fixing on the granite?


Pull the outlet cover and verify that that you've got sheetrock on top of sheetrock first. Assuming that is the case, you should be able to remove the extra sheetrock layer with a chisel and screwdriver. Then patch the inevitable damage and sand the whole thing. If it were me, I'd keep the granite and add tile or metal to the bottom of the cabinet.


I see two problems here. One, you didn't say what kind of material you want to use as the new back splash, and two, is the faux stucco finish on the wall would be a poor backer for a new tile back splash if it is not a masonry material.

If the surface is fairly flat, you could apply hardi-backer board over the existing materials. I would use a urethane based adhesive like PL400 on the stone and hardi-backer screws into studs higher up under the cabinets. This backer board will allow you to install new ceramic tiles or other adhesive secured materials as a back splash. I would not normally use any drywall product in this location due to obvious water/moisture issues.

If you do not want to cover the granite back splash, just replace the drywall component, I see no option other than removing all the old material to the studs and starting from scratch.

  • The new backsplash would be some kind of tile from countertop up to the bottom of the cabinets: covering the space currently occupied by both the granite and stucco looking thing (which, I believe, is actually just 1/4 drywall with a texture on top). I think (as you suggested) my choices are either cover everything up with backer-board and tile over that -- or remove everything down to the studs. I think the backer-board option would encroach too much on my precious countertop space.
    – abonet
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 22:30

I would either score the granite with a grinder and take my chances with installing right over or remove everything down to stud.
Removing everything isnt tht bad just take a hammer and start whacking away and once you have a hole start pulling if off. Then put a new drywall up.

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