| Bargain Outlet
Expert Contributor

Are you ready to replace your kitchen's dated looking and possibly damaged tiled backsplash? This is a great, relatively quick home improvement project that can update the look of the room, create a more functional kitchen, and raise your home's value. The fastest way to get started is to go crazy with a hammer, roughly tearing out the old tiles and backer board.

However, this approach has a few problems. It can damage the wall and electrical lines and potentially injure you. If you aren't careful, you can end up increasing the time and overall expense of the project. The good news is, with patience and the right tools, this is a DIY kitchen remodel that even beginners can tackle.

Start by preparing the area:

  1. Lay plastic sheeting on the floor.
  2. Clear out the countertops and wipe them off.
  3. Tape down cardboard or sturdy paper to protect the counters and the windowsill.
  4. Don't forget to protect the edges of any wall-mounted cabinets next to the backsplash.
  5. If you have any items that attach to the backsplash's wall with brackets, mark where they screw in so you can easily find the holes later on.
  6. Finally, turn off the electricity in the room and remove the covers from the electrical outlets.


Next, you will want to make sure you have the right tools. These include:

  • a dust mask
  • safety goggles
  • work gloves
  • a hammer
  • a wide bladed scraper
  • grout and tile cutters
  • a utility knife
  • a pry bar

Now it's time to dive into the project and start the demolition of the original tile. Start by using the grout cutter to score through the grout along all four sides of a tile. If you already have a broken tile, start there. Otherwise, choose one that's easy to reach.

Next, you need to loosen the tile from the wall. You can do that by scoring an 'x' in the tile with the tile cutter, or by gently tapping on each corner with a hammer. Once the tile is loosened, you want to use the pry bar to detach the tile from the wall. Go slowly and carefully on this step.

When the tiles have all been removed, the wall behind it will likely look messy with grout and adhesive. You can clean that up with a scraper tool. The wide bladed versions work best here. You can speed up the process and address stubborn grout deposits using a hand sander with fine grade sandpaper.

Once that is done, dust and inspect the backer board. Minor scratches and nicks can be filled in or tiled over. If your tile removal didn't go smoothly and you've ended up with a large hole, you my need to cut that section out and replace it. However, if you see signs of water damage or mold growth, it could be time to change your plans for the kitchen remodel and replace the backer board.

If you've proceeded carefully, you should have a bare wall with an intact backer board. The surface should be clean, dry, and level. This will create an ideal base for you to install your kitchen's new tiled backsplash onto.


Shakti S. has been a freelance writer since 2012 and has a strong background in English with experience in copywriting, editing, and translations. She has taken on DIY projects and worked with professional designers and home repair agencies, and continues to learn more about home and yard decoration, maintenance, and repair.