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How To Cut Backsplash Tiles Already On Wall [Explained!]

This article is for informational purposes. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals.

Are you bored with the backsplash tiles on your wall? It’s pretty normal to want a change at home. But calling a handyman can be a bit of a hassle.

And doing it yourself means you don’t have to worry about your vision getting ruined. Also, you don’t do stuff like this every day so it’s okay to not know how to do it. 

How to cut backsplash tile already on the wall?

Well, it’s pretty easy and there are two methods you can use. You can either scrape off the tile one by one or cut it with a multifunction Dremel tool with a diamond tile blade. A hammer and chisel are a must! You’ll need a set of tools so make sure you’ve got a toolbox. 

But, these two methods have a lot more to them. For you to do these properly and safely we have explained thoroughly for you. 

Go over the instructions to know more!  

Some Things to Look Out For

Before cutting the tiles some precautions need to be followed. Because as the saying goes better safe than sorry. So remember these first!

Remove Faceplate

Turn off all the power. And remove the faceplate of the switches. Be careful to not touch the receiver otherwise, you will get electrocuted. 

Clean Thoroughly 

Clean the tiles thoroughly with a sponge. If you don’t you will cut through the tile. Because the dirt will make it hard to distinguish the grout lines and the pieces. 

Clear all the countertops. And cover with a plastic sheet. Because it will get messy.

Put On Painter’s Tape

Put painter’s tape on the edges of the counter. And the parts that are touching the backlash. 

Also, don’t forget to wear safety goggles.

How to Remove Backsplash Yourself

It is quite a hassle to remove tiles from your wall. Without a professional handyman, It seems quite impossible. 

But rest assured that these 2 methods below will let you remove your backsplash without any damage. So first let’s see the tools we will need. 

Materials 

  • Multifunction (Dremel) tool 
  • Hammer
  • Crowbar
  • Chisel/putty knife
  • Safety glasses, Gloves (optional)  

Now let’s move on to the methods we mentioned above. 

Method 1: Individual Removal of Tiles

In this method, we will remove the tiles one by one. This is the easiest and cleanest method. But of course, it needs a lot of patience. 

No heavy tools will be needed. For this method, a hammer and a chisel are enough. Some steps on how to effectively put this method into action are given below

Start by scouring the grout. Move the grout cutter between the gaps of the tile. Keep on scraping between the gaps until the grout is removed.

In this way, the tiles will not be a whole piece. They will start to separate making it easier for the tiles to be removed. 

Then look for a gap between the tiles. Once you see one wedge the chisel/blade of a putty knife between the gap. Hold it there upright and flat so that it is against the wall. 

If you have it in place properly, start taping the bottom part of the chisel with a hammer. Do not start pounding with the hammer unless you want to remove the drywall. 

In this case, two things can happen. The tiles can come off piece by piece or as a whole. Also, make sure to avoid pulling the drywall.

Method 2: Cutting the Tiles

Of course, the above method is only applicable when the tiles are coming off easily. But be sure not to damage the plasterboard while removing the tiles while using this method. 

If you find that while pulling off the tile the drywall is also coming with it follow the steps below:

Step 1: Mark

First, mark the surface you are going to cut. 

Step 2: Cut Across the Wall

Then start by cutting across the wall above the countertop and underneath the cabinets with the multifunction Dremel tool. Be careful while doing this you don’t want to damage either.  

Step 3: Cut Through Drywall

Then cut around the backsplash and through the drywall. And refrain from cutting into the framing of the wall. You can avoid this by marking the studs. Also whether you are going to cut through drywall depends on the thickness of the walls. 

Step 4: Pull Out the Tile

The final step is to start pulling the tile from the outer corner. Pull using a crowbar. You will see drywall has come off with it as well  

Given below are two cutting machines that you can use:

Product 1
Product 2

Things to Do After Cutting 

Remember to be precautious while cutting tiles attached to the wall. After removing tiles we have to smooth out the surface of the wall. And this can be achieved by sanding. 

Keep two things in mind. After removing the tiles you will either find a firm or a soft adhesive coating. Thickness indicates thin-set cement-based product. And soft indicates mastic. Here’s what you need to do:

  • By using a putty knife scrape away thin-set adhesive residue from the surface. Repeat the process until all of it is gone. 
  • You will need 120 grit sandpaper and an electric sander to remove mastic glue residue. Another option is a hand sander. 

When all glue residues have been removed, you can use a drywall joint compound to fill up any holes or gashes. When the compound is dry, use a sander to sand it down to a level surface.

Finish by sanding the remainder of the wall to a flawless polish with the right grit sandpaper and a drywall-sanding pad. 

FAQs

Question: Is it possible to remove the backsplash without removing countertops?

Answer: Yes. But removing backsplash is a messy job. While cutting or removing the tiles you could damage your countertops. But if you’re careful enough you can just leave it the way it is. 

Question: Is it okay to tile over damaged drywall? 

Answer: In low-moisture locations, such as around a fireplace, it’s fine to tile over drywall. Installing tile over drywall in high-moisture places, such as shower walls, is not recommended for long-term durability, even if the drywall is Type MR, moisture resistant.

Question: Is it okay to tile over a backsplash that already exists

Anwer: To summarize, if you’re working on a somewhat sound surface, you can tile over tile. There should be no mold or mildew on the surface of the existing tile, and it should be level (including the grout) and clear of any warping or oddly-placed tiles.

Endnote

If you have stuck with us this far we like to think you followed the steps we gave. We hope you don’t face any difficulty on how to cut backsplash tiles already on the wall.

Do contact a professional if something goes wrong. Good luck!