Saturday, January 5, 2013


Before we can put up our new backsplash we had to take our old backsplash down. It seemed simple enough--just stick a pry bar behind the tile and pop it off, right? Nope. Things are never as easy as they seem, and this is just a lesson I keep having to learn and re-learn. 

When we install the shelves, we're going to put lights under them and our handyman will connect them to a switch on the wall. Right now there's a switch plate that has two switches, one for the pendant light and one for the disposall. Jerry is going to have to add a third switch, so to get ready to do that he did some exploratory tile removal.

It's a little hard to see in the picture, but the triangular piece completely ripped off the drywall. The one thing that was done well in this house was that they really stuck that tile up there. Jerry told me it would just be much easier to cut the drywall out than to try and remove the tile from the drywall, so I prepped the counter to avoid damaging it. I'm not sure if I'm overly paranoid about hurting these counters, but I'm just really really trying to make sure nothing happens to them. First I taped the edges, then taped bubble wrap to the first layer of tape.

Then I covered it with two layers of a sweatshirt blanket. 

On the ends of the backsplash there are just two extra tiles that are higher than the rest, so Jerry told me to remove those by cutting through the grout and prying them off. He very nicely left me his really fancy oscillating tool over the holidays so I could do it myself and save some serious $$$$. Here it is with the grout attachment.

I turned it on and ran it along the grout while it vibrated really really fast.

See the cut line?

Then I stuck my flathead screwdriver behind it and started prying.

Ta da!

Then the second piece.

It wasn't all that hard, so I figured I'd at least try this method on a few more tiles to see if maybe we could save the drywall. It didn't go so well.

It's kind of hard to see, but the tile actually took off all of the drywall with it. That tear drop shaped cardboard is the backing of the .5" thick drywall, meaning that the top .5" inches of it got ripped out.

With the plan of saving the drywall nixed I switched the attachment to the drywall cutting one Jerry had left me.

Then I cut through the drywall being careful not to hit the tile.

Once it was all cut, I started prying it off.

SUCCESS! Seriously, this projects and some of the others that will be posted soon just really excite the DIYer in me. It's just so rewarding and satisfying to see the product of your own labor. Taking that stupid triangular piece of tile off made me feel invincible for about .01 seconds, and it was awesome. No one was around to jump up and down with me though, so I just snapped a picture and kept going.

Keep in mind this was not easy work. Drywall is put up by driving screws into the studs, and then the backsplash is tiled on top. So, I was having to rip the drywall out through the screws that were still screwed into the studs. The tile made it super heavy and kind of nerve wracking since the edges were sharp, but it was a good workout!

And five hours, yes five hours later...

Then I had to remove the caulk that was leftover, and boy was there a lot of it.

See the caulk-less part on the left?

Unfortunately it didn't all come out in long strips like these... it was mainly bit by bit.

I cleaned up and re-taped the bubble wrap.

The next day, I moved on to the other side of the kitchen which was actually much easier. Partially because I had gotten the hang of it, but mainly because there was less counter in the way.

I cut the drywall.

And ripped it out!

If only it had been that easy. It actually took me about 2 hours. This pile of tile is just from the second side of the kitchen... so heavy.

We're one step closer! Next is to install some sort of drywall called Hardibacker which is actually some form of cement. After that we'll have the tiler lay the backsplash, then the painter will do his thing, then I'll install the shelves!

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