Depends. You could remove the granite piece and tile down to the countertop for a clean, contemporary look. If you are going to include the granite piece and just want to keep it looking nice while tiling, then no. Use painters tape while installing the tile, remove the tape before grouting and clean up well after grouting.
Okay thanks Madelaine. I was told by a professional that I shouldn't remove the granite piece because that helps keep water and moisture from seeping behind the countertop. I've been looking at dozens and dozens of pictures of granite countertops with a backsplash and I have yet to see one with the granite backsplash below the tile backsplash.
Erin I am a bit confused on this. Your saying you currently have a granite back-splash behind a counter. And your looking to remove this or cover it up with a new tile back-splash?
On your 2nd comment your saying granite back-splash below tile back-splash?
If you currently have a granite top and you have a short granite back-splash that matches and was installed when they put in the top. And now your thinking of putting in a counter to bottom of cabinet tile system, you need to remove the old granite back-splash as there is no way to tile this and make it look good.
However you have an issue. If the existing counter top is not cut flush or at very least real close to the existing wall surface, then there will be gaps that will need to be addressed once putting on the tile to replace the thicker back-splash removed to install the tile.
In order to get around this, you may need to resurface the entire wall with a layer of either cement board or water resistant wall board. This should extend the surface of the tile past the perhaps uneven edge and gaps that may be reveled once you remove the old granite back-splash..
On the ends you will need to either trim with wood, or extend the wall surface to the corners of the room or cabinet in order to hide any edges.
@Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com
If there is no large gaps as Woodbridge states, I would hands down take out the backsplash. First of all, water can seep under the granite just as easily as the tile. The answer is to keep the caulk maintained, replacing it if it cracks.
The advantage of removing it is it is simply a more updated look. Having a taller tiled area will look more balanced and give you more options with the size of the tile and the design options.