Asked on May 19, 2012

Help! Cement board,Sheetrock, more Drywall? For tiling kitchen backsplash.

Teresa D
by Teresa D
*deep breath* So I decided to replace my kitchen backsplash myself. I've removed the ceramic tile and of course, the existing drywall was damaged so I tore it all out. (See the photo for what I am left with.) My question now is, what do I put back up there? Do I use more drywall or something else? And is there a concern about drywall transitioning to any of the other materials? I've repaired drywall before but using something else is new to me. Also, should I go ahead and put the material up now or wait until my countertops are removed and the granite put in??
I don't have a concern about water since my sink is in my island. A downdraft cooktop will be in the countertop near the backsplash.
  29 answers
  • 3po3 3po3 on May 19, 2012
    Water-resistant drywall works for ktichen backsplashes, but since you are starting from scratch anyway, tile backerboard is probably preferred. And I think I would try to put it in after removing the existing counters but before adding the granite, if possible. Either way, definitely adding drywall before adding the granite will lead to fewer headaches.
  • Superior Remodeling, LLC Superior Remodeling, LLC on May 19, 2012
    no need for durarock just use greenboard (water resistant sheet rock) at lowes it purple =) but still the same thing. the tricky part is going to be where it ends on the far side of the cabinet you will ned to tie it to the existing sheet rock and this will most likley stick out past the tile backsplash and will ned to be taped and finished. For that portion I would hire a professional unless you have some experience finishing sheetrock.
  • Alethea S Alethea S on May 19, 2012
    And, don't wait for your counter tops to be installed. The granite will be cut to fit in your space after the sheet rock is in place.
  • Stone-Crete Artistry Stone-Crete Artistry on May 19, 2012
    superior is right on. finish the edges out before......yep and do before the granite is installed. Concrete would look outstanding in there and it would be so much diff. than the neighbors house..!!. haha jk
  • Teresa D Teresa D on May 19, 2012
    lol @ stone. I actually considered concrete but went with granite.
  • Teresa D Teresa D on May 19, 2012
    I'm thinking I should have hired someone to do this. I have a few concerns ...The counter top seems to be stuck to the dry wall. If you look in the pic, I've cut the drywall at the counter top level. It is as if the countertop was glued to the drywall. I'm afraid that if I put the backerboard or sheetrock up before they come, they will tear it up when they remove the countertops. When they take the countertops out, some sheetrock is definitely going to come off with it. What is my worst case scenario here? If they come to tear out the countertops and I've not put up the new sheetrock, the granite will be installed up against studs??
  • 3po3 3po3 on May 19, 2012
    There is likely a caulk line between the countertop and the drywall. You should be able to cut that caulk line and remove the countertops, then add your backerboard or drywall. Again, I would do this before they do the granite work.
  • Few things to add. Do you have enough lights under counter? What about outlets? Great time to add them before you close things back up. Also insulation? are any of these walls outside ones? Ideally you need to put the drywall back up prior to the granite install, but ideally need to do it after the old top is removed, This way you have a clean line where the new top meets the wall and the seam is below the top of the new counter. The new dry wall will only take one afternoon to install, so you have plenty of time to install before they come and measure for the new tops. I would still consider having a short granite back splash installed. This assures that no water will get behind the new top if there is a spill. The issue with laying tile down to the top of the top is that there will always be a way for moisture to get under the tile and granite top area. But that is just my opinion on this matter.
  • Bernice H Bernice H on May 20, 2012
    Wow! What an ambitious project !Good for you!
  • Superior Remodeling, LLC Superior Remodeling, LLC on May 20, 2012
    those are laminate counters they are not going to be stuck or glued to the sheetrock at all. like Steve said their is probably a caulk line right where they meet but just scoring tat with a knife will solve that problem. What you are probably not realizing is that there are screws in all 4 corners of each cabinet that are holding that countertop in place and you will need to remove all of those screws in order for the counter to be removed easily. Good Luck
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 20, 2012
    I agree most above...pull the existing counters then install some "green board" a backsplash is about the only place green board can be used For all other tile areas I recommend real hardibacker.
  • Teresa D Teresa D on May 20, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback guys. A couple of things ... 1. I had already scraped away the caulk. It was only on top. They were stuck but I was able to jiggle a scraper between the countertop and the wall. I don't have anywhere to put the countertops, so I'm going to let the granite guys remove them tomorrow. (I've already paid for the demo anyway) 2. They have already measured and done the template for the granite. 3. Since I'm not demo-ing the countertops, I'm going to try to cut away the remaining, exposed drywall (it's a bear!) and install 1/2" hardie backer after the granite has been installed. @Bernice .. "ambitious" is right. I am feeling so insecure about all this right now. I'm sure it will turn out fine in the end ... even if I have to swallow my pride and bring in a professional, but I'm going to do my best to see it through. (especially since my boyfriend is doubting me)
  • Superior Remodeling, LLC Superior Remodeling, LLC on May 20, 2012
    I would really consider adding 1/2 drywall green board bnefore the granite goes in. It will save you alot of headach trying to sandwich hardi between your cabinet and counter is going to be a pain for someone who has never done it before and not to mention cutting the hardi for DIY application is not that easy either. Hardi is rarley used as a backsplash backer.
  • Hamtil Construction LLC Hamtil Construction LLC on May 20, 2012
    To reiterate what others have said, using moisture resistant drywall is your easiest solution. This is standard material to use for a backsplash. Hardie backer is much harder to cut and install. A suggestion- if you take out the cabinet drawers and go underneath, you can loosen the screws holding the countertop down. At that point, you can probably slide the countertop forward enough to slip some new drywall behind it. The trick will be cutting it away with the counter there. The limiting factor is the cooktop. If you can disconnect it, you could slide it pretty far forward and leave it sitting there while you work on the wall behind. As has been said, it would be best to get the drywall behind the granite. If you install after, the joint you will have there is going to make the tile/ counter intersection weaker. Woodbridge suggested adding a 4" granite backsplash, and that would help the situation if you drywall down to the countertop. It would bridge over the joint. One more note for later- I'd suggest caulking your tile joint where it meets the countertops. It will seal it better, and prevent the grout from cracking out later. Especially if you don't have the drywall down behind the granite.
  • Teresa D Teresa D on May 20, 2012
    Thanks again guys. I really appreciate your help. About the GFCI plugs and greenboard ... you see there is no sink over there, right? My sink is in my island in the middle of the kitchen. I don't see much moisture getting over there, so I wouldn't think the greenboard and GFI plugs would be necessary. Am I missing something? I've got GFCI plugs on my island around my sink (and in my bathrooms) though.
  • Superior Remodeling, LLC Superior Remodeling, LLC on May 20, 2012
    GFCI is standard code anywhere in the kitchen not only by the sink so if it were a new house the inspector would make you have 2 seperate GFCI circuits. Green board is optional but I always use it even though it is highly unlikley for it to get any moisture after the tile is instlaled the Mastic itself is water based and soaks into the sheetrock a tiny bit when installing the tiles so it helps prevent the sheetrock from soaking in that moisture.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on May 20, 2012
    Teresa.. sorry I missed out on being a contributor here, but all others have certainly given sound advice! I knew you could do it :) You know how to reach me :)
  • Way to go Teresa. If you're doing this yourself, you really don't need concrete backer board here. It's a bear to work least for a homeowner even if it is the right way to do it. Try not to use greenboard as it is paper-backed and will eventually harbor mold if any moisture gets behind the tile. Go ahead and find a paperless drywall like Densamor which is basic drywall...we use it in basements and areas where we might have a problem with mold. It cuts like drywall....and you can do it yourself. You do want to try and get the Densamor in AHEAD of the granite....try to cut the caulk and remove any window casings to run the Densarmor up to the edge...then reinstall the trim. Most homeowners can handle the backsplash.....let us know who you used for the granite and how it goes.....I've heard so many horror stories with granite companies these days LUCK!!! Remember to seal the grout with two coats of a premium sealers once you are finished with the tile
  • Teresa D Teresa D on May 21, 2012
    Update: So you guys convinced me. I had hardibacker put in this morning before the granite guys got here. We'll see how it goes. Right now, the granite is going in. I'm so excited! Thanks for the help and encouragement! Once they are done and I've signed off, I'll give the name of the company and I'll do a new thread with updates on my tiling effort. I love this site! ^5
    • See 1 previous
    • Shubhdha Shubhdha on Apr 02, 2018

      What did you finally do ateresa? I am in the same boat. Need recommendations.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 22, 2012
    l am looking forward to the pics
  • Teresa, be sure to get the matching grout caulk when purchasing your tile materials. Whether you go with a 4" granite splash or not, the transition from tile to granite must be caulked. See the first section on the The Tile Council of America link here:
  • Denise D. Holt Denise D. Holt on Aug 17, 2014
    Removing tile for granite left us with cement and chicken wire? HELP PS OUT SEEMS TO BE GLUED TO THE WALL
  • Denise D. Holt Denise D. Holt on Aug 17, 2014
    Anyone out there? Need top move ahead!(:
    • See 1 previous
    • Shubhdha Shubhdha on Apr 02, 2018

      What did you do Denise?I am in same boat. I hired a handyman and while taking out old tile backsplash he removed the drywall and installed new one. Please tell me what you ended up doing.

  • Kelly Smith-Perry Kelly Smith-Perry on Aug 22, 2014
    Denise this thread has been idle for a long time. I'm new here so not much help but I would try to post your question as a new one rather than the end of this one...maybe better for responses? :)
  • I totally agree with Superior Remodeling in Raleigh, NC. That is the proper protocol to take.
  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Jul 18, 2016
    Put back the drywall..they have dry wall now that is for wet areas and will keep mold and mildew away. Just put up the drywall and re do what ever backsplash you want. I am taking the drywall off my kitchen back wall to rewire for wall sconces over my stove and counter..I also am going to put up a plank wall on that wall so I wanted to make sure that we have enough studs and they are strong enough to hold the planks. I have a double wide mobile home so I am not sure if the studs are where they need to be. ..I will insulate, replace drywall, put up the plank wall and hope it will look like what i have pictured in my mind.
  • Polly Polly on Mar 10, 2021

    I had laminate and pull that off and I am stuck with dried glue from 25 yrs ago and Sheetrock can I just primer tile primer and put my stone tile What do you think

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 22, 2021

    Hi there,

    Have it put back after old tops are removed ad before new tops are installed!