How to remove a 18" high granite kitchen backsplash?

Jan Addams
by Jan Addams
A kitchen renovation is about to happen (yikes) and there is an 18" high granite backsplash to be replaced with brick tile. Any one know how to remove the granite without totally destroying the wall?
This is the 'before' photo of the kitchen. We are gutting the entire room and replacing these cabinets with a more traditional raised panel cream cabinet doors to the ceiling and a charcoal stained island.
  17 answers
  • William William on Oct 28, 2016
    Depending on how it was adhered to the wall, there will be some damage to the wall. You can use a pry bar and get behind an edge and carefully start prying it away from the wall. Use a piece of wood to back up the pry bar as you pry. More likely, and hopefully, only several globs of adhesive were used in several spots. It should pop off the wall. Once you remove it, donate it it to a local charity, like Habitat for Humanity. Good luck.
    • See 3 previous
    • William William on Oct 28, 2016
      Putty knife in combination with a pry bar would work! Work slowly.
  • Lori Verni-Fogarsi Lori Verni-Fogarsi on Oct 29, 2016
    Having done this before, I don't anticipate that a spackle knife will be strong enough. I would suggest starting with William's suggest of gently prying, but I think a more practical suggestion would be to just accept that the sheetrock behind will need to be repaired/replaced (there will be other damage from removing the cabinets and counters anyway), and go at it more aggressively. I'd use a very solid prybar and a hammer. Also, you will likely get this to come off more easily if you remove the countertop first. Maybe even the cabinets too, which would give you more access to pry it from sides, top, etc. Good luck!
  • Jim Townsend Jim Townsend on Oct 29, 2016
    Is it really necessary to be so rude kcpamor?
    • See 3 previous
    • Jim Townsend Jim Townsend on Oct 29, 2016
      The variety of individual taste is what makes our world so varied and beautiful. Its so unfortunate there are people out there that think only THEY have good taste
  • Janet S Janet S on Oct 29, 2016
    Are you going to repurpose the granite? I'm no expert, but perhaps you can simply cover it with the brick.
  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Oct 29, 2016
    I'd be more likely to just put tile over the granite. If someone changes their mind later it can be removed easier than the granite. See if owner will accept just a recover/over paint instead.
    • Jan Addams Jan Addams on Oct 29, 2016
      Unfortunately that wouldn't work as you may scratch the granite in so doing. Also adding tile increases the backsplash depth (adhesive and tile depth) plus, all your electrical outlets will also need to be moved out. Plus you have decreased your counter space.
  • David David on Oct 29, 2016
    It depends on how the granite is fixed, I have seen smaller tiles removed by heating them with a domestic iron until the bond holding the tile gives way, but if ) the tile has a special cement it may not work and you will have to break them off, good luck
  • Jan Addams Jan Addams on Oct 29, 2016
    Thank you everyone for your opinions. Being a Veteran Interior designer, I have designed hundreds of kitchens and I have learned that 'true style is timeless' if it marries the interior environment with the external structure. When you are renovating however, there are always surprises :) The difference in this case I am relying soley on my design & my husband's renovation skills not the amazing team of craftsman and installers I've used on all my other projects. Stay tuned for updated photos. Thanks again
  • Rae Rae on Oct 29, 2016
    More then likely it will tear up the dry wall behind the granite but you are going to cover it again with a brick tile I probably wouldn't worry too much. Good luck on your remodel. Been there done all that. And Naomie I am with you. It has never been my choice either
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Oct 29, 2016
    sorry but I can't understand why anyone would want to remove real granite - that being one of natures treasures
  • Charles Prock Charles Prock on Oct 29, 2016
    It's going to tear off the sheetrock backing so just don't worry about it...Go back with green rock and you don't have to worry about tape & float so it's an easy job....
  • MadameRã MadameRã on Oct 30, 2016
    Granite comes in different makes, quality & due to this, unless you have some papers" on how it was placed on ,you could easy damage the back wall; but then again this depends on the house make(& whether it was built in a 1: high look standard thus expence occured 2: whether its classified a moderate to just medium lovely property3: If it was built in a lower standard fashion.) I say this as everywhere i have worked on properities there are three distinct classifications,& this can answer what type of job you will be looking @. •I'm not sure , but if you can allow for up to an inch of shortage in the area, however for safety,& if i was doing the job with my team, we would definately be looking @ forwarding the area by adding a good, perhaps a little bit more expensive splash back with the best quality shine..why..this automatically makes the area stay looking a good size. Of coarse if this method is done then the 'previous' will have to be graded,& quite 'nastily' done, cleaned always well & with only warm water & clean throw out cloths; *always allow 24-48 hrs to dry before proceeding with the new adventure plan, as the correct tough combined glues will also have to be used as well as your choice of drilling screws(i would make sure they match your new look,& this will add an unusual pop" to the overall look.) This method takes up to four days to do,& as long as you don't rush it can be done by anyone: Please remember that the rest of your ideas will have to re-measured so all fits properly. Though by losing a little amount of wall you don't need to worry about all the other problems that can occur if you have little knowledge on the property//& how certians things" were made as not all even looks as it seems; have come up with many a real problem, thus i am looked at to create other rectifying works that will look good as well as do the job properly//thus holding nicely in this case to. I would prefer to grant you a warning here than a possible to maybe an impossible re-make//repair. I wish you the sincere best;& remain happy crafting. M®
  • Sue c. Sue c. on Oct 30, 2016
    Why not do a faux brick backsplash instead. Either painted or glued on. There have been several here on Hometalk that would be a great, realistic finish. Or is the client dead set on knowing the granite is gone and the brick is real? Also consider the drawbacks to keeping real brick-even sealed or painted- clean in a kitchen. For my money I would go for a cleanable alternative that looks real.
  • Cwh6899259 Cwh6899259 on Oct 31, 2016
    Just rip it off the wall. You can always replace the drywall that gets ruined - that is the easy part.
  • Linda Linda on Dec 20, 2016

    Why? Unless you are also removing the counter tops. Looks great to me but then it's not my house.

  • Pippi Pippi on Dec 23, 2016

    Keep the granite; brick has too much texture to keep clean.

  • Laurie Laurie on Jan 08, 2017

    Just a thought. Brick will be very difficult to clean. The granite is somewhat overused but many people prefer it as it is easy to wipe down. Might want to give this some thought.

  • Jan Addams Jan Addams on Aug 05, 2019

    Thanks for all your ideas but it wasn't that tough to remove (also we sold our whole kitchen to a family wanting to use it and the granite in their cottage - win / win!)