How to Remove a Brick Backsplash

  • 4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Eye protection
Small pry bar
Face protection
Utility knife
Vacuum cleaner
Dremel tool
Sanding attachment
Work gloves

Removing a brick backsplash is not an easy job. They are fairly easy to install, though different from other tiles, and removing a brick backsplash does not require a soft hand. There is no way to remove a brick backsplash without damaging the brick or damaging the wall behind it. Faux brick is much easier to remove but real brick is installed using construction strength adhesive. The article that follows will instruct you on how to remove a brick backsplash with as much minimal while minimizing damages as much as possible.

Step 1 - Area Preparation

Removing a brick backsplash will create a lot of dust and debris. Protecting yourself and your home is very important. Due to the tremendous amount of debris that will be created, you will want to cover your floor and countertop with a drop cloth. You should always wear your eye protection, face mask or particle mask, and work gloves as you work. Place masking tape over light switches and outlets that may be on your backsplash. You can remove the faceplates and turn the power off if you like but still cover them with masking tape. This will prevent dust and debris from entering the outlet or switch boxes.

Step 2 - Loosening the Bricks

Chiseling the bricks will be necessary to remove them but it most likely will also cause some damage to the wall. The trick is to sufficiently loosen the brick in order for you to be able to pry them away from the wall. First, use the Dremel tool with the sanding attachment to remove a top layer of grout or mortar. Continue to remove grout this way until you have an edge of brick above the grout line. Use the utility knife and cut a line through the middle of the grout or mortar. This will take some time as the material is quite tough to cut through. You want to be able to create a cut deep enough in the mortar to allow the tip of the cold chisel to sit securely. Insert the chisel in the groove you made with the utility knife and begin hammering. Grout and mortar will begin to come loose, break and shatter. Remove as much from between the bricks as possible. You need to be able to get as close to the wall behind the brick backsplash as possible.

Step 3 - Removing the Bricks

It'll be nearly impossible to remove all of the grout or the mortar. Use the Dremel tool again to sand down the grout or mortar to the base of the brick. Place the cold chisel where the brick and the wall meet, place a 3/8 or 1/2 inch piece of plywood or some other rigid padding that is long enough to rest on 2 successive studs so that you can hammer the chisel behind the brick without damaging the wall as much.

Do not hammer too hard to remove the brick because at this angle the wall may come with it. You can now switch to the small pry bar. Work it under the brick and pry it off the wall making sure you lean the elbow of the prybar onto the same plywood padding before prying. Continue removing the brick backsplash until all of the bricks are gone. Clean up the area by sweeping the worst of the debris first, and then picking up the remaining dust with a vacuum cleaner.