How to Remove a Glass Tile Backsplash

Lead Image for How to Remove a Glass Tile Backsplash
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
A pair of leather work gloves
A pair of safety glasses or face shield
A hammer
4 to 5-inch wide metal tile chisel
A bucket of water
A sponge
A heavy-duty scraper
Angle grinder or smaller circular saw
Diamond blade for rotating cutting tool
A spray bottle of water
A flat mortar trowel

Your glass tile backsplash is cracked and broken. You need to remove it so you can put up something new. But you don’t really know how to go about this project. This article will list a reliable method for removing that unsightly glass tile backsplash.

Chisel Out Glass Tiles

Wearing either the safety glasses or the face shield to protect your face and eyes from flying pieces of tile and the leather work gloves, carefully chisel out the pieces of the glass tile backsplash. Exactly where on the tile to hold the chisel and how much hammer force to use to obtain optimum results will be a matter of trial and error. If the old underlayment is to be used, exercise extreme caution in regards to the angle you use with the chisel. You don’t want to angle the chisel too much towards the underlayment, but you do need to also make sure you’re not too parallel to the tile, either. This also will be a matter of trial and error to find the proper angle with the chisel.

If there are any pieces of the glass tile backsplash that you plan on keeping, you will need to cut along a dividing line between the tiles that will be removed and those that will be saved. It’s easiest if you cut along grout lines and replace full tile pieces. It will also look better when you finish the repair you’re contemplating. Use the rotating cutting tool with a properly sized diamond blade to make these particular cuts. Liberally soak the area being cut with water to keep the formation of dust down.

Remove Old Grout and Thinset Mortar

Liberally soak the whole area that you’ve just completely cleared of glass tile. Keeping the area wet, allow to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the heavy-duty scraper to remove the grout and mortar left behind when removing the tile. If necessary, use the hammer and tile chisel to remove large chunks of thinset mortar and any left behind grout. For any problem areas, soak the sponge in water and hold the sponge against the problem area, allowing the water to completely saturate the offending chunk of thinset mortar or grout.

Finish Surface Preparation for New Tile

Keeping the surface moist, use the flat mortar trowel to smooth the surface as much as possible to prepare it for whatever you have planned to replace the glass tile backsplash.