How to Remove a Travertine Tile Backsplash

Lead Image for How to Remove a Travertine Tile Backsplash
  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-80
What You'll Need
Diamond or Carbide hole saw (optional)
Chisel or putty knife and hammer (optional)
Chipping hammer with chisel head (optional)

If for whatever reason you need to remove a travertine tile backsplash from a sink in your home, you will want to remember to take care and follow the procedures carefully in order to ensure that you do not damage the area around the tiles. The area behind a sink often makes for an awkward workspace, so it is important that you have a good plan of action going into this project.

Be Aware of the Scope and Purpose of Your Project

Depending on the nature of your project, you may have to approach the removal of your travertine tile backsplash in different ways. If you are removing the tiles completely, to be replaced by another material or simply to eliminate the backsplash entirely, your job will be slightly easier because you will not have to worry about damaging the individual tiles themselves. If, on the other hand, you are intending to reattach the tiles at some point, you will need to take additional care to ensure that the tiles are removed intact.

Drill Holes in Tiles

Using a Diamond or Carbide drill bit, drill carefully into the center of the tile in order to determine the depth of the tile itself. Care must be taken to avoid damaging or drilling into the wall behind the tiles themselves. Once you have drilled into the middle of the tile, drill additional holes roughly every inch away from one another until the entire surface of the tile has been drilled into.

Chip Away Tile Fragments

Using a chisel or putty knife, begin to pry individual sections of the tiles away from the wall. To do this, wedge the end of the putty knife or chisel underneath a section of tile and apply pressure to force the tile away from the wall. At times, you may need to use a hammer in conjunction with your prying tools in order to produce more force but always do your best not to damage the wall behind the tiles.

Use Chipping Hammer

At times, travertine tile can be very difficult to remove, and may therefore require a heavier duty tool to assist in various sections. For cases like these, a chipping hammer with a chisel head is a great option. Travertine has a tendency to crumble as it is being removed, but this leaves clumps of travertine tile still adhered to the wall surface.

A chipping hammer with a chisel head can save you a lot of time when removing these stubborn sections of tile, but the unfortunate trade-off is that this type of tool often has the potential to damage the wall behind the tiles. Sometimes, however, this will be unavoidable. In cases such as these, just be sure to have a plan in place to repair the wall behind the tiles before installing a new material where the travertine tile backsplash was previously installed.