Can I Remove the Backsplash from Hell, All On My Own? (Including replacing the drywall!)

This blog post features a few different pieces. 

1 - Taking down backsplash from hell by removing the drywall.
2 - Replacing said drywall.
3 - Taping, mudding and sanding the results (so you never know how bad it was before!)

Ok, first thing's first. The tile from hell.

Plan A: Carefully remove tile and have a perfect, cookie cutter life.

I'm sorry for not getting a close up of this monstrosity. Just believe me when I say this backsplash was ug-ly (brown and yellow - while the granite is cream and grey)! It also was installed by a drunk person or something. It was wavy and had big gaps places. It needed to go ASAP.

Our initial plan was to carefully chisel away at the tile, re-mud the portions of drywall that may need to be fixed and sand down the drywall, creating a clean smooth surface for our new subway tile. I thought this part would only take a couple of evenings. But instead this ended up being the most time consuming portion.

It's funny in any DIY project. You do research and have a plan. You start and are so full of ambition and confidence in your plan...and then you immediately hit a major snag. You have to reassess and figure out Plan B. Or give up and call a professional (which our budget did not allow for!)

All of that to say - the tile would not budge! We were chiseling away as carefully as we could but we were getting no where. And even when the tile pieces came off, it took a large piece of the wall with it. So after about 2 hours of realizing we were about 1 hour away from calling in professionals, I thought we should change courses.


My Plan B?! Rip out the tile - dry wall and all. Did I know how to replace drywall? Of course not! But I was not going to be so easily defeated by this tile. I WILL NOT GIVE UP!

You should've seen the look of relief on my husband's face when I told him he could stop trying to salvage any portion of the wall and just rip it out with his bare hands. He looked so happy!

We used hammers and unceremoniously ripped out that junk...

And it was incredibly messy. Drywall was everywhere: in my hair, on my clothes, even in the baby bottles! I was even trying to paint my cabinets at the same time. It was madness!

But you know what? The removal portion wasn't so bad. For areas like behind the oven, around the outlets and all of the edges, we used our drywall saw, Xacto knife and utility knife to cut into the existing drywall. And then we just yanked it off it pieces.

Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Now, to replace the drywall.

Then off to Home Depot where we found a pile of interior drywall (12 ft sheets) on sale and had them cut down to thirds so that the pieces fit into our little SUV. Each sheet only ended up being about $5!

We also grabbed the necessary tools:
- Three drywall sheets (we only used about 2.5)
- Drill (already had!) and screws
- Fiberglass self-adhesive tape
- Premixed joint compound
- Sandpaper
- Hand saw or drywall saw (and if you have it, a Dremel 4000 was pretty helpful for us to cut around outlets!)

We actually used our electric hand saw to cut the drywall. It was a little cleaner we found than using the drywall saw. I would measure the area and mark it on the drywall before cutting. For the smaller areas like the outlets we would generally use the utility knife or our Dremel 4000.

We made sure to mark where the joists were in the wall that we would need to screw the drywall into...

We then used the Fiberglass Self-adhesive Mesh Tape to tape around edges and around the outlets so that when we mud over it all with the pre-mixed joint compound, it will have something to stick to. 

Now, we simply mudded over the edges to smooth our any imperfections. We did that late one night. And the next day we were able to sand down and smooth it all. 

And now we are finally ready for tiling!!!! And cleaning - lots and lots and lots of cleaning...