The Basics of Backsplash Removal

May 24, 2011

The Basics of Backsplash RemovalWhen one thinks of kitchen renovations, the first tasks that come to mind concern the big-ticket items: Replacing the cabinets; re-doing the flooring; modernizing the lighting; buying new appliances and so on. One task that is less apparent, but that makes a huge difference in the overall effect of the finished product, is the backsplash. The backsplash is aptly named because it is the area behind the sink that is so often subject to splashing during dishwashing and other sink-related tasks. It is a vital part of every kitchen that cannot be overlooked.

There are several reasons that you may wish to replace your kitchen’s existing backsplash during a renovation. The most obvious reason is that your current backsplash may be dated, or may not work with the concept of the more modern kitchen you plan on creating. Your backsplash may also be compromised in some way, either through cracks in the tile or laminate, water damage behind those materials, or both. The first step to installing a new backsplash is removing the old one while incurring as little damage as possible to the surrounding environment.

Backsplash removal is a fairly straightforward task that can easily be executed without having to hire a contractor. The trick is to carefully evaluate the specific situation before beginning any work. First, identify the material from which your backsplash is made. The most common materials are tile and plastic laminate (Formica countertop material).

Removing a Tile Backsplash

It is important to note that during all stages of tile backsplash removal, protective eye gear should be worn. Some individuals make the mistake of immediately attempting to crack the tile. Fast-tracking to this step can result in unnecessary damage to the wall’s foundation, and to surrounding areas. In addition, if you hope to save any of the old tiles for future projects, you would be well advised to approach the task carefully and thoughtfully. First, be sure to cover all exposed surfaces surrounding the backsplash area. Begin by carefully removing the grout that surrounds each individual tile. This step may be accomplished with the help of a grout remover, either applied manually or used as a drill tip attachment. Once all exposed grout has been removed, the tiles should detach relatively easily, with some gentle leverage. Insert a putty knife behind the tile, with the help of a few gentle taps of a hammer. If this lever technique does not work, you may have to resort to gently tapping the middle of the tile to create several smaller pieces.

Removing a Laminate Backsplash

Begin by cutting any existing caulking that attaches the backsplash to the countertop. Also check to see whether or not the laminate has been attached to the counter’s lip with screws, since they would have to be removed before proceeding to the next step. Once all visible adhesives have been removed, proceed as you would with tiles, by gently inserting a flat putty knife behind the laminate sheet and prying it away from the foundation.

Even the most careful backsplash removal jobs will result in some degree of damage to the underlying wall, especially if it is made of drywall. Depending upon the degree of damage, you may be able to get away with simply patching uneven areas before installing your new backsplash.

A Stress Free Kitchen Sink Installation

A Stress Free Kitchen Sink InstallationWhen confronted with installing a kitchen sink, even experienced do-it-yourselfers develop glazed eyes, weak knees and wishes for some other emergency like toilet overflows. Anyone knowing which end of a screwdriver to hold can tackle this project. By following the professional plumbers’ guidelines of keeping it simple, working smart and making an easy exit, the new kitchen sink will soon be in its proper place ready to use.

Keeping It Simple

Whether installing a new kitchen sink or replacing an old one, buying the right product is first step. The unit must fit the space. When working with a new countertop, the sink’s opening is carefully marked before the hole is cut. Replacement sinks are easier as the old ones just need to be removed. However, using the same style of washbasin saves time and money as the plumbing is in the right position.

Working Smart

After professional plumbers dry fit the sparkling new kitchen sink in the hole, they make life easy by turning the unit upside down across two saw horses to install the strainer, tailpiece and faucets. The strainer is wrapped with plumber’s putty before inserted to eliminate leaks. After attaching the various components of the tailpiece, energetic plumbers install the faucets. Next the sink’s lip is caulked and the unit set in place.

Now as soon as water and drain pipes are connected, the job is done. The water connections are quickly attached. However, the tailpiece requires a trap and drain elbow customized for each space. The different pieces of PVC pipe will be cut to length and assembled to make sure they are the correct lengths. Then the ends are cleaned with a utility knife and coated with the PVC primer. As soon as the primer is dry, PVC cement can be smeared on both ends being joined, pushed into place and held for 30 seconds.

Making an Easy Exit

The last step is verifying hot and cold water comes from the right faucet and the drain is leak free. After filling the basin with water, the homeowner leaves knowing the job is done. The weight of the water pulls the unit down while the caulk dries creating a solid, waterproof barrier around this exquisite new kitchen sink.

Installing a sink can be stress free. All it takes is the best information and process. This procedure is to buy the right kitchen sink, preinstall faucets, drain basket and tailpipe and check for problems.

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