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Formica Countertop Backsplash Removal or Installation

August 31st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you are doing a kitchen or bathroom remodel and you cannot figure out how to remove the countertop’s backsplash, it may be attached to the top. Usually, if a Formica (or, “plastic laminate”) countertop’s splash is wider at the top than three quarters of an inch (3/4”), the backsplash is attached to the top with screws from underneath. If the board is only three quarters of an inch (3/4”) thick, then there’s a good possibility that it was glued to the wall and not screwed to the top at all.

If the splash is wider, then remove the entire counter without trying to take the backsplash off separate, be sure to cut the caulk line first.

If the splash appears to be glued to the wall and not screwed onto the countertop, start the removal process by cutting the caulk line with a razor knife.


Next, use a wide flexible putty knife in combination with a hammer and gently tap from the top of the backsplash downward, forcing the tool between the wall and the splash. This should be done the entire length of the board. Try to drive the putty knife as far down as possible.

It’s OK to use slight pressure as you try to pry the piece of laminated wood off of the wall. Just keep a watchful eye out to make sure that you are not damaging the walls appearance above the backsplash in any way. The removal process should be done with patients.

How are back splashes attached when they are not screwed to the countertops?

Usually, the kitchen or bathroom countertop installer will use caulking or Liquid Nails to secure the board to the wall. A thin bead of caulking is placed on the countertops edge near the wall. Then, on the backside of the loose backsplash, large, thick spots of caulk or Liquid Nails are squirted onto the splash.

The kitchen or bathroom countertop splash is then placed on top of the line-bead of caulking and pressed tight to the wall.

If there are noticeable gaps between the Formica backsplash and the countertops surface, prop sticks can be used to apply pressure downward from the bottom of the upper cabinets or ceiling to force the gap to close. This will only work on long distances.

If the gap is too large the plastic laminate backsplash will need to be scribed to the countertops surface or shims can be placed underneath the top to force it upward to eliminate the gap.

When a Formica countertop has a particle board backsplash showing evidence of water damage, the removal process is going to be tricky. The installation of a new one made out of plywood or pine is suggested if water damage is apparent.

Categories: Backsplashes
  1. December 21st, 2009 at 13:49 | #1

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

  2. February 27th, 2011 at 12:20 | #2

    Formica comes is various colors. For some nicer colors you need to pay a little bit more. For kitchen countertops removal I highly recommend hiring a professional (it can get messy :) ). Bathroom removal is ok for an average handyman.

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