View Full Version : Laminate Backsplash (I hate it!)
01-06-2005, 08:41 AM
So glad to find you guys! I have been planning laying stone tile on my backsplash for about 6 months now. I have purchased the tile,(3X6 tumbled travertine)but have just now gotten up the nerve to get started. I have a laminate countertop with a 1X4 laminate backsplash. This backsplash appears to be a seperate piece, sort of like a slab backsplash on a granite top. I don't hate the countertop and I need to keep it for a few more years. I want to tile the wall backsplash down to the countertop. I have had different opinions expressed on how to deal with the 4" piece. I also want to be able to easily replace the countertop with granite someday without completely ruining my backsplash.
I understand that it is a bad idea to tile over laminate. I don't have any idea as to how this backsplash is attached to my cabinets. I'm afraid I can't remove it without damaging my countertop. I thought I might put backerboard on the wall. Can I put backerboard on this small backsplash as well? If so, what is the best way to attach this?
I also have electric outlets in this wall. Do I need to do anything with these before I tile?
Thanks for your help!
01-06-2005, 09:30 AM
Yes, you can tile over laminate by screwing backerboard to it. Where this becomes a bad idea is if the laminate is glued to particle board. PB is bad news under tile, because it can swell when it gets wet.
You can attach backerboard to the wall or you can tile directly on the drywall, provided it is thoroughly degreased. Wall outlets can be extended or moved, or you can simply cut the tile fairly close (so the "ears" of the outlet can rest on the tile) and use longer screws.
If I may suggest this, I think that now is not the time to take on this project. 1) You are doing things in reverse order (countertop first, backsplash second.) 2) You do not know how to remove the existing backsplash, and you want to save the existing countertop. You may find that the backsplash is attached to the back edge of the countertop and you may damage it finding out.
Until you are ready to replace the countertop, why not treat yourself to a new toaster oven, canister set, and maybe a knick-knack or two and line them up in front of the backsplash so you no longer have to look at it? :D
01-06-2005, 01:22 PM
:cry: Bob, Bob, Bob! Your answer was not the one I was hoping for! (You must know my husband, who hates for me to do stuff like this.)
I'm having a tough time understanding where there will be very much moisture getting under the tile. I'm not planning on taking the laminate off of the backsplash (1X4"), just screwing the cement backerboard to it. Since it is on the wall, will that much moisture leak through the tile, through the cement backerboard and into the holes where the screws are to even get to the particle board? ( I don't know if that is what is under the laminate.) I'm not tiling the countertop, just this small backspash and the wall behind it.
I'm really hoping to get a beautiful, stone backsplash. A new toaster oven or canister set just won't do. I am a woman with a mission!
Thanks for being truthful with me on this, I am just hoping that you might have another option for me.
01-06-2005, 01:27 PM
Nevermind steam from boiling water on the stove-- just humidity in the air is enough to make particle board swell. Not a good idea. :)
01-06-2005, 01:28 PM
My guess is that there is a crack between the backsplash and the counter. If water got into that crack, it would expand the partical board, and depending on how much and how long, probably delaminate most of it, cracking your grout at the minimum, and probably your tile. If this is one of those heat formed one-piece tops, then there is a continuous piece, and this is not likely to happen. There is a right way, a wrong way...how lucky do your feel? A new counter could easily be a different thickness than what you have. A stone slab could be thicker, then how do you get it in there? If you wanted to tile, then you need plywood and backer board, then the tile. Getting an acceptable looking gap could be a real problem. Then what do you do? Tear it out and start over?
Have you tried to remove the laminate backsplash? We just recently bought this house and it had a single course of 4x4 tile as the backsplash and we found the laminate backsplash in the garage, with adhesive on the back, so I'm assuming that the previous owner removed it and then had the tile installed. I'm not a pro, just another woman on a mission, but I'd try to figure out a way to get that old backsplash out of there. Is there a less conspicuous spot where you can use a small prybar and start trying to wigglewiggle the old one off? By "wigglewiggle" I mean don't go in there with the biggest crowbar you can find and yank it off... just wiggle it behind there and try to see how it might be separating from the wall and whether it seems to be getting stuck at the bottom where it might be somehow fastened to the countertop. I doubt it would be, based on my own experience and on the experience of my sister who just got a new laminate countertop installed and the backsplash was definitely put on separately and fastened to the wall, not to the counter itself... but the pros here definitely have more experience than I do!
You might have the patch the drywall behind a bit but it can't be any worse than the mess I was left with trying to get tile off the wall. My dad has a saying... you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs! But he's a carpenter and is very very good at putting humpty dumpty back together again! I personally would not try to tile over the old backsplash.
You are definitely doing things backward if you are planning to get a new counter at some point, but I would just make sure you have a semi-generous gap between the tile and the countertop (maybe 1/8"), caulk that gap and buy a bunch of extra tiles to keep and hope for the best if and when you remove the old countertop and install a new one. I have considered that at some point we might get a new countertop but it's not going to happen in the forseeable future, so I just went for it in regard to the backspash. Having a nice backsplash has actually made me like my laminate more!
01-06-2005, 09:24 PM
Thanks for the info. I have not yet tried to pry off the old backsplash. I know I can't get a whole new counter right now and am a little nervous to do that, but I guess I need to. I don't really dislike my counter top at all, but I do dislike that little 4" backsplash. I just hate to run tile up to it without covering it. The tiled backsplash would look so much better if it ran all the way to the cabinet top. The backsplash is not attached to the wall all the way around. I think our wall is a little crooked, so there is some space in between. The seam where the backsplash meets the top of the counter seems to be sealed well( we built this house 11 years ago and never any problem), but I can't see any caulk or anything. It must be sealed at that point with something.
I guess I thought that if I screwed backerboard into the laminate and made a "cover" for it, the tile would stick to it and be okay. (I know there would be a small ledge there, but I already have that anyway) It shouldn't be very damp or moist very often. I have a downdraft cooktop with ventilation on that side of the kitchen and it keeps out most of the steam.
I was just hoping I could do something to spruce this up short of a whole new countertop. I already have the tile and am ready to go! Thanks
I agree with the folks that think you are going about this project bass ackwards, but here are a few more considerations, anyway.
First remember the the backsplash tiles will be on top of the back edge of the countertop. This means that the top cannot be lifted up to remove it. It will have to slide out horizontally. With some configurations, like an "L" shape with a tall cabinet or wall on both ends, that will be impossible.
Next, try to determine if there are screws driven up through the back of top into the edge of the splash. You probably won't be able to see the heads due to the top back rail of the base cabinets. An old-fashioned magnetic (not electronic) stud finder might help you detect those screws through the front of the backsplash.
Finally, when trying to pry things apart gently, I like this technique. Get a package or two of 99-cent softwood shims. Work the tip of a shim behind the backsplash at one end, or wherever you can find a small gap. Tap it in just until the gap widens just a bit. Then add a second shim at one end of the now-longer gap. Tap the first shim down just a bit more. Then add a third shim further down the gap. Keep up the process of slowly advancing the shims and adding more until you have the entire splash away from the wall. Usually works well without damaging the wall. Great for removing old mouldings intact.
Good luck, and let all of us out in Cybertileland how it goes.
01-07-2005, 12:26 AM
If you are really, really sick of the backsplash and want to do something to spruce it up, how about painting it? I know that it is usually not a good idea to paint laminate, but you could probably get away with painting the backsplash, as it doesn't get that much abuse. You could do it in a faux tile design, sort of a trial of how the real tile will look when you finally get your beautiful new granite countertops! Here are some instructions on painting laminate: http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/christopherlowell/classics/countertops/countertops.html
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