Kitchen Backsplash Re-do
LESLIE: In Alabama we’ve got Pat who needs some help reinstalling a backsplash. What happened?
PAT: Hi. I bought a home that had mirrors for a backsplash in the kitchen.
TOM: Mirror. OK, that’s unusual.
PAT: Yes, and I would like to replace them with tile. Do I have to remove the mirrors or can I tile over them? I’ve tried to remove the mirrors but they appear to be glued to the wall.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, are they – is it fairly flat and solid?
PAT: No, they’re flat in the middle but kind of beveled on the outside of it.
TOM: I don’t know. What do you think, Leslie? Is it worth going on top of them? I think you probably can epoxy over it. It’ll be a fairly thick application when you’re done. But the problem is that because they’re glued on the wall, you’re going to end up really damaging the wall if you try to take them off. You’ll end up breaking them to take them off.
PAT: Yes, I know.
LESLIE: And what kind of tile do you want to put over it?
PAT: I was thinking of the – sort of the small, the little glass quarter-inch kind of tile.
LESLIE: Oh, like the pretty mosaic kind?
LESLIE: Well, I mean that tends to adhere really well. Because of the mesh backing it really does give a space for all of your mastic or whatever adhesive you’re putting on the back to sort of find into the nooks and crannies. You might – Tom, do you think it’s going to be too slick on the mirror and you might have to take some sandpaper just to sort of scuff up the face of the mirror …?
TOM: No, probably not because think about the mirror as it attaches to the wall. I mean you basically use an epoxy glue on that and that adheres well to the wall. So I think we can get the tiles to adhere to the mirror. You know, my choice is always to remove it; even though it’s a lot of work.
LESLIE: But mirror; it’s like a whole host of problems. You know, we have a good trick where you take some piano wire and if you can get behind it along the top and sort of take that wire back and forth and cut through the adhesive; but you’re destined to break that mirror and, you know, it could be a dangerous task.
TOM: You have to be very careful because you’ll get shards of glass; it’ll fly off. You have to wear gloves and safety glasses and, you know, another trick of the trade is to cover it with duct tape and then basically, very gently, try to break the mirror into pieces and then scrape it off the wall that way. You know, the good news is that even if you damage that drywall behind it …
LESLIE: You’re tiling over it.
TOM: … you’re tiling over it; so even if you peel the paper off, that the drywall is attached to, you’d probably still be OK.
TOM: So I would say if you can get the mirror off that would be my first choice. If not, I’m pretty sure that you could adhere the new mosaic tile right to the top of it.
PAT: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.