Backsplash mounted on plywood?

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Old 11-30-17, 06:00 AM
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Backsplash mounted on plywood?

I am planning to upgrade the backsplash in my kitchen using leftover ceramic tile from a recent shower build I completed in my master bathroom.

When I redid the shower, I was meticulous about using a water-resistant backer board, 2 coats of Red Guard, etc. to ensure everything was done properly and avoid moisture problems in the future...

But, when I began to remove the old porcelain tile in the kitchen, I noticed it' s simply mounted on plywood.

My question is whether or not installing on this material is ok since the backsplash tile is essentially decorative and not going to be constantly exposed to water like the shower?

Or, do I need to cut that out as well as the drywall behind it and replace those materials with the water-resistant backer board as I did with the shower?

Thank you in advance for the information. I always find responses on this forum invaluable.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:24 AM
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Tile on plywood is not the norm. Plywood is a poor substrate because the joints tend to expand and contract. So if the area is no larger than 4x8 it might be fine but the grout (and sometimes the tile) will tend to crack if the tile spans a joint in the plywood. A backsplash is not as critical an area as a countertop or a floor, however... which is why it has probably worked fine all these years. And it has evidentally stayed dry.

I would prefer to just have drywall on the walls behind the tile in an area that is not wet. Definitely no plywood... and using cement board would be fine but IMO that is overkill if the area is not wet.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:31 AM
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Thank you for the quick reply!

So for clarification, in this specific scenario, if I am able to remove the plywood without damaging the drywall behind it, it would be sufficient to install the tile directly to the drywall?

FYI - The backsplash area is roughly 12 ft (the length of the kitchen counter) x 15 inches (between the countertop and the bottom edge of the cabinetry.

(I honestly think the wood was put there so bullnose pieces could be used on the edges but I have no way of knowing for sure...)
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:36 AM
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Correct... assuming the drywall is smooth and the joints are finished. I thought the same thing due to the way those bullnose tiles lay.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:37 AM
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Does the plywood extend under the cabinets? They might have used plywood over the entire wall [behind cabinets] to provide easier support to screw the cabinets to.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:44 AM
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The plywood extends up to the bottom edge of the cabinets but does not go behind them. It doesn't go behind the countertop/lower cabinets either.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:48 AM
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I'd see if it can easily be removed. Hopefully it wasn't nailed and glued to the drywall.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:49 AM
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I assume the drywall behind the plywood is finished. You can see a bit of old wallpaper in the attached photo. That said, I won't know for sure until I remove the wood of course.
 
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Old 11-30-17, 06:52 AM
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Oh lord, I hope it wasn't glued... in that case I assume I'll have to cut everything I want to backsplash down to the studs.
 
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