Tips for Removing Caulk from Drywall

Caulk is not often used on drywall, but you’ll occasionally find it sealing the crack between the wallboard and another material like a countertop or backsplash. If you intend to replace the counter or backsplash, you will need to remove the caulk without significantly damaging the drywall. Damage the drywall, and you may have to make a major patch, or even replace a large section of the wall.

Step 1: Cut away as much of the caulk as possible, trying to make the cut flush against the drywall. Always use a razor blade for this step, replacing the blade the moment it becomes dull.

Step 2: Cut away the caulk from the surface of the other material. If you intend to use the material, such as a countertop or backsplash again, be careful not to scratch the surface with the razor.

Step 3: Carefully remove the caulk with your finger. If you find an area where the caulk is still attached to the drywall, use your razor to detach the caulk: do not pull.

TIP: Pulling the caulk away could cause you to lift the paper surface of the drywall away with the caulk. If this occurs, stop, and cut the paper that was detached from the wall with a utility knife. Plan on patching that area carefully later.

Step 4: Sand away any remaining caulk from the surface of the drywall. Wipe away any dust with a clean cloth.

Step 5: Patch any areas where the drywall is not completely flat with joint compound and a plastic putty knife. Allow the patches to dry completely before continuing.

Step 6: Lightly sand away any imperfections on the patches. If the joint compound has shrunk, add a second layer until the patch is flush with the wallboard.

Step 7: Paint the surface of the wall to match the rest of the wall. Allow the wallboard to dry completely before proceeding with your project.

TIP: Depending on the color, you may not be able to perfectly match the rest of the wall. In this case, plan on repainting the wall that was affected. In most cases, very slight color variations will be undetectable from wall to wall.

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