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If the texture is a sparyed-on or roll-on application, there are strippers which will loosen and allow that to be scraped-off. If it is drywall mud, it's not coming off so easily and you will spend many hours and create a huge mess sanding that down with an orbital sander... then potentially have to re-skim to get the surface ready to accept a good tile job.
We do a lot of backsplashes in existing homes. When the substrate (the surface to which the tile is to be applied) is not satisfactorily flat and smooth, we find that the quickest, cleanest, simplest solution is to remove the drywall and replace with new, moisture-resistant drywall.
I am not sure where you are located, but have you looked through the GuildQuality Contractors to see if there are any members in your area? A tile contractor or renovation company would defintely be able to help you!
We like to use a sanded caulk that matches the grout for that seam between the countertop and backsplash. The flexibility of the caulk allows it to expand and contract without cracking out like normal grout. It's not a forever fix and needs to be touched up occasionaly, but it's a much better solution than just grouting that joint.
The trick with caulking is to spray the wet caulking with Windex and then tool it with your finger. For "rookies" you may want to use masking tape. Here is a YouTube video that might help, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPGKdwnHhaE
First, clean out the existing caulk the best you can with a utility knife, flat razor or a putty knife. To get it extra clean and depending on what type of caulk was there before, you can use baking soda and a rag to remove hard water build up and caulk residue. Once you've done that, I recommend GE Silicone 2 or Dap Kitchen and bath caulk. (I like the small hand tubes, not the kind that goes in a gun.) Water based caulks are easier to work with, but silicone has it's advantages. To apply silicone, clean and dry the area, apply a small bead, then spray the area with soapy water. This will keep the silicone from spreading up the edge of the splash or onto the counter. Then wipe once with your finger and your done. The waterbased caulk can be applied in a small bead and then cleaned up/smoothed with a wet rag.
BOMB SQUAD ANSWER// HTH or better known as house hold bleach. As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operator House hold bleach can be your greatest weapon for biological items such as mold. Add a little dawn soap to stick to the surface. Spray, allow to treat, and then scrub and rinse!
Pres Gavigan Construction http://gaviganhomes.com/about-us/
Clorox foaming spray works great. Just spray it on and leave it sit. No need to rinse or scrub. It may take several applications. It is washed off when you use the shower the next time. it will even remove mold behind the caulk after several applications.
You didn't mention if the grout was colored. Be very careful to NOT use any bleach based products on any colored grouts. Something that works good on all types of grout is bon-ami mixed with vinegar. Dig out any caulk before doing this. Let completely dry after cleaning before applying any sealer and finally caulking. We like and use Impregnator tile sealer.
This is a spot where cracks often develop. After cleaning with a a mildewcide, check carefully for a crack. If the grout is cracked, open the crack up a little wider with a grout saw (inexpensive at a hardware store) or steel blade and fill it with a color matched caulk or sanded sealer from the tile store. If the crack has moisture, let it dry well before caulking.
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