How to Remove Wall Tiles

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How to Remove Wall Tiles

Removing wall tiles may be necessary when preparing to redecorate to remove a single damaged tile in order to replace it with a new one. Although removing a wall tile without damaging the tiles or fixtures around it can be tricky, even people who are new to DIY can successfully complete the task if they use just a little care and attention.


Tools for Removing Wall Tiles

Removing wall tiles requires just a few simple tools: a utility knife, a hammer, a putty knife or chisel, and some protective clothing to protect the skin and eyes. These tools are available to buy on eBay or in most local hardware stores.


Remove the Tile Grout

The grout between wall tiles, along with the tile adhesive on the back of each tile, is responsible in holding them in place. In order to remove a tile, one must first scrape away the grout around the tile using a utility knife. Run the knife along each grout line to break up the grout, and scrape away any loose sections. Grout often crumbles as it ages so it should be relatively easy to remove as long as the tiles haven’t been recently installed. Be patient and move slowly and carefully to avoid breaking the nearby tiles or cutting a finger with the knife.


Pry the Tile Away From the Wall

The easiest way to remove a tile is to use a chisel, or even a putty knife, to pry it away from the wall. Tile adhesive weakens over time, so it should be possible to pry the tile off the wall without applying enough force to damage other tiles. This method can sometimes remove the tile in a whole piece, which cuts down on mess. Wedge the chisel or knife behind one edge of the tile, use a hammer to drive it deeper if necessary, and then use the leverage that the tool provides to force the tile away from the wall.


Break Up and Remove the Tile

If the tile refuses to budge in response to efforts to pry it off the wall, or it is not possible to force the chisel into the gap behind the tile, then the only solution is to break the tile into pieces and chip each fragment away. First, use a hammer and chisel to knock a hole in the middle of the wall tile. Next, chip the tile away, piece by piece, until it has completely been removed. Remember to also remove the dried tile adhesive from the wall to create a smooth surface before applying a new tile or attempting to redecorate the wall.


Stay Safe While Removing Wall Tiles

Wall tiles often break during the removal process. Wear safety glasses to protect eyes from flying shards of tile. Leather gloves and a long-sleeved shirt can protect the skin from sharp tile edges or other harmful materials.

With patience and the right tools, one can remove wall tiles without damaging the wall, the surrounding tiles, or nearby fixtures and fittings. Even novice do-it-yourselfers can usually remove tiles in order to replace them or redecorate the wall.

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