How to Remove Tile in 7 Simple Steps

how to remove tile steps replace tiling bathroom floors

Do you have an ugly tile floor in your kitchen that you want to replace? Or do you have tiles on the walls in your bathroom that you want to remove?

You could call up a professional and have them get rid of your old tiles for you. But why do that when you can do it yourself and save some money removing tiles yourself?

Once you learn how to remove tile, it's a lot easier to do than you might think. Here are the seven steps you'll need to take to remove tiles from a floor or tiles on the wall in your home.

1. Get Your Hands on the Tools You'll Need

Before you start trying to figure out how to remove tile from a floor or wall, it's important for you to get the tools you'll need to complete the job. The job is going to take a lot longer than it should if you don't have the proper tools on hand.

To remove tile, you're going to need:

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Scraper
  • Broom
  • Bucket or wheelbarrow
  • Vacuum cleaner

Place these tools in the area in which you're working so that they're always nearby when you need them.

2. Prepare Your Home for Tile Removal

Removing tile from a floor or wall might not seem like it would be the messiest job in the world. But it's going to get very dusty in your home once you start working.

Therefore, it's important for you to get your home ready for all the dust that's going to be floating around in the air. Right before you begin the tile removal process, you should:

  • Shut off your home's HVAC system if you have it running
  • Close any vents in the room where you're going to be removing tile
  • Open up windows to give dust somewhere to go
  • Place plastic sheeting over doorways to stop dust from spreading throughout your home

By doing these things, you'll protect your home from the dust that's going to get kicked up as you remove tiles. You should consider protecting yourself as well by putting on protective glasses and work gloves.

3. Find the Best Place to Start Removing Tiles

Once you have the right tools and have your home prepared for tile removal, it'll officially be time for you to get started. But when you're standing in front of a large tile floor or walls covered with tiles, it can be challenging trying to find the right place to start.

Ideally, you should look for either a broken tile or an area in which a tile is missing. This will provide you with the perfect starting point.

But if you don't have a broken or missing tile in your floor or wall, start along one of the many grout lines in between your tiles. You should be able to chip away at the grout and give yourself a solid starting point.

Either way, begin by sticking your chisel into the spot where you are going to start and hitting it hard with your hammer. This will help you remove the first of many tiles from your floor or wall.

4. Figure out What Was Used to Put the Tiles Down

When you remove your first tile from your floor or wall, watch how it breaks. This will tell you everything you need to know about what was used to put the tile down.

If your first tile breaks into several larger pieces, this will suggest that mastic was used to install your floor or wall tiles. Mastic is an adhesive that is often used to lay down tile, and it'll make your job a lot easier when you're removing tile.

If, however, your first tile doesn't break when you use your chisel and hammer, this likely means that mortar was used to install your floor or wall tiles. You're going to have a much tougher tile removing tiles if this is the case.

5. Use the Appropriate Technique to Remove Tiles

The technique that you use to remove the remainder of your tiles depends on whether mastic or mortar was used to put the tiles down. You should choose the right technique based on what lies beneath your floor or wall tiles.

If you find that mastic was used, you can chisel away at a few more tiles before using a scraper to take up the tiles in chunks. You can stick the scraper right under tiles and pop them up one at a time without much effort at all.

If you find that mortar was used, it'll be a different story. You're going to need to continue using a hammer and chisel for pretty much the entire time. You may also need to put a lot of effort into breaking tiles up and removing them from your floor or wall.

That's not to say that removing tiles that were put down with mortar can't be done. But you'll need to spend a lot more time chiseling away at them to remove them all from your kitchen or bathroom space.

6. Dispose of Your Old Tiles

Regardless of which tile removal method you use, you should always make sure that old tiles are disposed of properly.

As you remove tiles from your floor or wall, place them into a bucket or a wheelbarrow and carry them outside. Put them into a small dumpster or dumpster bag so that they can be picked up and hauled off later.

7. Finish the Job by Vacuuming the Space

After you've removed all the tiles from your floor or walls, you're going to be left with a bunch of dust and tile fragments all over the place. Remove them from your space by vacuuming with a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner.

Leave the space sealed off for a day or so until all the dust in the air settles and then vacuum again. This will conclude the tile removal process and allow you to move on to the next phase of your tiling or other home improvement project. 

It's Not Difficult to Learn How to Remove Tile

Removing tile can be a very laborious job. There are some people who pay someone else to do it to avoid having to take on tiling themselves.

But once you learn how to remove tile and get the hang of it, it's not always as bad as people think. You might be able to get rid of a tile floor or tiles on a wall within just a few hours.

Check out the rest of our blog to see some other simple home improvements that you can do on your own in addition to tile removal. Click on the Real Estate section of our site right now for more home renovation guides!

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