By Kerry Hale

How to Remove Bathroom Tiles

  • Thursday 09 March 2023
  • 5 minute read

Are your bathroom tiles chipped, discoloured or outdated?

Find out how to remove old tiles in our step-by-step guide. It’s relatively easy if you have the right tools and are confident with DIY, so read on to discover our top tips.

Why remove tiles?

You might remove your bathroom tiles for several reasons, from design choices to preventing water damage. Perhaps you want to update the colour scheme or add a feature wall with some new tiles. Or, if you’re planning a bathroom renovation and reconfiguring the space, the tiled areas around the shower, bath or sink may need removing.

Another reason why you might remove tiles is if they’re damaged, letting water leak into the walls and causing damp or mould. Once the area has been waterproofed, you could replace the existing tiles with new ones or try wall panels instead. Mira wall panels come in various sizes, colours and designs. They’re quick to install, easier to clean and more waterproof than tiles.

How to remove bathroom tiles

What tools do you need to remove tiles?

Before you start removing tiles from the walls or floor, ensure you have the following safety equipment and tools:

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Cardboard or dust sheets to protect surfaces around the room
  • Masonry chisel
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Scraper
  • Drill

Step-by-step guide to removing bathroom tiles

Once you’ve protected the space with cardboard or dust sheets to prevent scratches and put on your PPE to keep yourself safe, you can start the removal process.

  1. Removing the first tile is always the hardest, as there’s no access from either side. Try to find a loose tile you can prize out with the chisel. If there isn’t one, you’ll have to break one.
  2. Place the chisel in the centre of the tile, then hit it with the hammer. Take care when doing this, as the tile will shatter into small pieces. We recommend using a cardboard box or bucket to collect the broken tiles, which can be sharp.
  3. Once the first tile is removed, accessing the surrounding tiles is much easier. Place the chisel against the wall or floor, tuck the end behind the tile, and tap it with the hammer to lodge it firmly. Then, move the chisel towards you to prize the tile away.
  4. After removing all the tiles, use the scraper to get rid of as much dried adhesive as possible. This will make the surface smoother for any further work, such as re-tiling, adding wall panels, plastering or painting.
  5. Collect as much debris as possible by hand, then use a dustpan and brush to remove the remainder. Finally, vacuum the room and wipe down surfaces to eliminate dust.

Questions about tile removal

Can you salvage tiles?

Some tiles can be salvaged after removal if they’re intact. Wondering how to remove wall tiles without breaking them? Work slowly and gently, especially when prizing them away from the surface. However, some tiles will be firmly stuck down, so breaking them is unavoidable.

Providing you have enough salvaged tiles, they can be reused elsewhere in your home. Broken tiles should be disposed of, or you can use them to create mosaic designs on plant pots, coasters, placemats and table tops. Take care when working with broken tiles, and file down any sharp edges.

How to remove adhesive from wall tiles

Use the scraper tool to remove dried adhesive from wall tiles. For stubborn glue, soak the tile in hot water until it softens, then try again.

How to remove dry grout from tiles

The best way to remove dry or hardened grout from tiles is with a scouring pad or wire wool. However, this may scratch the tile surface, so work slowly and carefully. For really tough grout, use the scraper tool, working at an acute angle to prevent damage to the tile surface.

 When replacing old tiles with new ones, learn how to tile your bathroom in our handy guide.

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