How to Remove Tiles Easily and Effectively in 7 Simple Steps
August 16, 2019

Learning how to remove tiles can seem like a daunting process. However, if you take the proper safety precautions and tackle the process with patience you are bound to succeed. To get you started we’ve included 7 simple steps that you can follow as a guideline for removing tiles.

Not sure if you’ll have the time to remove the tiles yourself? Don’t sweat it Bidvine has you covered. Simply click to submit a request for free and then get bids from local tile repairmen for your project!

Then, to plan a budget for your tiling project check out our handy tiling price guide to learn more about which factors influence tile installation, repair, and removal in the UK!

How to Remove Tiles - Safety First

1. Safety First

First things first, when removing tiles you need to keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Sometimes in order to remove the tiles, you will have to break them with a hammer and chisel. This could cause shards of tile to fly out from any direction. Needless to say, to protect yourself from these shards you need to take a few key precautions.

The main safety related items you will need are a hardy pair of work gloves, a pair of safety goggles and a dust mask. While the gloves protect your hands from fly away shards, the safety goggles will protect your eyes. Then, the mask will help to filter out any tile dust that begins floating in the atmosphere as a result of the removal process.

If you don’t own any of these items, don’t stress. Safety goggles and work gloves are available at most hardware shops.

Keep in mind that if you have allergies to dust or you have asthma, you may want to avoid tackling this project on your own. Your health is a top consideration.

Protect Your Surroundings

2. Protect Your Surroundings

After you’ve looked after protecting yourself you should also protect your surroundings. Shards of tile can easily scuff or dent the other surfaces in the room.

Are you removing bathroom tiles? Then you should cover the tub, the sink and any other porcelain fixtures with a drop cloth. In the case of removing a tile wall, you should also cover up the floor. As you remove the tiles they may accidentally drop and shatter. This could scuff a hardwood, laminate or even tile floor.

However, if you take the time to cover up these surfaces in advance, you won’t need to worry about any stray shards causing damage.

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Prep The Vents

3. Prep the Vents

Your home’s vents are responsible for circulating air throughout your home. Anything that gets trapped in them will circulate too.

The process of removing tiles can create a substantial amount of dust. If you don’t cover up your vents ahead of time this dust will likely get trapped inside them and then circulate throughout your home.

To prepare your vents cover each one with plastic. Then using tape, seal it around all four edges. When done properly, this will prevent any of the dust caused by your tile removal project from getting stuck in the ventilation system.

When it is so simple to prepare your vents, there is no need for you and your loved ones to be breathing in tile dust long after the project has wrapped up.

Remove Fixtures Before Removing Tiles

4. Remove Fixtures

Once the vents have been covered it is time to remove any fixtures that might inhibit your ability to get rid of the tiles.

If you are removing wall tiles you should first turn off the power to that room. Then, once this off you can unfasten outlet and light switch covers. Otherwise, these will prevent you from accessing and then removing the tiles beneath them.

Depending on where on the wall you are removing tiles from, you may also need to take off the trim. If you are removing floor tiles then you will definitely need to do this. If you do need to remove the trim, take your time. With patience, you should be able to effectively remove the trim without damaging it. That way you can reuse the trim again.

Scrape Out The Grout

5. Scrape out the Grout

Scraping the grout out of your tiles can be a tricky process. This is especially true if you only plan to remove a few tiles or wall tiles in particular. When removing just a few tiles you will need to take special care not to damage any of the surrounding tiles, or else the project will be far more extensive than you had planned.

Removing grout from wall tiles is also trickier than removing it from floor tiles. The grout in wall tiles is usually much thinner than the grout on floor tiles. So, the process of scraping it out without damaging surrounding tiles is far more delicate.

The easiest way to scrape the grout out of these areas delicately is with a utility knife. Though using a utility knife will take longer than a power tool like a rotary grinder, it is far less likely to damage nearby tiles. In contrast, a rotary grinder can easily cut into a nearby tile if your hand slips.

No matter how you choose to remove the grout whether with a utility knife or a rotary grinder, keep the area clean. As you work, take breaks to vacuum up the dust that the grout removal process creates. This will ensure that you can continue to clearly see the area where you are working.

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Remove The Tiles

6. Remove the Tiles

Now that all of the grout is gone, it is time to remove those old tiles! For this stage of the removal process, the only tools you should need are a hammer and a chisel. Slide the chisel between the wall (or floor) and the tile. Then hit the end of the chisel with your hammer to apply pressure to it. This should loosen the tile from its adhesive. You may need to follow this process in a few spots along the backing of the tile to get it to completely loosen.

Once your first tile is out, continue chiselling and hammering along the newly exposed edges of the surrounding tiles. Repeat until all of the tiles that you would like to remove have been.

Are you still having difficulty removing that first tile? Are there a few lingering tiles that just won’t budge? Then you might just need to break them.

First, create a hole at the centre of the tile with the hammer and chisel. Once this hole has been made continue to chisel away at the pieces of tile which remain along the edges. If you plan to keep some of the surrounding tiles be sure to take care during this step.

Remove The Adhesive

7. Remove the Adhesive

After the tiles have been completely removed you will now need to get rid of the tiling adhesive that is still attached to the wall or floor.

It is fairly easy to remove this by scraping the adhesive with a putty knife. Though this won’t remove everything it should help you get the majority of the surface even. Then you can sand any remaining areas that are uneven to level it out. This will be beneficial if you plan to re-tile the wall as it will ensure that the new layer of tiles is completely even.

If it is a floor that you are removing the tiles from, you may also need to get rid of the underlayment. Simply unscrew any screws which are keeping it attached to the subfloor. Once these are gone you should be able to simply lift it off. That being said, if your underlayment is still in good condition, then you can skip this step.

That’s it! Once you have reached this step you are all done removing your tiles. Now it’s time to hit the drawing board and plan out a new updated look for your home!

Then simply submit a free request to get bids from top tiling professionals in your area!

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Can You Tile over Old Tiles?

The answer to this question brings good news. In most cases, you can absolutely tile over old tiles!

To determine if your floor or wall is a good candidate for retiling, you need to consider the state of the old tiles. Are they in relatively good shape or have they completely degraded over time? If the tiles are in good shape structurally and are mostly still intact then your floor is an excellent candidate.

On the other hand, if your tiles are mostly chipped, broken, cracked or loose you should just remove them entirely.While it may seem counterintuitive to bother worrying about the old tiles when the goal is replacing them, the old layer is key to the project’s structural integrity.

No matter whether you are tiling over tiles on a floor or a wall, your new tiles will need a stable base. If the old tiles are in bad shape, the new tiles won’t adhere correctly. In the case of a floor, this could cause both layers of tiles to lift up. If there are extensive chips and cracks then the top layer of tiles might even weaken over time due to pressure from daily walking.

Shower tiles

Why Should You Re-Tile?

While the process might seem daunting, you shouldn’t avoid the retiling process. It is important to keep your tiles in top shape both for the sake of aesthetic and practicality. If you don’t tend to broken, chipped or uplifted tiles it will not only be unsightly but it could also lead to further damages later on.

For instance, if you leave a bathroom floor or bathroom walls untended water damage could easily strike. Damaged tiles or tiles that are literally lifting off your floors or walls provide the perfect entry for water. Moisture and steam from your shower can easily creep behind these tiles. When this occurs moisture will continue to build up threatening the plaster and dry lining which lies behind the tile. It could even lead to mould growth!

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Which Bathroom Tiles Are Right for Me?

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Essentially, natural stone tiles will need sealing a lot more regularly. So if you’re a D.I.Y. novice, or short on time, you might want to steer clear of them as they require quite a lot of upkeep.

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Best Kitchen Splashback Ideas


1. Arabesque Tiles

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2. Black Glass Splashback

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3. Chalkboard Splashback

If you always find yourself forgetting your grocery list or bits of your family's schedule, this idea is for you. This is one of the most customisable kitchen splashback ideas on our list, simply due to the fact that you can draw on it with chalk! A chalkboard splashback will allow your family to write down a grocery list in one spot or to just write notes to each other. Chalkboard paint can add function to many parts of your home, check out this article to find some inspiration.


4. Chevron Tiles

Chevron has been very trendy for the past few years, and it's not going away anytime soon. This kitchen splashback runs from the floor to the ceiling in the entire room, but you don't have to go that far. If you made the stripes shorter, you could recreate a similar look between your worktop and upper cabinets.


5. Copper Splashback

You already know we love the idea of a copper sink, but why not take it a step further and install copper as your kitchen splashback? Copper is durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean, and these qualities make it an ideal material for kitchen splashbacks. It is also antimicrobial, meaning that it kills almost 100% of bacteria that cause healthcare-related illnesses. Who doesn't want a more sanitary kitchen?


6. Diamond Kitchen Tiles

If you want tiles that look a bit more exciting than subways tiles but don't want to go straight for Arabesque or hexagonal tiles, diamond-shaped tiles are perfect for you. These beautiful tiles are available in a wide range of materials and colours depending on your tastes and the colour scheme of your kitchen. This kitchen features marble diamond tiles and neutral finishes, giving the kitchen a high-end look.


7. Geometric Tiles

Add some visual interest to your kitchen by installing one of our favourite kitchen splashback ideas. This is just one of the many modern kitchen splashbacks available to you, and we think it looks perfect. The diamond tiles are rotated to create a chevron pattern featuring different shades of grey, yellow, and cream tiles. The tiles pair well with the asymmetric kitchen cabinets and unique kitchen island.


8. Herringbone Tiles

Do you love the look of a chevron splashback but only want to use one tile colour? If your answer is "yes," rectangular tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern is right up your alley. For this look, you can either use skinny rectangles (pictured) or ordinary subway tiles. Both will look great, it just depends on your preference. Installing tiles in a herringbone pattern is more laborious than installing them in a traditional manner, so keep that in mind when you're reviewing bids.


9. Hexagonal Wall Tiles

These wall tiles look perfect arranged in a random pattern (pictured) or all in one colour. Hexagonal tiles add a unique flare to any kitchen, and your guests are sure to be impressed by your design taste when you install them. Like Arabesque tiles, hexagonal tiles are relatively expensive to install due to their shape. Keep this in mind when you're shopping for tiles and reviewing bids from interested professionals.


10. Iridescent Kitchen Splashback

If you're going for a truly glam look in your new kitchen, these tiles are perfect for you. You can often find iridescent tiles in shades of white, like the example in the photo. We love the use of both iridescent and glossy tiles in this kitchen, as it adds an extra bit of flair to the splashback. If you're installing small tiles like these, the installation cost can get quite expensive due to the labour required, but you may be able to find larger tiles that have a pattern built into them already. more

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