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How to remove tiles

Whether you’re completely renovating your bathroom or just want to freshen up your kitchen, removing tiles is a relatively straight forward job. In this guide, we take a look at how you can safely remove your wall tiles ready for a fresh set.

Bathroom with white and grey tiles, wood effect vanity unit and large rectangular mirrorBathroom with white and grey tiles, wood effect vanity unit and large rectangular mirrorBathroom with white and grey tiles, wood effect vanity unit and large rectangular mirrorBathroom with white and grey tiles, wood effect vanity unit and large rectangular mirror

Safety

When you’re removing tiles it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself. Chipping away at tiles can cause pieces of tile to fly around the room, often unpredictably. As a result, you should always wear a pair of safety glasses and gloves when removing tiles.

You may also want to wear a long sleeved top and trousers and a pair of safety footwear to protect your feet if any tiles fall off the wall. When you're removing tiles the room can get very dusty, so it’s also advisable to wear a face mask.

Equipment:

How to remove tiles:

1. Prepare the room

Before you can start removing your tiles it’s important to prepare the room you’re working in. As pieces of tile can break off while you’re removing them, we recommend protecting anything in the room that you won’t be replacing with dust sheets.

Even with the best care, sometimes tiles can fall on the floor as you try to remove them, so it’s a good idea to soften the landing with some larger pieces of cardboard folded in half. This should reduce the number of tile pieces you’ll need to collect if you do drop one.

2. Remove the first tile

The first tile is usually the most difficult to remove. If there’s already a broken tile, you can start with this. Put your chisel in the centre of this tile and tap it with your hammer until you can shatter it completely. You can then remove the pieces which will give you easy access to the tiles around it.

If none of your tiles are broken, you'll want to see if any are loose. Use your chisel to lightly tap your tiles, you should be able to hear if any are particularly loose compared to others. You can then give this tile a tap with the chisel until you’re able to break it and remove the pieces.

Lastly, for a cleaner removal, you can use a grout removal blade to scrape out the grout around a particular tile. This will give you access to push your chisel underneath the tile to lever it off the wall.

Removing tiles with a chiselRemoving tiles with a chiselRemoving tiles with a chiselRemoving tiles with a chisel

3. Removing further tiles

Once you have access to get your chisel underneath the tiles, you can start removing them.

Place your chisel underneath the edge of the tile and tap it lightly with the hammer to push it further underneath. Depending on how much tile adhesive was used, you may now be able to move the chisel towards you to lever the tile up and remove it from the wall.

If you’re working with larger tiles or the tiles have a particularly strong bond to the wall, you may need to remove the chisel and tap it underneath the tile in multiple places, or push the chisel further underneath the tile. The more you can loosen the tile before levering it, the greater the chance you’ll be able to remove the tile in one piece.

As you work across the wall, you should start to get a feel for how much force and leverage is needed to remove each tile.

It can be difficult to predict when a tile might come off the wall. Some will require lots of leverage, others will only need a couple of light taps to come off the wall.  We therefore recommend having someone on hand ready to catch the tiles before they hit the ground.

removing-tiles-using-a-chiselremoving-tiles-using-a-chiselremoving-tiles-using-a-chiselremoving-tiles-using-a-chisel

Top tip:

Be careful when removing tiles on plasterboard walls, if you push the chisel against the plasterboard rather than a stud as you lever the tiles, you could push a hole in the plasterboard.


4. Dispose of the tiles

Once you’ve removed the tiles, all that’s left to do is clean up your working area and dispose of your tiles. Be sure to check the rules for your local council as some may charge for the disposal of tiles.

Pile of broken tilesPile of broken tilesPile of broken tilesPile of broken tiles

That concludes our guide to removing tiles. If you’re looking for tile ideas, browse our extensive range of kitchen and bathroom tiles.