Tile Removal Tips

Removing tile is right up there with removing wallpaper as one of the more challenging DIY jobs. If you’ve decided it’s time for new tile, you’ll have to remove the old. This process becomes a lot trickier if you want to salvage the existing tile for use in another project.
This project’s degree of difficulty is dependent on how the tiles were originally affixed to the surface. Some are attached to the wallboard, which means a relatively easy removal. If the tiles are more firmly attached, you may have to break them into small pieces in order to get them off.
Before we get into supplies and suggested tactics, keep in mind that you’ll want to wear safety gear while tackling this project. Protective eye coverings, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt are all suggested to keep you safe from flying tile fragments, which can be quite sharp.

2-3″ putty knife
Utility knife
Grout removal tool
Flat-head screwdriver
Removal Tips
*Use the grout removal tool to scrape away the existing grout, which will make the tile easier to pry loose. You can use a heat gun on a low setting to soften the caulking and grout, which makes removal a little easier.
*Once the grout has been removed, try to slide the putty knife between the tile and the wall and pry the tile loose. This is when you’ll determine how firmly the tile was affixed to the wall, so you may need to apply some force.
*This is a tough job, but if you can help it, avoid causing damage to the drywall or wall board, which would need to be repaired before you install the new tile.
*Use the hammer to lightly tap on the handle of the putty knife and drive it further under the tile. You can use this approach on all sides of the tile, working to loosen it from all sides.
*The first tile is generally the trickiest to remove, so once you have a couple of tiles down, you’ll be able to find a rhythm and an ideal removal technique.
Have you tackled DIY tile removal? We’d love to hear any additional tips you have!
Photo: Flickr.com/lavenderstreak

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