Home Improvements

DIY Guide to Tile Removal

While tiles are extremely versatile, if you didn’t choose them carefully, they’ll look outdated pretty quickly. Unlike paint or wallpaper, a tile removal requires a few more tools. So be prepared to have your home look like a construction site for a while.

Tiles may seem like permanent features of your home, but with a bit of know-how and some elbow grease, you can get rid of them. 

Keep reading to find out how you can remove them yourself with this DIY tile removal guide.

tile removal article - purple tulips lying on a floor of checkered tiles with white, light purple and dark purple tiles

Prepare the Area

Before you start your DIY tile removal, you need to prepare the area. This includes removing any furniture from the area and covering anything that can’t be moved. If you’re removing wall tiles, you need to also remove anything on the walls.

Removing tiles generates a lot of dust, so you want to protect your belongings.

If you have baseboards, you’ll also want to remove those if the tiles run under them. You need to be gentle with removing your baseboard trim, as you might want to reinstall it again afterward.

To remove the trim, you’ll need to use a hammer and a thin putty knife. Using the hammer, tap the blade of the putty knife behind the skirting board and gently pry it loose.

kitchen counter with small potted plants, white cupboards above it and yellow and white checkered tiles on the wall

Make a Starting Point

Getting rid of the first tile is the hardest part of this process. It’s best to find a tile that’s already cracked or damaged in some way. From there, you want to use a hammer to break the tile apart.

Once the tile is completely destroyed, and you can remove all the grout and cement, you’ll have a starting point for the removal process.

orange tile steps with white grout

Start Removing All the Tiles

Now that your starting point is clear, you can remove the rest of the tiles. If you aren’t planning on saving any of the tiles, you can simply pry the tiles away from the floor and break apart the tiles that are more stubborn. Just don’t use too much force when you’re prying the tiles loose, as you can damage the wall or floor underneath the tiles.

If you want to save the tiles, you’ll need to go much slower. Chisel away all the grout that you can reach to help the process along. Then use a putty knife or any flat object to gently pry the tiles loose in one piece.

Once all the tiles are removed, you’ll need to get rid of any tile adhesive that still might be there. You can do this by either using an adhesive remover or slowly chiseling away at any leftover patches.

bathroom with big charcoal colour tiles on the walls

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I save the tiles?

Yes, you can definitely remove the tiles in one piece. You might break a few, especially the first one, in the removal process. But if you’re careful, you can save most of the tiles.

To do this, you need to focus on removing the grout between the tiles first. From there, gently pry the tile loose by shimmying a putty knife under the tile.

How can I keep all the dust contained?

Removing tiles is dirty work. While some dust spreading is unavoidable, if you cover all your furniture with a cloth or plastic sheeting, you’ll be able to keep them clean.

To keep the dust from spreading throughout your home, you can simply close off the area. Using a tarp and some tape, you can seal off doors and windows to keep the dust contained.

kitchen sink with white tiles and black grout behind it. Read this article for more tips on how to do a DIY tile removal

Tile Removal Made Easy

Removing tiles is a time-consuming process. A DIY tile removal will make a mess, and your home will temporarily look like a construction zone. But if you take the time to do a thorough job, then you’ll be pleased with the results. 

Whether you’re planning to get different floors put in or simply want new tiles, doing the tile removal yourself will save you some money along the way. 

And once the tiles are all gone, you can hire a tiling pro to install your new ones!

You’re in good company