Bob Vila Radio: Removing Tile

Tile is one of the most durable installations around, so when it’s finally time to remove it, you might be tempted to break out the sledgehammer and hope for the best. A little patience and finesse can make the job much easier. 

Tile Removal



Listen to BOB VILA ON REMOVING TILE, or read the text below:

Wear eye protection, gloves and long sleeves and protect any surfaces you’re saving with a drop cloth or plywood. Start by removing just a few tiles near an edge where the tile meets another type of flooring or wall material. In a bathtub area, you might find loose tiles near the corner closest to the faucet that will pop right off. Remove the grout around the tile with a rotary tool or grout saw and cut any caulking with a knife. Pry the tile off with a stiff putty knife or break it in pieces first with a hammer and cold chisel and then scrape off the pieces.

With a few key tiles removed, pulverize a small section of the substrate with a hammer and use a long-handled flat garden spade to get underneath and pry the whole panel up rather than trying to remove individual tiles.

Take a little extra time to save tiles that are in good shape for re-use or recycling.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on flooring, consider:

Choosing the Right Floor Covering
Bathroom Floor Tile: Which Is Best For Your Bath?
Bathroom Floor Tile: 9 Options