How to Remove Old Tiles

So you’ve decided that your bathroom, kitchen or en suite is in desperate need of a makeover. You’re sick to death of the drab old décor, and it’s time for a change. You may even have settled on some stylish new tiles already.

But you have a problem – your old wall or floor is still covered in old, dated tiles; ugly ones from the 1970s. Don’t worry – removing tiles is an easy job, and we’re here to show you how to remove old tiles!

Have a look at our 7 simple steps to removing old tiles.

1) Safety first

When you start chipping away at tiles, you’ll often find that shards of ceramic, porcelain or glass will start flying around the room. So it’s important to protect yourself. Grab some safety goggles and protective gloves. These will protect your eyes and hands from any pieces of tile that may shoot from the wall or floor.

If you have a friend who can help you catch the larger tiles as they fall from a wall, then excellent – have them put on goggles and gloves, too.

2) Cover up!

Once you’re armoured up, it’s time to protect the room around you. It goes without saying that if large, sharp pieces of tile are falling from a wall into your bathtub, shower tray or sink – whether made of ceramic, metal or plastic – they may get scratched. So cover them up! Cardboard is pretty good for protecting these spaces from falling tiles. For extra protection, drape an old sheet over them, too.

3) Assemble your tools

The next step in our guide ‘How to remove old tiles’ is to tool up! For removing tiles, there are two tools you’ll need. A fairly thin chisel, and a hammer. If you don’t have a chisel, you could try using a large, sharp-pointed flat-headed screwdriver.

4) Get started

The first tile you’ll remove will be the hardest, as there is usually no easy access from the sides. Using the butt of the hammer, prod the corners of random tiles. Try to feel for a loose one, as this will be easier to remove.

If you do find a loose one, prize it out with the chisel. If you don’t find a loose one, no problem – you’ll have to break one. Stick the chisel in the centre of one tile, and hit it with the hammer. This should shatter the tile, and you’ll then be able to remove the individual pieces.

5) Work with ease…

Once you’ve removed one tile, there should be easy access to the gaps behind the surrounding tiles. Simply sit the chisel against the wall or floor, with its point tucked behind the tile you’re working on, and tap it with the hammer, so that it’s sunken nicely behind the tile. Then, pull the chisel slowly towards you, so that it prizes the tile from the wall or floor.

If you’re working on a wall and you do have a friend there to assist you, have them try to catch the tile. If they can prevent it from falling, there will be less chance of damage being done to whatever surface lies below.

6) Tidy up

Once you’ve removed all of the tiles, try to get as much dried adhesive off the wall or floor as you can – it should come away fairly easily by gently tapping it with the chisel and hammer. When applying your new tiles, you’ll need to tile onto a flat, sound surface, so this will help.

If you’ve used dust sheets, these should have caught most of the debris. Put all your waste and broken tiles into a cardboard box (bin bags might rip open due to the sharp pieces) and dispose of them in your regular refuse bin, or take them to the tip. Use a dustpan and brush to pick up any loose pieces that the dust sheets didn’t catch. Then finally, give the room a good hoovering to ensure you’ve picked up all the pieces and residue.

If many of the tiles you removed are still intact, decide what you want to do with them. You may be able to scrape the adhesive off the back of them. If so, they could be re-used – so you could offer them to friends or family. Alternatively, you can bin them.

7) Mission complete!

Once you’ve tidied up, you’ll find yourself with a bare wall or floor space; ready for preparing for tiling! If you haven’t decided on which tiles you’ll be using yet, browse our range of over 2000 tile designs, where you’ll find our Rustic Oak Wood Effect Tiles as shown below!

As featured in Channel 4’s popular Grand Designs Magazine, these oak wood effect ceramic tiles are the closest you’ll get to achieving an authentic wood flooring look! Order a free-cut sample to see why they’re our bestselling floor tile.

If you found our guide How to Remove Old Tiles useful, check out our Inspiration & Advice section for more helpful tiling info. Tag us in pictures of your DIY progress over on Instagram, @Wallsandfloors, we love seeing what you’re up to!

Walls and Floors
Walls and Floors