How to remove tiles with an easy Tile Shed guide

Depending on the scale of your home renovation project, removing old tiles can be laborious. But with The Tile Shed’s easy guide and a dose of patience, anyone can learn how to remove tiles.

Whether your home renovation project includes wall tiles or floor tiles, we have put together handy steps on removing old tiles.

How to remove tiles

From necessary preparation to the finish line, follow The Tile Shed’s guide on how to remove tiles the safe way. Your finished home décor will thank you later for a job well done!

Step 1 – Preparation

Removing old tiles is undoubtedly a dusty, messy feat. To protect the surrounding area, cover any surfaces near you. Cardboard and an old sheet are great for protecting bathtubs or showers from falling wall tiles. If removing floor tiles, clear the area and cover anything nearby to prevent flying shards of tile from damaging surfaces. Porcelain tiles can break into very sharp pieces!

Also, always wear safety goggles, protective gloves, and a dust mask to protect your airways. Knee pads come in handy when removing floor tiles!

Enlisting a friend to help is always a sound idea, too. They can help catch larger wall tiles before they break into pieces.

Step 2 – Get your tools

An essential step in how to remove tiles is of course having the right tools for the job. Your main tools will be a hammer and a chisel.

For removing old adhesive, use a hammer and chisel or a putty knife. For tough spots, using a hot air heat gun can help!

If you are removing grout, use a utility knife. This minimises damage to the tiles. Heating the grout with a blow-drier will make the job easier.

Finally, have a dustpan and brush ready for cleaning up!

Step 3 – Removing grout

To make removing old tiles easier, remove the grout first. Not only does it make the job easier, but it will also reduce the chances of the tiles breaking.

However, some prefer to only remove the grout next to the ceiling and floor when removing wall tiles.

To remove grout, scrape it away with a utility knife. A rotary grinder can also be used for grout removal.

Step 4 – Removing old tiles

The age and the surface the tiles were laid on influence the method of removing tiles. If the old tiles were laid using modern tile adhesives (from the 1970s onwards) on plywood or a cement-based layer, carry on with your renovation with a hammer and a chisel. For more difficult surfaces, consider enlisting help.

The first tile is the hardest to remove. Once you have successfully removed the grout, slide the chisel between the tile and the wall or floor. Look for loose edges. Then, gently hit the end of the chisel with a hammer. Try different spots until the tile loosens. Repeat the process until all the tiles have been removed.

Alternatively, if the tiles are directly set into the mortar, hit the chisel to the centre of the tile to shatter the tile and then remove the pieces. Work in horizontal lines and chisel from the side of the tile to minimise pieces of tiles flying all over.

Work as gently as possible when removing old tiles to avoid damaging the substrate.

Step 5 – Remove the adhesive

Nearly there! To clear off the adhesive, scrape it off with a putty knife, or a hammer and chisel for tough spots. If your renovation includes re-tiling, make sure you sand down any uneven areas.

Step 6 – Clean the mess

Yes, removing old tiles is a messy job! Clear the debris and use a dustpan and brush to get rid of anything the protective sheets didn’t get. To finish, hoover the area.

And pat yourself on the back – you did it!


Now that you know how to remove tiles, have you considered what your new home décor will look like? To pick out your new favourite tiles, see our wide range of ceramic and porcelain tiles to transform your dreams into reality!   

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