How to Remove Wall Tile

Removing wall tile can be a tricky task, as improper techniques can lead to damage to the wall or surrounding tiles. This article will guide you through the process of removing wall tile safely and effectively, ensuring a smooth and damage-free result.

In order to properly remove wall tile, it is essential to follow a step-by-step approach and use the right tools. By understanding the correct procedures, you can save both time and money while avoiding potential complications.

Tools and Materials Needed

Removing wall tile requires the proper tools, materials, and safety equipment. This section breaks down the necessary items for the process.

Basic Tools

The following tools are essential for an efficient and effective removal of wall tiles:

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Utility knife
  • Wide putty knife or scraper
  • Bucket or container for debris

Having a combination of these tools can help to loosen and remove tiles without causing excessive damage to the surrounding area.

Safety Equipment

Protective gear is vital during the tile removal process to prevent injuries. Consider using the following safety equipment:

  • Safety goggles
  • Heavy-duty work gloves
  • Long-sleeved clothing
  • Protective boots or shoes

Safety goggles will help protect your eyes from flying debris, while the appropriate work gloves, clothing, and boots can minimize the risk of cuts and abrasions on your hands and body.

Cleaning Supplies

Lastly, the following cleaning supplies are useful for tidying up once the tiles have been removed:

  • Broom or vacuum
  • Dustpan
  • Trash bags
  • Stiff brush

These tools will assist in collecting debris, removing any remaining adhesive or grout, and ensuring that the surface is clean and prepared for any further renovations or installations.


Before removing wall tile, it’s essential to properly prepare the area for the task at hand. This section covers steps to protect the surrounding area and turn off utilities to ensure a safe and efficient process.

Protect Surrounding Area

Protecting the surrounding area is crucial as it prevents damage to adjacent walls, floors, and trimmings.

  • Start by removing any furniture and decorations from the room.

  • Next, lay down a drop cloth on the floor to catch any debris and chipped tile pieces during the process.

  • Use masking tape to cover nearby surfaces, fixtures, and fittings that could be damaged during tile removal.

By following these steps, you’ll minimize potential damage to your home and create a safer workspace.

Turn off Utilities

Turning off utilities is a crucial step in ensuring a safe environment when removing wall tiles, particularly if working near water pipes or electrical outlets. To turn off utilities:

  1. Locate the main water valve and shut off the water supply to avoid damage or flooding if pipes are accidentally damaged during the process.

  2. Turn off the electricity supply through the circuit breaker, especially if removing tiles near electrical switches or outlets. This will protect yourself and your home from electric shock and fire hazards.

Observing these precautions will help you work safely and efficiently while removing wall tiles.

Removing Wall Tile

Removing wall tiles can be a tricky process, but with the right approach and tools, it’s doable for any DIY enthusiast. Let’s break down the process into three main steps: loosening the grout, prying off the tiles, and cleaning the remaining adhesive.

Loosen Grout

Before you start prying off the tiles, you’ll need to loosen the grout that holds them in place. This can be done using a grout saw or a grout removal tool. To make the process easier, you can use a handheld rotary tool with a grout removal attachment. Follow these steps to loosen the grout:

  • Starting in a small area, use the grout saw or removal tool to work along the grout lines.
  • Be careful not to chip or damage the tiles while working on the grout.
  • Work on all grout lines surrounding a tile before moving on to the next one.
  • Ensure that you’ve removed enough grout to make prying off the tiles easier.

Pry off Tiles

Once the grout is loosened, it’s time to pry off the tiles. For this, you’ll need a flathead screwdriver, a putty knife, or a small crowbar. Here’s what to do:

  • Start at the edge of a tile or a corner of the room.
  • Place your pry tool between the wall and the tile, focusing on the areas where the grout is removed.
  • Gently tap the handle of the pry tool with a hammer or mallet to wedge it further under the tile.
  • Use even pressure to lift the tile away from the wall. If it’s stubborn, try prying from different angles.
  • Be cautious not to damage the wall or surrounding tiles during the process.

Clean Remaining Adhesive

After you’ve removed all the tiles, it’s essential to clean the remaining adhesive from the wall. This ensures a flat surface for attaching new tiles. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Use a putty knife, scraper, or oscillating tool with a scraper attachment to remove any obvious clumps of adhesive.
  • Sanding the wall using a coarse-grit sandpaper or sanding sponge can help remove the remaining thin layer of adhesive.
  • A final wipe down with a damp cloth can remove any residual dust or debris from the surface of the wall.

With these steps, anyone can successfully remove wall tiles and prepare the surface for a fresh new look.

Repairing Damaged Wall

After successfully removing wall tiles, it is crucial to repair the damaged wall so that it is ready for new tiles or other wall coverings. By following these steps, you can ensure the wall is in good condition for future use.

Fill Holes and Gaps

Begin by filling holes and gaps in the damaged wall as they can often lead to potential problems in the long run. Use a premixed filler or mix your own compound to fill these gaps. According to HomeAdvisor, it usually takes about 24 hours for the filler to dry, depending upon the humidity and temperature.

  • Apply the filler directly to the holes and gaps using a putty knife or trowel, making sure to cover the entire area.
  • Press the filler firmly into the gaps to ensure it adheres well and eliminates any air pockets.
  • Scrape away any excess filler to create a smooth surface.

Sand and Smooth Surface

Once the filler has dried completely, the next step is to sand and smooth the surface. This step is essential to provide a clean, even surface for new wall coverings.

  1. Using a medium-grit sandpaper of around 100 to 120 grit, start sanding the filler gently to remove irregularities left after applying the filler.
  2. Switch to a finer grit sandpaper, about 180 to 220 grit, and sand the surface again to achieve a smoother finish.
  3. For reinforced walls with drywall, Popular Mechanics recommends using a 240-grit drywall sanding screen for a better finish.
  4. To avoid damaging the surrounding areas, use a sanding block or pad for more control while sanding.
  5. After completing the sanding process, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles.

By following these steps, you can successfully repair the damaged wall and prepare it for new tiles or wall coverings, ensuring a long-lasting and visually appealing result.

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