Removing ceramic bathroom tiles

Having some knowledge and the skills to remove and repair ceramic bathroom tiles will help greatly when there\’s a tile that\’s cracked or stained and you would like to just replace it without having to call in the pros. Sometimes tiles can get broken or come loose. A little DIY skills goes a long way to correct this little malady.

If the damage is small then its just a matter of removing one (or a group of tiles) and then replacing it. If the damage is larger then you\’re most likely will have to repair the underlying wallboard before you can install your replacement tile.


How to Remove Tile

  •  Pry it off the wall with a putty knife. Slide the knife under the tile almost parallel to the surrounding tiles and move the knife around to break the tile away from the adhesive that was holding it to the wall/floor. 
  •  If it refuses to budge, remove the grout surrounding the tile. Use a grout removal tool and a hammer to chip out the grout. Once you\’ve removed the grout, break the tile into smaller pieces by putting an X masking tape across the tile from both diagonal directions. This is to stop the carbide tip drill bit from moving around the tile\’s surface when you drill it. 
  •  Drill a series of holes along the X then remove the tape. Pry off the smaller pieces with the putty knife. 
  •  If you have an area larger than one tile to remove, remember to protect the area by laying down a canvas or other type of covering to protect other surfaces like floors, bathrubs and countertops.


Installing Ceramic Tile

  •  Once you\’ve removed the tiles, prepare the underlying floor surface. Clean the floor surface and remove any old adhesive or pieces of tile with a putty knife. Fill in any holes made during the removal of  tile, with a patching plaster.


  •  Apply adequate amount of adhesive on back of the replacement tile with a water based adhesive using a putty knife, evenly.


  •  Press the tile firmly into place and make sure that it is flat and level with the surrounding tiles. Clean out any excess adhesive that may seep out between the tiles with the putty knife. 


  •  Remove excess adhesive from the face of the tile using a cloth or damp sponge.


  •  Let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hours. After the adhesive is dry, grout the tile and press into the joints using a rubber spatula or a flexible plastic spreader in a diagonal direction.