Removing Ceramic Tiles

When redecorating bathrooms and kitchens, a certain amount of tile removal can be anticipated.  Sometimes it is feasible to leave tiles where they are and paint or re-tile over them with new materials.  However, if you want a smooth paint or wallpaper finish, total tile removal is your best option.

Older houses often contain tiles that have been fixed to the walls using cement mortar.  This can be tough to completely remove, and a plastered skim coat will be required before painting or wallpapering can be done. 
Newer houses often have tiles afixed with specialist tile adhesive which makes removal much easier.

Make sure you are wearing saftey goggles and protective gloves before you begin removing the tiles.  You will need a bolster chisel with a handguard and a small club hammer.  If possible, find an edge where you can access the tile with the chisel.  Hold the chisel against the edge of the tile, keeping the tool as flat against the wall as you can.  Strike the chisel cleanly with the club hammer and the tile should come away from the wall. It will be most difficult to remove the first tiles as they are surrounded and held in place by others.  However, once you have taken off a few, they will begin to come away easily.

Once all the tiles are removed, you will be left with the remains of either cement mortar or tile adhesive (whichever technique was used).  Tile adhesive can be removed from the walls using a sharp paint scraper.  Cement mortar is harder to remove, but can be done with the chisel and club hammer.

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