Removing Bathroom Tile
Removing bathroom tile can be a bit of a task, but the benefit of having a clean slate at
the start of a bathroom remodel makes the work worthwhile. To begin you will need to remove any bathroom fixtures
that could be damaged during the tile removal process, such as the toilet, any pedestal sinks, and
Be certain to disconnect all water pipes and drains that go through the floor before
beginning to remove the floor tile. For a larger area, the tile can be broken with a chisel and sledgehammer. It is
important to wear safety glasses and leather gloves while doing this task. Broken tile can cut like shards of glass
so be prepared and take the proper precautions.
When ready, start in the center of the room and work towards the walls. Smash the tile
with the sledgehammer, using the chisel to lift the tile pieces to see what type of underlayment exists. If the
tile was laid on top of plywood, cut through the plywood using a reciprocating saw with a 12-inch-long wood-cutting
blade. Cut just through the wood and then lift the saw towards yourself so that you are cutting at an angle to
avoid cutting the sub floor.
Once the cuts are made, use the chisel to lift the sections of plywood and tile for
removal. If the tile was laid using mortar the removal should be easier. Simply use the chisel to lift large chunks
of tile and mortar after each section is smashed with the sledgehammer. Examine the sub floor once the tile is
removed to ensure it is stable before beginning to lay a new tile floor.
If the tile to be removed is in an area where using a sledgehammer would prove difficult,
a more subtle method is available. Place masking tape in the shape of an "X" on each tile to be removed. Using a
carbide tip drill bit drill several holes along the surface of the masking tape, the tape keeps the drill bit from
slipping on the tile. Remove the tape and the tile pieces should come off as well. If the tile is stubborn, use a
putty knife or flathead screwdriver to pry the broken pieces from the surface.