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Tips on How to Successfully Remove Old Tiles From Your Walls

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Tips on How to Remove Old Tiles From Your Walls

Tiles are a wonderful way of decorating your walls. They are hard-wearing, easy to wipe down, and long-lasting. The only downside is that when or if you choose to redecorate it can be a huge hassle to remove the old tiles.

We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll tell you how to remove those old tiles and clean up your walls ready for a new coat of paint or tiles.

Tools Required:

  • Thin chisel
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Sturdy shoes

As you can see, removing tiles doesn’t require a lot of tools. You will need to cover up any furnishings. This is particularly important if you’re redecorating the bathroom. Falling tiles can break porcelain bathroom suites.

Cardboard works wonders for protecting your suite. Place flattened boxes on your toilet, shower, bath, and skink before covering them with a dust sheet.

Step 1: Safety First

Before you go anywhere near the tiles with your hammer and chisel, you need to prepare yourself for the shrapnel that will come flying at you.

Safety goggles are a must. You’ll need goggles over glasses as glasses usually don’t cover the sides of your eyes and can allow chips into your eyes.

You will also want to wear gloves. The gloves mainly protect your hands from chaffing on the tools or getting cut by sharp bits of tile.

They will offer some limited protection from a bang with the hammer, but ultimately it’s best to avoid hitting your fingers!

The gloves shouldn’t impede your dexterity too much because you’ll still need to hold smaller tools and get your fingers behind tiles.

You won’t necessarily need steel toe cap boots to remove tiles. However, if you plan on using sledgehammers then they are recommended. Otherwise, make sure you have sturdy soled shoes that won’t be penetrated by sharp tile fragments.

A dust mask is strongly recommended when removing tiles because dust can be created by broken tiles.

Anyone who is going to help you should also be kitted out in the same fashion.

Step 2: Protect Your Porcelain

Whether you’re removing tiles from the wall in the bathroom, kitchen, or hallway you’re bound to have furniture and fittings that you’ll need to protect.

As mentioned above, cardboard is good for preventing dents and scrapes. Dust sheets will help reduce the clean up later on.

Step 3: The First Tile

Removing the first tile is the most difficult step as you don’t have any gaps to get your chisel into.

Try finding a loose corner that you can work your chisel into. Tap the corners with the butt of the hammer to see if any of them wiggle.

If there are no loose tiles, or you simply can’t be bothered to go around tapping edges, you’ll have to smash a tile.

Place the chisel in the centre of a tile and give it a good whack with the hammer. This will cause the tile to shatter. Pieces will likely fall off the wall which will then allow you to remove the rest with your chisel.

Step 4: Follow the Gaps

With one tile off the wall, you should now have access to the gaps behind the rest of the tiles.

To remove a tile, put the chisel behind a tile and give it a tap with the hammer. The aim is to lodge the chisel behind the tile.

If the tile doesn’t pop off straight away, you’ll need to pull the chisel towards you. Essentially you need to lever the tile off the wall.

When the tile does come away it is going to drop to the floor. If you want to avoid bits of smashed tile all over the place, have someone there to catch the tiles as they fall.

Don’t worry if some of the tiles do not come off whole. They may have cracked or chipped over the years causing them to fall apart when they are prized away from the wall.

If the tiling goes up to the ceiling you will need a ladder to remove the higher tiles. Be careful when on the ladder. Don’t overstretch yourself. It’s better to keep going up and down the ladder than to fall off!

Step 5: Clean Up

Once the tiles are off the wall you’ll no doubt notice bits of grouting and adhesive still clinging to the wall. This will need to be removed before the wall can be retiled or plastered.

Use the chisel and hammer to chip away at the adhesive. It should come away fairly easy but try to avoid damaging the surface of the wall while you do this.

When it comes to clearing up the old tiles you’re better off putting them in a cardboard box rather than a refuse sack. The sharp edges will rip the bag.

If the tiles are still intact you could reuse them or pass them on to someone else. Otherwise, you can dispose of them with your standard household waste.

If you put a dust sheet down you should be able to just pick it up and tip the debris into a bin. If you didn’t put a dust sheet down, you’d need to use a dustpan and brush to get all the shards and dust up off the floor.

Other Options

The old hammer and chisel is a traditional choice. It gets the job done and it does it well. However, if you’re looking for something a bit quicker or something that requires less effort you could consider the following:

  • Sledgehammer – A sledgehammer will make short work of your wall or floor tiles. It is a messy tool but it will get the job done quickly.
  • Rotary impact hammer – This is similar to a corded drill. Many drills have a hammer function. Essentially it uses the rotational force to strike whatever is in front of it. It will smash apart tiles easily but it can get quite heavy in the hand.
  • Pry Bars – These are usually used for removing floor tiles because they remove the need to bend or kneel on the ground.

Final Thoughts

Thankfully, removing tiles is a fairly simple process. You don’t need a lot of skill, just a bit of brute strength. Alternative, you could hire an expert such as Tech Tiles to remove them for your professionally.


The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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