How To Remove Tiles


Changing even a splashback can make a dramatic difference to a bathroom or kitchen. It’s a DIY job as long as you work carefully and wear goggles and gloves.

Club hammer
Wide-bladed cold chisel
Dust mask
Heavy-duty riggers gloves
Old blankets or sheets
Rubble sacks
Plaster filler


Tools will cost between £8 and £12.


Allow a minimum of half a day for this job, unless it's just a small splashback.


Basic but it is messy and needs strength.

Clean And Protect Nearby Surfaces

Step One: Clean And Protect Nearby Surfaces
Clear the room as far as possible and cover vulnerable surfaces such as expensive worktops with old blankets as chips of tile will scratch the surface.

Remove The Tiles

Step Two: Remove The Tiles
Starting at the edge of the tiling or along a grout line, hammer the cold chisel under the first tile, levering it upwards as you work. Work across the wall, levering off sections of tile and collecting the pieces into rubble sacks as you work. Make sure the floor is well protected, as small pieces of tile can be ground into the surface.

Scrape Off The Old Grout And Adhesive

Step Three: Scrape Off The Old Grout And Adhesive
Once all the tiles are removed, use a scraper or the chisel to chip off any remaining grout or old adhesive. If any plaster has become loose, chip this way and fill the hole with plaster filler. You many need to use two layers to build up the thickness. If you have stud walls the plasterboard wall can be damaged as you remove the tiles. It may be easier to lever remove the entire plasterboard panel(s) and replace with new board before redecorating.

 Replacing Single Tiles

Step Four: Replacing Single Tiles
It's possible to replace just a few cracked or chipped tiles. Drill three or four holes close together in a vertical line across the damaged tile and use a cold chisel and hammer to break it into pieces, working from the line of holes. Lever the loose pieces away from the wall and clean off any loose grout around the edges with the cold chisel or a craft knife. If any of the wall plaster has come away with the tile, fill the hole with a plaster filler and leave to set. Spread some tile adhesive onto the back of the new tile, press it into the gap and check it’s flush with the other tiles by holding a straight edge e.g. a timber batten, across the surface. Regrout around the tile with a squeegee or sponge and clean off the excess before it hardens.

  • A 50mm wide blade cold chisel with a fitted plastic hand guard costs between £8 and £12. It's also worth buying even a cheap club hammer for this work. Buy rigger gloves that extend to protect your wrists - just over £2 from DIY stores.
  • It doesn't take a lot of skill to do this job, but it's very messy and you'll need a bit of elbow grease to get the tiles off the wall.

Illustrations: Ed Roberts


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