Have you ever walked into your bathroom to take a shower only to notice how old and worn out your tiles look?
You want to get rid of them because you're sick of feeling disgusted. However, you hesitate; you don't know how to get rid of these horrid looking tiles without destroying the plaster wall.
If this sounds like you, well, you’re in for a treat! In this guide, we'll show you how to remove shower tiles without damaging the wall.
Tools For Removing Shower Tiles Without Damaging the Wall
Since it’s almost impossible to remove shower tiles with your bare hands, here are two sets of tools you’ll need.
- Protective Gear
- Removal Tools
The process involved in removing tiles can be pretty nasty; for this reason, you need to adequately protect yourself from the harmful materials used in the tile installation process. To do this, you'll need;
- Face Masks
- Work Gloves
- A pair of Ankle-length pants
- Long sleeves
- Work Boots
- Safety Goggles
- Knee pads
Simply put, removal tools are tools that exert enough power to overcome the tiles to wall bonding. They include;
- Utility Knives
- Masking Tape
- Pry Bar-
- Plastic Sheeting
- Reciprocating Saw
- Heat gun
- Rotary grinder
Step-By-Step Procedures on How to Remove Shower Tiles Without Damaging the Wall
Now that you know the essential tools and protective gear you need to have available before attempting to remove your shower tiles let's show you how to carry on with the tile removal process.
Before we proceed, you need to know that there are two stages involved in the shower tile removal process. They are;
- The preparation Stage and,
- Removal Stage
The Preparation Stage
Since showers are frequently placed very close together with trim grout lines, this stage reduces the difficulty in the tile removal process. It also ensures that you don't exert so much force that your wall becomes damaged.
The preparation stage involves doing the following;
Step 1: Clean the Tiles
First, you’ll need to clean and wash the tiles carefully. This will prevent complications as that might happen if you attempt to remove the tiles while they are dirty.
Step 2: Protect the Surrounding Area
The tile removal process can be pretty messy. To prevent the mess from damaging flooring and other parts of the bathroom, it's crucial that you protect the surrounding area.
The best ways to do this will be to clear the area around you, place a tarp on the ground to collect the dirt, and ensure basins and bowls in the shower area are well covered.
Step 3: Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers that come with removing shower tiles is to stay prepared.
To do this, you'll need to protect your limbs by wearing long sleeves, long pants, gloves, knee pads, and boots and also ensure that your face and eyes are well protected. With the aid of a face mask and safety goggles, this is possible.
Step 4: Remove Grout
What is Grout?
This is a paste made primarily of water, cement, and sand, filling gaps between the wall and floor tiles. Before removing the grouts, you must first decide how many tiles you want to remove at once.
If you're removing one tile at a time, make sure to remove grouts from all four corners of the tile you intend to remove. If, on the other hand, you're removing an entire wall of tiles, make sure you remove the grout correctly next to the ceiling and floor.
So, how do you remove grout?
The grout removal process is simple to accomplish; however, if you're dealing with stubborn grouts, you’ll need a heat gun or a blow dryer.
For stubborn grouts, first warm up the grout line for a few seconds and try again.
After heat is applied, you need to proceed to the next phase of the grout removal process, which involves scraping the grout.
This phase might seem long, but it comes with the advantage of reducing the risk of damage to the tiles around and the wall behind the tile you intend to remove. First, scrape the grout until the metal spacer lugs are exposed, at the very least. You can use a knife or a rotary grinder to do it.
After securing your utility knives in a sturdy holder, carefully run a knife through all four corners until most of the grout is removed. However, if you decide to opt for a rotary holder, you’ll need to pay extra attention to avoid damage because it is a more powerful appliance.
N.B: Set the utility at the lowest setting at first to get a feel for the tool. You can then raise the speed.
The success of this stage will largely depend on the ease or complexity of removing shower wall tiles, which will also depend on how securely they were mounted to the wall. However, follow these steps, and you should have no issues in this stage of the tile removal process.
Step 5: Find Stray Tiles
In our experience, we have found out that the first tile is usually the most difficult to remove. But removing it is vital in ensuring that the subsequent tiles are removed.
Since some tiles would have become slack from grout removal, locate them by using a chisel to tap on the edges of the tiles to detect looseness.
Step 6: Remove the loose tiles
Now, it’s time to remove the loose tiles. To do this, place a chisel between the tiles and the wall. Once the first loose tile is removed, tap the tool handle with a hammer until the tile separates from the wall. You might have to pry it out in two or three places if it's securely stuck.
Step 7: Remove any remaining setting material
Use a cold chisel to do this after you successfully remove the tiles.
How do you remove Stubborn Tiles?
When dealing with stubborn tiles, you will need to apply more energy to the wall tiles removal process. Here’s the best way to go about it.
Step 1: First, get a wide-blade putty knife and use it to try prying apart the tiles that are firmly adhered to the surface of the wall.
Step 2: Next, chisel some of the wall tiles away from one side of the wall if you are dealing with tiles that are drywall attached. Now, holding the chisel at a 45-degree angle to the tiles, tap them with a hammer to break them up and remove a small amount of drywall with them.
Step 3: Now, you’ll need to pry those tiles close to the section you just removed with the aid of your pry bar. To do this properly, apply much pressure.
Step 4: If, after doing this, the tiles don’t still come off, you might be dealing with a highly stubborn tile. For incredibly stubborn tiles, switch from a hammer to a 3-pound sledgehammer. If a tile becomes hooked, break it loose with the hammer and chisel.
What next after removal?
If you belong to the group of people that are completely oblivious of what to do after removing your shower tiles, then you should consider taking a look at one of our previous articles on how to tile a shower wall.
Tips and Safety Precautions to Remember When Removing Wall Shower Tiles
Removing wall shower tiles can be pretty dangerous, so to ensure you carry out the project without any injuries, here are some precautions to remember.
- During removal, some damaged or broken tiles have sharp edges; to prevent injury, always put on the appropriate protective gear.
- Never attempt to remove shower tiles until you clean them properly.
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation when carrying out the tile removal project. Open windows to reduce the danger from airborne toxic materials.
- Remember to protect the bathroom's surroundings by blocking the drain, putting down a tarp, and covering any open surfaces.
- Keep an eye out for pipes and wires while removing tiles to avoid damaging them unintentionally.
- Always remember to heat groups before scrapping to ensure that the grout removal process is both stress-free and successful.
- When deciding which shower tiles to remove first, look out for already loose ones. They are the easiest to remove and will make removing other tiles that might be difficult to remove less strenuous.
Finally, whoever said you cannot remove that old, worn-out or damaged shower tiles without damaging your wall must not have seen this article. Just follow these steps and you are good;
- Clean the tiles well
- Wear protective gears
- Protect your work surrounding
- Heat the grout
- Scrape off the grout
- Locate and remove the loose tile with a chisel
- Finally, carefully remove the tiles
If you still have concerns about removing shower tiles without causing damage to your wall, please leave comments in the section below.