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Remove Tile from Walls? What damage will happen?

Remove Tile from Walls? What damage will happen?

Old 04-06-09, 03:56 AM
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Remove Tile from Walls? What damage will happen?

Our house was built in the 50s or 60s. The bathroom has aqua color tile half way up the walls all around. We are in the process of remodeling the bathroom. We removed the wallpaper in the bathroom from the tile up. We'd love to remove the tile everywhere except in the bathtub. (Our bath tub has tile about 3/4 the way up. They had wallpaper above it in the tub too and it was getting mold under it. I'd like to take some of the removed tile and use the tile to get the tile all the way up the wall in the tub.) I was wondering how to do it with doing the smallest amount of damage to the tile and the walls. I have a spot in the bathtub that I could use a few tiles to repair a spot that has a nick in it. We'll have to paint the walls underneath it. I'd rather not have to replace the walls when I get the tile off.

I guess another option would be to remove all the tile and retile the tub with a color we can find these days. But I bet that's going to add a lot to the cost. If I can find a way to just get the tile off without doing damage and reusing the tile in places I need it, the cost to remodel the walls will be a few cans of paint.

So, the biggest question I have is how do I get the tile off with doing the smallest damage possible. Maybe a heat gun?
Old 04-06-09, 01:00 PM
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Are the original walls in the house plaster? That makes a big difference. The thing about it is, you NEVER know what you're going to find under any wall covering & if you tip toe through it, you'll never get it done. So start chopping & be prepared to work.
Old 04-06-09, 02:29 PM
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Chances are your tile is installed with mastic over drywall or moisture resistant drywall. If this is the case you would be better off removing everything and installing new tile over wonder board (cement board). If your tile is on wetbed you will not be able to remove the tiles very easily, but once they are removed the wetbed should still be in relatively good shape. You will have to use a cold chisel and start in a corner of one tile and chip away at it. Once you get the first one out you can drive the chisel in at an angle under the surrounding tiles to pop them off.

Old 04-06-09, 05:01 PM
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dorlow has touched on 1/2 of the problem. The other 1/2 is the bear of a job in removing the mastic that will invariable be still stuck to the back of the tiles, when you try to reuse them.

I have done this kind of work. It is time consuming, and also a little unnerving, as you want to get off as much mastic as you can -without breaking the tile. And multiply this by perhaps scores of tiles to do.

Why do you feel the need to tile to the ceiling? If the wallpaper is removed and the walls painted with at least an eggshell sheen paint, 2 or 3 coats, and you have adequate room ventilation, you may not need to. Plenty of places I deal with have the 3/4 tiled walls in the shower and there is no issues, other than perhaps some water streaks* that you can wipe away.


* If the room is not adequately removing the moisture. But if you have ventilation that can, you may not even have streaks. In bathrooms whose walls over the shower streak, usually you also have orange droplets that form on the ceiling -so you are still stuck with cleaning overhead, if that is the case.

Or get a more powerful (and nowdays quieter) bathfan. The higher cfm ones have squirrel cages that rotate relatively slowly, compared to the fast spinning fanblade style of the smaller cfm noisy ones.

ARE your walls sheetrock. Or are they plaster?

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