Hot Topics: Is There an Easy Way to Remove Wall Tile?

Lead Image

Here on we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

One of the most frustrating things about plumbing problems is that dealing with them often requires tearing into walls. When you've got beautiful, one-of-a-kind tiling in your bathroom, it can be heartbreaking to have to break up the tiles and start from scratch. Here's what some of our experienced DIYers have to say about accessing pipes in your shower walls while minimizing the damage done to your tiles.

Original Post: Easy Way to Remove Wall Tile?

lhpdiver Member

We have a seldom used bathroom that has a leaky shower. The tiles around the valves are cemented on. I want to replace at least one and perhaps two of the valves. Using my dremel, I have removed the grout. Is there something I can douse the wall with that will allow me to pop the 4x4 tiles off the wall - or do I need to just break the tiles and hope I can find replacements? Thanks.

Highlights from the Thread

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

If you are trying to break tile off a wall that won't give, you can only try to break the tile off in one piece. Here's a few tips.

Cutting out the grout is a good first step, less holding power.

Get to one accessible edge, no adjacent tiles, and gently tap in a sharp chisel. Don't force the chisel to lift the tile, tap it in and wait a bit for tile to adjust, tap again. You will know by feel or sound if the tile will come off clean.

PJmax Group Moderator

If you break them when removing them, you can change four in a square to an offsetting color. You said your tiles were orange... so make the four replacements brown or white.

lhpdiver Member

Thanks - I didn't state things well. The tiles are really 'earthen.' Like hardened brown mud. (We have a very nice house believe me). The tiles are then painted with a glossy beige paint. My initial point in posting was if there was something I could really douse the tiles with that would save me breaking the tiles.

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

There's no liquid that will help release the bond, you have to get lucky.

Sounds like clay tiles, very popular here in SoCal. I would not plan on getting the tiles off in one piece. The clay is porous and adheres well.

czizzi Forum Topic Moderator

Chances of you getting any tile off clean are zero. Sorry, not going to happen. Best you could hope for is the remove grout, which releases the bond with adjacent tile so that when you chip out the tile around the valve, you don't damage the tiles beyond the grout removal.

Are you completely re-doing the supply valves or what?

Read more helpful posts here: //