How to remove tile from a kitchen wall

Written by carlye jones
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How to remove tile from a kitchen wall
Ready to change out your backsplash? Learn how to remove tile from a kitchen wall. (Monika Leon)

Whether you want to remove a single damaged tile, or tear all existing tile out to replace it, the method for removing tile from a kitchen wall is essentially the same. The work isn't difficult, but it can be time consuming. Work carefully, and avoid breaking tiles into small pieces to save time and effort in the long run.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Grinder
  • Grout-removal blade
  • Putty knife
  • Safety goggles

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Grind away the grout surrounding a single tile using the grinder and a grout remover blade. If you are removing a single tile, work carefully, being sure not to scrape or grind any of the surrounding tiles. If you are removing all, or several of the tiles, start with a corner tile. Work at an angle, removing as much of the grout as possible. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from dust and debris.

  2. 2

    Slide a putty knife with a long, narrow blade behind the tile. Work in a sawing motion to loosen the tile from the adhesive. Work the putty knife all the way around the tile, attempting to loosen it as much as you can, from the outer edges to the centre.

  3. 3

    Pop off the tile. Push the putty knife behind the tile as far as it will go and gently pry it away from the wall. If the tile feels like it might break or crack, move the putty knife to another location and try prying again.

  4. 4

    Repeat this process to remove additional tiles. If you are removing all of the tiles, do all of the grinding work at once and then loosen and pry the tiles away one at a time.

Tips and warnings

  • Protect surrounding tiles that you don't want to remove with a strip of painter's tape along the edges.
  • While it is tempting to break the tiles to make the job go quicker, you will spend more time prying away small pieces, and risk damaging the wall.
  • Avoid gouging the wall when you use the putty knife to loosen and pry away the tiles.

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