Best way to remove wall tiles without breaking?

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by guv, May 31, 2006.

  1. guv

    guv Guest

    We've had a leaking shower, which is fixed on a tiled plasterboard
    wall. We basically need to remove the tiles to find out where the leak
    is to fix it and then put back a new plasterboard and re-tile.

    Problem is, that whilst I do have some spare tiles, I certainly dont
    have enough to do them all if I break them. Obviously I'd rather not
    retile the whole bathroom if I can help it!

    The wall the tiles sit on is probably pretty flakey (hence the reason
    it needs replacing) so I am hoping this will ease the problem of
    removing them. I am olso hoping that by soaking the tiles, I will be
    able to remove the tile adhesive. (Ive seen adhesive completely
    removed this way before - but it was "freshly dried". Will I have any
    luck getting the adhesive off? (They have been up for about 5 years!)

    So, what would be considered to be the best way to get them off?
    Breaking one and then wedging them out? The one good point is the fact
    the wall they sit on is plasterboard - so that hopefully will just
    pull away through the damage the leak has done.

    Any helpful suggestions appreciated.

    Cheers
    guv, May 31, 2006
    #1
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  2. guv

    John Guest

    I don't know of any way that you can remove and save the tiles
    directly. However, since the plasterboard sounds shot, why not try to
    take it down carefully with the tiles intact and remove the remains
    from the tiles. A hacksaw blade should cut along the grout lines with
    care.
    Of course, you could always retile in a contrasting colour. That's
    generally better than trying to match the existing.

    John
    John, May 31, 2006
    #2
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  3. guv wrote:
    > We've had a leaking shower, which is fixed on a tiled plasterboard
    > wall. We basically need to remove the tiles to find out where the leak
    > is to fix it and then put back a new plasterboard and re-tile.
    >
    > Problem is, that whilst I do have some spare tiles, I certainly dont
    > have enough to do them all if I break them. Obviously I'd rather not
    > retile the whole bathroom if I can help it!
    >
    > The wall the tiles sit on is probably pretty flakey (hence the reason
    > it needs replacing) so I am hoping this will ease the problem of
    > removing them. I am olso hoping that by soaking the tiles, I will be
    > able to remove the tile adhesive. (Ive seen adhesive completely
    > removed this way before - but it was "freshly dried". Will I have any
    > luck getting the adhesive off? (They have been up for about 5 years!)
    >
    > So, what would be considered to be the best way to get them off?
    > Breaking one and then wedging them out? The one good point is the fact
    > the wall they sit on is plasterboard - so that hopefully will just
    > pull away through the damage the leak has done.
    >
    > Any helpful suggestions appreciated.
    >
    > Cheers


    Was the plasterboard skimmed? would have been a doddle prising them off.
    If not your going to tear the plasterboards material whichever way you
    attempt it, score the grout with a stanley knife making sure the scoring
    reaches the surface of the PB then use a wallpaper steamer over the tiles
    if possible(don't know what size tiles are used?) if the steamer is left on
    for a bit this usually soften the adhesive enough to prise tiles off but as
    i said PB will become damaged.

    --
    Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite
    The3rd Earl Of Derby, May 31, 2006
    #3
  4. guv

    guv Guest

    On Wed, 31 May 2006 19:11:35 GMT, "The3rd Earl Of Derby"
    <> wrote:


    >Was the plasterboard skimmed? would have been a doddle prising them off.


    From memory, I think it was!

    >If not your going to tear the plasterboards material whichever way you
    >attempt it, score the grout with a stanley knife making sure the scoring
    >reaches the surface of the PB then use a wallpaper steamer over the tiles
    >if possible(don't know what size tiles are used?) if the steamer is left on
    >for a bit this usually soften the adhesive enough to prise tiles off but as
    >i said PB will become damaged.


    Sounds like a good idea to me. Think my parants have a steamer I can
    borrow.

    Once off, do you think soaking the tile in hot water will remove the
    old adhesive? (Will all be a bit in vain if I cannot remove it!!!)

    Cheers
    guv, May 31, 2006
    #4
  5. guv

    guv Guest

    On 31 May 2006 21:36:03 +0200, Chris Bacon <>
    wrote:

    >guv wrote:
    >> Once off, do you think soaking the tile in hot water will remove the
    >> old adhesive? (Will all be a bit in vain if I cannot remove it!!!)

    >
    >You'll have to be careful if the tiles have soft "biscuit",
    >anything that stains will get into it and spoil the tile.


    Not sure what you mean by that Chris? They are for all intents and
    purpose ordinary ceramic tiles AFAIK.
    guv, May 31, 2006
    #5
  6. guv

    Steve Walker Guest

    guv wrote:
    > On 31 May 2006 21:36:03 +0200, Chris Bacon <>
    > wrote:
    >
    >> guv wrote:
    >>> Once off, do you think soaking the tile in hot water will
    >>> remove the old adhesive? (Will all be a bit in vain if I cannot
    >>> remove it!!!)

    >>
    >> You'll have to be careful if the tiles have soft "biscuit",
    >> anything that stains will get into it and spoil the tile.

    >
    > Not sure what you mean by that Chris? They are for all intents and
    > purpose ordinary ceramic tiles AFAIK.


    I think he means the unglazed backs might be absorbent
    Steve Walker, May 31, 2006
    #6
  7. guv

    guv Guest

    On Wed, 31 May 2006 21:20:06 +0100, "Steve Walker"
    <> wrote:

    >guv wrote:
    >> On 31 May 2006 21:36:03 +0200, Chris Bacon <>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>> guv wrote:
    >>>> Once off, do you think soaking the tile in hot water will
    >>>> remove the old adhesive? (Will all be a bit in vain if I cannot
    >>>> remove it!!!)
    >>>
    >>> You'll have to be careful if the tiles have soft "biscuit",
    >>> anything that stains will get into it and spoil the tile.

    >>
    >> Not sure what you mean by that Chris? They are for all intents and
    >> purpose ordinary ceramic tiles AFAIK.

    >
    >I think he means the unglazed backs might be absorbent
    >


    Ah, Ok thanks. Will need to watch for that - and maybe just do a
    single to see. Depending how far I have to go up the wall, I do have
    just enough tiles still in the box. Only the central border will be a
    problem if I can't salvage, but they are really very thick and heavily
    glazed. I would be suprised if they stain up from the "inside".
    guv, May 31, 2006
    #7
  8. guv wrote:
    > So, what would be considered to be the best way to get them off?
    > Breaking one and then wedging them out? The one good point is the fact
    > the wall they sit on is plasterboard - so that hopefully will just
    > pull away through the damage the leak has done.


    I'd attack the plasterboard. If it's already damp, wetting it more will
    make it really weak so it should release from the tiles. Getting the
    adhesive off the backs could be done mechanically - carefull use of an angle
    grinder even?

    If some adhesive is left on the back it won't really matter if it's not too
    thick.


    --
    Dave
    The Medway Handyman
    www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
    01634 717930
    07850 597257
    The Medway Handyman, May 31, 2006
    #8
  9. guv

    Guest

    The Medway Handyman wrote:
    > guv wrote:


    > make it really weak so it should release from the tiles. Getting the
    > adhesive off the backs could be done mechanically - carefull use of an angle
    > grinder even?
    >
    > If some adhesive is left on the back it won't really matter if it's not too
    > thick.


    I left tiles in a bucket of water for 2 days and the adhesive then came
    off no problem. Used an electric scraper to get it all off.

    And any thing that wont come off is sound anyway.


    NT
    , Jun 1, 2006
    #9
  10. wrote:
    > The Medway Handyman wrote:
    >> guv wrote:

    >
    >> make it really weak so it should release from the tiles. Getting the
    >> adhesive off the backs could be done mechanically - carefull use of
    >> an angle grinder even?
    >>
    >> If some adhesive is left on the back it won't really matter if it's
    >> not too thick.

    >
    > I left tiles in a bucket of water for 2 days and the adhesive then
    > came off no problem. Used an electric scraper to get it all off.
    >
    > And any thing that wont come off is sound anyway.
    >
    >
    > NT


    And how is he supposed to get the wall in a bucket. :p

    --
    Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite
    The3rd Earl Of Derby, Jun 1, 2006
    #10
  11. guv

    Ian_m Guest

    "guv" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > We've had a leaking shower, which is fixed on a tiled plasterboard
    > wall. We basically need to remove the tiles to find out where the leak
    > is to fix it and then put back a new plasterboard and re-tile.
    >
    > Problem is, that whilst I do have some spare tiles, I certainly dont
    > have enough to do them all if I break them. Obviously I'd rather not
    > retile the whole bathroom if I can help it!
    >
    > The wall the tiles sit on is probably pretty flakey (hence the reason
    > it needs replacing) so I am hoping this will ease the problem of
    > removing them. I am olso hoping that by soaking the tiles, I will be
    > able to remove the tile adhesive. (Ive seen adhesive completely
    > removed this way before - but it was "freshly dried". Will I have any
    > luck getting the adhesive off? (They have been up for about 5 years!)
    >
    > So, what would be considered to be the best way to get them off?
    > Breaking one and then wedging them out? The one good point is the fact
    > the wall they sit on is plasterboard - so that hopefully will just
    > pull away through the damage the leak has done.
    >
    > Any helpful suggestions appreciated.
    >

    Had a similar problem once, shower valve leaked onto plaster board in the
    wall, eventually causing a tile to drop off. I tried to save the tiles, but
    some broke during removal, soaking in water enabled them to be cleaned of
    plasterboard and adhesive, but ended up just buying a new walls worth of
    tiles and doing the job properly and certainly would have been much much
    quicker if I hadn't arsed around trying to save the tiles.....
    Ian_m, Jun 1, 2006
    #11
  12. We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
    drugs began to take hold. I remember guv <> saying
    something like:

    >Once off, do you think soaking the tile in hot water will remove the
    >old adhesive?


    Yep. Leave them in a bucket of water for a day or two.
    --

    Dave
    Grimly Curmudgeon, Jun 1, 2006
    #12
  13. guv

    guv Guest

    On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 16:29:48 GMT, Stuart Noble
    <> wrote:

    >>>Any helpful suggestions appreciated.
    >>>

    >>
    >> Had a similar problem once, shower valve leaked onto plaster board in the
    >> wall, eventually causing a tile to drop off. I tried to save the tiles, but
    >> some broke during removal, soaking in water enabled them to be cleaned of
    >> plasterboard and adhesive, but ended up just buying a new walls worth of
    >> tiles and doing the job properly and certainly would have been much much
    >> quicker if I hadn't arsed around trying to save the tiles.....
    >>
    >>

    >
    >Hot water and detergent makes a big difference if you are going to clean
    >them off. A 4" scraper behind them works best IME


    OK Guys, thanks for all your input. Will have a go this weekend.

    I did think I had loads left over (overkill and also "just in case")
    but dont have enough. I doubt the tiles are availble now to buy (I
    think theyve been up about 8 year!) - but worth checking I guess.
    guv, Jun 2, 2006
    #13
  14. Stuart Noble wrote:
    > Ian_m wrote:
    >> "guv" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >>
    >>> We've had a leaking shower, which is fixed on a tiled plasterboard
    >>> wall. We basically need to remove the tiles to find out where the leak
    >>> is to fix it and then put back a new plasterboard and re-tile.
    >>>
    >>> Problem is, that whilst I do have some spare tiles, I certainly dont
    >>> have enough to do them all if I break them. Obviously I'd rather not
    >>> retile the whole bathroom if I can help it!
    >>>
    >>> The wall the tiles sit on is probably pretty flakey (hence the reason
    >>> it needs replacing) so I am hoping this will ease the problem of
    >>> removing them. I am olso hoping that by soaking the tiles, I will be
    >>> able to remove the tile adhesive. (Ive seen adhesive completely
    >>> removed this way before - but it was "freshly dried". Will I have any
    >>> luck getting the adhesive off? (They have been up for about 5 years!)
    >>>
    >>> So, what would be considered to be the best way to get them off?
    >>> Breaking one and then wedging them out? The one good point is the fact
    >>> the wall they sit on is plasterboard - so that hopefully will just
    >>> pull away through the damage the leak has done.
    >>>
    >>> Any helpful suggestions appreciated.
    >>>

    >>
    >> Had a similar problem once, shower valve leaked onto plaster board in
    >> the wall, eventually causing a tile to drop off. I tried to save the
    >> tiles, but some broke during removal, soaking in water enabled them to
    >> be cleaned of plasterboard and adhesive, but ended up just buying a
    >> new walls worth of tiles and doing the job properly and certainly
    >> would have been much much quicker if I hadn't arsed around trying to
    >> save the tiles.....
    >>

    >
    > Hot water and detergent makes a big difference if you are going to clean
    > them off. A 4" scraper behind them works best IME


    Brick acid will clean cement and grout off tiles..but getting them off
    whole is non trivial.
    The Natural Philosopher, Jun 2, 2006
    #14
  15. guv

    Guest

    The3rd Earl Of Derby wrote:
    > wrote:


    > > I left tiles in a bucket of water for 2 days and the adhesive then
    > > came off no problem. Used an electric scraper to get it all off.
    > >
    > > And any thing that wont come off is sound anyway.


    > And how is he supposed to get the wall in a bucket. :p


    hmm, bigger bucket?

    NT
    , Jun 2, 2006
    #15
  16. guv

    xscope Guest

    xscope, Jun 4, 2006
    #16
  17. guv

    xscope Guest

    xscope, Jun 4, 2006
    #17
  18. guv

    xscope Guest

    xscope, Jun 4, 2006
    #18
  19. xscope wrote:
    > In fact, here is the video from the manufacturers web site :-
    >
    > http://www.ptprofiles.co.uk/trowelmovie.html
    >
    > xscope wrote:
    >> Item number 554137
    >> xscope wrote:
    >>> Just seen a tool on QVC for specifically designed for removing tiles
    >>> without damaging the wall and from the demo, didn't damage any tiles
    >>> either. :-
    >>>
    >>>

    http://www.qvcuk.com/ukgasp/frameset.asp?nest=/ukgscripts/productlisting.dl
    l?show!frames=y&qic=y

    Good stuff,its easy when the adhesive is 24 hours old. :)

    --
    Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite
    The3rd Earl Of Derby, Jun 4, 2006
    #19
  20. guv

    guv Guest

    guv, Jun 4, 2006
    #20
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