A full-scale renovation of your bathroom or laundry can be an expensive undertaking, but you can save yourself some money by recycling existing porcelain wall and floor tiles. Here's how to remove your old tiles and prepare them for reuse by a remodelling contractor like Ray Browne Joinery.
Before you begin
Always wear protective goggles and a dust mask when removing tiles. A lot of loose grout and dust can be disturbed, and you don't want to risk breathing it in or irritating your eyes. Open external windows in the room before you start in order to provide adequate ventilation, and keep internal doors closed to stop dust from drifting into the rest of the house while you're working.
Wall tiles are usually affixed to drywall or plasterboard. This makes removing them relatively easy.
- Cut around the tiles using a sharp craft knife. You can remove them in small sections if you wish, or individually. The outer layer of drywall or plasterboard will come away with the tiles.
- Now carefully peel the tiles off the drywall or plasterboard backing, one at a time.
- Use a scraper to carefully remove any clinging tile adhesive or grout from the back of the tile, taking care not to scratch the front.
- Wash the cleaned tiles in warm water and washing-up liquid to remove any dirt and dust.
Floor tiles are usually installed on top of concrete. This makes the process of removing them somewhat tricky and you'll need to remove them individually to minimise the risk of breakage.
- In rooms like bathrooms and laundries, water damage to the tile grout often occurs. Look for a loose tile and begin by removing this one first, ideally at the edge of the room so that minimum disturbance occurs to the neighbouring tiles. Use a rotary tool or saw to get rid of any grout around the edge of the tile, taking care not to scratch the tile surface.
- Slide a putty knife under the tile, and use a hammer to very gently push it further underneath. Tap away gently until the tile comes up.
- Remove any bits of mortar clinging to the reverse of the tiles by using a sponge soaked in a mineral spirit. It's a good idea to take a tile to your local DIY store to ask what's safe to use before you begin.
- Soak the tiles overnight in warm water containing a small amount of washing-up liquid to get rid of any remaining bits of grout and dust.
Your recycled tiles are now ready for reuse in your renovation project.