How to Remove Kitchen Tile – Everything You Need to Know

Are you trying to learn how to remove kitchen tile? While tile removal and other kitchen demolition tasks might prove to be difficult, they’re certainly not impossible to learn. With the right tools and the right steps, you can certainly get it done! Get the gist of it with Junk Doctors.

Grout Removal

First and foremost, removing tile requires removing grout. But what actually is grout? Grout is the material used to fill the spaces between the tiles. It’s the “glue” that turns multiple tiles into a single floor—thus, removing the “glue” will be the first step to getting rid of all the tiles too.

There are many different tools you can use for grout removal. Here are some options for your consideration:

Hand removing grout with a sharp tool
  • Safety Gear or PPE. Regardless of how you remove the grout, you’re going to want the right equipment to protect yourself. Be sure to use work gloves and safety glasses. You will also need ear plugs and a dust mask.
  • Ballpeen or Masonry Hammer. This is the most “old-fashioned” way of going about grout removal. You will simply use these tools to pierce into the grout to free up the tiles.
  • Grout Saw. A grout saw can be used to slice right through any grout without having to tire yourself out like you would with a hammer. It also happens to save quite a bit of time.
  • Reciprocating Saw. A variable-speed reciprocating saw is a great option when you’d rather use power tools than provide the power yourself. You can plug it in and saw right through the grout to complete the task in no time.

Tile Removal

Once you have completely removed the grout, you can move on to removing the tile itself. A demolition fork, a pry bar, or a floor scraper will make it easy to wedge the tiles away from the mortar and pop them out of place. Some tiles may prove to be stubborn; in that case, strike the center of the tile with a hammer in order to break up the tiles. From there, you can chisel the fragments out of place.

You might encounter many different kinds of tile throughout your kitchen including,

Hands removing kitchen tile using a hammer and chisel
  • Tile Backsplash. It can be difficult to learn how to take tiles off of kitchen wall areas. First of all, you should always be sure to turn off power to the areas you are removing tile from. Once power is off, we recommend you use a hammer and a putty knife to gently remove wall tiles. With the right care and precision, you can avoid damaging your drywall during this process.
  • Tile Countertop. Removing tile from a countertop is a similar process to removing tile from the floors. You have to keep in mind, however, where those tile fragments fall upon removal. You may want to remove the built-in drawers and doors to avoid damaging their finish. Remember, when you are trying to remove grout from countertop surfaces, be gentle with your tools to avoid breaking the plywood or Wonderboard hidden beneath.
  • Tiles Underneath Cabinets/Appliances. Are you looking to learn how to remove tile under cabinets? For the most thorough tile removal, you will want to remove the cabinetry and appliances from the kitchen. If your cabinets are firmly in place and you wish to keep them there, you’ll likely have to use power tools to cut the tile right to where it meets the bottom of the cabinet.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are some other pointers to consider before taking on your tile removal job.

  • Have a shop vacuum ready. Tile removal will create dust, debris, and scatter little pieces of tile and grout throughout your workspace. You’ll want to have a device handy so you can easily vacuum up all of the debris. Additionally, you may also want to hang a sheet of plastic above your kitchen doorway to prevent any dust from spreading throughout the household.
  • Consider your skill level and budget. The tools that will be best suited for you depend not only on the job, but also on how much experience and physical energy you have in addition to your budget. If you tire out easily, doing an entire job with a hammer and a chisel might not be the best for you. However, acquiring power tools may be an investment.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learning how to remove kitchen tile is tough, so if you have a buddy or a family member that knows how to do it, you may want to ask them for assistance. Don’t be afraid to bring in some help and buy them some pizza once the work is done. You can also enlist the help of professional demolition companies, such as Junk Doctors, providing services in the Research Triangle.
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