How do I remove bathroom tile to save it and reuse it?

I need to have a portion of my wall removed to fix a leak but I have 30+ year old tile on all the bathroom walls. I'd like to remove just enough for the plumber to do his job and then retile the wall using the same tiles. Is it possible and how difficult to remove the tiles and not break them?

  3 answers
  • John Everett John Everett on Aug 14, 2018

    Not an easy task, but possible. Can you get into the wall from the other side? That may be an option.

    • Ruth P. Hakulin Ruth P. Hakulin on Aug 14, 2018

      Unfortunately no. It's the outer wall of the house so only other option would be to remove the siding and cut through all that. Thanks.

  • Paul Dempsey Paul Dempsey on Aug 14, 2018

    First consider if you can access this from the other side of the wall. Even removing siding on the exterior might be easier.


    If if you have no other option, use a group knife and remove all the grout from the wall first. You can try to see if the tiles will release but after 30 years, not likely. Use a very thin blade from a coping saw and cut through the whole wall to take tiles down. You can try a saws all, but it will likely be to aggressive and damage the tiles. Then use a band saw to remove the tile from the wall material.

    • Ruth P. Hakulin Ruth P. Hakulin on Aug 14, 2018

      Thanks that sounds like a good option. I don't really want to remove the siding and the exterior wall. It's a really old house and that might lead to more problems. We were thinking about using a dremmel tool to cut the grout. But once one tile breaks, no matter what method we use, the job is done.

  • Paul Dempsey Paul Dempsey on Aug 15, 2018

    I would steer away from any power tool. A dremel works at something in the area of 3000 RPM if my memory serves me correctly. It also can wander and many of the cutting tools will cut into ceramic tiles just as soon as the grout. in the end a dremel may not do as well as the grout knife. Try the grout knife first and see how you like it. If can work surprisingly quickly once you get use to it. When it comes to something like saving these tiles, slow and steady wins the race here.

    • See 2 previous
    • Paul Dempsey Paul Dempsey on Aug 22, 2018

      It depends on the market. Around here, right now rentals cost more than buying. Somes substantially more.

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