Asked on Feb 9, 2013

Saving vintage tile?

Hewitt Remodeling Services LLCWoodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.comNest Home Improvement


A DIY "remodel" was done on our 1930s bathroom, and it looks like they just layered tile on top of the original. It doesn't look BAD exactly, but I wondered if there's any way to remove the top layer and save the original. Any chance? Thanks!
4 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 9, 2013

    Tile over tile is just bad technique, adhesion problems are very common, which in your case may actually allow you to do this. I normally use an air chisel to demo tile and it works great but this is a job where you DO NOT want to use something aggressive Gentle prying with a thin putty knife might get them started. There is the risk that some of the tile beneath will be damaged by the process, or they were damaged before this tile was laid on top. That is an unknown, and may be why they tiled over it... you could give it a try and see. Worse case scenario you would have to rip out both layers and start fresh...which could be done in new vintage tile so it could have the same "look" as the original.

  • Nest Home Improvement
    on Feb 10, 2013

    There is a reason for why someone tiled over the original tile. Perhaps there were cracks or gaps or other problems. Or they could have just been plain lazy. As KMS suggest, pry off some tile but be prepared to remove it all and start fresh from the subfloor.

  • I would agree with both KMS and Nest on this also. The tile in most cases when gone over is a quick fix to hide a damaged floor below. I would not get my hopes up to much on this. The effort to remove the top layer only to find damage under it is out weighed by just doing a complete demo and install a new floor once any damage that is uncovered is properly fixed.

  • Amy, You can't get three more qualified folks on any site to give you advice on the subject than these three. If you have the time and aren't going to be furious after you have struggled all day, only to find the bottom layer can't be saved...then give it a shot.

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