Asked on Dec 20, 2013

Removing plastic wall tiles

by Catherine
Hello everyone. We have a small bathroom that has 1970's vintage plastic wall tiles. They are 4x4 size and look like regular wall tiles, but they are plastic. I would like to remove them and replace with beadboard. Can anyone tell me how these things were originally held in place? and will the sheetrock behind them come down too?
They appear to be individual tiles because some have been cut to fit. I don't think they came in say a 12 x 12 sheet or anything like that.
Thank you in advance. Cathy
  11 answers
  • Amanda DeLoach Amanda DeLoach on Dec 20, 2013
    I am not sure about the tiles but am thinking you may want to leave the sheetrock that is behind them to act as insulation and a barrier between the beadboard and the attic "stuff" be it insulation or electrical or whatever...
  • Becky Becky on Dec 20, 2013
    Since it's an unknown, what was used to adhere the tiles, I would apply the bead board to the tile using liquid nails, extra bond. I hate to patch and sand! It's probably not the right or best way to do it but I kinda go by " don't break it if it works" lol! Good luck and post pics when you are done coz we're all a little"voyerristic"that way ;)
  • Sandy Sandy on Dec 20, 2013
    I had those in my bathroom and the very first night I moved in they were the first things I started removing! :). I didn't save mine but have since learned that people will purchase them for repairs/replacements etc off EBay for example----FYI . Do you have plaster walls and not Sheetrock given the age of the tiles? Mine are plaster and the best thing that worked was to soak the glue on the wall with hot, soapy water! It scraped off pretty easy after it softened up in 10-15 minutes. No chemicals needed. My tiles were from the 1950's so if you have Sheetrock perhaps yours are 1970's? Hope this helps somehow!
  • Catherine Catherine on Dec 21, 2013
    Thank you all for the advice. Mine are definitely from either the late 60's or 70's. There is sheetrock for sure because the tiles are only on the bottom half of the wall. The problem with leaving them in place and applying the bead board over them is that there is a finishing trim of same plastic at the top and it extends beyond the tiles so it needs to come down for the bead board to lie flat. I'll try to gently pop them off to start, but I just wasn't sure if there was a better method that might save the sheetrock. - Cathy
  • Paula Cardone Paula Cardone on Dec 21, 2013
    start in a place you don't notice so much that way you can kind of practice the removal
  • Liz H Liz H on Dec 22, 2013
    I just bought 100 new (still in original wrapping) plastic tiles and shipped them 2000 miles so if you can take them off in good shape, there is a market for them.
  • Paul Bove Ceramic Tile Paul Bove Ceramic Tile on Dec 22, 2013
    Been awhile since I removed these things but if I remember correctly it wasn't hard. My guess is they were put up with some kind of mastic and all I did was get behind one with a puddy knife and they just popped off. That left the mastic which I mostly scraped off with a puddy or a 4 inch razor blade long handled tool, Home Depot sells those in the tile dept. Good luck. Think I got most off intact.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Dec 22, 2013
    With beadboard, why not just attach it over the tiles? You can tack to studs and fill the holes. I have seen where molding was used and a narrow shelf put along the top of a row of molding. A sheet of beadboard can be cut in half to cover 8'. And then put up a strip of molding. Use accents if you wish. Here is a photo of mine that uses a color besides white on the beadboard. The top is texture paint because I did not want to have to refloat and have all that sanding dust to deal with. I love this!
  • Catherine Catherine on Dec 22, 2013
    Thank you to everyone for your good advice. I'm feeling brave enough to tackle this project right after Christmas. Yours looks wonderful Jeanette! Cathy
  • Staci Holland Staci Holland on Dec 22, 2013
    These tiles were up in my kitchen that we recently remodeled ourselves. They were attached with mastic and just pop off if you can get under an edge. We decided to paint them because they were discolored and they look LOVELY now!!
  • Catherine Catherine on Dec 22, 2013
    Could I ask what kind of paint you used Staci?