Ceramic Tile Removal in a Bathroom Remodel

On this step of removing the ceramic tile it’s going to get dusty so what I did first was remove everything that I could so I wouldn’t have to clean it when I was done. Even though I was not going to reuse the tile, I wanted to be careful because I wanted to put the tile on Freecycle or Craigslist so someone else might be able to use them. The only tools I used were an old flat tip screw driver, hammer and a box cutter.
I should say that the tiles that are offset from the wall about 1/2″ with a mortar mix. The way that the mortar stays on the wall is a wire mesh that is attached to the wall with staples and nails. I started by cutting the bead of caulk around the top edge of the tile being careful not to cut to deep and into the drywall. Now the first tile off is the most critical so you have to be real careful. I just started the screwdriver back behind the tile and pried a little bit at a time at tile I could remove without damaging the wall or the tiles next to it. From that point it gets easier. I worked a line straight down to the floor and then made my way around the room.
Being how we are still using the bathroom I had to work around a few things. The first was the toilet. The tank of the toilet was real close to the tile so it made it difficult to get the tiles off around it. The next thing was the vanity. I should tell you that when they built this house they custom built the vanity and everything before they put up the tile so there is allot of things to cut around. I would have to say that when I got to the mirror I had to be real careful because the mirror was resting on top of the tile. Now I am the kind of guy that if something can go wrong it probable will. I got lucky on this part and didn’t break the mirror.
Another nice thing about doing all the work myself, I get to see how thing’s are built. I am a project engineer for a manufacturing company and I am always looking at how things are built. Okay I better get back to the tile work. Now I mentioned that the tile was about 1/2″ off the wall with a mortar mix. When I got to the door way there was the mortar mix on one side and on the other they built it up with a piece of plywood and used liquid nails to hold the tiles up. Needless to say, I couldn’t save any of the tiles that were glued to the wood. Then I found an area that the tile was glued straight to the drywall. I have to replace some drywall now. Luckily that was the end of removing the tile.
I stacked all of the good tile in a box and threw out all bad ones. Swept up all the debris and put everything back in its place. As I mentioned at the beginning I am going to list the tiles on Freecycle since they are in good condition and hopefully someone else can use them instead of them going into the land fill. As I remodel I’m always looking for ways that I can recycle materials instead of throwing them into a land fill that is already overloaded.
In the next article I’ll be removing the mortar mix and the wire that was attached to the wall.

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