How to Replace Bathroom Tile: A StepbyStep Guide

How to Replace Bathroom Tile?

To replace bathroom tile, first calculate the number of tiles you need based on the size of your bathroom.

Measure your bathroom and the new tiles to determine how they will fit.

Lay out the tiles on the floor to plan the layout.

Remove old tiles manually with a hammer and chisel to preserve the subfloor.

Protect delicate items and temporarily remove the toilet if necessary.

Use a pry bar and scoring tool to remove tiles, creating a groove in the tile for easier removal.

Replace the subfloor if needed.

For shower tile removal, use a utility knife instead of a scoring tool.

Sand down the subfloor with a rented floor sander, ensuring it is smooth and level.

Vacuum the area to remove any dust or debris.

Key Points:

  • Calculate the number of tiles needed based on bathroom size.
  • Measure bathroom and new tiles to determine their fit.
  • Plan the layout by laying out the tiles on the floor.
  • Remove old tiles manually with a hammer and chisel, while preserving the subfloor.
  • Protect delicate items and temporarily remove the toilet if necessary.
  • Use a pry bar and scoring tool to create a groove in the tiles for easier removal.


Did You Know?

1. The first known use of bathroom tiles can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where they used a mixture of clay, sand, and water to create decorative tiled walls and floors.

2. Contrary to popular belief, the term “subway tile” does not refer to the tiles commonly found in subway stations. It actually originated from the New York City subway system, where these rectangular tiles gained popularity in the early 20th century.

3. In 1969, NASA used specially designed bathroom tiles called “borosilicate glass” on the Apollo 11 mission’s lunar module. These tiles were able to withstand extreme temperatures as they helped to protect the spacecraft upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

4. The world record for the largest bathroom tile mosaic is held by the city of Santa Coloma de Gramenet in Spain. Created in 2019, this impressive mosaic measures over 990 square meters and consists of more than 80,000 tiles.

5. One of the most famous examples of bathroom tile artistry can be found in the Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain. Designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, the tiled dragon on the park’s staircase has become an iconic symbol of his work and is a must-see for art and tile enthusiasts alike.

Calculating The Number Of Tiles Needed

When undertaking a project to replace bathroom tiles, the first crucial step is to calculate the number of tiles needed. This ensures that you purchase the correct quantity of tiles to cover the entire area. To determine the number of tiles required, start by measuring the size of your bathroom.

For instance, let’s suppose your bathroom is 40 square feet in total. If each tile covers 1 square foot, you will need a total of 40 tiles to cover the entire space. However, it’s important to consider any irregular spaces or areas not covered by full tiles and make necessary adjustments.

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After measuring the bathroom’s size, proceed to calculate the number of tiles needed. Divide the total area of your bathroom by the area covered by one tile. In our example, 40 square feet divided by 1 square foot per tile equals 40 tiles.

Choosing And Planning Tile Layout

When replacing bathroom tiles, you have the opportunity to choose a new pattern or design. This step allows you to unleash your creativity and tailor the aesthetics of your bathroom to your liking. However, it is important to consider the size and shape of the tiles you choose to ensure they fit the space appropriately.

To aid in your decision-making process, it is advisable to lay out the tiles on the floor and plan how they will look when finished. This allows you to visualize different layouts and compare them before committing to a specific pattern. Taking pictures of the different layouts can also help you make a well-informed decision.

In some cases, you may need to cut tiles to fit the space. This can be done using appropriate tools such as tile cutters or wet saws. It is essential to measure your bathroom and the new tiles you plan to install to determine how they will fit. By doing so, you can ensure a precise and seamless tile installation.

Disposal Methods For Old Tiles

When replacing bathroom tiles, there are various options for disposing of the old ones, depending on their condition. If the ceramic tiles are still in good shape, you can consider the following:

  • Donate the tiles to a local charity or nonprofit organization that accepts building materials.
  • Sell the tiles through online platforms or by hosting a garage sale.
  • Reuse the tiles in other home renovation projects.

However, for damaged or unusable tiles, proper disposal is necessary. This can be done by:

  • Renting a dumpster or
  • Hiring a junk removal service to ensure environmentally friendly disposal, following local regulations and waste management guidelines.

Removing Bathroom Tiles Manually

When it comes to removing bathroom tiles, the recommended method is to do it manually, without the use of power tools. This approach offers several advantages, including preserving the subfloor and potentially saving money. While there is sweat equity involved, most homeowners can tackle this DIY project with the right tools, planning, and execution.

Before starting the removal process, it is important to protect delicate items in the bathroom, such as fixtures or furnishings. Using drop cloths and wearing safety goggles and glasses can help prevent any accidental damage or injury.

To remove the tiles underneath the toilet, it is necessary to temporarily remove the toilet itself. This step is crucial to prevent any potential water damage to the subfloor. Instructions for temporarily removing the toilet can be found in reputable DIY guides or by consulting a professional plumber.

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To remove the grout between the tiles, a combination of a hammer and chisel can be used. However, it is important to exercise caution and avoid damaging the subfloor during this process. Excess grout can be cleaned up using a broom or a shop vacuum.

Starting with one or three bathroom floor tiles, a pry bar can be used to pull out the tiles. In cases where the tiles are stuck, a scoring tool can be used to cut diagonally across them, loosening them for removal. The article also suggests creating a groove in the tile to make it easier to remove with a pry bar. Additionally, breaking the first few tiles with a hammer can help loosen up the subfloor if it needs to be replaced.

It is worth noting that certain signs may indicate the need to replace the subfloor. These signs include squeaks, sagging or sinking sections, tile cracks, and water damage. In such cases, the subfloor can be cut with a saw or broken into pieces using a hammer or sledgehammer. However, if the subfloor is in good enough shape and not being replaced, sanding it is recommended.

Step-By-Step Guide For Removing Bathroom Tile

To remove bathroom tiles, follow this step-by-step guide:

1. Protect delicate items: Use drop cloths and wear safety goggles and glasses to avoid accidental damage or injury.

2. Temporarily remove the toilet: Remove the toilet to access the tiles underneath and prevent water damage to the subfloor.

3. Remove grout: Use a hammer and chisel to remove the grout between the tiles, taking care not to damage the subfloor. Clean up excess grout with a broom or a shop vacuum.

4. Start removing tiles: Begin by pulling out one or three bathroom floor tiles using a pry bar. If necessary, use a scoring tool to cut diagonally across stuck tiles to loosen them.

5. Create a groove: To make it easier to remove the tiles, create a groove in the tile using a scoring tool or a similar implement. This will allow you to pry the tiles out more effortlessly.

6. Loosen the subfloor (if needed): If the subfloor needs to be replaced, consider breaking the first few tiles with a hammer to loosen up the subfloor for removal.

7. Subfloor inspection: Check for signs of damage such as squeaks, sagging or sinking sections, tile cracks, or water damage. If the subfloor needs replacement, follow appropriate steps to remove and replace it.

8. Dispose of removed tiles: Depending on their condition, donate, sell, or arrange for the proper disposal of the removed tiles.

Subfloor Replacement And Preparation

After removing the old bathroom tiles, it is crucial to assess the condition of the subfloor. If the subfloor is in good shape and not being replaced, sanding it is recommended. This process helps to ensure that the surface is smooth and level, allowing the new tiles to lay correctly and stay sealed.

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To sand down the subfloor, you can rent a floor sander from a home improvement store. The cost of renting a floor sander is typically around $40, providing an affordable solution for achieving a smooth and even surface. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to operate the floor sander safely.

Using the rented floor sander, sand the subfloor until it is smooth and level. This leveling process ensures that the new tiles will adhere properly and create a visually appealing finish. Once the sanding is complete, it is recommended to vacuum the area thoroughly to remove any remaining dust or debris.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I replace bathroom tiles myself?

Yes, you have the ability to replace bathroom tiles yourself. With the proper tools and equipment, tiling a shower can be a rewarding DIY project that can be completed in just a few days. By taking on this task, you have the opportunity to give your bathroom a fresh new look and save on the costs of hiring a professional. With the right guidance and a bit of patience, you can successfully replace your bathroom tiles and transform your shower into a modern oasis.

What is the cheapest way to replace bathroom tile?

The most cost-effective method to replace bathroom tile is to opt for affordable options such as ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl tiles, which typically begin at $1 per square foot. Furthermore, you can further reduce expenses by independently removing the existing tiles instead of hiring a professional to do so. By employing these strategies, you can achieve a budget-friendly bathroom tile replacement without compromising on quality or appearance.

How to change the look of bathroom tiles without removing them?

An alternative to painting your bathroom tiles is to use tile stickers. These stickers come in a variety of designs and patterns and can be easily applied over your existing tiles. It gives you the freedom to experiment with different styles and colors without the permanence of paint. Additionally, the stickers can be easily removed if you decide to change the look again in the future.

Are bathroom tiles easy to remove?

Bathroom tiles can be challenging to remove due to the safety precautions involved. While the process itself may not be overly complex, it is important to prioritize safety to prevent any potential injuries. Wearing protective gear such as gloves, safety goggles, and a long sleeve top is essential to protect against sharp tile chips and shards. It is also crucial to clean up tile fragments as you progress to further ensure a hazard-free environment.

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