Admittedly, the tile-on-tile system saves you a lot of time, money, and trouble when renovating. In some cases, however, you want to remove tiles – and sometimes, you want them to remain intact. What sounds like an impossibility is entirely possible – with a few unique tips and tools.
1. Damage-free removal
You are faced with this task, for example, if you want to remove individual tiles from a tiled area – for instance, because they have cracks or holes – and you don’t want to damage half of the tiled area.
Another possibility is that you would like to continue to use the tiled surface in whole or in part, for example, because it is antique tiles – in the thick bed, you can also “re-lay” “used” tiles.
2. Where removal is possible
In principle, all tiles that were laid using the thin-bed method can also be removed without damage. In the case of tiles laid in a thick bed, it is no longer possible to remove tiles.
Difficulties can arise, especially with floor tiles. A lot of patience is required here, and the right (professional) tool is essential.
Also, you should work here with a lot of feeling and a little skill so that the tile can be removed.
3. The DIY method
In principle, you can also try to remove tiles yourself. With older wall tiles, this is often entirely unproblematic.
With floor tiles, this is consistently more difficult; here, you should instead fall back on a specialist to not damage more than necessary if you try unsuccessfully.
4. There are a few basic things to watch out for when trying it yourself
Tile joints always have to be cut in at least; they are best obliterated. To do this, you should use oscillating tools. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging more than you wanted to.
You should also use these tools very carefully and carefully. If you don’t have an oscillation device (<= e.g., at Amazon), you have at least one reason to purchase such a multi-tool (which is generally highly recommended) at relatively low cost.
After that, you should very carefully try to remove the tile from the adhesive bed with an oscillating chisel tool. Tile adhesives are made to hold tiles in place – so be patient and expect resistance. Proceed carefully – this will allow the tile to be removed undamaged.
5. The professional method
Professionals use special devices to remove tiles. The process is called “thermal tile removal.” As expected, temperature plays a significant role.
The method used by professionals is based on the fact that temperatures of around 150 – 250 ° C are generated below the tile. In stubborn cases, water is also used to not only hot air, but up to 250 ° C hot water vapor works on the adhesive. The resulting steam pressure also helps to lift the tile out of the adhesive bed.
To generate the temperatures in precisely the right place, unique, size-adjustable collars are used that can be adapted to the respective tile size.
The temperature must act on the tile adhesive for around 10 minutes (a little longer with floor tiles). Removing several tiles can, therefore, take time.
The devices used for the thermal process are compelling (they can generate temperatures from 400 ° C to 600 ° C) and, accordingly, expensive. Such a purchase is not worthwhile for home use – operation also requires some specialist knowledge and experience.
If you are unsure or tiles offer too much resistance, it is best to consult a professional. The cost of repairing a half-damaged tile mirror would undoubtedly be higher than having it removed by a specialist – it’s worth it.