How to Remove Tiles


Remove and replace a damaged tile in your floor without compromising intact tiles

Replacing a Tile in Your Floor

If you find a damaged tile or two in your floor, it is much easier to remove and replace them than installing a new tile floor altogether.

This guide details how to successfully complete this project in 6 easy steps including removing the grout and tile, applying new mortar and setting the new tiles.


Remove the grout
Remove grout - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Grout locks a tile in place, sealing the joints between individual pieces. Remove the grout from around the tile with a grout saw or rotary tool, cutting as deeply as you possibly can. Throw the chipped pieces out and wipe up any excess dust.

Score the old tile
Score old tile - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Put a straightedge across one of the diagonals. Guide a scoring tool along the straightedge, scratching a line in the tile. Repeat until the line is at least 1/16 inch deep. Repeat on the other diagonal.

Break up the old tile
Break up old tile - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Put on your safety glasses and strike the center of the tile with a center punch. The tile will begin to break up. Put a cold chisel on the diagonal near the center and strike it with a hammer. Repeat along the entire length of both diagonals until you’re able to remove all of the tile pieces.

Remove the old mortar
Remove old mortar - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Chisel away the mortar with a bricklayer’s chisel. Remove as much mortar as you can. You can leave some mortar, as long as it is firmly attached and there is enough room for a new layer of thinset.

Apply thinset mortar
Apply thinset mortar - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Mix your mortar according to the directions on the box, and spread and comb it on the floor with the trowel specified by the manufacturer. "Back-butter" the replacement tile, spreading just enough mortar to cover the back; too much will cause the tile to sit high on the floor.

Set in the replacement tile
Set replacement tile - Replacing Tile Your Floor

Put the tile in place and twist it back and forth to spread the mortar. Tap the tile down with a flat board and mallet. Remove excess mortar that squeezes into the joints. Let the mortar cure, then grout and seal the joints.