How to Remove Bathroom Tile Without Damaging the Plaster Walls

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Things You'll Need

  • Grout saw or Dremel tool with grout cutting attachment

  • Long flat blade, such as a metal plaster spatula


Set a goal to complete a small section at a time, rather than taking on a large, overwhelming project all at once.


Use only metal blades and spatulas to remove the tiles so that you don't accidentally break off a plastic tool behind the tile.

Getting the tiles off a wall without damage takes patience and the right tools.

Whether you are remodeling, replacing just a few rows of outdated tile, or repairing a damaged tile, removing bathroom tile without damaging the plaster walls can be a tricky job. It takes time, patience and the right tools. Although you can chip away the grout by hand with small tools, you are likely to damage the wall in the process. The best way to remove the tile and avoid damaging the wall is to invest in or borrow a Dremel tool with a grout cutting attachment, or purchase a grout saw. Follow these steps to complete this home project.

Step 1

Cut away the grout surrounding the tile or tiles that you want to remove. Work slowly and at about a 45-degree angle. Be careful to cut away only the grout and not into the wall. When you believe you have removed or cut away most of the grout, stop and examine your work. You should be able to slide a putty or plaster knife underneath the tile. If grout is still blocking the way, keep cutting, stopping often to check how much you have removed.

Step 2

Slide a putty knife or plaster spatula behind the tile, getting as much of the blade behind the tile as you can.

Step 3

Work the putty knife or plaster spatula in and out behind the tile in a cutting-like motion around each side of the tile to loosen it from the wall.

Step 4

Pry the tile away from the wall gently, using the putty knife or plaster spatula. The tile should "pop" away from the wall. If it does not, repeat Step 3, loosening the tile more before attempting to pull it away from the wall.

Step 5

Repeat the process for each tile, starting at the outermost tile and working your way in. It is usually easiest to remove the top horizontal row first, then the outside vertical row and then begin working inward.


Carlye Jones

Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.