Replacing Bathroom Floor Tiles That Are Broken or Old

It’s inevitable. Things will break. This is as unavoidable as death and taxes, however such instances are more easily solved than the other two. While we usually don’t think of our bathroom floor tiles breaking, it can happen. Usually when moving large heavy items, although it can occur if the tiles are especially old too. All those pounding feet and exposure to varying temperatures and humidity will eventually take their toll.

Replacing Bathroom Floor Tiles That Are Broken or Old

There may also come a time when you realise that the design you chose – or else inherited – no longer really appeals to you. In that case, replacing your old bathroom floor tiles is an excellent way to reassert control over your home. Luckily, the process is fairly simple too.

Things to Have

You will need:

•             Safety goggles

•             Thick protective gloves

•             A hammer and chisel

•             (OR) A powerdrill

•             A trowel

•             (Optional) A utility knife

•             (Optional) A dust mask.

Remove Any Fittings and Fixtures

This may seem like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but actually there is reason behind apparent madness. If you’re completely replacing the floor tiles, then removing the fixtures before removing your bathroom tiles allows you to protect them more effectively from accidental damage. It also affords you more space to lay tiles down on, and also allows you to lay tiles underneath the areas the fixtures fit in again. Any baseboards on the wall can be removed and replaced as well.

Cut the Grout and Lever Up the Tile

For precision jobs, it’s best to cut away the grout from the tile with a utility knife. The first tile will always be the hardest, so expect to put in some work before the grout is removed. Once that’s done, carefully sink the blade underneath the tile and gently lever it up off from the floor.

(OR) Break Up and Remove the Old Tile

If there is no obvious point to start levering off tiles from the floor, or if you find it hard to lever the tile, then it’s a good idea to select an old tile and break it apart. Do so by carefully placing a chisel directly over the centre of the tile and hammering it through until the tile cracks. Pry the fragments away from the floor, being careful of any sharp edges. Deposit any and all fragments into a container to keep them from getting all over the place.

An alternative, and less messy, method is to place an X over the tile with some masking tape. With a power drill, you can then drill small holes into the tile along the tape. This will cause the floor tile to crack, without any risk of damage to yourself or any of the surrounding tiles. The tape will also keep fragments and dust from flying off everywhere, saving you a little bit of clean up.

If you’re removing an entire section of tiles, you can use the gap left behind by the old one to start levering other bathroom floor tiles from the floor.

Replace the Tiles

With the old and broken tiles removed, you are now free to start laying down your new bathroom floor tiles.

⇐ Back to DIY

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