Granite Tile Removal

Fred Howe

You need to remove the granite tile from a wall or a floor because you want to remodel that area. This is not a difficult job unless you want to save the tile for reuse.

Effectively removing granite tile from walls and floors will require some destruction; just how much destruction depends on what materials were used and how the tile was originally installed.

Removal from the Wall

The two standard types of underlayment for tiling on walls are drywall and backer board. (Backer board is a masonry product made of fibers and cement that looks similar to drywall). The simplest method for tile removal from a wall is destructive to the tile and the underlayment. Cut through the underlayment adjacent to the tile area using a razor knife. Strike the tile with a hammer. Carefully remove the tile and underlayment pieces from the wall framing. Wear safety glasses while striking the tile, because shards of tile will fly off. Protect the bathtub or shower if you are removing tiles from around them.

If you are trying to save the tile for reuse, remove the tile grout from between all the tiles, and remove any caulking from the tile edges of the tile bed. Pry one side of the tiles away from the wall, one at a time. You will likely damage the underlayment and some tiles as you remove them from the wall.

Removal from the Floor

The standard types of underlayment for floor-tile installation are plywood attached to the subfloor, backer board attached to the subfloor or a mortar bed on top of the subfloor. It is not likely you will be able to save the granite tiles when removing them from the floor. Remove any fixtures and baseboard trim before you begin removing the tiles from the floor.

Remove a row of tiles from the center of the floor in both directions. Strike the tiles with a hammer and remove the pieces as you go. Remove the mortar from under the broken tiles. Cut the underlayment with a circular saw. Be careful not to cut the subfloor. Use a pry bar to pry up the floor sections with the tile still attached to the underlayment.

If you are removing large areas of floor tile, you can rent a machine that will make the job go much faster. These machines are self-propelled and have a hydraulic scraper attachment that removes the tile quickly.