If your ceramic shower tile is cracked, damaged, or has lost its sheen over the years, you will need to remove the tile carefully for the new installation. Ripping out old shower tile can be a simple DIY project but you do need to use certain tools to prevent excessive damage of the underlying wall.
It's just not possible to remove the original tile installation without damaging the wall underneath because the tile is usually attached with a very strong adhesive. You will need to chip away at the tile to remove it, so be prepared to crack and damage the existing tile just to get it off the wall surface.
Use this easy guide to rip out old shower tile:1. Gather the right tools. Most hardware stores carry affordable tools you need to remove ceramic tile. You will need: a utility knife blade; work gloves; protective eyewear; flat knife; chisel; hammer; and a paint scraper. Gather these tools and lay them out in your work area.
2. Prepare the area.It's usually a good idea to cover up the shower floor and the work space in the bathroom. Since you will be chipping away at the old tile, you can expect small pieces and shards of tile to fall around the bathroom - this is why you need to wear protective eyewear and gloves. Prepare your area by laying down cloth or a tarp to collect the debris from the project.
3. Detach any plumbing fixtures. You will need to disassemble any major fixtures around the tile, such as faucets, sinks, and cast iron tubs so you have easy access to the full wall area. Consider hiring a plumber to assist with this project.
4. Loosen the grout.You will need to loosen the grout between the tile so that it's easier to pull the tile off the wall. Use the utility knife blade to score the grout between each tile and get in as deep as possible.
5. Loosen the tile.Use the hammer and chisel to remove the tile from the wall by gently tapping the scored areas at different angles. Tap on all four sides until the tile has loosened from the wall and run a flat knife behind the tile to help you pull the tile off the wall.
6. Prepare the surface.Use the paint scraper and the flat knife to remove any pieces of grout still stuck on the wall, and any remaining tile adhesive. You will need a smooth, clean surface before you install the new tile.