How to Remove a Bathroom Wall Tile

Using a cold chisel and hammer to remove a ceramic tile.
Using a cold chisel and hammer to remove a ceramic tile.

To remove an existing tile, use a nail set to mark the surface then drill holes through the tile using carbide tipped masonry bit. Finally, chisel away the title with a cold chisel and remove any loose mortar.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: You might not realize how easy it is to install a ceramic soap dish to an existing tub shower wall.

Joe Truini: The first thing you need to do is remove and entire tile so you have room to put in the soap dish, and you can start by punching a series of holes with a nail set along the tile and then drilling through those holes.

So begin by marking the tile with the nail set. These marks don’t have to be neat. They’re there just to give the bit a place to start drilling. Then use a carbide tip masonry bit to drill through the tile but not into the wall.

Next, complete the “X” shape pattern using a cold chisel and hammer. Connect the dots and crack the tile into pieces, and pry the pieces of the tile off the wall. Well once you remove the tile pieces and before you can install the soap dish, you have to smooth the surface with the coal chisel and scrape away any loose chips.

Danny Lipford: Now it depends on how old the tile is and how it was installed on the wall will determine how difficult it is to remove the particular tile you’re working on. Now, older tile like this is pretty tough. Newer installations will generally be installed on cement backer board, that’s a lot easier.


  1. This is a question for ceramic tile counters. I need to replace a broken “L” shaped tile that wraps around the edge of the counter. Can I use the same method as removing a wall tile, like in your video, to remove the broken tile? If so, then how do I proceed from there?

  2. Whats behind the tile that makes it protrude from the wall. I need to replace the entire tile surround and tub. maybe a whole bathroom tile removal. how do I make the walls flush to the tub and exterior walls again.

    • Hi, Steve,
      Great question! We have forwarded it to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show’s producer.
      He will contact you soon to discuss featuring it during an upcoming show.
      Take care!


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