How to Remove Tile Around a Perimeter


A floor or wall tiled with the same color of tile can become drab and uninteresting over time. Changing towel colors often can break the monotony of a bathroom wall, and scattering rugs across a tiled floor can help change the look of a room, but those are just temporary fixes to a drab appearance. You can remove a row or two of tile around the perimeter of the floor or wall and replace it with a row or two of decorative tiles or those in a contrasting color.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held manual grout saw or electric rotary tool
  • Carbide grout removal bit
  • Carbide scoring tool
  • Point punch
  • Hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Bricklayer’s chisel
  • Remove the grout around all sides of each tile along the perimeter. Use a hand-held manual grout saw, or an electric rotary tool equipped with a carbide grout removal bit to remove the grout down to the subfloor or cement backer board.

  • Score 1/4-inch deep diagonal lines from corner to corner across the face of one tile with a carbide scoring tool. This creates an X-shape across the tile, weakening it.

  • Place a point punch in the center of the tile where the diagonal lines intersect. Strike the point punch with a hammer to break the tile.

  • Break up the remainder of the tile by placing a cold chisel along the scored line and striking it with a hammer. Remove the pieces of broken tile from the area.

  • Position the chisel against the edge of the adjacent tile where the bottom of the tile adheres to the floor or backer board. Strike the chisel with a hammer to break the tile free from the mortar. Repeat this step to remove each tile from the perimeter.

  • Remove the remnants of mortar from the subfloor or cement backer board with a bricklayer’s chisel. Hold the chisel at a 20- to 30-degree angle to the floor or wall. Strike the chisel with the hammer to remove as much of the old mortar as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety goggles and thick work gloves when removing the tiles.

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