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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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My wife decided we need to remodel the main bathroom. There is a full size standard tub in good shape and the walls are ceramic tile from the tub to the ceiling. The ceramic tiles are off white 4" squares.

About 40" up is one row of decorative tile. All the tiles are in good shape, very solid. She wants to remove the on row of decorative tile and one row of the off white and replace them with new decorative tiles.

So what's the best way to remove a row of tile without damaging the adjacent rows of tile? Thanks!

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:56 PM
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First thing is to remove the grout around the tiles that will be removed then chisel the ones you want removed out, make sure to protect the tub before you start.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 06:16 PM
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You didn't say how old the bathroom walls are, Berry. If it's tile on gyproc, rip it out and start from scratch (Same goes for the less than perfect greenboard ...wp gyproc...it isn't).
You could, as Don suggested, take out the decorative row, and assess the state of the substrate. Any sign of water staining, get rid of it.
As a contractor, my mantra was 'you can pay me now or you can pay me more later'.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 06:43 PM
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What Don said. One of those oscillating multi tools with a grout blade on it is the ideal tool. It isn't going to hurt that much if you dig into the drywall a bit. The multi tools also have a scraper blade available for them and that might be the thing to remove the tiles with. I have one from Canadian Tire for about $40 and my brother says it looks similar to one from HF for about the same price. It's not a Fein but it's about $360 cheaper.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 07:50 AM
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As I found out when doing one of our bathrooms last spring, tile will leak somewhere regardless of how well you THINK it's sealed. Instead of only having to pull just enough to install the new tub, I ended up with a new tub and fiberglass surround plud removing another hundred or so 4" tiles, I broke up the old tub, pulled all of the tile, incorrect 'rock, insulation, repaired a few rotted studs, a chunk of underlayment then dried everything out for 2-3 weeks.

This is the "Oh @#$%" point:



...and where it gets really 'fun'




Yep, that's one of the rotten studs and plate:



Mold and rot - repaired then sealed with oil base paint:



What I'm trying to say - pulling a few bathroom tiles usually begets a lot more work. Can you easily pull tiles off? Once past the first row, in which case you have decided that they will all break, you find that most of the rest will come off reasonably easy as you can then get under the mastic or mortar plus have one of the 4 sides free of grout to gently pry free. Like a boy scout - be prepared for the worst, then you can be happy if it isn't.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 07:52 AM
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My wife asked the same of me (we are reselling) and I finally got to use my Fein Multi-master to the full test and it is the easiest way I know of to remove grout and floor tags that refuse to budge. It probably does not make a difference what you use as the end result is the same. Be prepared to replace grout in areas that you never touch since old vs new will have discoloration. Basically there is little difference in the solutions; only how you get there.

I do not envy you but you do have my empathy on this task - Baker

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 08:50 AM
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Berry, If there is a Harbor Freight near you, they usually have a multi-tool on sale for around $20 or less. Check online for their latest coupons. I have one and it works great. I would not by HF tools for daily use but have found they work just fine for occasional use. I used the specialty grout blade to cut through kitchen counter tiles with no problem and have found many other uses for this tool.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 11:33 AM
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Dave W;
Amen! Great illustration of our point; thanks.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 08:16 PM
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Dan and Dave I would agree with you if you were going to do something like replace the tub or if some of the lower tiles might be starting to loosen from the wall or if any leakage started to manifest in any kind of way. But what Berry is talking about is a very minor cosmetic change with the tiles that are least likely to be in a problem area. He won't have enough invested in that to make him regret not doing the full redo if a problem manifests down the road a ways.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Dan and Dave I would agree with you if you were going to do something like replace the tub or if some of the lower tiles might be starting to loosen from the wall or if any leakage started to manifest in any kind of way. But what Berry is talking about is a very minor cosmetic change with the tiles that are least likely to be in a problem area. He won't have enough invested in that to make him regret not doing the full redo if a problem manifests down the road a ways.
Mine started simple as well. I just wanted to replace the tub. When I opened the wall, everything went down hill from there. Instead of a $300 plastic/'glass or whatever wonder material is sold as replacement for a 45 year old cast iron piece to a $1000 tub with surround along with whatever else that was needed to be done. My post above is mostly as a 'warning' on how a simple wet area project can easily escalate.

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