How to Remove Mosaic Tiles

What You'll Need
Reinforced Cardboard Box
Garbage Bags
Safety Wear (Gloves, Glasses, Mask)

If you have mosaic tiles that you need to either replace or repair, you will need to learn how to remove the existing tiles. This job can be both messy and loud so be sure to wear ear plugs, safety glasses, gloves and a mask so you don't inhale dust. Also, keep in mind that removing the tile floor may not even be necessary because many types of floors can be installed over the top of the existing tile flooring with no problem.

Step 1: Remove the Tiles

The first step is to remove the trim running along the wall or doorways. Begin at one corner of the room, hammering your crowbar into the grout between the tiles. This will separate the tiles from the mortar or thinset backing adhesive. Then you can use either the crowbar or chisel and hammer it underneath the individual tiles at an angle. Doing so at an angle will separate the tile or break it into pieces you can then remove. Mosaic tiles are typically much smaller than ceramic tiles so there can be more of them to separate. The benefit, however, is that mosaic tiles are also easier to break and separate overall.

Step 2: Collect the Broken Tile

As you break the tiles apart from one another or into smaller pieces you will want to collect them into one spot to dispose of later. Putting the broken tile pieces into your trash box as you go, as opposed to waiting until the end to do it all at once, will keep your work area cleaner and easier to move around in. Using a large corrugated thick cardboard box will be best to support the weight and sometimes sharp edges of the broken grout. It is also often a good idea to cover the inside of the cardboard box with trash bags or plastic that you can remove to dispose of and not leave small pieces or debris in the box. This can keep you from having to use multiple cardboard boxes if you are working in a larger area to remove tile.

Step 3: Prepare the Subfloor

After you have removed the mosaic tile from the floor and disposed of it accordingly, you are ready to prepare the subfloor. There will most likely be some mortar or thinset left on the floor where the tiles were attached. This is not a problem if you are planning to retile the floor and apply new adhesive mortar or thinset. If you do have any excessive spots that may present a problem, you can chip them away with your chisel and hammer or an electric sander easily. If you plan to install a different type of floor altogether, you will want to sand and clean the subfloor completely.