How to Replace Bathroom Tile

One of the most basic and attractive bathroom remodels is replacing the tile, especially around the bathtub. Grout can be cleaned many times, but after a while, it just gets ugly, and there’s nothing to do but replace it. Also, small tiles have long since gone out of style, and there are many colors more beautiful and interesting than white to work with these days! So how do you replace bathroom tile?

How to Remove Old Bathroom Tile

First, use a grout saw to dig out the grout between two tiles, so that you have a space that you can get a chisel into. Next, use a hammer and chisel to gently tap into the gap, and get the chisel behind the tile. Once you have done this, use the leverage of the chisel to pry the tile away from the wall. Once the first one is off, the rest will come more easily! Just keep chipping and prying, and try hard not to damage the wall behind the tile. Next, using your hammer and chisel, or a stiff putty knife, remove the remaining glue from the wall.  Note: be sure to use a masonry chisel, not a wood chisel.

Now, if there are any damaged areas, make sure you repair the wall before you proceed. Use the correct cement/fiberglass backer board and affix it to the wall firmly, using self-adhesive drywall tape and thinset mortar to get the right coating.

What Kind of Tile Should I Choose for my Bathroom?

The modern taste in bathroom tile is generally towards earth tones, from tan to dark brown. Also, mottled and varied tiles are more popular than single-color tiles. Many people are choosing large tiles that are patterned to look like many small squares or rectangles, providing a look of depth and interest.

How Do I Install New Bathroom Tile?

Begin by mixing your thinset mortar according to the directions given for your specific tile. Use a trowel to spread a thin layer horizontally across the wall, careful to make it smooth and even. Spread on only enough for a couple rows of tile.

Place your first tile on the wall, beginning in a bottom corner. Press it tightly to the wall, twisting it slightly to make sure it sets well. Once it is in place where you want it, place the next tile beside it, using a spacer to determine the proper gap (unless your tiles are designed to rest flush, one against another).

Continue to add mortar and tiles until you have completed a wall. Check your lines frequently to make sure you are keeping straight lines and even gaps.

If you need to cut a tile (and you surely will), a rented tile saw is the easiest way to do so. Another method that works for most standard bathroom tiles is to use a sharp utility knife and a straightedge to score a line across the tile. Then set the tile on the edge of a hard object, with the edge right below your line. Put weight on one side to hold it in place, then push sharply down on the overhanging portion. The tile should break along your line.

Allow your mortar to dry overnight.

How Do I Put Grout Between My Bathroom Tiles?

Mix your grout according to the instructions on the package, then spread the grout across the surface using a grout float. Go diagonally across the tiles, being careful to push the grout deeply into the joints. Fill in every crack thoroughly.

Now use a damp sponge to gently wipe away the excess grout from the surface. A dry haze may begin to appear on the tiles; if this happens, buff the tiles with a clean, dry rag. Now let your grout dry for 24 hours.

Finally, be sure to seal your grout. If you skip this step, water will continually seep behind your tiles, causing serious problems like mold or adhesive failure.

Professional Bathroom Tile Installation and Replacement

While a skilled do-it-yourselfer can do a great job installing or replacing bathroom tile, it might be a better idea to hire a professional remodeler. Your tile project will be finished in a much shorter time, with less disruption to the family and superior results. Then you can get back to using and enjoying your shower, rather than working on it.

New Life Bath & Kitchen provides bathroom remodeling services to the San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria region on the Central Coast of California. One of our specialties is bathroom tile replacement. Give us a call, and we would be happy to give you a free evaluation and estimate for replacing your bathroom tile, or for a complete bathroom remodel.