Have to remove them. They are worn beyond repair. There is no access
behind the taps. I have to remove 9 tiles to get at them. I have
exactly 9 spare tiles and there is nowhere to match them up. I was
going to use a utility knife (many blades) to cut out the grout and
remove the required tiles - what are my chances of pulling this off?
Any tips to protect the tiles I need to leave from cracking when I
remove the others?
A dremel would work better than a utility knife. Better yet, go and get
a grout saw. They even have these at the borgs. Put some masking tape
on the surrounding tiles (I wouldn't, but if it helps your confidence
level). If you're doing a 3 x 3 square, start with the middle tile and
work your way out. No need to remove any grout except that which is up
against a tile that you DO NOT want to remove.
Now, cut out the backing material leaving an inch or so on each edge
exposed. When you replace the backing material, you can screw through
this edge to attach nailer strips, making installation much easier.
install a new closed vanity, steal tiles that will no longer be seen.
many tile guys have a selection of spares, and if you have never
removed tiles before it might be worth the money to hire a pro for
I _suspect_ that the bonding of the tiles to the backing
wasn't that good, or, the top layer (eg: paper face on drywall)
With a good solid bond to, say, concrete board, I find it hard to
imagine being able to get a tile off without breaking it. Often
even with drywall with a less than very sturdy tile.
In situations like that, it may be best to cut straight thru
the backing, and take out and reinstall the section of tile as
Fortunately, all shower/tub controls I have had to deal with
had interior drywall directly behind them, which can be cut open
to get access without destroying the surround - which isn't
possible with a fiberglass insert. Putting an access hatch
would be even more convenient, but esthetically, the SO
wouldn't let me :-(
Tho, if I have to do the new shower's controls that back onto
the fridge, there shouldn't be a problem with a hatch.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
There is no access now, but what about adding that access? Is that
A nicely trimmed out access panel would make the installation and
future repairs a lot easier.
You can purchase flush mount access panels, which you could probably
paint to match the room/hallway:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
or you could build you own:
Nope. It's a 120+ year old house and the taps are on an exterior wall.
Piping would have run up through the flooring along the wall and into
a claw foot tub. When the previous owner installed the new tub he
bumped a false wall out (6") and installed the tap set then tiled over
it. No big deal. If I break the tile removing them I'll just redo the
entire tile job - just not ready to take that on yet.
If your tiles are not mosaic sized, you can use an angle grinder with a
diamond blade to make a number of shallow "X" and other cuts in the tiles to
be removed. Cut them into small sections that can be popped out. Do not cut
into the backer board or whatever is behind the tiles. Then pry out the bits
of tiles you have remaining taking care to not pry against the tiles you
want to keep. Use an old or cheapie wood chisel to help remove some of the
tile bits and to level the backing material before installing your
replacement tiles. Angle grinders can be found quite cheaply along with
inexpensive diamond blades. Tent off the door and possibly the shower and
use a good dust mask as this will produce lots of dust even if you add some
water to make the cutting go better. It works, I have done this myself.
Instead of a grinder and the dust, I use a masonry bit in the drill.
Make a few holes in the first tile center using the "X". I pop the
tile with a hammer and crack that tile. Then remove the pieces. This
also breaks grout...protecting the surrounding tiles to be kept.
You might consider using a tub/shower valve that has a "repair plate"
that will cover the two former valve holes. Many of the single level
valves offer this. That way you won't need all of the nine spare
The "repair plates" are generally only large enough to cover the
original valve holes - wide but not high. They're usually not high
enough to cover, say, a 9 tile square of 4" tiles, tho, it _might_
work if it only had to cover a row of, say, 3 horizontal 4" tiles.
I installed a pressure balance valve in place of an old two-valve
unit in a fiberglass shower insert. No way on earth I could have
installed the new valve thru a hole the size of the repair plate.
So it got installed from the other side of the wall.
My parents went through a valve replacement where the valve
was replaced from the front tile. Since they couldn't find matching
tiles, they went for contrasting color & same size/texture.
Turned out fine. Depends on what you want.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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