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Removing Ceramic Tile from a Plaster Wall

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Betty in Michigan is removing some ceramic tile. Usually we get questions about putting it on but Betty wants to take it off. What’s going on at your money pit?

    BETTY: Yes, I have tiling; I’d like to remove it. Twelve by twelve measurements and it’s small squares. I’d like to remove it and it’s on plastered walls. How can I do this without damaging the plaster behind it?

    TOM: Boy, that’s a tough one. Yeah, that’s a difficult one. Is this a bathroom?

    BETTY: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s very hard to do because it may not be on plaster walls. It might be on a mud base. Did you ever consider that, that …?

    BETTY: No, it’s plastered. The wall – the house has been given a first coat of plaster and a second coat of plaster.

    LESLIE: And then the tile was put on top of that.

    BETTY: And then the tile was put on that and I don’t want to do something to damage it.

    TOM: Well, you’re very, very likely going to damage the plaster and have to put on a third coat of plaster …

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: … if you try to take that off.

    BETTY: Oh, no. Oh.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Because, generally, you’re going to want to break up the grout and then you’re going to want to get some sort of chisel item behind the tile and tap it down …

    BETTY: Right.

    LESLIE: … and then pop it off. But …

    TOM: And I’m sure it was adhered to the old plaster wall, which is very porous.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which is super porous.

    TOM: So, you’re definitely going to end up pulling off some of that plaster work at the same time, Betty, and you’re going to have to replace it or repair it.

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