15 Types Of Tile Removal Tools – Which Do You Choose? Update 12/2021

types of tile removal tools

When you have a tile floor that needs to be removed, it can seem like a daunting task. This is especially true if the tiles are set in mortar or grout since they will need to be chiseled out of the ground. However, there are many tools on the market that make this job much easier and less time consuming.

Brief

Tools for removing tiles vary based on what type of installation method was used when installing them as well as their composition (ceramic or porcelain). Tools include but are not limited to: hammers, crowbars, pickaxes, pry bars, cold chisels with carbide points and diamond blades with carbide points. There are also specialized tools made specifically for removing ceramic or portland cement grout, such as the following:

15 Different Types Of Tile Removal Tools

1. Grout Removal Tool

Grout Removal Tool

Grout removal tools are designed to be used for removing grout. They consist of a tapered blade with two cutting edges that is offset from the handle to provide extra leverage and torque.

The large size of the grout removal tool allows it to remove mastic or portland cement, as well as vinyl tile without damaging the underlying surface. The long handle keeps your hands away from the tile. Grout removal tools are also known as grout saws or tile breakers.

2. Tile Nippers

A stronger version of the standard grout removal tool, tile nippers have a much more aggressive serrated blade for cutting through harder materials like porcelain, and are easier to use on smaller tiles where precision is required.

They can also be used for cutting tile, although they can be a bit dangerous to use. Most common uses: Removing grout, cutting tile and scoring/breaking tile.

Often used with a carbide-tipped chisel. 

3. Dual Tile Nippers

Dual Tile Nippers

Dual Tile nippers are essentially the same tool as a standard tile nipper, but with two handles and blades. The additional blade has a hole drilled through it to allow you to use a grout removal tool or skimming knife between the two blades.

The dual handles help provide more torque for heavy-duty jobs like removing large tiles or grout, and provide more comfort when using the tool.

4. Chisel/Hammers

Standard hammers can be used for breaking tile or glazed mortar joints if you run into trouble removing a tile that is glued in with mastic. They are also the best option for any work on walls or floors that cannot be damaged.

Hammers come in various weights, but the most commonly used is a 16 ounce hammer with a wooden handle. High quality hammers can last for years and are always worth the investment if it means doing a job more easily or better than you could with a standard hammer.

Hammers are also available with carbide-tipped or titanium chisels, which are used for scoring glass and ceramic tile.

5. Pickaxes

Pickaxes

Pickaxes are essentially an upscaled version of a normal hammer that includes a steel bladed tip (the pick) at the opposite end from the handle. The pick is used for breaking up and removing materials such as concrete or stone. 

Pickaxes are ideal for removing tile and concrete that is installed in mortar or grout. Specialty pickaxes also include a chisel edge on the opposite side from the pick, making them very versatile tools that can be used for a variety of different jobs.

6. Pry Bars

Pry bars are a type of bar tool with one or more slots or holes in the end, which is designed to move materials such as tile, flooring or wall covering. They can come in various sizes and often have one flat end and one rounded end.

Pry bars are attached to a hammer either by wiring them together or by using a hook that fits over the hammer’s handle. They are also designed to be driven with a lever, which increases their effectiveness and provides extra leverage.

7. Tile Nail Puller

tile nail puller

Tile nail pullers are the heavy duty version of a hammer claw. This tool features a grip area and pry bar, with large claws that are used to apply pressure for removing tile. This tool has two configurations; one that is plated steel and another that is stainless steel.

Each variation features a different level of strength, with the stainless metal being stronger but also more expensive. This tool can be used for a wide variety of tile removal jobs, including ceramic, porcelain and even slate as long as the surface is not extremely hard.

8. Skimming Knife

Skimming knives are made of tempered steel with a handle and blade on opposite ends, with a notch in the blade. This tool is designed for scoring glass tile so that it can be easily broken or chipped away by using what is called hammer-fracturing, which involves tapping the tile against a solid surface to cause cracks and chips.

Skimming knives are used either alone or attached to a lever arm that allows for increased force.  They are often used with a carbide tip chisel to remove the grout between tiles.

9. Cable Tool

Cable tools are long, slender rods that fit into a handle with a hook on the opposite end. They can be used for removing tile and masonry materials or even to draw wire mesh (such as chicken wire) across a surface to remove excess mortar or grout.

This tool is normally paired with a carbide tip chisel, which does most of the work. A strong drill is then used to attach the cable attachment onto a motorized hand drill. This allows for greater speed and force while removing tile or grout from surfaces without causing damage to the structure.

10. Fiberglass Spatulas

Fiberglass Spatulas

Fiberglass spatulas are used for scraping glues, putty and other materials off of surfaces such as cement, stone or masonry. They are also useful for cleaning out space between tiles in order to better identify which ones need to be removed.

These tools come in both regular and angled configurations and feature a wooden or plastic handle. Fiberglass spatulas can be used on a variety of surfaces, including many that are delicate and need to be protected from metal objects.

11. Anvil Chisels

Anvil chisels offer more versatility than standard chisels or hammers because they are attached to a high quality steel anvil which allows them to be used for other jobs besides tile removal.

This tool features a handle with a hole in the middle to attach it to a wrench, which allows you to remove bolts, nuts and even change tires on vehicles. The anvil chisel itself is very useful for removing damaged materials from concrete slabs, floors or walls during renovation projects.

Some anvil chisels are even manufactured with a carbide tip on the end, which aids in removing tile materials such as grout. This tool is often used in combination with other methods to remove tile or mortar from surfaces that have been built up by moisture or mold.

12. Tile Cutter

Tile cutters are used for making straight cuts on tile, and also come in a carbide tipped or titanium version where a sharp blade is inserted into the back end of the tool. The cutting blades have various sizes to match different sizes of tiles, but the most common size is 10 inches long. 

These tools are great for cutting tile easily but the carbide tipped versions offer more versatility because they can be used to remove tile as well. The tip can also break up grout if it is inserted into spaces in between tiles and a levering action is used to push and pull.

This tool works best on surfaces that are solid and free of any gaps where the tip could get stuck.

13. Power Chisel

Power Chisel

Power chisels are normally constructed using a carbon steel blade and handle, which is able to be attached to an electric hand drill as well as other power tools such as a water jet cutter or even a circular saw. 

This tool is used to remove tile, cement and many other types of hard materials. The most common way to use it involves drilling a hole into the surface where tile or grout has been built up by moisture or mold growth then using either a carbide tip for removal or simply hammering and breaking the material free from the surface. 

14. Tile Saw

Tile saws are used to cut ceramic tile, porcelain/marble/granite, glass, and other similar materials that can be damaged by a hammer or chisel. The blade is mounted to the back side of the tile saw and is usually powered by an electric motor. It can be handheld or mounted on a table, depending on the type.

Tile saws offer more precision than other tools because they are able to cut straight edges that would otherwise be difficult with hand tools. However, this also causes them to be slower and more time consuming than other tools.

15. Hand Grinders

Hand grinders are popular tile removal tools because they remove material quickly and easily without any type of delay or difficulty. They are capable of grinding through a wide variety of materials including almost all types of tiles, cement, brick and even sometimes wood.

However, they can also have a significant amount of dust kicked up when used, which can be harmful to your health if inhaled.

If you use a hand grinder for tile removal, make sure to protect yourself by wearing safety glasses and a mask if possible. They also work best on surfaces that are relatively solid with no gaps or holes where the blade could jam or get stuck.

FAQs

– What are the benefits of tile removal?

Removing the tile from a surface can provide many benefits depending on what you are replacing it with.

For example, if the tile was damaged from water damage or mold growth, removing it frees up the space for new materials that will be able to withstand these things and provide more reliable protection against future threats.

If you want to change your floor surface to a different type of tile, or if you are simply trying to change the color or size of your space, removing the old tile will also allow you to start fresh with new materials.

– What’s the best way to remove tile?

There is no one way that is considered better than another because it all depends on what type of tile you have and how hard it is to remove.

However, there are some steps that work well with most materials when removing tile:

1) If the space has been damaged by water or mold, begin by getting rid of any moisture that may be present using a dehumidifier and ventilation fans if necessary. This will make the tile removal process much easier.

2) Take some time to plan out your project and determine what tools you will need. Once you have these, remove all of the tiles from an edge or corner of the surface and dig them out using a chisel.

3) Place materials like drop cloths over furniture and other areas that you don’t want to get dirty.

4) Drill holes into the tile using a chisel if possible, then use your power drill to break up the tile and remove it from the surface. Be careful not to damage any wooden or other components underneath as you do this.

5) After removing all of the visible tiles, take off the grout and mastic holding the tiles in place using a chisel or other tool.

– How is tile removed from a surface?

Tile is usually removed by digging it out from an edge using a chisel to break up the material, then removing this debris and using another tool like a power drill to remove remaining pieces.

The success of this step completely depends on how hard the tile is to begin with. Some tiles can be removed quickly and easily while others may take much more effort.

Conclusion

Tile removal can be a daunting task for many homeowners. The type of surface you are removing the tile from, how hard it is to remove and what material you want to replace it with will all determine which tools you’ll need.

This article has provided 15 different types of tile removal tools that should help make this process easier on your home or business property. Whether you’re looking for handheld options or something more stationary like table mounted saws, we’ve got just about everything covered in our list.  We hope this guide provides some useful tips as well as inspiration when deciding on the right tool for your project!

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