Do I have any chance of lifting the tiles you see in the pictures without breaking them?

You can tell from the picture what I tried and how it went!

enter image description here

  • Why do you want to recover the tiles whole? If you want to reuse the tiles, you'll have to remove all the bits of mortar stuck on the back which is going to take a very long time...
    – bobflux
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 20:03
  • If the tile was laid properly it should be nearly impossible to lift it. That said, it doesn't look like your tile was laid properly so you might have luck tapping with a very wide chisel.
    – Matthew
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 20:45
  • @Matthew What did they do wrong?
    – Wynne
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 2:24
  • The tiles should have been back-buttered. That ensures that it's well adhered to the tile. Then you get wet adhesive on the tile pressed into wet troweled adhesive on the substrate ensuring a good bond.
    – Matthew
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 4:38

1 Answer 1


I have had (some) success using the following technique:

  • using a utility knife or grout saw, remove as much grout as you can
  • using a narrow margin trowel (see pic) with a hammer, carefully tap the trowel under the tile in as many places as you can. This breaks up the mortar somewhat. Do not use any leveraging type action until you have tapped the trowel under the tile around as much of the perimeter as possible
  • carefully start using leverage with a wide margin trowel in various spots around the tile until it (hopefully) pops free in one piece

enter image description here

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