20 x 20 tiles were started today in my living room. The tile has been laid straight without any kind of staggering. They are in complete rows which is not what I had wanted. The room has not been completed yet and I am wondering if the tile can be removed at this point and done again?

  • 2
    Once the tile is laid, it becomes more and more difficult to remove as time passes. It will be difficult to reuse the tile, even if it has only been down for a minute or two. You'll likely have to remove the mortar from both the tile and the substrate, and then start again. This becomes increasingly difficult (especially if you're looking to reuse the tile) as the mortar hardens. – Tester101 Jun 4 '14 at 10:22
  • What kind of tiles (porcelain, ceramic, stone, etc) and what substrate are they on? – Joe Phillips Aug 7 '14 at 3:23

I see your question was posted two days ago, so without a bunch of discussion, I think the answer at this point is a simple "no", if the tile is still on the floor.

According to the instruction sheet for VersaBond tile mortar (a product typically used to adhere tile to floors), the tile is ready for light foot traffic after 24 hours.

intructions here

In my own experience installing tile, removing a piece that has been set with mortar is the kind of thing that can be done if it's caught right away, and if it's only a piece here or there. Even if the decision to remove half a room's worth of floor tile was made immediately, say within 5 to 10 minutes of setting, doing so would take time, meanwhile the mortar would continue to harden on the the tile, including the backs of the removed tiles and the sub-floor where they were removed. Cleaning that mortar off the removed tiles and the sub-floor before it hardens to a point where it needs to be chiseled (effectively ruining the tiles, plus making a big chore out of preparing the floor again) is the main problem with removal.

It would be considered an emergency in the scope of the job. And if discovered mere hours after the fact, I would not consider it as an option but would discuss the issue in terms of "starting over" with new materials.

Good luck!


Yes but this is very very laborious. In one of my first tile installs I messed up a back row and basically there were no backup tiles and we couldn't find the tiles locally (tiles were bought a while before). So i have to take out and clean 20 12x12s.

  • to get them out alive you need to place a board on top of the first row. Tap hammer on top of the board against the tile very very hard. Not to the point where you are breaking the tile but a ton of effort. You will just tap tap tap until it breaks bond with floor and pops up. The first few tiles will be the hardest and might be a few minutes of tapping (THEY ALWAYS COME UP THIS WAY).

  • bucket of warm water with dish soap mixed in

  • bathtub of scalding hot water (pure hot water plus boil some water on the stove and add) and then add a little bleach

  • start tiles out in the warm bucket for 5 mins at least

  • put tiles in tub for 20 mins

  • get your stiffest putty knife, take out tiles and go at them

If the thinset isn't coming off then let set in tub longer. It took me just a couple minutes per tile. Good luck it is a ton of work.

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