Old tiles - sometimes desired, sometimes despised

Old tiles - sometimes desired, sometimes despised

Old tiles can be a curse or a blessing. Often they are visually outdated and partially damaged. On the other hand, there are also many people who appreciate the old design very much. Especially if the old tiles should not be used any more, there are several ways to get rid of them. For eager collectors or lovers of historical design and old materials, there are also ways to preserve them. These two elements can also be combined with some skill in well-preserved tiles.

The following text explains how the old tiles can be removed or covered properly and where old tiles can be purchased.

Remove Old Tiles

One step that often can not be bypassed in renovations is to remove the old tiles. This may also be necessary if individual tiles are damaged. During the work a lot of construction dust accumulates, which is why it is necessary to seal adjacent rooms. Thereafter, it should be checked by knocking, if there is a hollow spot behind the tiles, because there the first tile can be solved. Hammer and chisel can be used for this purpose. However, it is important that the tiles are struck at an angle of 45 degrees at the corners, as they do not disintegrate directly.

After the tiles have been removed, the wall underneath must still be removed from the adhesive residue. For this purpose, a disc sander can be used. The wall can also be smoothed at the same time if there is any unevenness.

When removing old tiles, it is essential to wear appropriate protective clothing. Especially gloves and goggles are important, as it quickly leads to splintered fragments.

Removing individual old tiles

Many old tiles are easily damaged over time. But it can also happen that some tiles have an old design and therefore are no longer visually up to date. In these cases, it is possible to cut out only individual tiles without damaging the surrounding tiles. The removed tiles, however, are no longer useful after removal because they are smashed.

It is important, however, that first the grout is milled out, so that the tile is actually completely isolated. After that, the knocking out in the middle of the tile can be started. The tile can then be removed without residue. Even here, the surface can be smoothed, as a new tile is usually glued to it.

Removing tiles is also important if tiles in an old design are to be laid over them. You can also remove individual tiles before replacing them with other tiles of older design.

Painting old tiles

Another way to handle old tiles is to paint over them. This is quite simple in principle, but the surface texture causes some problems. On the one hand, keeping the paint on the tiles is not very good, which is why they have to be primed first. In addition, the joints are also problematic. Especially if the joint material is made of silicone, it must first be removed, as silicone can not be painted over.

Even a good cleaning of the tiles is the basic requirement. This applies to both wall and floor tiles. Then the primer can be applied. This then has to dry afterwards, whereby the exact information of the respective manufacturer should be considered. Then the tile color or the tile varnish can then be applied to make the room shine in a new light. Then the joints can be filled in.

Pasting over old tiles

Another way to cover the old tiles is to glue them over. In principle, a distinction is made whether the entire tile surface is pasted over or whether only small areas are pasted over. If only a few spots are to be pasted over, for example tile stickers are suitable. These are available in different sizes and can be cut to size accordingly, although the standard sizes are often already cut to size.

Most foils are also self-adhesive and can be easily affixed to the tiles with sufficient patience, making sure the tiles are completely clean and should be free of fat. Thereafter, the films are protected against many influences and are only damaged by improper cleaning agents.

Buy old tiles

Old tiles do not always have to be viewed negatively, but can also be inserted as nostalgic and historical objects in interior furnishings. Therefore, some old tiles are well suited when it comes to reviving unusual designs and materials. This look can then be combined well with borders. In addition, in addition to the ceramic tiles often used today, there are also cement tiles. These are visually a bit different and thus exude a somewhat antique charm.

In addition to the usual sales opportunities on the Internet, such as the classic online auction houses, there are also some tile dealers who specialize in the distribution of old and new tiles and also deliver these old tiles. The range goes from simple tiles to very elaborate patterns that can be used anywhere.

Attaching old tiles

If the tiles you are looking for are in the right design, they still need to be applied. This applies to new buildings as well as renovations. A smooth and clean surface is first and foremost the basic requirement for properly laying the tiles. There are some differences between wall and floor tiles. In general, however, a primer must first be applied. After this has dried, then the tile adhesive must be applied. The tiles are then pressed in so that they are evenly aligned.


Old tiles are sometimes in great demand and sometimes no longer wanted. There are ways to deal with both. The old tiles can not only be removed, but also covered. There are various options, such as the sweeping or pasting. If old tiles are wanted, they can be bought and installed as normal.


The covering of old tiles can be done with the help of paint or foils. However, if you want to consciously use tiles with an old design, they can be laid just like normal tiles. For this it may be necessary to remove the tiles first.

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