How to Dispose of Old/Damaged Tiles?

Tile is commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, but it can be used beautifully everywhere; this diversity makes it easier to repurpose.

Once a tile is cracked or damaged, there is a risk to both people and the base material that lies below. People can easily slice themselves on the jagged edge of a cracked tile.

If there are cracks in the tile, it can also lead to leaks underneath. These leaks can cause damage to the flooring or wall behind the tile, leading to a costly repair in the future.

When it’s time to dispose of tile there are several things to know. Tile must be disposed of properly as it is seen as construction waste, not household waste.

How to Dispose of Old/Damaged Tiles

While disposing of tile is more complicated than just tossing in the garbage, the solution is simple.

It is recommended to contact your local waste management service to learn how they handle construction waste.

Contact your waste management service

Most communities have a local dump or recycling center. These organizations will have a procedure to handle tile and other renovation-related waste.

Remember to bring a face mask and eye protection when disposing of your construction waste. When you dump the materials it can kick up debris and dust clouds.

Ensure proper recycling

It is important to dispose of tile in the proper place so it has a chance to be recycled into something else. Broken tiles are crushed into many useful products many of us use all the time.

Crushed tile is used as an effective foundation for driveways. This crushed tile is an affordable building material that allows for drainage. This will prolong the life of the driveway by drawing water away from the driveway.

This crushed tile product filters more than just driveways. This product is also used effectively for water filtration systems.

Crushed tile is reliably recycled, so it is always best to dispose of it responsibly with your community’s service.

Repurposing Tile (Intact or Cracked/Damaged)

Another way to dispose of your tile is to reuse and repurpose your intact tiles in creative ways.

In order to repurpose your beautiful tiles, first, you must know how to remove them. Review the section above to learn how to remove tile.

There are endless ways to repurpose porcelain and ceramic tiles in decorative and practical ways.

Make sure you take the time to remove the grout surrounding and behind the tiles for the best results.

Intact tiles can be used in other places in your home, like a backsplash or other decorative accent.

Small, whole tiles can protect surfaces as coasters. Make sure these tiles are sturdy and have no cracks.

You can also repurpose shattered or cracked tiles in many creative ways.

Use ceramic and porcelain pieces like a mosaic in a garden stepping stone. Use cracked and discarded pieces for filtration in a large planter pot.

Can I tile over existing tile?

Yes! Tiling over existing tile is a great solution to avoid the expensive and labor-intensive project of removing tile. In many situations, you can easily place a new tile over the original tile without concerns.

However, there are some considerations when tiling over tile. This option will make the floor higher, which could make it difficult to open doors or low cabinets.

Tiling over tile is only possible if the existing tile is sound and does not have cracks. If the original tile is cracked or damaged, it can lead to leaks and costly repairs in the future.

Improper tile disposal

It is okay to toss a few tiles into your normal garbage can. However, the amount of broken tile produced in a renovation is too much for standard waste management.

If all do-it-yourself renovators simply tossed their construction waste into the garbage, our dumps would soon fill up with sharp, heavy waste.

That’s why it’s important to call ahead and follow the policies at your local dump.

Also, because ceramic and porcelain tile has so many practical uses and re-uses, there is no excuse not to recycle.

You can choose to store or repurpose your own tiles or follow the instructions at the dump to join their tile recycling program.

Alternatives to tile

If you’re going to tile over existing tile or planning a renovation, there are elegant alternatives to tile.

The home interiors market is always innovating, bringing durable and beautiful products to diversify modern homes.


Vinyl flooring comes in an almost unlimited variety, giving the appearance of wood, tile, or marble. This option is easy to install and maintain and is very affordable.

You would usually never choose to have hardwood in your bathroom, but with vinyl flooring it is possible. This resilient option is long-lasting and looks just like the real thing.


Laminate is another water-resistant flooring material that has so many options to choose from.

Laminate can also look like wood or granite but will fit in your renovation budget and is easy to install.

Another bonus with laminate is the ability to install padding under the flooring. This helps reduce fatigue when you’re walking on it, especially in places like a kitchen.

Removing and disposing of tile is quite a project to take on yourself. The tile is durable and does not come up easily.

This durable material also needs to be disposed of in a certain way, not just in the trash. However, it is not impossible with the right tools and preparation.

It is important to dispose of tile properly, not only to avoid prematurely filling up our landfills but also so tile can be repurposed.

If the idea of removing and disposing of tile seems like too much to handle, you can also easily tile over the existing tile.

Explore tile alternatives to learn about durable materials that can be installed over existing tile. These alternatives also remove the labor-intensive work of removing ceramic and porcelain tile.

How to remove tile

In order to take your tiles to the recycling center, you first must remove them. This can be easier said than done. But there are preparation steps you can take to make tile removal easy.

Knowing the best way to remove tile will also help you if you want to keep and reuse your tiles.

Prepare the room

Depending on where the tiles you like to remove are located, you will need to protect different things. For example, in a bathroom, it is wise to remove the toilet so it is not damaged.

Remove baseboards and molding so it is not damaged during tile removal. Also cover any vents to prevent dirt and debris from collecting in the ductwork.

Gather tools

There are a few simple hand tools you will need to remove tile. Grab a chisel, hammer, and hand scraper as well as a large garbage can for waste. A crowbar is also suggested to help pry up stubborn tiles.

You will also need safety equipment to do this job. Make sure you have eye protection, a face mask, and gloves when you remove tile. Knee pads will also help this physical task.

Hammer and chisel method

To start the demolition process, you will simply choose a spot in the corner of the room and break the first tile. Once you have a tile broken, slip the flat end of the chisel underneath.

Next strike the rounded end of the chisel with the hammer. This forces the tile up for removal.

Using a crowbar for as many tiles as possible will reduce the need to hammer away. This means you may be able to save more intact tiles and the project will move faster.

Can I remove tile by myself?

Yes! It is possible to remove a tile as a do-it-yourself project. However, homeowners should know the process of removing tile is not for the faint of heart.

Removing tile involves a lot of labor to successfully pry the tiles from your walls, floors, or shower stalls. Only you can determine if this type of manual labor is something that is realistic for you.

If you decide to remove tile, it will be a large renovation project. It is usually required to remove baseboards, moldings, and other components to pry up tile.

These projects may also involve removing toilets, sinks, or other appliances.

This project also generates a lot of dust and debris. Removing tile is similar to a demolition project!

The homeowner must know how they will handle this level of dust in their home passing through their home.

Because this project generates so much waste, knowing how to dispose of tile is important.

Many people choose not to do this project themselves because of the disposal regulations. While they are not necessarily difficult, it is one more step than a typical renovation project.

Many people successfully remove and dispose of tile from their own home renovation projects.

However, others prefer to hire a professional to remove and dispose of this heavy and fragile construction waste.

There are specialist companies where professionals will come and remove your tile. Professional tile removal may cost more than $1,000, depending on the size of the room.

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