Decorative floor tiles have obvious appeal, but Haines says removing them often proves time consuming if possible at all, especially for the budding DIY guy. But wall tiles are far more approachable, and in the case of antiques, can be tremendously valuable. Haines says that while modern white subway tiles are about 20 cents a pop at a big box store, vintage ones are worth sparing from the sledgehammer. “Originally they were made of porcelain or ceramic, and are worth three or four dollars per tile.” To tell if your WC has the real deal, Haines says vintage tiles have square edges instead of rounded ones, and a close look will reveal fine crackling under the glaze.
Unfortunately getting them loose is either dead simple or all but impossible. “You’ll know very quickly if a tile is going to come off as it’ll pop off when you begin to pry. If they start to crack then they’re adhered to the wall and you won’t be able to get them off.” Haines says the best way to liberate tiles is using an oscillating multi-tool with a scraper attachment.