How to Remove Tile Floor

Tile floors have improved in manufacturing technology nowadays to make them more durable choices in a variety of styles. You can buy tiles in laminate, vinyl, or as a form of carpet.

Before installing new tile, though, you may have older tile flooring looking worse for wear. Whether in a home or a business, you’re going to need to take time to remove those old tiles before any other work begins.

You can probably do this on your own using basic tools and protective wear. However, it does involve more than just tearing up the tile. A few other laborious steps are involved before the new tile goes in place.

Getting That Old Tile Out of Your House

The old tile you need to remove starts to go faster once you get the first piece of tile ripped out. Before getting started, put on some safety goggles so debris doesn’t get in your eyes.

Take a hammer and use the sharp edge to dig in to one random tile. This might take some blunt force to get that hammer edge through the tile so you can start breaking it up.

Once you’ve torn into that tile piece, get a chisel and pry it out. After getting this initial tile out, all the others will have an edge exposed so you can pry those out as well.

Most of the tile pieces should pop out fairly easily, no matter how old they are. Be sure to discard them quickly so you don’t scatter debris all over your subfloor.

Removing Your Wall Base

Whether you remove the wall base or other trim around your floor first or second is up to you. It’s usually a good idea to remove it first before tearing up old tile to prevent doing damage to your baseboards.

You’ll want to be careful removing this because you may want to put it back in place once new tile is installed. Then again, your wall base may need replacing as well if it went in at the same time as your aging tile floor.

Be sure to cover any vents along the wall. Also, move all furniture out of the way. Moving furniture will be up to you just in case you hire someone to install your tile floor.

Professional installers can help you move furniture, but be sure to tip them for the effort.

Discarding the Underlayment on Your Subfloor

It’s now time to get that underlayment out of the way. This might be badly deteriorated and possibly needs to be thrown out.

The best way to pick up your underlayment is to use a flat shovel or roofing rake if you have one available. Be careful handling the underlayment as you throw it out because it might have been attached with nails.

At this point, you’ll want to check to see what kind of subfloor exists underneath. Maybe you never knew what the subfloor material was when moving in to your home or business.

This might be concrete, plywood, or mortar. You should be able to tell what’s under there when you pried up several pieces of tile prior.

As Bob Vila points out, any tile stuck to plywood might require a little more complicated procedure. Use a reciprocating saw to cut through the plywood to get all the tile pieces up.

Cleaning the Subfloor Before the New Tile Goes In

Depending on how much tile you had to tear out, you might already feel exhausted. It’s not always easy ripping out tile on a large floor. Plus, it can get messy, so always have garbage bags available to discard the debris.

Once clear of the old tile, it’s time to clean the subfloor to ensure it’s pristine and level.

If thinset was used as the adhesive for the prior tile, you may have remnants of this material to pick up on the subfloor. This is not easy to scrape up and may require using a hammer drill to get it all off.

Always wear a mask when doing this removal work to avoid hurting your lungs. Since this may be the toughest job when preparing your subfloor, don’t be too proud to hire a professional to get the thinset (and other debris) removed for a thorough cleanup.

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