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So, you want to know how to remove ceramic tile flooring?

Let’s dive in.

Sometimes, especially in the old houses and buildings, the old ceramic tiles have to taken off and replaced with new ones. They change color, become moldy, or just get damaged in time.

Of course, you have to remove the old ones, before setting the new tiles. This might seem difficult at first. It can be, yes. But, with proper tools and safety equipment and a bit of effort, you can do it yourself. But how to remove ceramic tile flooring?

Removing tile isn’t an easy project. It’s very labor-intensive, but it’s also expensive to pay someone else to do it.

There are some materials that can be set over the old ceramic tiles. We don’t recommend this. Firstly, you will increase the wall thickness. If you still want to glue the new ones over, there are special thin ceramic tiles for this. They won’t lessen the space that much unless you plan to change the tiles every year.

The entire process depends a lot on the subfloor and installation method previously used. Some older installations may require more effort and work.

Removing the ceramic tiles is not an easy task. It is intense work and for that reason, it might cost a lot to pay someone else to do it. So if you want to save some money, be ready to roll up your sleeves and break some sweat. In this article, we will have you some useful tips that will surely help you with the task. If you feel up to a DIY project, then self-removal is a good way to go. This article about how to remove ceramic tile flooring will surely be helpful.

With good preparation, you will shorten the time for finishing this project. There is a list of specific tools needed for removing ceramic tiles. We recommend you gather all these tools first. Here is what you will need to remove ceramic tile flooring:

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  • dust mask and knee pads
  • safety goggles and alternative eye protection
  • earplugs or similar hearing protection
  • floor scraper
  • flat pry bar,
  • hammer
  • masonry chisel
  • sledgehammer
  • masking tape
  • circular or reciprocating saw
  • vacuum cleaner, broom, dustpan and a brush
  • trash bin and trash bags
  • plastic sheeting
  • scoop shovel

Now that you have all the equipment, you are ready to start. You do not need some previous experience for this task. If you have all the tools, only follow a couple of important steps and advice. You will see it is not that hard and you will finish tile removal in no time.

Prepare the work area

cover How to remove ceramic tile flooring easily

As much as it is important to think of your own protection, you should also mind the surroundings. Little pieces of broken ceramic tiles can be very sharp and damage and scratch other objects in the room. This is why it is essential to prepare the working space first. Before thinking about how to remove ceramic tile flooring, there are some other objects you have to remove.

Remove everything you can. If it is possible, empty the entire room. Use plastic sheets to cover some areas such as doorways or heating ducts. Cover all kinds of openings fine dust could damage. You will probably need some painter’s tape too. Be sure to protect vents to keep dust out of the HVAC system. If you’re removing tile flooring from your bathroom, take out the toilet and any pedestal sinks.

Cover even the smallest openings. This fine ceramic dust can make a huge mess and spread easily around the house. It will take days to clean it all up if you are don’t take all the precautions.

Remove grout

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The first step in removing the old tile floor is to get rid of the old grout. This step can be a bit complicated. Sometimes, you will only need to replace a couple of damaged tiles for the new ones. If this is the case, then you have to be extra careful when removing the gut. You don’t want to damage the surrounding tiles. Here are some tips on removing the grout without causing damage:

  • Tap the pieces free with the ball peen or masonry hammer and cold chisel.
  • You will need to use a utility knife too
  • Sometimes there is no other way but to use some kind of heavy equipment – jackhammer or air chisel
  • A grout saw or rotary tool will be useful for cutting along the edges of the grout

If you want to do the most detailed removal, we recommend using the utility knife. Using the utility knife is also useful for avoiding any damage to the surrounding tiles. This might take more of your time, but it is a safer way to take off the grout. If you decide to use a rotary grinder, be aware that the slightest slip of a hand might cause damage.

Remove the tiles

Remove-the-tiles How to remove ceramic tile flooring easily

Every beginning is the hardest. This also applies to tile removal. Taking off the first one will be the most challenging. Luckily, reading this article on how to remove ceramic tile flooring will make it easier.

We recommend you start removal from a spot with easy access. For example, you may begin at the doorway.

You will need to use the sledgehammer to break up the tiles along the old grout lines. Be careful and don’t hit too hard. If you put to much pressure on it you can ruin the structural framing of the subfloor. Start with less intense hits, and then increase it slowly until it breaks. You will have to rely on your feeling here.

After you break the ceramic tile, you can use the floor scraper. Force it underneath the tile and pry it up.

How-to-remove-ceramic-tile-flooring How to remove ceramic tile flooring easily

After you remove the first tile, the next one will be way easier to remove. You won’t need a hammer or a chisel that much. Use the floor scraper to clean up the debris.

Of course, when doing this, never forget about the protection equipment. Use safety glasses and thick gloves. It will protect your eyes and hands from the sharp pieces of the broken tiles.

As you’re removing floor tiles, you will make a mess. Be sure to have a vacuum cleaner, broom, dustpan and trash bags nearby.

Remove the adhesives and underlayment

under How to remove ceramic tile flooring easily

If you removed all the tiles, the hardest part is over. The next to do is to remove the tiling adhesive that remains still stuck to the floor. To deal with this use hammer and masonry chisel.

Inspect the quality of the underlayment. If it is all worn out, you will need to remove it as well. This is a good thing to do since you are already installing new flooring.

To remove the underlayment, search for the screws and unscrew them all. These are holding it fixed to the subfloor. After you take all of them off, just lift the underlayment off. This is, however, not necessary and you are free to skip it.

Make sure you level out the entire floor surface. All the tiles should be evened out.

Clean up

cleann How to remove ceramic tile flooring easily

Make sure you have all the equipment needed for the cleaning prepared. Use thicker trash bags for the rubble. Some pieces can be very sharp and pierce through the bag. We recommend you buy sturdy contractor trash bags for this.

Besides getting it all in bags, you will also have to dispose of this waste at some disposal site. You can’t leave it just anywhere. Use broom, dustpan and brush, vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust. Afterward, be prepared to mop the floor several times. This fine dust can be very stubborn.

As you can see, the tile removal is not that complicated as it seemed at first. You can get all the material and equipment you need at the home improvement stores. Be sure you have all the safety gear. You don’t have to be a professional to get rid of the old floor tiles. Just follow these steps and advice and it will be just one of the many DIY projects. You will surely be proud to know you did it all by yourself.

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