One of the many benefits of tile flooring is its incredible longevity. Even in high-traffic areas of the home, your tile may hold up well for many long years. In fact, many homeowners decide to replace tile because of its outdated style rather than because of its worn condition. If you are thinking about a do-it-yourself floor replacement project, you need to know how to remove tile from the concrete floor.
Before You Learn How to Remove Tile From Concrete Floor
Tile firmly adheres to the concrete slab underneath it. Because of this, removing the tile requires considerable effort and access to the right tools. There are several methods that you can use to pry tile up off of the concrete, but some methods are considerably easier than others. To get the job done with minimal effort, you need to pull together all of the essential equipment.
As you remove the tiles, dust and tile shards will fly throughout your room. For your safety and comfort, you need access to safety glasses, work gloves, a dust mask and knee pads. You also should wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect the rest of your body. These shards can also damage built-in features like cabinets as well as drywall, windows and even your furniture. Remove all furniture and decorative features from the work area. When removing the tile, work with your back to windows, cabinets and drywall when possible. You may also need to cover some of these areas with protective materials to prevent unnecessary damage.
A shop vacuum is also essential to keep your work area as clean as possible. Ideally, you will have a strategy for removing the waste from your home as well. These tile shards and dust will be extremely heavy, and the shards will have sharp corners. If you have a large project, you may need to schedule special waste removal or use a dumpster bin to contain and remove the debris.
Essential Supplies and Tools
To remove the tile, you will need several tools to tackle different aspects of this project. These include a trowel, a shovel, a hand maul, a hammer, a thin-set mortar and a cold chisel. You may also consider renting a jackhammer or an electric tile stripper from your local home improvement store if you have a large space to cover.
How to Remove Tile From Concrete Floor
When you remove tile from a concrete subfloor, you understandably want the subfloor to be perfectly prepared for the installation of new flooring. This process can be completed in three steps.
Remove the Tile and Grout
The first step in the process is to pull the tiles up off of the concrete. If you prefer to do this work by hand, you can use a chisel or a hand maul and a hammer to fracture and dislodge the tile and grout. Start by placing the head of the chisel or hand maul at an angle toward the grout or tile. Use the hammer to pound the rear of the chisel or hand maul. Work your way throughout the entire room. You may also strike the tile directly with the hammer to crack the surfaces for easier removal.
If you choose to use a jackhammer, ensure that it has a chisel point attachment. Both a jackhammer and an electric tile stripper will dramatically reduce the time and energy required to complete this step. Regardless of the method that you use, you may need to use a large shovel to scoop up the debris. Plan to work in small sections so that you can keep the work area as clean as possible.
Remove the Adhesive
Several types of adhesives may have been used to attach the tile to the concrete subfloor. Some of these materials may be removed more easily than others. However, you generally will need to go through the entire room a second time with a chisel to scrape away the remaining adhesive and small tile pieces that were not removed initially. Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to remove every small area of remaining debris because you can smooth over minor imperfections in the subfloor during the final step.
Create a Smooth Surface
Because it is almost impossible to remove all of the adhesives from the concrete subfloor without extensive effort, you can save energy and time by applying a thin layer of mortar over the concrete. In most cases, latex thin-set mortar will work well. You can apply the product using the trowel. Allow it to dry thoroughly before you begin the installation process for your new floor.
Consider the Alternative to Removing Tile from Concrete Floor
Many homeowners do not realize that removing tile from the concrete subfloor is not always necessary. Depending on the type of flooring that you intend to install, you may be able to use the old tile as the subfloor for the new material that you wish to install. Be aware, however, that this strategy will result in the new flooring being slightly higher than surrounding flooring materials. You can use various flooring strips or other materials to smooth over these rough edges between the different floor surfaces. In addition to paying attention to different flooring heights, you should be aware of the impact that this strategy will have on your wood trim. It may be necessary to remove the trim before installing new flooring over tile.
Now that you know how to remove tile from the concrete floor, you can better determine if this is a suitable do-it-yourself project for you. Keep in mind that professionals can remove the tile for you as well. Regardless of the strategy that you plan to use for your tile removal project, you can now confidently search for beautiful new flooring to install in your home.