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How To Demolish Tile Floors

by Sheila Vasquez

Tile floors, no matter what material they are made out of, are difficult to demolish. There are many instances where you might need to remove a tile floor to expose the subfloor beneath. Most people demolish their tile in anticipation of installing a new flooring product like carpet or hardwood. Demolition work is very tiring and hard on your body, so you need to wear the right gear.

It might be exhausting work, but it is definitely not complicated. As long as you have the right tools and safety equipment, removing a tile floor is fairly straightforward. This article explains the best methods for removing tile from a concrete subfloor. These methods and tools work for interior or exterior tile of all sizes.

Start with a Jackhammer

You will not be able to get the job done without an electric jackhammer. These are the easiest and safest to rent. Just make sure you wear steel toe shoes while operating a jackhammer. Also, wear protective eye glass to stop debris. The jackhammer rental will include several different chisel shapes. A sharper chisel will crack the tile into smaller pieces and allow you to chisel into the grout lines.

The key is to start at the grout line and force the hammer down as it vibrates away. If you are lucky, the vibration will cause the tile to pop off of the subfloor. However, in most cases, the tile will crack and separate from the mortar. What you are left with is a bunch of uneven mortar still stuck to the subfloor. Jackhammering will allow you to remove a large percentage of the tile and mortar. But, it does not work for removing the thin, leftover layers.

Using a Floor Scraper

A floor scraper with changeable blades is the best tool for removing the mortar that is stuck to the subfloor. This will often take more time than using the jackhammer. You might need to replace the blade a few times so the scraper remains effective. You will probably need to get down on your hands and knees to finish all of the scraping. There is really know way around this step, but you can wear knee pads to make it a little easier on your body.

A subfloor needs to be very smooth for the installation of the new floor. Any lumps or high points could cause problems during the installation of the new floor. So, be thorough and take your time.  

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