The Secret To Successful Removal of Tiles

Tile removal might seem like a simple task, but it is actually a messy and cumbersome undertaking. Knocking off and clearing away the tiles, debris, dust, and thin sets is a laborious process and depending on the size of the space, might even take you a whole day or two. You have to break the tiles, remove the adhesive and thin sets and clear off the debris. For DIY tile removals, you will need tools such as a chisel and hammer or an electric drill. 

If you are going the DIY route, you will probably be squatting the whole day and expanding your sweat in the process. Besides, your tile removal might be hindered by factors such as site accessibility. When removing tiles, you need to select the areas that your tools and machinery can maneuver easily without causing damage to the other structures and installations. Being a physical and energy-sapping job, most prefer hiring ceramic tile removal contractors who have the right sets of tools, machinery and experience to efficiently remove old tiling and install new ones with speed and the highest standards of quality. But what are their secrets? How do they get a job that is so messy and laborious? In this article, we let you in on some of the top tile removal secrets used by professional tile removals that you should familiarize yourself with if you are planning to replace old tiling.

Knowing the Right Tools 

The right sets of tools will enable you to do the job more efficiently. If you use a tool that is not designed for tile removals, you will end up creating a big mess out of it. You will need several tools to get this right. These include: 

  • A Pulsing Hammer Drill: This should come with the right chisel bit and will speed up the tile removal process.
  • Sledgehammers: You will use the sledgehammers to hit the tiling at the right angle to detach them from the flooring.
  • Floor scraper: You need this to get rid of adhesives, concrete, thin sets and other substances that are still attached to the subfloor.
  • Shovel and buckets
  • Shop-Vac: This will be a lifesaver, enabling you to quickly suck in all the dust and debris generated from the tile removal work.

Clear Up Space

Before you begin the tile removal process, start clearing and organizing the space. Cover all the valuables in the house and remove all essential items from the vicinity of the area. This task will generate an intense amount of dust, and you need to take all the requisite precautions to protect your most valuable possessions. The vacuum must suck in most of them, but if you don’t take measures to protect sensitive or delicate items, they will be quickly covered in thick coats of dust during the tile removal. 

It would be best if you also got rid of the trims and baseboards before you begin working on the room. The trim work should be removed with some attention care to avoid damaging them. This will enable you to reinstall it when installing your new tiling to avoid incurring unnecessary costs. Take care to remove the appliances and even built-in furniture like cabinets where possible. If the room has lots of vents, you should cover them using a painter’s removable tape, and plastic as this will prevent the copious amounts of dust generated from getting into your ventilation system. 

Removing Tiles from the Edges of the Room 

It isn’t easy removing floor tiles that are so close to the cabinet by hitting them with a sledgehammer. You will have tremendous success in these areas with the hammer drills. The tiles adjacent to the edges of the rooms will come out a lot faster if you remove the baseboards first before you begin removing the tiles. 

Remove Grout and Caulk Before You Begin Removing Tiling 

Use a utility knife to remove the grout and caulk before you start removing the tiling. You can remove the grout just as it is. Use a heat gun to soften the caulk before you proceed with its removal. After removing the caulk and grout surrounding a tile, use a putty knife to try and pry it. Some tiles will come off easily when you attempt this enabling you to complete the tile removal task quickly. If it doesn’t come off easily, then you will need to employ more engrossing tile removal methods involving the use of hammer drills and sledgehammers, among other tools and equipment. 

Removing the Underlayment

If the tile removal is complete, determine the condition of the tile underlayment. If there is some deterioration, then you should remove it and replace it with a new one. Use a screw gun to remove any screws that have affixed the underlayment onto the floor. Then use a roofing cake and flat shovel to pry the underlayment and remove it from the floor. 

Scraping off the thin-set

Then the thin-set must be scraped off until it is smooth before you lay down the new tiling. Make sure you wear a mask during this exercise as it generates clouds of dust. A hammer drill and a tile chisel set to pulse will do an excellent job removing the thin-set. Depending on its thickness and hardness, you might have to make several passes with your hammer drill to remove the thin-set.

Smoothing the Floor 

After getting rid of the thin-set, the floor should be smoothened using a floor scraper. The smoothing is required because the concrete foundation will still contain some thin-set even after you have carried out multiple passes with the hammer drill. You probably won’t manage to remove every bit of them, but the surface should be very smooth in preparation for new tile installation. 

Use the flat edge of your flat shovel to get rid of any residual adhesive on the concrete. For large surfaces, you can use a carpet scraper for this purpose. Clean up any remaining glue or screws with a broom and a shop vac. The subfloor will need to be completely clean and smooth before you start installing new tiling.