Tile Wizards’ Guide on Removing Old Tile Flooring
Here’s a guide that you can follow in order to get this job done properly.
Access The Right Tools
Depending on the size of your project, you will require certain tools which you may have in your shed, or can be hired from a reputable Tool Hire company. Accessing the right tools for your project will go a long way in making sure your project is done on time. Work out the size of the job and how long you would expect it to take as sometimes, the tiles can come off easily and other tiles are very hard to remove (General rule is – the older the tiles are, the easier to remove). If your tiling project is under 5 sqm, you may want to save money and use a lump hammer and a large flat cold chisel to remove your old tiles.
NOTE: A Jack hammer will remove your tiles a lot faster than you will ever be able to do by hand. A flat blade scrapper can also be hired to remove the small lumps and bumps that the chisel blade cannot remove.
Required Tools for this Project:
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Lump Hammer
- Cold chisel
- Dust mask
- Knee pads
- Safety glasses
Know What’s Under Your Old Tiles
If you don’t know what’s under your tiles you’ll have to do some detective work to find out. Be sure to protect yourself during the battle — put on some safety glasses and work gloves; broken shards of tile can slice your skin like a knife. Then, grab a chisel and a lump hammer and start in the corner of a tile and remove the corner piece so you can then place the chisel underneath the tile and hammer away until the tile pops off the floor. Once one tile is removed it makes it easier to get under the other tiles to start removing them. Once you have removed the first tile, examine the substrate of the floor to decide on the best course of action in removing the rest of the tiles as there are concrete floors, timber floors, or timber floors that have cement sheeting (tile board underlay) laid over the top of the timber floor.
Know If Your Old Tiling is Bedded in Mortar
If the tiles you’re removing were stuck down with adhesive, you can follow the steps above. Using a floor scrapper to remove the adhesive and tiles should do the job. However, if the tiles were bedded in 25 mm mortar, follow these steps for removing the tile and mortar bed:
- Place the chisel on the edge of the tile and start hammering out a section to try and break the tile and mortar into sections as it makes it easier to remove. Repeat until you’ve removed several sections of tile and mortar, and break into manageable sizes.
- Start breaking up the tiles and mortar, and remove them with a shovel and floor scraper. It’s best to use buckets to put the rubbish in and have them ready for transferring in a bin.
- Timber flooring can be a little tricky as the adhesive that is used is generally a two-part product which is flexible and generally takes a lot longer to remove. If cement tile board underlay has been laid over a timber floor and the adhesive is hard to remove, investigate if the tile board is worth saving or it may be best to remove the tile and tile board together. This way, you will get a better finish in the long run.
- Tile Board underlay is generally used to protect finished tiled floors from movement that occur naturally in timber particle boards and plywood floors. Tile Board underlay can be purchased from most hardwares. It is 6 mm thick and the size is generally 1800 mm x 1200 mm, and is usually nailed down to the timber floor.
Clean the Area and Check for Bumps
Use a broom and vacuum to remove all loose particles. Use a flashlight parallel to the floor to check for bumps that may not be readily apparent and still need to be removed. Shine the flashlight and look for the shadows cast by the bumps. Scrape the bumps away and clean the floor.
Remove Hollows or Gouges
If necessary, use floor-leveling compound to fill in any deep gouges to make a smooth surface for the replacement tiling.
You may wish to speed up the job with a small jackhammer or electric tile stripper. Any Tile Wizards store can assist you with these tools, as well as offer you a wide range of tile products. You can find Tile Wizards stores across Australia:
- In Queensland – Bokarina, Brendale, Capalaba, Springwood
- In South Australia – Lonsdale, Para Hills West, and Richmond
- In New South Wales – Coffs Harbour