If you are planning to renovate your home or office, changing the tiles on the floor would be a good place to start. Maybe the tiles you have now are starting to look a little old, or you just don't like the look of them anymore. Changing the way your floor looks will bring about a huge difference to the whole space.
However, a new look doesn't come too easy. The renovation is a lengthy process, and changing floor tiles might take days.
The first step in this process is the removal of tiles from the floor. It may seem like a lot of work and to be honest, this will take up some time and strength, but if you work methodically, you can get it done.
A Safe And Easy Way
One thing you must remember while renovating is that most of the work is quite messy and can be a little risky. So, it is essential to protect yourself and your surroundings from any sort of damage.
Below are some steps to follow to remove tiles from a concrete floor. If you are new to this type of work or are just looking for some tips and tricks, you have come to the right place!
Your first job before you even start on the tiles will be to protect yourself and the objects around you, from any collateral damage. As mentioned above, tile removal is very messy work, and often, bits of tiles and a lot of dust and debris will fly about.
Remove All Furniture
To avoid ruining the wall or any furniture, you must take the necessary precautions. First, remove all the furniture in the room, especially sofas and glass tables. You can put them in a different room, or cover them up with newspaper, to avoid getting them dirty.
Wear Protective Clothings
Since there will be a lot of debris flying about, you must remember to wear protective gear that covers as much skin as possible. This includes full pants, a shirt with long sleeves and closed-toe shoes. You must also wear leather work gloves, dust masks, and eye protection.
Cover the Remaining Belongings
Now, there may be cabinets and other furniture that are attached to the floor. To protect those, you can cover them up with plastic or paper. You can also shield only the bottoms of your walls if you want to cut the cleanup process short.
Decide Where To Start
You must be wondering where you would start pulling out tiles when you are faced with a floor that is entirely covered in one. This is the tricky part. You can't expect that your tiles will come off with just a few pushes. They are glued down and packed tightly together.
Start with Spoiled Ones
To remove the tiles, clean off the concrete floor. You’d be better off starting with one that is already chipped. If you look closely, you may notice cracks, broken bits or loose grout around some tiles. These will be much easier to remove.
Crack One If There’s None
If you cannot find a tile that is broken or loose, you will have to crack it yourself. You can either use your chisel to pry the tile loose or hit it in the middle to crack it into several pieces. Do it carefully because you don't want to repair a cracked floor tile.
Here’s How To Break
In case you want to break a tile yourself, just place the end of your chisel right at the middle of the tile and hit the other end with a mallet. The force will surely break the tile into smaller pieces, which will be much easier to remove.
Work with Care
Once you have your tile broken and cracked, use the same chisel and mallet to hit any one side of it, so the pieces come off cleanly. This is when you may face a risk of having chunks of tile come flying at you, so work with care.
When you are aiming to pry a tile off the floor, try to slide the chisel under the tile, tilt it about 30 degrees, and then hit it with the mallet. If your chisel slides a little too deep under the tile, you will have a hard time bringing it back up. This way, you can slowly drive the chisel in, loosening the tile as you go.
Touch Tile to Tile
Picking off just one tile perfectly will help you move on to the next one more easily. When you have enough space around the second tile, you won’t even have to break it first. Just move from tile to tile, and your work will be much faster.
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Don’t Get Weary
You will notice that all the tiles are breaking off into smaller pieces, as you try to remove them. This is normal. It is very rare that a tile will come off in one piece, in this process. A fair few hits will also be needed for the tiles to come off completely. So, just be a little patient.
Once you have picked off all the tiles, you will have to clean it all up, or you'd be left with a huge mess. Get a broom and a dustpan, and sweep off all the pieces of tiles and dust that accumulated while you were working.
The next step would be to scrape off as much of the adhesive or grout as possible. This too should be done with a chisel and mallet. Just like you loosened the tiles, hit the chisel with a mallet and scrape it off.
Get a Larger Chisel
You may still be left with a very thin layer of grout at the end. It’s okay if you cannot remove it all. If you have a large area of floor to work on, you can opt for a much larger chisel that will cover more space. That way, your work can be efficient.
For an additional step, you can get a floor scraper to smoothen out any roughness left from the adhesive on the floor. These have wider edges, so they cover more area and are quite accurate.
Clean the Dust
Once you have a satisfyingly smooth floor, you can then use a broom or vacuum cleaner to get rid of any remaining dust or debris. Next, you can apply thin-set mortar all over the surface. Fill up any gaps you find along the way and smoothen it down further.
If you want to install new tiles to your floor, you should probably opt for a square-notched trowel to apply the mortar, as it will create grooves. If you want to leave it as it is, you’re better off using a flat trowel.
Removing tiles from concrete floors can be kind of a hassle. After all, there are some steps and many safety precautions you must take. But if you are ready to work with patience and determination, you can still get this job done quite fast. The trick is to find a good pattern in your work, which will make it quick but effective.
Now, if you are looking to install new drainage tiles, you can check our post on it.