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How to Remove Tile Flooring

Often the first step to installing a new floor, removing an old tile floor takes time and a bit of elbow grease.

More in Floors

  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove the Trim

Remove baseboards or trim work around the room. Taking care when removing the trimwork allows it to be reinstalled when a new floor is installed after the tile floor is removed. Remove any appliances or built-in furniture like cabinets, if possible. Cover any vents with painter's removable tape and plastic to prevent dust from entering the ventilation system.

cover vents to prevent dust from entering system

Step 2: Remove the Tile

Break up the first tile with the blunt edge of a hammer (image 1), and then use a chisel to pry up the remainder of the first tile. Once this first tile is removed, place the chisel against the bottom edge of adjacent tiles, apply pressure with your hammer and the tiles should pop up easily (image 2).

Step 3: Remove the Underlayment

Once finished with the tile, remove the tile underlayment if it is deteriorating. Using your screw gun, remove any screws that might attach the underlayment to the floor. Pry up the edges of the underlayment with the roofing rake and flat shovel.

remove the underlayment

Step 4: Clean the Subfloor

Once the underlayment is gone, remove any adhesive with the flat edge of the flat shovel or a carpet scraper for large areas and a scraper or chisel and hammer for smaller areas. Clean up any remaining screws and adhesive using a broom and shop vac. The wooden subfloor should be completely smooth before installing a new floor.

clean subfloor of adhesive

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