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Looking to renovate your home and get rid of that outdated tile? If you are ready to say goodbye to your tile then this tutorial is for you. Let’s be honest it is going to be a lot of work, but to help make the process go more smoothly check out these 5 easy tips on how to remove tile.

1. Choose The right tools

First determine if you have a small, medium or large sized job.

  • Small Job (less than 10 sq ft)
  • Medium Job (10-30 sq ft)
  • Large Job (more than 30 sq ft)

For a small job a tile chisel and a hammer should suffice. For a large job it is worth renting or borrowing a rotary hammer, or if a very large job a power floor scraper should be considered. If you are doing a medium job, it is probably worth your time to rent a small rotary hammer.

Other tools you will need:

  • Hammer (sledge is ideal)
  • Pry bar or demolition bar
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Work gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Dust mask
before picture of dining room with original tile
Here is a before picture of our dining area with the original tile

2. Determine a method of disposal

If you have never dealt with tile, its heavy. Disposing of it in your dumpster may not be permitted depending on how much tile you have and what your local government permits.

tile floor being removed
Start at the corner with an area that sounds “hollow.” Gradually work your way towards the center, cleaning up as you go

Alternatives include hauling it to the dump or having a company come haul it away for you. If doing one of these options, it may be in your best interest to cluster the debris from a couple of projects together in order to save money on disposal.

how to remove tile

Broken tiles are heavy and can stack up quickly. Make sure you have a disposal plan in place before you begin.

3. Prepare the space

Have you ever dropped a plate on the floor only to have it shatter all over?

Tile shatters in much the same way when it is being removed. It also stirs up a lot of dust. You can prepare the space by taking your trinquets, china and collectible elephants off the shelf and putting them in the drawer. You can also hang plastic sheeting to try and minimize the amount of dust that leaves the space. Pets and small children should probably stay out of the working area.

kitchen with partially removed tile
Clean up as you go to prevent injury and to make sure you are removing all of the mortar and tile pieces for a nice flat surface.

4. Remove the tile

Finally, you’re ready to remove the tile.

First, don your protective gear. If you are using a chisel and a sledge hammer, tap gently on the tiles until you find one that sounds more hollow than the others. Then hit that very spot hard with the hammer until it breaks. Slide the chisel or pry bar under the tile pieces and tap the back of the bar with the hammer. In this manner, continue loosening the tile with the chisel and break it up with hammer.

Depending on how much mortar was used to hold the tile down, the tiles may pop off easily or may break off in little chunks.

Rotary hammers can be rented at any tool rental store and are easy enough to use. They should come with a wide chisel blade. Simply plug it in, hold it firmly and place the chisel blade at a 45 degree angle with the tile edge and turn it on.

Sweep up the debris every so often in order to be able to see what pieces are remaining.
You want to make sure that any remaining mortar is removed from the ground floor in order to create a flat surface for your new floor.

removing tile is a dirty job

Use plastic sheets to prevent spread of dust.

A rotary hammer can make quick work of a larger tile job. 

5. Clean up your area

If you prepared the space by removing your knick-knacks and hanging plastic sheets, and cleaned up along the way, then congratulations, you’re done.

picture of kitchen with new laminate floors
Here is our dining area after we painted and installed the laminate flooring.

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Learn how to remove tile