Make sure the room is well-ventilated by opening windows since most tile floors create dust when removed and glue removers have strong odors. Cover actual vents in the room with plastic so that dust and fumes do not collect into them. To avoid damaging baseboards and trim, remove them before attempting to pull up the tile. This will make the process much easier as well.
Installing new tile flooring is often accompanied by the task of removing existing flooring. Removing old tile from concrete floors requires a lot of hard labor. While you could simply tile over the old floor, removing the tile allows you to create a smoother surface and make sure that mold and water has not built up under the existing tile. The best ways to take up old tile off concrete floors involve taking the required safety precautions and using the proper tools for your particular type of tile.
Preparing the Room
Ceramic Tile Removal
Ceramic tiles create a lot of dust and frequently break when removed, so you must take the necessary safety precautions. Wear safety goggles, thick work gloves and a face mask to keep you from the harm of the dust and broken tile. Use a simple hammer and chisel to remove the tiles. Break the first tile with the hammer and use the chisel to pry up the remaining tiles. If the tiles or grout are particularly stubborn, an air hammer or air chisel may also be necessary.
Vinyl Tile Removal
While removing vinyl tile creates less dust than removing ceramic tile, it also takes more work. For a small space, you may warm each tile with a hair dryer or heat gun and use a spackle knife to pry up each tile. Using a power steamer on the tiles or covering them with dry ice in small sections will also help the tiles loosen. If the tile was installed before 1980, contact your local EPA office to find out how to the tile tested for asbestos. If the tile contains asbestos, it should be removed by a professional or covered.
Glue and Adhesive Removal
You may find a mess once you remove ceramic or vinyl tile with glue or adhesive stuck to the concrete floor. Simply heating the glue or adhesive with a hair dryer may allow you to scrape it off easily. Hot water may soften the glue or adhesive so it can easily be removed with a razor scraper. For more difficult glue or adhesive, hardware stores sell special chemical removers. If using a chemical remover, make sure the room is well ventilated and that you wear a mask to make sure you do not breathe in the chemicals.
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