How to Remove Saltillo Tile

While saltillo tile is a durable flooring option, it can be easily removed if necessary.
While saltillo tile is a durable flooring option, it can be easily removed if necessary. (Image: Footprints in Tile image by bnstrong from

Saltillo tile was developed in Mexico and is commonly used in Southwest architecture and design. It is a durable and relatively affordable material, compared to other flooring options, and can be installed quickly by just about anyone. Like most tile flooring, saltillo tile is installed using a mortar base and can usually withstand most foot traffic conditions. While mortar and saltillo tile are strong and durable materials, the removal of both is a generally straightforward and simple process that can be done using basic construction tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Masonry hammer
  • Masonry chisel (2-inch flat)
  • Electric hammer-drill with masonry chisel

Firmly hold the masonry chisel at an angle to the grout joint between the saltillo tiles.

Tap the head of the chisel with the masonry hammer to chip away the grout.

Set the electric hammer-drill to hammer or chisel mode (this is a switch that is located near the trigger, in most cases) and angle its chisel to the mortar joint between the floor and the tile.

Engage the hammer-drill motor and begin chipping away the mortar joint. Continue this until the tile is free; tiles may crack and break during this process, as they are usually fragile. Work your way throughout the rest of the tiles on the floor until all are removed.

Remove any leftover mortar, using the masonry hammer and chisel.

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  • "Tile Your World"; John P. Bridge; 2003
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