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Ceramic Tile Removal

This home experienced a sewage flood and it was decided that a remodeling and updating of the home would be performed along with the direct flood repair. The insurance claim was limited to labor and materials for areas that were directly affected by the flood. The flood affected about 25% of the living space of the home.

We're capable of performing the labor ourselves so we dramatically expanded the scope of the project to cover about 90% of the living space with new flooring. Of course the insurance claim payment was finite but how we chose to spend this money was entirely up to us. Performing our own labor and shopping and then waiting for quality materials to go on sale stretched our insurance claim dollars almost beyond belief.

Click here to see the Flood Damage page.

original tile before removal

The kitchen tile will be replaced with hardwood flooring and it is shown here before removal. The kitchen is being emptied in preparation for the tile removal phase of the project.

kitchen isolation barrier

Plastic sheeting was used to block the kitchen from the rest of the home. The entire kitchen itself (cabinets, walls, etc.) was covered with plastic sheeting from floor to ceiling. The sheeting will protect the kitchen drywall from water spray during thinset grinding and will help with dust control.

The shoring posts (rented) were used to hold the plastic in place and create a temporary wall between the kitchen and the rest of the home, primarily for dust control.

floor removal

Two scalers were rented to remove the tile – the scalers act like a jack hammer with a much wider bit that digs under and lifts the tile. Empty boxes were saved and set up on 4-wheel dollies to collect the tile as it was removed. The white patch on the far wall near the floor is drywall that has been repaired as a result of the flood.

tile removal with scaler

The view from the opposite end of the kitchen shows that a fan has been placed in an open window to suck dust out of the room. Base moldings were removed before the work began.

two men and two scalers

The removal of approximately 200 square feet of tile and a rough removal of the thinset took about 4 hours to complete. This task took two men, each with a scaler and a helper to manage the disposal of tile as it was removed. Note that the AC was turned off during the removal to prevent dust from circulating within the home.

bloody forehead

Blood is always a good motivator to wear safety glasses. The scaler threw a piece of sharp tile up and into his forehead. Note the use of disposable ear plugs. This is loud work and the scalers are pretty hefty tools. Both men had to stop and rest frequently.

floor grinding

The scalers remove most but not all of the thinset. A grinding machine was rented (background) and used to grind the concrete slab smooth. The grinder required a slow drip of water through a hose (fed through the window to the right) that created a water/thinset slurry to aid with grinding.

Here they're experimenting with methods to remove the slurry from the floor after grinding. It was determined that the best method for removing slurry took three people:

  1. The first person rinses a section of floor with a garden hose.
  2. The second person pulls the accumulating water and slurry away with a squeegee and handle set up.
  3. A third person used a wet vacuum to suck up the squeegeed water and slurry mixture.
  4. This process was repeated over and over again until the water being vacuumed was no longer cloudy.
thinset removal

The grinder can't reach into corners, near cabinet toe-kicks or in any other confined space. Here they're dealing with dishwasher plumbing and electrical connections to complete the job. The shoes the guys are wearing look like they've aged 10 years but it's only been about 8 hours.

air chisel

For the spaces that were unreachable with the big grinder an air chisel was used to remove the tile thinset. A 30 gallon air compressor is used to drive this tool. If you don't own an air chisel or compressor a hammer and hand chisel should work fine.