Having completed the majority of the demolition we were still staring at a house full of tile. So far we had been able to:
- Remove all carpeting (Part 1 of our Demolition)
- Strip any walls that would need to be worked on (electrical, A/V, etc…) (Part 1 of our Demolition)
- Remove (and try to save) the kitchen cabinets (Part 2 of our Demolition)
- Remove the Kitchen’s Dropped Ceiling and Adjoining Walls (Part 3 of our Demolition)
If you recall the house had wall to wall carpeting. While this might be a bonus for some, it definitely wasn’t for us. In order to install new tiles, and even floating laminate flooring to be honest, it is always best to reach the home’s original floor. This serves a number of purposes.
First and foremost, you’re losing height because of multiple floor installations. Granted, if your home’s ceilings are 14’ tall, an extra couple of inches might not matter. However, since we have 8’ ceiling, a couple of inches is definitely noticeable.
Additionally, if you install a tile floor over another tile floor you’ll run into two issues. First the thinset will not want to naturally adhere to a top tile surface. In order for the thinset to grab the surface it needs to have some roughed in texture. If your surface happens to be a smooth tile, then clearly you are not maximizing the bond, which can lead to your new tile floor coming loose. Secondly, by installing a tile over another tile, any cracking of the bottom layer can lead to cracks above. Ultimately it will be in your best interest to reach a solid foundation before installing new tiles.
Now, if you’ve never done it before, removing tile is quite simple. You can either slide under it and pop it up or basically smash it into little pieces. The whole point is to knock it loose from the thinset, which is the light concrete material that attaches the tile to the floor underneath. You’ll also have to remove the thinset while you’re at it so you can end up at the original solid floor.
We ended up using a very large metal bar. For the life of me I don’t know what the original purpose of the bar was but it is about 6-feet long and pointed at the end like a flat head screwdriver. It’s also very heavy. After removing a couple of tiles with a sledgehammer I would slide the metal bar under the floor and pop up the remaining tiles, sometimes three or four at a time.
This unfortunately is where you are going to run into an issue. If you’re just doing a room, no problem. You can get rid of a couple hundred pounds of tile easily. Just throw it into the back of any car and take it to the dump. A whole house though? I’d be going to the dump for the next two weeks. It quickly dawned upon us then that we’d have to rent a dumpster. The issue with renting a dumpster though is they are large. Far too large for just removing tile. As such we decided to bump up one of our other projects, tearing down the gazebo in the backyard. This way we can take advantage of renting out a single dumpster and really pack it full.
In our next installment we’ll rent a dumpster, completely demolish our rotting safety hazard of a gazebo, and reach a point where one can say that the demolition was a general success.