DIY ceramic tile removal can be a messy, irritating job but you can save yourself a lot of remodeling or repair dollars by doing it yourself. As with any do it yourself job, a little preparation and thought will save you time and aggravation.
Prepare for Removal
If you are removing an entire floor or perhaps bathroom walls of tile, you will be needing to dispose of a large amount of tile. Many cities will not allow you to just bag it up in trash bags or put it on the curb in bins for them to haul away. Check with your municipality as to their trash and building debris removal rules. You may need to rent a small dumpster or a trash hauler to remove the tile and debris from your property.
Removing Tile From Walls and Floor
Be sure to wear your goggles and gloves. Flying pieces of tile or grout can easily damage an eye or cut you. If you are removing a large area, start by using the heaviest hammer you have to smash cracks in the tile and to loosen it so you can pick it up or shovel it up and put it into bins. Some tiles will come up more easily than others as you will soon find out.
You may find that if one or two people break up tiles, and another person goes behind them as they work to shovel up the debris, the entire job will go much faster.
For stubborn tiles, use the shingle scraper. Slide it under the tile and with a jabbing motion, lift it up. Usually the adhesive will come up with the tile. For stubborn adhesive you will need to scrape with this lifter to get all of it off the subfloor. It works well for stubborn grout also. If scraping doesn't work, you may need to use a heat gun to loosen the remaining adhesive. Be careful when using heat with an unknown chemical and on the raw wood subfloor.
Removing A Few Tiles
Perhaps you only need to remove a few tiles or tiles that are cracked or chipped. This job is a lot easier of course but a few things differ.
Protect your floor, countertop, sink or bathtub by placing a drop cloth over them. Broken tile is sharp and can easily damage any of these surfaces. As with the other tile removal job, wear gloves and eye protection to protect your hands and eyes. Use a box knife to score the grout around the tile or tiles you are going to remove. Place an X of masking tape or packaging tape over the tile you are going to remove to catch the pieces. Then take a hammer and hit the tile in a few places to break it. Use a scraper to loosen and free any stuck pieces.
Once you have removed the tile, then use a sharp scraper to scrape away any adhesive and grout.