Removing an adhesive floor tile can be a messy but simple job. If you are only using a scraper to remove the tile, it can take a long time to finish the task. Often, the tile will come off but the adhesive is left stuck to the floor. The trick to effective removal is to use the right tools from the very start of the job.
Step 1 - Prepare the Area
Put on your eye protection before starting. Prepare the tiles by placing a towel over them. The towel will protect you and create less mess as it prevents shards of tile from flying through the air. You could also use a tarp if you prefer to.
A good tip is to heat the top of the tile before you place the towel over it using a hairdryer or hot air gun. This will help to soften the adhesive underneath and makes breaking the tile much easier. This step can also be repeated later on once you have broken up and removed most of the tiles.
Step 2 – Removing Individual Tiles
Take the small sledge hammer and hit the towel to break up the tile underneath. If done correctly, the tile should break up into small sections. If the tile is made of a thin laminate, lift the towel and score it with a utility knife instead before peeling it back from the floor. Broken ieces of harder tile can be pick up by hand.
You may find that there are pieces of tile remaining. To remove these, use the hand scraper to lift the tile and the adhesive. If you find the adhesive to be a little too hard to scrape, try using the hairdryer or hot air gun on it again. This will really help to lift the adhesive.
Step 3 – Larger Areas
If you are working with a large tile area, you may want to hire out a power scraper. They are not overly expensive and they will successfully cut through both the tile and the adhesive as they have a very powerful blade. However, it is a large piece of equipment so you should only hire it out if you are covering a large tiled area.
If you do choose to work with a power scraper, you will need to wear ear protection as well as your eye protection. Gloves are recommended as well.
Step 4 – Cleaning and Checking for Bumps and Adhesive
Using a broom, sweep up any loose pieces of tile that haven't been cleared by hand. Vacuum the tiles up once you have swept them into a neat pile. This will allow you to see if there are any tile remnants left over. Adhesive and small bumps are not always easy to see so use a flashlight to help you. Use the hand scraper to remove the rest of the adhesive and clean the floor.
If adhesive is proving difficult to move, try applying a thin layer of solvent-based adhesive remover and leave for a few minutes before scraping again.
Step 5 – Rectify Scratch Marks
Often, there will be scratch marks left on the floor. These will need to be filled with floor leveling compound. Once the compound is dry, you should be left with a clean, even floor.