Removing Ceramic Tile: Concrete Slab Preservation

What You'll Need
Dust mask
Drill driver
Putty knives
Garden spade
Safety glasses

If you have a ceramic tile concrete floor and you need to remove the tiles, keep in mind that this is not an easy task, especially if you want to save the tiles to reuse in the future. Ceramic tiles tend to break in the process of the removal. You must be very patient when  removing tiles from a concrete floor. You should also wear a pair of safety glasses and a dust mask for safety.

Step 1 – Starting to Remove the Tiles

Before you start removing the ceramic tiles from the concrete floor, cover all openings in the room with plastic sheeting or close all windows and doors. This will keep dust from accumulating in the room. Start removing the ceramic tiles from a doorway in case the tiles are directly installed on the concrete floor. Gently tap the grout lines with a chisel and hammer or a putty knife.

Step 2 – Uninstalling the Tiles

Use the putty knife to cut through the grout and remove as much grout as you can. Put a putty knife under the ceramic tile and drive it with a hammer. Pry in an upward direction until you can lift out the tile.

Make sure that the knife is parallel to the ground when you put it under the tile. Keep in mind that the tile may break or crack in your hands, so make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothing: a dust mask, a pair of safety glasses, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of gloves.

If you want, you can use a sledgehammer to break the tiles down into pieces and then remove them with a floor scraper. Make sure that the floor scraper has a long handle and get rid of any residue of mastic after peeling the tiles from the concrete floor.

Step 3 – Removing the Cement Board

If you have a cement board on the concrete floor and the tiles are installed on the cement board, you can remove the first few tiles with a putty knife. However, you can break the cement board with a hammer when you see that it is partially visible.

Insert a straight-edged garden spade beneath the cement and pry in an upward direction until you have removed the tiles and the cement board. Keep a trash can or bucket near you so that you can easily throw away large pieces of debris. On the other hand, as for the dust and small pieces of debris, you can use a shop vacuum to dispose of them.

However, if the cement board is attached with screws, you should remove the tiles first and then the screws. You should never try to try to remove the cement board in this case because it is not only difficult but you can damage the concrete floor and leave the holes of the screws on the surface.