Imagine this: you’ve just moved into a new house, and nearly everything about it is perfect. It has the ideal number of rooms, an updated kitchen, and maybe it even has additional amenities like a swimming pool or patio in the backyard. However, there is one problem: replacing ceramic tiles with a new tile installation is an absolute necessity. Fixing tiles with ceramic tile epoxy just won’t cut it.
Whether you’ve just moved into a new house or you need to update the one you’ve been living in for years, it can be stressful to not know to remove your tiles properly. And yet you know it’s a job that has to be done, which is frustrating.
That’s why we’ve put together this article. In it, you’ll learn all the steps you need to take when replacing ceramic tiles right the first time.
Finally, your tiles can look exactly like you want them to. Read on to learn more.
1. Prepare Properly
Before you start the process of removing the original tiles and replacing them with new ones, you have to prepare. Make sure you have the right protection, such as safety goggles, earplugs, heavy-duty gloves, and a dust mask.
You’ll also have to prepare the space itself. This way, you won’t damage other parts of the room while you’re working.
To get started, use a hammer and pry bar with a flat edge to remove any doors, door frames, trim, and moldings. This way, they won’t get covered in dust or damaged while you’re replacing the tiles.
You’ll also want to use plastic sheets. Any open doorways should be covered with them so dust won’t spread into other areas of your home.
Additionally, protect any objects you can’t move in the room, such as shower trays, the sink, or the bath. This will keep them from being damaged if any pieces of tile fly and hit them when you’re working.
You can use cardboard to cover these areas from this type of damage.
2. Remove the Tiles
The next step you need to take is to remove the tiles.
Depending on what type of tiles and floor you have, you might need to use a tile removal tool or ceramic tile removal machine. If you’re able to, you can pry each tile by using a chisel, placing it at an angle under the tile edge.
Then, as you remove the tiles, you can simply throw them away into a wastebasket. While doing this, be careful, as you could accidentally cut yourself on the tile.
It can be difficult to remove the very first tile. A tip? Look for one that’s loose. This will be easier to remove, and once you’ve removed that one, you can remove the ones around it.
If you aren’t able to find a loose tile, you’re going to have to smash the tile. You can do this with a hammer or sledgehammer.
When you’re using your hammer or sledgehammer, do so with care. When it comes to how to remove ceramic tile from concrete or another surface, the last thing you want to do is damage the area below.
Structural damage to the floor, especially, can create problems with the subfloor.
Our tip? Once you’ve carefully used the hammer or sledgehammer with just the right amount of force to break a few tiles, see if you can pry up the rest of them. This way, you’re less likely to do a large amount of damage.
3. Use Your Floor Scraper
Once you’ve removed a certain number of tiles, many of them will be easier to remove. As a result, you won’t have to use a chisel or the back of your hammer to pull out the tiles with the right amount of force and angle.
You can also use a flat shover to do this. All you do is pry out the tiles, and at this point, they should come out more easily.
If using a floor scraper, keep in mind that these work either face down or face up. Using it the right way will make it much easier for you to complete your task.
4. Remove the Grout and Adhesive
After you’ve taken the tiles off and put them to the side so you won’t be in danger of hurting yourself while working in the space, you should use a masonry chisel or hammer to remove the grout and adhesive that’s still attached to the sub-floor.
If you’re lucky, the grout and adhesive will be easy to remove, and you’ll be able to pull it off with your hand with ease.
However, it might be hardened, and feel almost as hard as a substance like concrete. In this, case, the tools you have will come in handy.
This is an important step you need to take if you want to learn how to remove tile underlayment and do it later. It’s also important if you’re planning to then re-tile the area or put down another type of flooring.
5. Make the Floor Smooth Before Replacing Ceramic Tiles
Now that you’ve removed the ceramic tiles, you need to prepare the floor for the installation of new ones. First, you need to make the floor smooth. This will make the application of the tile easier and also more effective.
First, use your hammer to remove any adhesive residue that’s become hard. To do this properly, smash up areas that are around 2 or 3 square feet.
This will make it possible to completely smash any of the leftover adhesive. Then use a shovel or scraper to get these pieces out of the way. Can’t remove the adhesive? Then it’s best to buy a new sub-floor.
Additional Steps for Making the Floor Smooth
Depending on the underlayment’s condition and the requirements for setting the new tiles, you might need to remove the underlayment. Keep in mind that you should definitely do this if the current underlayment is seriously damaged.
Additionally, if it’s made from plywood, you should replace it too. This is because this is no longer considered to be a suitable sub-floor when installing tiles.
To get rid of the sub-floor, cut the underlayment with a circular saw into manageable sections. Note that the thickness of the circular saw blade should be set at the same thickness as the pieces of underlayment you’re cutting.
Finally, remove all the debris and dust. Once you’ve done this, you can install a new subfloor if needed. If not needed, the subfloor you already have will almost be smooth enough for tile installation.
Simply use a stripper to smooth down the floor, after which it should be ready.
6. Prepare the Floor for New Tiles
Now that you’ve removed the old tiles, you should measure your floor to figure out how many new tiles you’re going to install. Do this by measuring your floor’s length and width. Then, divide that amount by the square footage each tile covers.
Depending on which tiles you’re considering, this number might vary. Generally speaking, you should get 10% more tiles than you need. This can be helpful if any of the tiles are broken or can break while you’re completing your installation.
Once you’ve bought your tiles, dry lay them to get an idea of what the floor might look like. Now you’re ready to install the new tiles.
7. Install the New Tiles
Finally, you’ll install the new tiles. To do this, take your thin-set and place it on the floor, using a trowel to do this correctly. You want to avoid having any air pockets. Once you’ve done this, you can start placing the new tiles on the thin set.
To do this properly, place each tile down carefully, first by holding it above and then dropping it gently where you want it to go. Then move it slightly, wiggling it, so that it will stick. A wooden hammer can help set it at the very end.
Do this with each tile until you’ve set them all down. If there are any issues, remove the tile immediately and fix its placement, as the thin-set dries quickly.
Once you’ve finished laying down the tile, place some grout in the joints between each tile.
Need More Information on Replacing Ceramic Tiles?
Now that you’ve learned about the steps you need to take when replacing ceramic tiles, you might need more information. Maybe you want to learn about how to smooth down a specific type of sub-floor. Or maybe you need help choosing the right ceramic tiles for your project.
Whatever information you need, we can help. At RUBI, we’re experts when it comes to tile installations.
We also offer lots of tips and tricks on how to install tiles. To learn more about how we can help you, check out more information now.