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Out With the Old Flooring and In With the New: How to Demolish Tile

How to Demolish Tile


Some of you may remember The Day The Paint Came Down, at my house. My 3 year old daughter was trying to be helpful by carrying a gallon of paint up the stairs, for us to paint her room with, when she dropped the entire bucket of paint. The lid popped off and the whole bucket was spilled down the stairs and on the main level. The carpet was beyond repairable, so after living with it for about 4 weeks (waiting for insurance claims and whatnot), I finally picked out some beautiful flooring from Glines Carpet One Floor & Home.  You can read about my experience at the Carpet One Showroom WITH Kid Zone (you got that right).

To prep for the Carpet One guys to come install the flooring, I agreed to do a lot of the demolition and carpet removal before they came. Hubby removed the baseboards for me, because I was nervous about breaking them, and then I did most of the rest. My mom came over and helped me move a bit of the furniture, and then I had a couple of men move my hide-a-bed couch and refrigerator. Then it was time to GET BUSY! I had a tile entry that needed to be totally cleared out, and carpeted stairs, living room, family room and hallway to remove. I forgot to mention that my husband did remove a lot of the tack strips for me too; but not quite all.

I had about 20 hours (including sleep time) to get the floors cleared and prepped for the flooring guys. I decided to start with the tile, and mainly because I REALLY wanted to hack away at something with a sledge hammer! Because this was my first time, and I think I was pretty successful at it, I thought I’d share with you how to demolish tile.

Please ignore my grunt labor look. 😉 I started off by hacking at the tile with a sledge hammer.

Then my mom did some of the scraping. We thought that if we hammered at it and broke up, then we could get underneath the tile and pull it up. This wasn’t super successful for two reasons. One, there seemed to be some type of underlayment under the tile. Two, Shards of tiles were flying up and hitting me in the face, arms, body, etc. After getting a couple of small cuts and sore spots from the flying tile, I racked my brain. I just knew there had to be an easier way to do this. Now, really – the easier way would be to have some type of machinery do the job. That wasn’t going to happen, so I had to think again. I wisened up and did a little internet searching, and came across the tip (can’t remember where I found it), to cover the tile with a towel. Then to use the sledge hammer and crack the tile. This prevents the shards of tile from flying everywhere. This tip about saved my life! I was able to get a lot more hammering in, which helped make the scraper more useful. A word of warning to those who attempt to remove tile on their own, you may want to get a little mask. I was surprised, but the tile had a lot of fumes that were burning my nostrils.

Tile removal is not for the weary. It takes muscle and lots of grunting. Granted, it was kind of fun to take out any frustrations on the tile.  After I had gotten about 1/3 of the way done, I had to pick kids up from school, so my dad took over and cleared out the next 2.5 rows. He also brought his long handled sledge hammer, which was super nice to have, for me to finish up. It was a relief to have some help with the next rows, because I was getting tired. I still had all of the carpet removal ahead of me, so I grabbed me a Diet Pepsi and got back to work. I finished the last rows and got to work on the carpet.

The carpet in the large areas wasn’t difficult at all. I took a razor and cut the carpet into manageable size pieces and folded it up, and tossed it outside. I removed the tack strips with the scraper that I used on the tile. Took some muscle and oomf, but I got it done.

Lastly, it was about 10pm and I still had the carpeted stairs to take care of. Luckily, I was only removing the one stretch of stairs that had the spilled paint on it. The Glines Carpet One guys were going to use a nice piece of carpet from my living room, and put it on the stairs, where the paint was. I have to say that removing carpet from stairs was the hardest thing I had to do. As hard as the tile removal was, the carpeted stairs was more of a challenge. There were so many staples holding the carpet in under each bull-nosed edge, that it was so hard to get them all pulled out. It was also very difficult to find a piece of carpet, without staples sticking out, that I could get a good hold of, to pull!

It took me a while, but I got the job done. I saved the last of the sweeping for morning, and had me a good night’s rest! I was so stoked that I no longer had to look at spilled green paint, and couldn’t wait to get my new floors in!

The next morning came, I swept, and then the Glines guys showed up. What a relief! They did the last of the scraping, to remove all goo and crud from the carpet. Such a friendly couple of guys! Next up, you will get to see my new floors!! What do you think of my orange and red walls? I only did accent walls, and the others are a cream color. I actually love them!


Glines Carpet One Home & Floor gave me a flooring discount to thank me for posting about my flooring experience. All opinions expressed are my own.”

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Emily Buys


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