How do I remove Saltillo tiles? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-25-2006, 02:35 AM
Hi, I'm new here, My mother and I bought a 1960's adobe style home and it has saltillo tiles in the kitchen floor. I have to remove the tiles and replace them with flat ceramic tiles because my mother can't push her wheelchair over the saltillo tiles, because they have rounded tops. They make her wheelchair shimy and shake and cause her wheels to spin in place because they are so uneven. The subfloor is cement I believe, and the grouting is 1 in to 3 inches in places. I can't determine how thick the adhesive is or even how they are set on the cement.

What I'd like to know is, what tools do I need to remove the tile and how to prepare the flooring to install new flat ceramic tiles. Also what all do I need to install the ceramic tiles?

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to get started in the tile removal in the next couple of days if I can. And I'll be doing all the work by myself on a very low budget. :)

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09-25-2006, 05:57 AM
Removing tiles can be quite a task. But if you are up to it here is my 2 cents :talk: If your kitchen is small under 150 square feet then you might want to buy a chisel with a head about 3-4 inches wide. Home Depot has them they have an orange rest guard so you wont hit it when you are working. It will be a lot of work but it can remove the tiles. After you have the tiles up the old thin set needs to be removed or at best flatten out. I use the chisel and a small hand held razor scraper.

Ok, now if its bigger or to much for you to do it by hand then rent a small jack hammer with a flat chisel head and it will do the job fast and a lot less stress. Also I have been using a 7inch grinder with a disk that works wonders on removing old thin set. They have those to rent as well at home depot as well. The grinder has a shroud on it so a shop-vac can remove the dust (OH, AND YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE DUST) :D as you go along.

You can use versa bond white thin set a H.D. to install tiles. We really need to know size of tiles and just what kind they are Stone, marble, porcelain, ceramic? Then we can advice more on what you should do.

Well that all for now. Stay close to this site we will make you a pro!

Tile on...

09-26-2006, 12:59 AM
Thanks for your help LEXX. :) well I took your advise and got a hammer and small chisel today. (small is all they had)..couldn't find one with a guard on it..just plain metal.

I was apprehensive..The lady whom I bought the new tiles from told me all kinds of things I hope I won't have to go through in this project. And at her price quote of about $2,000.00 for her crew to remove and dispose of the tile...I am more determinded to do this myself. :)

I am working with those clay hand-made mexican tiles some have those animals prints on them..which I am hoping to save. the tiles are about..roughly 1 square foot in size. My kitchen is small so thats a plus. :) I am a determined and my father was a stone mason so I have learned some things only by watching and remembering. I took up one tile as carefully as I could (just to see what I was dealing with underneath). To my surprise the grouting was a tad tough..but both the grouting and the tile came up was in a thin set..I think you call it..a real thin dark grey compound that came up very cleanly. from what I see if the rest of the tiles come up so easily and cleanly I won't need to sand or grind anything. It looks like someone didn't put enough setting down for the tiles..for once I am glad someome did tha job wrong..makes my work a whole lot easier ;)

oh and the chisel worked fine.(as long as I don't miss and hit my hand again) lol :) and yep there is DUST! (I decided to rig my house vac hose to help with the dust) ahh the hazards of do-it-yourself huh? :D

I will be looking for that versa bond tomarrow. Ok I got to ask what does the H.D. stand for? :)

About how thick should the set for the new tiles be? The old tiles are about 3/4 inch thick and the new ceramic tiles are 1 square foot in size and about 1/2 inch thick and I have to match the height of the tile to the carpet edge where the kitchen/dining room meets the livingroom. And the floor underneath is cement. I am a bit worried about the weight of my moms' wheel chair on the new tiles.

Is there a way to put links in my posts..I want to take photos of the tiles and work and put them on my art site for all to see?

I do thank you for all your help. :)

09-26-2006, 05:54 AM
H.D = HomeDepot :whip: Well anyway try using a 3/8 square notch trowel for your tiles it should be ok. Dust problems? Try using a box fan in a window or door and point it blowing outside this will take a lot of dust out.

Donít be worried about the weight of a wheel chair and thing like that tile has a great compression weight factor.

Remember if you need to get little stuff off the floor a hand held razor scraper
Does a great job

PS. Use Gloves and Eye protection as well a dust mask :eek:

09-26-2006, 10:10 PM
I looked around and in the phone book..seems we don't have a home depot near us, I looked at Bar lumber...I had no idea tools were so so expensive these days. so far I took up two rows of tile..seems there was a tile floor before, and they took it up but couldn't get all the setting up and someone decided to leave it and put new tile setting down over it. So I might have to sand down those spots after all..dunno yet..

yep I made sure I got the protective goggles and air masks..I don't have a window fan but do have 2 stand up fans though. I also got a few of those razors already. :) they are very handy to have taking florecent green paint in our bathroom off the pink tile...I can say one thing for sure..the previous owners of this house didn't have a dull color anywhere.. :) ..but I am sceptical about their choice in colors and cordinating them!

I don't believe I can save alot of far only 4 came out whole, the rest broke up in big that got me to thinking...I decided that there's a spot in my fenced in yard I really wanted to build a platform to put a blow up pool on and /or make it a spot to do my yoga on.. I am thinking I could mosaic the tile pieces there in the cement platform. so that's a future job put on the back burner.

I need some advice.. on the kitchen it best to put a border of thin tiles around the other wondering what would look best? I also have tons of questions about where to start to keep everything straight..and if I need do you cut tile? Almost forgot..about how far should the tiles be apart? or how wide should the grouting be?

09-27-2006, 05:51 AM
No HomeDepot is probably a good thing :crazy: Well, First thing first lets get the tile up. Just keep going at it time and sweat will pay you in the end.

Can you get tile supplies? like 3/8 square trowel, thin set, spacers, margin trowel, grout, sponges, Wet Saw... A rental store should have a saw.

I need some advice.. on the kitchen it best to put a border of thin tiles around the other wondering what would look best?

Can you tell me more? what other tiles? WHAT SIZE TILES ARE YOU INSTALLING 12x12,16x16,18x18,20x20. WHAT KIND OF TILES?????

Let me know, Also what is the size of your kitchen, Can you post some pictures? Then we could see what you see.

09-27-2006, 01:48 PM
check for a local tool rental yard. rent a small chipping hammer. Looks like a big drill and will take up this tile fairly quickly. Get a flat chisel bit. they should come with various chisels.

I just took up 200+ sf of Saltillo with a small jack hammer and a couple of chipping hammers (also had a couple of high school kids who needed a few bucks)

09-27-2006, 02:34 PM
I am taking up red clay tiles that are 12 x 12 roughly in size 3/4 inch thick..the new tiles I am going to put down are ceramic tiles..and I was wrong about the thickness..they are about 1/4 inch thick.
(Can you get tile supplies? like 3/8 square trowel, thin set, spacers, margin trowel, grout, sponges, Wet Saw... A rental store should have a saw.)..well I got a martrowel..I think....guess I need to get a square trowel, still need grout..and thin set..nope don't have a saw...if I can't find a place to rent one..I might be able to get the people I bought the tiles from (D&S tile company) to cut them( of course for a small fee)..I live in 29 Palms California to give you a idea of the climate I am working in...spacers? umm can't afford a jack hammer or alot of equiptment..working on a very low budget. :(

09-30-2006, 11:27 PM

I removed a few more tiles..I found that someone must of been running out of thing setting and decided to mix thin setting mix with concrete..or something like that...I am slowly chiseling away carefully at it but it's real difficult..almost seemily impossible to remove..any ideas on how to remove it?

and comp won't recognize my HP camera so I can't put any picture up on the board yet of what I am doing..but am working on it.

10-01-2006, 06:52 AM
Have you checked local tool rental companies for a chipping hammer. (see pic) there are many different manufacturers. This is a Bosch.

I rented one for the weekend (we can rent on Sat and keep until Mon morning for a one day charge, I think is was around $30-40)

10-02-2006, 03:06 AM
hmm. nope never heard of one but I will see what things cost here to rent if I can find a retal place near me. Unfortunately there's not too many store near me really. sounds like a good price to rent one...and that would be in my budget. :) ty

I got another question..about bathroom tiles. Can you paint or recolor finished tiles? I heard it can be tiles are fine..just I hate the color of the cranberry speckled tiles and the florecent mint green wall colors installed by the previous owners of my home.

John Bridge
10-02-2006, 08:33 AM
Hi Lystra? Is that your name? :)

Paint wears off, and painted tile looks like painted tile. :)

10-03-2006, 01:51 AM
Hi John Bridge, :) Actually thats a nick I use online. The name Lystra is from a sci-fi book series. My name is Debra :)

Ahh well I had heard you can recolor tile, just not sure how that's done. I was hoping I didn't have to take the tiles out and replace them...But I just hate the color..especially since I want..a jungle theme for my bathroom.
The kitchen tiles are coming up slowly...the setting is hard though, it looks like I will have to rent a sander..but will see how it all turns out after the tile removing.

John Bridge
10-03-2006, 02:25 PM
Stay with it, Debra. :)

10-04-2006, 11:53 PM
:wave: Hi and Thanks John, I am, slowly but surely.

Well I am just about done in removal of half the kitchen (my kitchen is in a "s" shape) .

A friend gave me a super sharp small wood chisel..I figured why not?..I'll give it a try on the thin setting that won't come up. It takes a bit of time and small amount of water but it works! :D Somehow that small chisel does what the big one can't. anywho..I am just glad it works! To my surprise I have been able to save about 33 whole tiles so far for future use. :)

I hope tomarrow the remaining tiles will come up easier..since there seems to be hairline fractures in the grout..I assume was from one of our earthquakes in the past.

That reminds me..I found a crack that goes diagonally across the kitchen the under cement...does that have to be patched? or is that ok to leave it as is?..The floor seems quite sound.

Umm....I got a question..can I get help on other projects..besides tile here? (mutters) seems I got alot of fixing up to do in this time I go to buy a house I know now to get my own inspector! :rolleyes:

John Bridge
10-05-2006, 11:23 AM

There are people here who can help you with just about anything around the house. Shoot. :)

You might want to consider using a crack isolation membrane on both sides of the crack. There is no way you can actually "fix" the crack.

10-06-2006, 12:55 AM
"isolation membrane"? I have never heard of that..can you please explain more about that?

Actually now I Have only a dozen more tiles to remove..and I am finding three nice size (in length) cracks in the cement floor that run across the floor and it co-insides with a big crack in my carport cement outside of my kitchen.
So it has to be due to a quake. (I haven't been through one yet (Knocks on wood). I have seen repair cement compound in the store..Is that what you mean?

I am also finding that my cabinet bottoms had thick grouting badly stuck to them, seem to be "rotting" I am not sure what to do about that.

My cabinets were layered in several bad coats of paint (blue, grey and florecent yellow, under a top coat of white) (yuk)..which was my first project in my home..I sanded them down completely and restained them a colonial maple color with a thin coat of minwax. I think they look a whole lot better now. :)

About the other help I was asking about..oy where do I start! Well since I am working in the kitchen I'll start there.

I found that the "vent" to my stove hood Which I assume is supposed to go up through the ceiling..only goes up to the between space of my ceiling and roof..The pipe I found was not even connected and the wrong size and type. I wanted to do I install A hood vent corectly..Does the "vent" pipe go up through the roof? If do I make the whole through the roof..since the vent system went up through my cabinets?.

I hope in the next few days to get my darn comp to work correctly to post pics up on my art site for all to see. :)