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Unread 05-31-2010, 06:20 AM   #1
succeed
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Removing Ceramic Tile Floor

I have 300sq ft of ceramic tile floor, from the 70's. The ceramic tile is set in 2 inches (I'm serious) of concrete. I was told it would cost $8000 minimum and at least 3 days to have professionals try to remove it.
Can I at least remove the ceramic tiles myself so I can maybe put something else over the concrete? I don't want to add any more weight or height to the floor (by covering it with laminate or something). Is removing the ceramic tiles easy enough for a 50+ woman to attempt? Would the remaining concrete surface likely be usable afterward? Thanks for your advice.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 06:24 AM   #2
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8 grand there is no way it costs that much period....for 8 grand you should have a tricked out marble floor....


can you take some pictures for us to see and go from there....taking up tile is not for the weak at heart its hard work..and can be dangerous as well..tile is very sharp when it flies up in chunks...


i am sure other will drop in and give tips...pictures would be help so we can go from there...
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Unread 05-31-2010, 06:33 AM   #3
scuttlebuttrp
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It's probably not concrete, but a wetset in drypack; like a shower pan. Fairly difficult to seperate the 2 from each other leaving anything intact. You could try but unless you already have some issues going on; they've fused long ago.
Could a woman do this removal? Yes. You need to rent a chipping hammer from Home Depot and go to town with it. If you can run a jackhammer all day and shovel a couple tons of cement out of the room; yes you can do it.
and yes 8 grand sounds high. You can get the chipping hammer for around $50-$60 per day and hire someone for a week and still not hit a $1000.
and you don't need a proffessional to do this. You need a laborer who wants to work.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 07:07 AM   #4
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Thanks - 3 different contractors quoted me that high price. You've given me new hope that I might be able to afford to have someone remove this floor, maybe I need to keep looking. I can't see being able to jackhammer and shovel all that concrete myself. But I was willing to consider removing the top layer of ceramic tile myself, if it was easy enough.
Here are the pictures:
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Thanks for your help.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 07:13 AM   #5
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its a mud bed................to be honest once it gets going as in coming up.........it will come up pretty easy............and yes LOTS OF WEIGHT to haul out......i can see why you want to update the floor that one is ugly
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Unread 05-31-2010, 08:18 AM   #6
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As a 59 year old woman (but with 36 years construction experience) I can say, yes, you can do it, so long as you don't try to do it all at once.

I just removed some ceramic tile in my kitchen. What I do is use dry ice. You will probably use 50+ pounds of it over the course of the job, but it makes tile removal much easier, especially when it's on a wooden underlayment.

Find a place that sells dry ice in sheets (maybe 12x12 or 10x10). Buy 20 or so pounds of it at a time. WEAR PADDED WORK GLOVES! Lay the dry ice on the tiles (8-10 of them, depending on how much dry ice you bought) and leave it there for 10 minutes, maybe longer since you have so much mortar underneath.

Remove the dry ice from one tile and leap frog it over on to the next open tile. You'll keep doing this (until the dry ice evaporates) every time you prepare to remove the next tile.

Hit the frozen tile with a small sledge hammer, something like a two pound hammer. WEAR EYE PROTECTION! If it's frozen enough, it could lift clean off the underlayment. If not, keep pounding at it while it's still frozen. The tile and mortar will become very brittle while the underlayment will still be flexible, making separation easier.

As you remove tiles you will open up to the underlayment (plywood floor?) Where there is some give, such as between joists, you can smack the plywood flooring and this too can help separate the mortar from the plywood.

Experiment. Some tiles will come up easily, some will be more difficult. I've used this method several times and it makes removing the tiles SO much easier!

Keep the sheets of dry ice as close to each other as possible. That will ensure freezing of the grout joints too. Try to keep about 8-10 sq. ft. of tile covered with the dry ice, that will help make sure the tile has been exposed to the ice long enough.

Take your time. Don't get overwhelmed. That's a lot of tile but if you remove it in sections it will be a lot easier on you.

Good luck,
Julie
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Unread 05-31-2010, 08:40 AM   #7
tileguynky
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Julie, that is a very interesting trick. One I might have to try out some time.

Debbie, another option is to remove the threshold, apply new tile on top of the existing (if you have the room) and set a new threshold to go from tile height to the parquet next to it.

Where are you located, might help find a setter or remodeler that can be of service for a fair price.

Also, Royce has a good idea. If you rent the equipment, you can hire a laborer. Definitely find somebody that is issued. Ask them for a Certificate of Insurance. Tile chips and heavy weight would mean the risk of somebody getting hurt and you do not want to be responsible. Even my high charging self would be at about $1000~1200 for that amount of work with haul off.
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Unread 05-31-2010, 09:24 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestion, Julie. I'm no expert, but I don't really know if dry ice could freeze through 2 inches of solid concrete. But it might make the ceramic tile on top brittle (which would be a help). But it's a long way down before I'd see any plywood.

And that's the major problem Greg. 2 inches of concrete. It's already too heavy and too high. If I add anything else on top of it, I'll actually be creating a small step - from the parquet up to the ceramic.

In the picture, it doesn't look like 2 inches of concrete because of the slope of the threshold, but when you take off a vent cover (in the hallway) you can see the full brunt of it. And I'm guessing there's mesh under all that too.

But I like that you and Royce believe I can have it removed for $1200 or less. I'm willing to pay that much. It's worth it for a totally fresh start and to be able to put in some really great tile. Thanks so much - you've definitely given me a great solution (and I won't even have to do any of that demolition myself
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