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Unread 10-28-2019, 07:40 PM   #1
Dave Triplett
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Need to Pull Up Tiles Without Breaking


I'm re-doing floors in our house. There is over 200 SF of great looking kitchen/dining room tile on the floor that we want to leave alone/save... But a handful of them are chipped or cracked. There are matching tiles in the guest bathroom on the floor. I would like to remove the bathroom floor and "harvest" the needed tiles from there. Any tricks to remove the tiles without breaking them, so I can use a few of them in the kitchen ? They are 12 X 12 directly on concrete slab.

Thank you for helping.

-Dave Triplett

Last edited by Dave Triplett; 10-28-2019 at 07:41 PM. Reason: error
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Unread 10-28-2019, 07:55 PM   #2
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Welcome back, Dave.

If the tiles were set anywhere close to properly, using a decent thinset mortar, I'd guess your chances of harvesting whole tiles to be about zero. Or perhaps not quite that good.

But the only way to really know is to try to remove them and see.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 10-28-2019, 07:56 PM   #3
Jim Farrell Tiler
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from my experience if they are ceramic you have no hope of getting them out unbroken, porcelain tiles however you may be able to pop off the floor if you have a sharp bolster and can get it flat on the floor under the tile and give it a smack with a hammer, it MAY get it up without breaking
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Unread 10-28-2019, 08:03 PM   #4
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If I was going to try and save a few, I'd pick ones near the center of the room. First use a grinder or other tool to remove the surrounding grout from all the tile you want to save.

Take out one or two surrounding tile, then use as thin and wide of a chisel as you can to try to get underneath them, one at a time. Sharpening a cold chisel might work. Start hitting the chisel lightly and gradually increase the strikes until you get it loose. Move the chisel around in different places every few strikes.

But like CX said, if they're bonded even halfway decently, you probably won't have much luck. You didn't say how many you need, or how many chances you have to get some taken up, but hopefully someone did a crappy job of installing them for you.

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Unread 11-07-2019, 12:53 AM   #5
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How bad do you want it?

If you knocked out the surrounding tile and isolated one on its own you MIGHT be able to start a groove under the tile on all 4 sides with oscillating saw and then work your way through the rest with a reciprocating saw. (or maybe someone has an idea with another tool)
Oscillator should be able to get 1-1/2" under each edge, so you would have to go another 9" painfully slow.

Maybe... just maybe.

It's gonna take a while. And its gonna eat a lot of blades, but seems like a remote possibility. If you are demoing that floor anyway
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Unread 11-20-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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I agree with part of the responses but I would not use a chisel as it is too strong and will likely crack the tiles. After removing surrounding tiles. Use a SAWZALL with a 12" blade to try and remove the adhesive. It might even be better to force a hacksaw blade onto a sawzall as it is thinner and less likely to break the tile.

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