Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How To: Tile Floor Part 1, Removing Old Floor

Tired of your floor but don't want to shell out the big bucks to have someone lay it for you? If you watch HGTV enough you know that laying tile is definitely something you can DIY, you just have to be brave! So I'll give you a nice step-by-step tutorial to help you get up the courage. :)

First thing's first, what to do with your old floor? You have a few options:
1. Tile over the existing floor
2. Take out all tile down to the original subfloor
3. Find a compromise between options 1 and 2

We went for option 3. Option 1 is obviously the easiest, HOWEVER, the issue with option 1 is that with each layer placed your floor gets taller and you end up having to put a "watch your step" sign between the kitchen and the dining room.

Our first step was to remove the 12x12 tile flooring. To do this we needed:
  • Mason's Chisel
  • Mini Sledge Hammer
  • Elbow Grease
Take the mason's chisel and place it at a 45 degree angle at the edge of the tile. Use the sledge hammer to pound the chisel until it goes under the tile a little bit. Do this along the edge of the tile, side, middle, side.

Continue to do this until you can get the chisel fully under the tile and then use it to pry up the tile off of the thinset.

Depending on the adhesion it might come up as a whole tile (about 75% of ours did) or it might break like it did in the above picture. Under the thinset there was a layer of cement board that was screwed to the subfloor. Because it was fairly crumbly we used a pry bar and pried up each 3x5 piece of cement board leaving the screws to take out later.

This was a HUGE mess, but generally came up pretty easily.

Next was the 80s vinyl tile squares that had been glued to a thin layer of fiberboard that had been glued to the 70s vinyl (yes, that's a lot of glue.) We needed to pull the screws which was quite the undertaking because they were filled with thinset and concrete dust and many of them had been stripped.

We literally had to get down on our hands and knees and scrape out several of the screw heads so that they would catch the drill bit. Not a very glamorous or fun job but made the job much easier. After all the screws were removed we started popping up the vinyl squares to identify where the seams of the fiberboard were. Then used the wonderbar to pry up each section of board. I was initially prying willy-nilly and it was very difficult with lots of tearing fiberboard. Once I focused on whole pieces it was MUCH easier.

This left the 70s linoleum with lots of construction adhesive and cardboard residue. This was where we decided to stop because underneath the linoleum there was asbestos tile. The tile is not hazardous if left undisturbed, so undisturbed it shall be! To make the floor as level of a surface as possible we used the Dremel Multimax with the Rigid Scraper Tool to scrape up each piece of glue. Yuck.



And that left us with a nice solid, flat surface to begin laying our floor on! This was a long enough post, so enough for Part 1. Part 2 is prepping the floor to lay tile!


Kristie Kirk said...

I am curious....we just found this same vinyl layer covering the same 70's tile layer in my friends home. Your post says that there is asbestos in that it ok if left alone? Does it have to be recovered or can it be left exposed? She really likes this tile is why I am asking..

Kari said...

Hi Kristie! Do you mean the orange vinyl shown in the last pictures? If it's like ours, it's a solid and not individual tiles. That is not the asbestos tile and is safe it leave exposed if she likes it! Asbestos tile is generally from the 60s and comes in individual 9x9 tiles and those were actually below that orange vinyl which is why we opted to stop there. From what we've read and been told you can safely cover or "encapsulate" the asbestos tile with new floor. Hope that helps!