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
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.
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!