Tile Removal Tools for Ceramic Floors

  • 01 of 05

    Tile Demolition Basics

    Bye, bye, tile!
    Photo Tonya Lee

    Removing ceramic or stone floor tile is fairly simple, though it's not necessarily easy. In fact, it's backbreaking work. However, you can save yourself a significant amount of money by removing the floor tile yourself. Be aware that tile removal can generate a huge amount of dust. It's a good idea to tape off your work area with plastic sheeting to protect your ventilation system and ensure dust particles do not travel needlessly through your home or office.

    Always wear a dust mask,...MORE safety goggles, ear protection, and heavy-duty work gloves when demolishing tile. The hammering and chiseling action can kick up shards of tile or mortar that could cause serious damage to your eyes. Tile pieces also can be very sharp when broken. 

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  • 02 of 05

    Gather Your Supplies

    The tools required for tile removal aren't very expensive, and you won't need a top-of-the-line floor scraper unless you plan to make this your life's work. 

    Supplies Needed:

    • Dust mask
    • Safety goggles
    • Ear protection
    • Heavy-duty work gloves
    • Flat-edge shovel
    • Floor scraper (also known as a bully tool)
    • Hammer
    • Masonry chisel
    • Hand sledgehammer
    • Boxes or wheelbarrow for carting debris
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  • 03 of 05

    Let the Destruction Begin

    Photo Tonya Lee

    With your tools gathered, it's time to begin demolition. Before you begin, take some time to prepare your working area so you don't accidentally damage other things in the room.

    Remove all molding, trim, door frames, and doors that will interfere with the tile removal. This prevents them from getting damaged or covered in dust.

    Begin at the edge of the tile in a spot where you have easy access to it. The doorway is usually a good place to start. Wearing your dust mask and safety goggles,...MORE use the sledgehammer to break up the tile along the grout lines.

    Be extremely careful, especially when dealing with porcelain tile. The sharp edges can cut like glass.

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  • 04 of 05

    Lift the Tile With a Scraper Tool

    Lift the Tile With a Scraper Tool
    Photo Tonya Lee

    Once you have some of the tile removed from hammering at it, you can then find a space to get the scraping tool underneath the tile to pry it up. The more tiles you can pry, the less hammering you have to do, which makes the job go smoother.

    Slide your bully tool (or floor scraper) under the attached remnants of tile and pry them off of the subfloor's surface. Put a little muscle into it and they should pop off.

    Many floor scrapers are made to use either face up or down, so try both ways to...MORE see what works best for you and your tile. Using it the right way can make this task much easier.

    You may need to use your hammer and chisel to remove stuck-on grout as you go along with the scraper. This depends on the scope of the work, but generally, you want to get the floor as smooth as possible after removing the layer of tile. Your new flooring will likely require a smooth surface and these smaller tools can help you achieve that.

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  • 05 of 05

    Clean Up the Area

    Clean up after demolition
    Photo Tonya Lee

    Use your shovel to remove large debris. Put the title in the trash or in a space where it can be accessed for reuse. Use a shop vac or broom to remove dust.