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Flooring and Carpeting/Removing Ceramic Tile


It seems I've gotten myself in a bit of a pickle.  My plan is to retile my kitchen/laundry.  I've already bought half the tile (at a bit over $500).  There area is 465 sq ft.

I started to remove the tile in the laundry room this evening and ran into quite the problem. For reference...I redid the bathroom on the second floor about a year ago (about 50 sq ft). The same ceramic as in the kitchen was installed there.  I removed that tile with a manual scrapper.  It came up just fine.  No issues.

The tile in the laundry room is NOT coming up easily.  I believe the tile was set with an adhesive rather than thin-set (I think it was thin-set in the bathroom).  The stack up appears to be:  plywood, metal lath, about 1/2 inch of mortar of some sort and then the adhesive (I know this because in the process of removing some of the tile I managed to "dig" down to the lath).

The tile will not budge with the scrapper.  It's difficult to get it off with hammer and chisel.

So my question is:  What are my options???  

Would renting one of those powered scrappers make the job easier...without ruining the underlayment?

I'm thinking it might be best to hire someone.  I'd rather not because I'm guessing that would be something on the order of $2000 ($5 per square).  

I haven't checked the rest of the area (kitchen and hallways) but I don't think it would be any different.  I do not want to chisel 465 sq ft of tile!!!

I've gotten myself pregnant on this, I guess, so I have to take it to completion in some way.



Thank you for your question Ron,

     Boy have I been where you are. So much so over the years that I purchased my own chipping hammer just to save the rental fee. So by that comment I guess you know what I'm going to suggest next...go to the Rental Center and get a chipping hammer and 3" chisel to go with it. You will do minimal damage to the sub-strate by attacking the lath and thinset directly from the side and not down. Whatever mechanical fastener they used will have to be broken or removed in order to free up the lath and old adhesive that is securing everything in place. Once you get it started you can then go to town and most likely things will come up in sections or in layers. You only need to employ the chisel from the side and take your time. It will all come up you just need to be patient and diligent to the end. Believe me Ron I have been stuck chiseling way more that 450 sq. ft. It is as you say something you now own and must complete the journey. I know this is not the best news but here we are. Perhaps you could carefully hammer just the tile and adhesive layer away and leave the lathe layer and reuse? It is an option so long as it remain intact and secure. Otherwise you know the drill Ron...chip away. I hope this helps you with your project. Forgive my being tardy as I was away for the Holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...feel free to return anytime...

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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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