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Flooring and Carpeting/Re-tiling long entry hallway: Demo question


My house has horrific pink ceramic tile on the entry hallway floor that I want to replace.  I've removed a few of the existing tiles and it appears that they were put down on a layer of cement board using thinset.  The cement board itself sits on the subflooring. No adhesive between the cement board and the subfloor.

My question is this: Would it be best to attempt to remove the tiles and scrape the thinset residue off the cement board or just rip up everything down to the subfloor? Getting the tiles off the cement board was surprisingly difficult using a masonry chisel and hammer. A demo hammer would make tile removal faster but then I'd still have to deal with the thinset residue.

Assuming pulling up the tile and cement backer board is the preferred approach, is there a way to do this without excavating grout lines and scoring the the underlying cement board with a saw? In other words, can I just drive a pry bar between the exposed edge of a backer board and subfloor and pry?

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. At the moment, I'm at an impasse.

Dave F.

Thank you for your question David,

    I feel your pain, there is simply no easy way to "back up" an installation like yours without resorting to dusty, impacting, difficult destruction...and yes, that is exactly what I am recommending, sorry brother. If you can just remove the tile that rests along the outer edges you can then perhaps "lever" the rest of the floor up tile and all with a crowbar or lever. To wrestle with the tile then the old adhesive will take more time and effort than you should be willing to invest. Therefore bite the bullet and try to pull up everything all at once which will expedite the demo and get you moving forward much quicker. To be honest Dave there is a lot to be said about your mind in this right along with the muscle required. Accepting the inevitable allows you to focus your efforts just to get it over with. Then once you have reached the furthest point backing up the moving forward period will be quicker and more satisfying. I know you may not believe me at the moment but when it's done you will be glad you did. If you would like...once you have removed all of your existing tile/sub-strate, stop in again and I would be happy to help you get started with the "fresh" portion of your project, it's the least I could do for you given the "difficult recommendation" I have given you...OK? I can wait, just come back when your ready if you would like...

Perry V.  

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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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