Smash tiles efficiently

The knocking off or removing old tiles is certainly not necessarily the highlight of a home improvement career. It is a heavy, sweaty and dusty job. Nevertheless, tile cutting requires concentration and a precise approach.

Not always can be dispensed with the tiles

Not always painting or wallpapering is the optimal solution. Likewise, when new ones are laid on old tiles. Mostly it is the additional construction heights in already small bathrooms that make it necessary to knock off the tiles. Although the removal of tiles is still tiring even with the right and heavy equipment. But it can still be a bit more labor-intensive if the tiles have been laid for many decades and therefore have not been laid with tile adhesive on screed, but instead in a mortar bed. This may require an extra step and large machines.

Step by step knock off tiles from floor or wall

  • Leveling screed or spatula
  • water
  • Rotary hammer with flat chisel
  • Floor grinder or roller mill
  • concrete grinder
  • hammer
  • different chisels
  • Bucket for building rubble
  • cover
  • duct tape
  • spatula
  • spray bottle
  • cable reel

1. Preparatory work

If you want to cut off floor tiles, it makes sense to empty the room anyway. Otherwise, be sure to cover furniture with plastic sheeting. Before tiling, you should also seal doors and windows in the tiled room, as cleaning the tile dust can be frustrating for weeks.

For wall tiles, under which power lines are laid, it is strongly recommended to turn off the corresponding fuse. Then carry the current with a cable reel into the room with the tiles to be knocked down. Then remove light switches and power outlets. In bathrooms also not forgotten fittings such as towel racks and the like.

2. The knocking off of the first tile

The first tile will knock out with a conventional chisel. Use the chisel or a screwdriver head to knock off the tiles. If there is a dull echo, underneath is a cavity that is not completely filled with adhesive. At this point, put the chisel on and smash the tile.

3. Cut off all other tiles

Now you can use the hammer drill. The flat chisels have a 45 degree angle at the top. Exactly at this angle you put the hammer drill bit and work under the tile. So now remove all tiles. If several walls or the floor are also tiled when wall tiles are knocked off, but should not be removed, stop them with a rotary hammer about three centimeters in front of the wall or floor. Use the rest of the tile edges with a hammer and a chisel to avoid accidentally damaging the tiles on the wall or the floor.

4. Remove tile adhesive

You can remove protruding old tile adhesive as well. Provided, of course, that it is necessary. However, keep in mind the depth of the future tile adhesive bed if you want to lay tiles again. Depending on the circumstances and your future requirements, you only have to remove the tile adhesive roughly or completely with the hammer drill. For the ground you can also use a heavy floor grinder or a roller mill. For walls there are lighter concrete grinders.

5. Old mortar bed under the tiles

Previously, however, no tile adhesive was used on screed. Instead, a mortar bed was laid in which the tiles were laid. Again, depending on your needs and the subsequent procedure, it may be sufficient to level the mortar with tile screed or spatula. However, if you need the mortar height as a construction height, a concrete grinder or a roller mill is also used here.

Tips & Tricks

Regularly spray everything with water, including the air (with the atomizer) to better bind the dust.

Pay attention to the correct angle of the chisel - especially if there is underfloor heating under the screed. The screed layer over the heater is usually very thin.

Never set the chisel too flat - this will split the tiles. In too steep an angle, however, punch holes in the ground or the wall. For walls in bathrooms, power lines and water pipes can be found just under the plaster.

In rental properties you need a written consent of the landlord, as the tiles belong to the building. Otherwise, you must return everything to its original condition or pay compensation accordingly.

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