Removing Ceramic Tile --- maybe set with adhesive

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Old 12-21-12, 05:18 PM
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Removing Ceramic Tile --- maybe set with adhesive

Ugh....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 had psyched myself up to do it myself (I've done tile projects before..but not quite this large).

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 at all.

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. The scrapper doesn't seem to want to go up under the tile edge. 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 much easier...without ruining the underlayment? Or would that just be a waste of time/money?

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

I haven't checked the rest of the area (kitchen and hallways) but I don't think it would be any different in terms of difficulty. 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.

Thanks.

Osprey
 
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Old 12-21-12, 06:07 PM
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The stack up appears to be: plywood, metal lath, about 1/2 inch of mortar of some sort
What you've described is almost a mud job. I say almost because the mud should be thicker than 1/2" So. I'm not sure what you've got there.

In any case you should be removing all of that down to the subfloor. Later you mentioned "underlayment". What were you referring to there?

What installation method were you considering for this installation? Please give specific brands and types of materials.

Jaz
 
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Old 12-21-12, 08:06 PM
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Jaz:

Thanks for the quick reply.

Let's see...I went back and did a better job of measuring the thickness of the mud/mortar sitting on top of the lath (below what I guess is mastic) - I set a straight edge on a flat portion of the exposed mortar. I measure a thickness closer to an inch rather than half an inch.

When I say underlayment I'm referring to everything below the tile and the mastic (or whatever they used) --- basically the layer of mortar (now measured at an inch).

I hadn't quite gotten to picking materials (other than the tile which is porcelain - 12x12). I figured I'd spend the next several days peeling away the existing tile and then spend time figuring out what I needed to buy. My plan was to use a thinset mortar. I used a pre-mixed type for the bathroom (got it from Home Depot). My intent was to mix the dry stuff for the current project (cheaper, I suppose). But I'll accept any recommendations. Again, it's a kitchen - so fairly high traffic.

Are you saying I need to remove everything down to the lath/plywood?? That being the case...how do I go about doing that? That's a bit larger a project than I had thought...but it is what it is. And, if so...I guess I'll need to reapply an inch or so of mortar/concrete? Again...more than I bargained for!!! I may have to enlist my brother's help (he's quite proficient in spreading that type of material).

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 05:11 AM
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As to the mud, a hammer, chisels and a pry bar will do it. Tough work but you can get it done. Its unlikely that you will be able to remove the tile and not damage the mud bed so it likely has to be demoed as well.

If you need to get back to the same height after you do the demo, you can do mud again or there are other ways. The mud bed you describe is a little thinner than should be there. There are other ways to get to the height you need to. You could add another layer of 3/4 plywood, then 1/4 cement board or a sheet membrane over the plywood. This will work just fine and may be something a little easier for you to do.

Let us know what you decide and we can give you detailed instructions on how to proceed.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 08:02 AM
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What Johnny said.

Remove everything down to the plywood subfloor, lots of work and dust etc. Hopefully the tilework was done after the cabinets were installed otherwise it's under the cabinets too.

Big hammer, large crow-bars, (pry bar), small crow-bar, tinsnips, dust mask, work gloves, etc.

Jaz
 
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Old 12-22-12, 09:53 AM
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I'll add safety glasses and a long sleeve shirt to the equipment needed. I have a scar on my forearm from a nasty cut caused by flying tile chips.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 11:37 AM
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For an area as big as described, I would use a hammer drill that can be used as a hammer only (no spin) and a tile bit. Even at that, it is a lot of work. It will probably be cheaper to buy one than rent one, but you can do the math. Buy lots of heavy duty contractor garbage bags.

If there is a way to get a box fan into a window in the kitchen blowing out You can create negative pressure and direct the dust away from the rest of the house. Cover everything else with plastic.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 01:15 PM
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I agree with Czizzi. For a job this size its time to bring out the big guns. Rent a hammer drill or a small jackhammer/type tool called a chipping hammer with a flat bit.
 
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Old 12-23-12, 07:56 PM
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I appreciate all the input, guys!!

I had to look up "hammer drill"...I have to confess I was unfamiliar with the tool (although....I had considered a jack hammer of some sort!). I googled it and they don't seem to be very expensive. Did a youtube search and found a video comparing the hammer drill to the rotary hammer. The rotary hammer appeared to do a much quicker/easier job...but they also appear to be quite a bit more expensive.

If I can get it to work...I'm attaching a couple of pictures of the small area I managed to attack the other night before I called "uncle". They show the tile, adhesive/thin-set (whatever it is), the roughly inch of mortar, the lath and the plywood subfloor. Clearly..the tile did not easily give up it's hold.

I have clearly bitten off quite the job!!! I have the next 2.5 weeks off and had planned on getting a good start on this...but I have a feeling this is going to take awhile given my schedule.

I did manage to confirm that cabinets were set prior to the tile....except for about 6 or 7 linear feet of cabinet work I had installed about 4 years ago. I'll figure out how to tackle that.

I think I will attack the bit I've started with a large hammer (I have a 3 lb mallet) and crow bar and pry bar to see how easy the stuff comes up.

A question about the hammer drill use: Not sure how to go about doing the demo. I have this vision of creating a "perforation" of holes (say a 3 ft by 3ft square) and then attempting to pry up slabs of material. Probably not that easy, huh?

Ron
 
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Old 12-24-12, 05:06 AM
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First off, make sure your hammer drill has a "drill only" option, many do not. You do not want any rotation to your bit while you are working. The chisel bits also will not have a traditional attachment of using a chuck and key. It will pop in and lock itself in place.

As far as the demo, "Think smaller". Start out with one tile at a time. Set the tile chisel bit on the grout line and "walk" it around the tile to loosen. Then start making plunge cuts until you get down into the floor mud. Continue around the tile until it pops out. Unfortunately, you have some very strong wire lathe down that will complicate and slow you down. I wish for your sake that you found chicken wire instead. Once you have mastered one tile, see if you can get 2 out at a time. Don't get frustrated, instead, bribe a good friend with a couple of beers in exchange for some help. You can chip, he can fill bags and pull staples as you go.
 
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Old 12-24-12, 08:18 AM
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If you have a big box tool rental store in your area stop by and rent a Hilti AVR breaker. I've rented them a couple of times for concrete demo. They come in severa sizes and I suspect one would eat right through your tile job in no time.

I think I paid in the area of $40 - $50 a day for rental but that was several years ago.
 
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Old 12-24-12, 08:40 AM
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An SDS, or spline drive, hammer drill is what you would want to use. That, or the chipping hammer Wayne and I mentioned. You do not want a drill that also hammers. They are rather useless for anything other then drilling for screws in concrete.

You want a flat chisel about 1" wide. Once you get it under the slab it will come up quite quickly.

I demoed a floor very similar to yours in my house. Took me an evening with a 20 oz frameing hammer, but that was only a 5x8 room. It was a ton of work!
 

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Old 12-24-12, 08:56 AM
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Hi Guys, I do own one of the smaller Hilti breakers, fabulous tool. Last major demo of a mud tile set was an 18' x 26 kitchen/den combo. My partner had a Bosch Hammer/Drill and he kept pace with me during the entire demo. We both used 1" tile chisel blades.

Regardless how the OP does it, it is not going to happen with a cold chisel and a 3 lb. maul.
 
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Old 12-27-12, 07:00 PM
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Ok...so after all the holiday festivities...I got back to mulling this over.

I went to the Home Depot and rented a Makita HR4010C AVT Rotary Hammer (picture attached). I wanted to at least get something and give it a try to see how it goes. I cleared out about a 4 sq ft area. It took about 10 minutes I guess...as I learned how to use it (picture attached).

I went deep enough a couple times to cut through and bring up a piece or two of the lath. Had to put down some plywood since this is the area the cats use to get to their litter boxes.

I only did a small amount as I have the tool until 7pm tomorrow night...so I'll be using it most of the day tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see now much I can get done. I hope I can get all of the laundry room done (about 120 sq ft).

It works pretty well. I need to experiment with how best to go about it. I don't know if getting one that just hammers would do any better...but it might. Can't hurt to try.

I will say..the guy at Home Depot talked me into renting the larger one rather than the one I was looking at.

I think the challenge will be getting the debris up. I got the shop vac and started getting up the stuff I couldn't get with the shovel...and turns out I forgot to put the filter in!! Needless to say...when I turned around the room was filled with dust! A good window fan pulled it all out. I have a central vac in the house...I may just use that.

Also...this tool isn't particularly "tall"..meaning I have to bend over to get the right angle to get up under the tile/bed. I'm wondering if I can get a longer bit?

I'll get the laundry room finished and determine if this something I want to complete on my own (may enlist my brother for help).

I'll check back in with my progress!!
 
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Old 12-28-12, 04:32 AM
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Osprey - Pick up some knee pads. That'll make things a lot easier on the back.
 
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Old 12-30-12, 11:47 AM
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Ok...finished the laundry room and garage hallway (about 170 sq ft all together).

I've attached some pictures of the "finished" product for your viewing pleasure! Sorry...looks like you have to turn your head on some of them!

The clean up and dealing with the staples that secured the lath was the worst part. There is certain feeling of accomplishment with getting the actual tile and mortar bed up.

When all is said and done and I could get a better measurement...between the plywood subfloor and the top of the remaining tile measures about 1& 1/8 to 1 & 1/4 inches.

So, not including new tile and thin set...I'll need to build up about 22/32 of an inch (if I've done my math correctly) which would be 1/4 inch cement board and 15/32 inch plywood.

Questions: Would screwing down the plywood and cement board be best (rather than nailing)?. In the past I've screw down cement board.

As to trowel size....what would best size be? It's 12x12 porcelain.

Lastly....best to mix the dry stuff or go with premixed (probably more expensive). I've done both.

Ron.
 
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Old 12-30-12, 03:08 PM
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Your math sounds about right. Definitely screw down the additional plywood. How thick is the ply that is down on the floor now?

You will want to lay the cement board in a bed of thinset. Use 1/4 x 1/4 trowel and use the stuff you mix yourself. Keep in mind that the thinset below the cement board and the thinset above will add some dimension to your measurements.

Sooo.... How many new muscles did you find out you didn't have before you started. I bet your a little sore, but satisfied.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 08:22 AM
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Sooo.... How many new muscles did you find out you didn't have before you started. I bet your a little sore, but satisfied.


Oh yes....I was hurting in places that never hurt before. And I suppose at age 51 it's ever more noticeable! The first day or two when I got up from the bed or a sitting position...I felt like my old dog looks when she gets up in the morning to go out!! But yes..there is a degree of satisfaction.

Regarding the cement board....are you saying I should secure it with just thin set and no mechanical fasteners (screws/nails)? Never done that before, but it seems it might go a bit easier.

And the current subfloor appears to be 5/8". It sits over a small crawl space (the laundry room is the only part that does sit over a crawl space..the rest is over a basement).

 
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Old 12-31-12, 01:47 PM
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I would definitely add a layer of ply. The cement Board is placed in a bed of troweled thinset and is nailed/screwed off as soon as it goes down. If you are using Hardi-backer, there is a nail/screwing pattern stamped into the sheet. 6" on the seams/edges and 12" in the field. The thinset helps make up for any imperfections in the subfloor and holds your mounting surface for your tile straight and level and secure. You do need to mesh tape and set in a skim of thinset all seams before you tile. You can find cement board mesh tape in the drywall section of the box stores (they make multiple use mesh tapes depending on your needs).
 
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Old 01-03-13, 09:28 AM
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Any strong opinions on the use of the hardiboard vs cement board?
 
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Old 01-03-13, 09:37 AM
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I prefer hardi backer because it absorbs no moisture and if you follow their directions and put thinset under the board and screw it down then lay tile as usual they guarantee your tile will never crack or they will redo it free. I am not a salesman I am retired but I did work at home depot for 3 years in flooring before realizing I really did want to retire.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 09:53 AM
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Thanks bperry.

One last question for all (...probably not the LAST question but here's hoping):

Modified or unmodified thinset?

Seems from all I've read....modified is what I want (at least between the cement/hardi board and porcelain). I believe that's what I used on the last project (bathroom). I'll probably be buying the dry stuff and mixing it myself.

Edited to add: I'm thinking the layer of thinset under the backer board can be either since it's there primarily to fill voids and such. It the modified stuff is recommended for the porcelain tile..then it's fine for under the board.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:35 PM
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Actually Hardie is very thirsty and is why it needs to be damped just before you spread the thinset. I never liked using it much cuz they wanted me to install an expansion joint in the center of any room that was over 15 ft. in any direction. This would indicate the product shrinks and expands more than other CBU's, or Hardie is being honest to make us aware of the need for expansion joints.

Use only real thinset, which comes only in a bag. You can use either, but why not use the cheaper unmodified to set the boards. You need about 6 bags. You have to use modified to set all tiles over Hardie, especially porcelain. You need about 7 bags, use a 1/4x3/8x1/4 trowel.

Be sure the floor is flat before you set the tiles.

Jaz
 
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Old 01-04-13, 07:26 AM
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I am not a tile setter, just a DIY'er with quite a bit of tile setting experience

There is a difference in recommended use between modified (latex polymer added) and unmodified (plain ol' mortar). The Schluter site has a basic explanation.

The latex polymer added to modify thinset is designed, among other things, to improve the bond between an underlayment like Ditra or hardiboard and a plywood substrate. In fact Schluter recommends using a modified thinset for the bond between Ditra and plywood and an unmodified for the bond between tile and Ditra. Modified thinset mortar is also touted as having some "flex" that adds increased isolation. They are sold as "crack prevention"

Unmodified thinset mortar needs moisture to hydrate properly. That's why you should wet hardiboard before spreading the thinset. That's also the reason unmodified should not be used to set tile on plywood.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 08:14 AM
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Sorry, but you are not understanding and are misstating several points in your reply. Mainly why we place thinset mortar under all CBU's.

First of all, we were not talking about Schluter products at all. Of course you have to use modified to install Ditra over plywood, there's no choice because unmodified will not bond well to plywood. The requirement is to use the substrate-appropriate adhesive for the job. The only confusion with Schluter's instructions is that they recommend unmodified to set all tiles over Ditra and Kerdi. Many people can't figure this out. But again Schluter has nothing to do with this thread.

When installing concrete backer units, (CBU), you are not interested in a bond, that is not why the mortar is there. Some manufacturers recommend modified under, some unmodified the rest don't care. But they all want the tiles set with modified thinset.

It is also not correct that modified mortars are sold as "crack prevention". It is true that the special "crack prevention mortars" are modified, but not all modified mortars are characterized as being the crack preventive type.

Jaz
 
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