Removing floor tiles

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Old 09-08-15, 06:32 AM
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Removing floor tiles

A couple of floor tiles in our second floor bathroom are cracked. Thought of replacing those. The tiles came out easily (already badly cracked so it was easy) but the hard part now is to remove the mortar on floor.

Trying chisel and hammer but very little result ... may be I am using less force since I am scared it might break down the subfloor. thought of pouring some muriatic acid but then again do not know if the subfloor will be damaged.

Do not know what type of subfloor is there.

Any suggestion how I can remove those mortar ...right now I am trying 2 tiles and if it works , will replace 6 tiles in total.

I am OK buying and using power tools if that helps (have invested in rotary sander, pole saw since we bought the house).
 
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Old 09-08-15, 07:15 AM
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If the tiles cracked, it is likely the result of insufficient prep on the subfloor to begin with. Things like over spanned joists, under sized joists, not using a cement backer board, in sufficient plywood base to name the most common causes. So in reality, you probably should replace the whole floor and correct what ever deficiencies exist or you may be doing this again in the near future.

As far as removal, a demo hammer and tile bit is what I use. You can use a hammer drill if it has the option of "Hammer only" with no rotation. Manually, a 3" stiff putty knife and a hammer used like a chisel to cut across the mortar ridges. Is tedious, but will get the job done.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 08:02 AM
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Thanks. I completely agree that the subfloor has problems and need to be redone. We are planning to build a second bath and will take up a project to re-do entire floor for this bath once second bath is done ... may be a year or so.

Meanwhile , need to replace a few badly cracked tiles and keep it moving. Will a power grinder help ? If I use a demo hammer , is it possible to damage the subfloor and/or joists ?
 
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Old 09-08-15, 02:27 PM
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No to the grinder unless you don't mind a thin/thick layer of dust throughout the whole house. Don't worry too much about the subfloor. You will get a feel for when you are too far into the floor and no longer hitting and chipping mortar.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 06:31 AM
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After trying the chisel and hammer for 2 days , I think I wont mind the dust and go for a power grinder if that works. This mortar is just not going to get out with chisel.

As for subfloor --- yes got to the Cement board in one place but that is just an inch of so ... much of the mortar is yet to be removed.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 01:43 PM
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Gosh be prepared, I don't think I emphasized enough the amount of dust you will create. If there is a window in the bath, open it and put a box fan in it facing out. Box fan on high, close bathroom door all but a crack and open a window in another room. You want negative pressure to force all the dust out the window. Eye protection and quality mask protection as you do not want to breathe this stuff in.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 01:57 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I have earlier sanded a room (hardwood) with an orbital sander . Hope grinding two tile (2 sft) will not be too bad.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:04 PM
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Night and day. The hardwood was nothing compared to what's in store for you now.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:10 PM
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One question -- for the whole floor , If there is a overspanned joist issue (which I suspect), can I survive using a ditra underlayment and smaller tiles (say 2 X 2) OR should I go for Vinyl ?
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:13 PM
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you are scaring me Let me try out hammer drill
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:17 PM
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Get the stuff out you have now and then report back to us with the composition of the remaining subfloor plus the size, spacing and unsupported span of the floor joists and we'll go from there.
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:19 PM
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Thanks . I can see cement board on ply . To see the span , I will need to cut through those ... right ? Can I reliably detect the span using a stud finder ? (Basement is finished) .
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:32 PM
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Whole basement is finished including utility rooms and such? No drop ceilings?
 
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Old 09-09-15, 02:38 PM
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You will probably be better off using a stud finder on the ceiling in the basement to find the spacing. To find the size of the joists drill a small hole and stick a wire down and measure the depth of the cavity. The basement will also tell you the span between floor joist support walls.

THis is a video for a dust containment system but it also give a quick demo of with and without to show how much dust you are looking at. No affiliation with this product for demonstration purposes only.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1DEt_gdkcM
 
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Old 09-09-15, 06:52 PM
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Whole basement is finished including utility rooms and such? No drop ceilings?
Yes ... and no drop ceiling I Will probably cut open the ceiling in utility room.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 07:20 AM
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Experts, thanks for your help till now.

So, with help of a friend, I removed the mortar with chisel and hammer (no power grinder).

The base , as I see now, is a wire mesh on wood. The mesh is in more or less OK condition.

Since I am replacing at most 6 tiles, I think I can leave the mesh as is, put a layer of Redgard (have some left from a previous job) on top then mortar and tile. Does that sound good ? Or do I need to put Ditra ?

Also, I will need to shave off about 1/4 - 1/2 inch from each tile to make it fit
The tiles are Marble tiles ... so using a cheap $40 tile cutter is probably not an option. I can rent a wet saw but not too comfortable . Is it possible to use a power grinder with a diamond blade to cut it ?
 
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Old 09-13-15, 08:08 AM
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I'm beginning to think that you had a Jersey mud bed if you have wire lath at the bottom. How thick was the mud bed? You kept calling it mortar which is little more than the ridges found directly under the tile. Can you upload a picture of what you have? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html

Yes you can cut with a dry diamond blade, but do it outside, well ventilated, dust mask, eye protection. Make sure the blade is perfectly centered - any bounce or hop in the blade will cause a very rough cut that may blow out as you near the end of the cut.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 12:10 PM
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Thank you. Loading pics.

I made a mistake ... jumped the gun too early . There was a hardy backer board below mortar , wire mesh below that , some sort of black paper below mesh and wood planks below that.

I cut out everything till wire mesh and could not identify the backer board till I got a little more in removing (removed 6 tiles in stead of 2 I originally planned but all 6 were cracked) .

Identified the hardy backer because it had a label .... I have worked with durock earlier which was very hard but hardy backer seems to be pretty soft .. more like thick paper.

Anyways , removed that board as well . Now it is clean with only wire mesh and some of the black paper (torn in some places)
 
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Old 09-13-15, 01:22 PM
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Again, how thick is the whole area. Was it 1/2" hardie or 1/4" hardie? Wire lath has no business being in the mix with hardie. Which tells me that this is a previous repair of some sort. The wire lath was part of a previous mud bed. It was left I would presume as a uncoupling membrane as you can not tile directly on a wood plank subfloor. Just slapping hardie on top would most likely be the cause of your failure. There should be an additional layer of ply down (1/2") then the hardie and then your tile. Gonna be tough to make a lasting repair. But give me the measurements and we will come up with something to buy you time until you can do it right.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 01:27 PM
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It is 1/4" hardie .. verified. Wondering if I should cut a piece of Ditra and put it on top of the mesh, use unmodified mortar and then tile on top of that ? I have a Durock but that would be too thick for this
 
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Old 09-13-15, 01:35 PM
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The entire gap , from top of existing tiles to the wood , is about 1 " . The tiles (Marble) are about 1/2 "
 
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Old 09-13-15, 01:41 PM
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The whole bath renovation is probably two years out .... need time till then .
 
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Old 09-13-15, 04:16 PM
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Don't waste money on ditra. The felt paper provides the uncoupling membrane. I would fill in the lath with mortar and let it set up overnight so in the morning you have a complete flat surface that is hardened. I would then trowel on some thinset, pace your hardie in the thinset and screw it down. Then trowel and install your marble. Make sure the thinset you use is compatible with marble, some will bleed through.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 04:23 PM
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Thank you much. Shall I rip out the wire mesh . also , should the thinset (below Hardy) be modified or unmodified ?
 
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Old 09-13-15, 05:01 PM
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Leave the lath, modified is fine.
 
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Old 09-13-15, 05:15 PM
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Very helpful . One last question -- will it work if I use Ditra in stead of Hardy . Trying to avoid screwing the hardy on wood since I have no clue if there are water pipes under the floor . I understand ditra will be expensive but still cheaper than repairing leaked pipe
 
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Old 09-13-15, 06:08 PM
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You need the hardie for thickness. That is 1/4" hardie + 3/4" wood planks + thickness of lath and mortar skim = use 1 1/4" screws and there is no way you can hit a water pipe.

Ditra is a uncoupling membrane, it does nothing in your scenario. If you are skimming the lath with mortar, why would you want to add a membrane between the mortar and more mortar? Remember, in your situation, the tar paper under the lath provides the slip between the cement and the less than stable wood planks. It is like trying to add cement backer board to a cement floor, does not make sense, bond directly to the cement floor.
 
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