How to Use a Tile Stripper

What You'll Need
Tile stripper
Kicker pads
Extension cord
Safety glasses
Safety mask
Sound dampening headphones

A tile stripper is a tool that allows you to remove tile from a floor. If you are planning to refinish your floors, you may need to remove tile. You would do this to replace the current tile, switch to carpet or add hardwood. If you have no need to keep the tile, you can use a tile stripper to do this job effectively and quickly. You can find a tile stripper in two styles: automatic and manual. Read on to learn how to use both types of tile strippers.

Step 1 - Safety Precautions

When you use an automatic tile stripper, you will quickly notice one thing: the noise. These machines are incredibly loud, so it is important to wear sound dampening headphones. You will be breaking tiles, so you should protect yourself from shards and dust by wearing eye and face protection.

There are gas-powered tile strippers, but these should only be used outside the home. If you are using a completely manual tile stripper, always wear kicker knee pads. These differ from traditional knee pads in that they are firmer, larger hard plastic area over the knee cap and they are larger.

Step 2 - Choose the Right Tile Stripper

No matter the job you are doing you always need to use the correct tool for that job. There are two kinds of tile strippers: manual and automatic. There are automatic tile strippers that are small enough to hold in your hand. A manual tile stripper is perfect for small tile removing jobs on the floor while the large automatic tile stripper is best used for larger jobs. The handheld automatic tile stripper is great for countertops.

Step 3 - Using the Tile Stripper Correctly

The large automatic tile stripper weighs over 100 pounds and features a push bar and a curved metal scoop. It is also automatically propelled forward while the metal scoop vibrates. Plug the tile stripper into an outlet and position the scoop flush against the edge of the tile. If there's no exposed edge, use the hammer and chisel to break tile to create one. Turn the tile stripper on and guide it forward over the floor. It'll scoop up the tiles along the path. Once one row is finished, turn off the machine, remove the tile and reposition the stripper in the next section and repeat until finished.

The handheld automatic tile stripper is battery-operated and is used the same way as its larger counterpart. Break away tile with a hammer and chisel to create an edge. Press the scoop flush with the edge, turn on the tile stripper and slowly press it against the tile keeping the tile stripper flush with the surface.

A manual tile stripper can be used on the floor in the same manner as the automatic one. Instead of electric you knee the pad on the tool to propel it forward. You can also use a mallet.