Removing Slate Flooring

Slate flooring provides a timeless and traditional appearance and can look great in any home. It is also a completely natural product. However, it also has a cold feel to it and as a result a slate flooring is often best suited to outdoors. If you want to remove a slate floor to replace it with something more suitable or you need to remove one which is severely damaged, this article will explain how it is done. The job is quite simple, not requiring any special knowledge. However, be sure that you are physically able to complete the job as it is a labor intensive task.

Tools and Materials

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Broom
  • Protective leather work gloves.

Step 1 – Prepare and Examine the Surface

Before you start, remove any furniture from the room. Examine the surface to see if there are any loose pieces of slate in the floor. If the slate floor is quite old, there are likely to be cracks in the stone, and especially in the grouting between the stone. If there are any completely loose pieces of stone, remove these by hand and dispose of them.

Step 2 – Pry Up the Stones

To start removing the slate stones, find an area where you can fit the pry bar underneath one of them at least a little way. Simply slip the pry bar underneath one of these cracks and gently lift up the stone. Once you have managed to lift up one stone, the rest of the job will be relatively easy. If you cannot find a location where you can easily pry up one of the stones, etch a crack between two stones using the hammer and chisel. Stick the pry bar in this gap and gently lift up the loose section of stone.

Step 3 – Break Apart Remaining Stone

Break apart any remaining slate and mortar left behind. You can break apart the slate using gentle taps of the hammer in the middle of each section. Break apart the grout as in the previous step, using a hammer and chisel. To lift up any stubborn pieces of slate, use the pry bar as before.

Step 4 – Remove Remaining Slate

In some cases, you may be able to lift away entire sections of slate though for the most part you will need to continue to break it up, removing it piece by piece. This is a time consuming job but needs to be done with care. Any remaining mortar, adhesive or slate should be removed once the bulk of the stones themselves have been lifted up.

Step 5 – Finishing Up

You won’t be able to salvage most of the slate. Dispose of it appropriately. You will likely need to hire a skip if you are removing a large surface. When you are finished, sweep away any remaining dust and fragments of stone with a broom. The surface should now be ready for installing a new subfloor.