Tile Removal: Removing Thick Set Tile Counters

2 Materials
0 Hours
If you're like me, the new year brings new project ideas; and there's no better place to start than the kitchen! Tile removal was a topic where I could find little to no information. If you have thick set tile counter tops- we're talking thick set mortar over an inch thick- we're here to help! Check out the removal process below.
I started by removing the edging and knew right away that this was way more work then those quick videos online made it sound.  I found the image below.  The layers will be as follows:
  • Tile
  • Adhesive
  • Thick set mortar
  • Wire mesh
  • Paper layer
  • Plywood
  • Cabinet top
So yes all of that has to come off to install granite (which we did).  Whew.  Where to start??
USEFUL TOOLS for tile removal:
  • Hammers (both large and small)
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Putty knives
  • Utility pry bar (two of these)
  • Crow bar
  • Punch
  • Safety glasses and gloves (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Begin by protecting your floor as there will be tile and mortar flying everywhere.  
  • Protect yourself as well by wearing safety glasses and good gloves.  This stuff is sharp!
  • Start by removing any tiles around the edges.  We found putty knives, a flat screwdriver, and even the claw end of the hammer worked well here.
  • You will want to remove this in sections as it is heavy.  Go about three feet and use your punch and hammer to create a crack in the grout lines.
  • Once the edge is exposed, use your hammer to drive in two of the utility pry bars about a foot apart.
  • Then work the crow bar in between these two, and push it even further with the hammer.  Your section should start to lift up.  Lift with your crow bar and break off in large sections.
  • We also found putting the debris in cardboard boxes worked well.

Suggested materials:
  • Detailed materials list above.
  • See above for detailed instructions.
Angie CountryChicCottage
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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