How To Remove Tile From Concrete Floor

Something incredibly huge and heavy fell on your sturdy and resilient tile floor, or the look is outdated, and you want something new. You’ve decided in removing tiles from concrete for whatever reason.

Our guide will show you how to remove tile from concrete step by step. So, whether you have ceramic, porcelain tiles, or even natural tile, the method is virtually identical. The hardness of the tiles and the type of cement used to keep them down determine the level of difficulty.

You should note that removing tile from concrete is no straightforward task. There is no underlayment or subfloor to be pried up and thrown away, unlike when the tile is set on concrete board or wood.


The tile, as well as the thinset must be removed. This is hard and time-consuming labor, but most DIYers should complete it on their own. (Learn How to Polish Concrete)

Keep in mind, though, that depending on the type of floor you want to install, you may not need to remove the tile flooring to lay a new one. Over your current tile, for example, you can install new tile or floating floors.

In our guide, you will learn all you need about how to remove ceramic tile from concrete floor, what you need to do, and how to deal with the broken mortar and debris.

 By the end, you should be able to deal with any stubborn tiles n any flooring project you decide to undertake.

How Hard Is It to Remove Tile From Concrete Floor?

Before removing the tile, you need things for tools and for your safety. Ceramic dust can irritate your lungs and is known as a carcinogenic material. Thus, for any flooring project of this nature, and you need to protect yourself.

  • Safety goggles to cover your eyes, front and sides
  • A dust mask
  • Thick work gloves
  • Long pants and long-sleeved shirt)
  • Knee pads

The primary function of safety equipment such as gloves and long sleeve shirts is protection against tile shards from the removal process. If you don’t follow the safety recommendations, you can easily cut yourself or find them in your eyes.

Besides safety, you need the right tools to remove the tile:

  • Cold chisel at about 3 inches
  • Masonry chisel
  • Hand maul around 2 lbs.
  • Hammer drill (optional)
  • Electric tile stripper (optional)

Even if using a tile removal machine such as an electric tile stripper to remove tile from the concrete floor, you still need tools, as you have the concrete floor corners to deal with.

A rotary drill with a chisel attachment is the simplest electrical instrument you can use to speed up the procedure. These are inexpensive and multi-purpose, so they make a terrific addition to any DIY kit for the home. (Find the Best Drill Press for Woodworking)

A jackhammer with a chisel attachment, which is a bigger version of a hammer drill, is one option. You can also use an automatic tile stripper.

These are large machines, and you use them with a push bar and a curved metal scoop that you can steer around your floor like a lawnmower. Remove the first tile in the row before allowing the stripper to remove the remaining tiles.

Tile removal creates a lot of debris and dust, so cleaning it takes more than a dustpan and brush. Make sure you have a shovel for major debris and broken tiles removal and a wet and dry shop vac to remove the rest. It can also help use plastic sheeting to seal off your concrete floors from the rest of your home.

Here is the step-by-step to remove the tiles

1. Prepare Your Space

Before you begin the removal procedure, you need to prepare your space carefully. This entails removing everything from the space, as tile shards can damage furniture and fittings just as much as they can damage you!

Remove all the furniture that can be removed. This includes items that are readily damaged, such as cabinets and toilets. If you can’t get rid of them, cover them with something to remove them possible. To safeguard other decorative aspects in the space, such as windows, it’s also a clever idea to cover them.

You’ll also want to remove your floor’s trim and baseboard, as well as anything else that lies on top of the tile you’re about to remove.

2. Ceramic Tile Removal

It’s time to remove ceramic tiles once the space is ready. Whether you do it by hand or with a machine, the process remains the same.

Start with a broken tile or between two tiles if you don’t have any. Work them loose from the floor with the chisel point.

Start at one end of your room and work toward the other; clear the debris of the broken tiles as you go.

You can make the floor tile job easier using a hammer drill with a chisel point as it can do most hard work. You don’t have to bend as much, and you get beneath the tiles with more power without using the maul much.

A jackhammer with chisel attachment does the same way, but it works a lot more effectively. Just be careful not to damage your concrete slab.

Remove the first tile in the row with a hand chisel or hammer drill with chisel attachment, leaving a space at least the width of the tile stripper. Then, after removing the tile, put the stripper against the wall’s edge, with the push bar against the next tile.

Like a lawnmower, push the stripper, and the push bar will chisel up tiles. Once you reach the end of a row, repeat the process. (Find the Best Tile Saw)

3. Remove Thin Set Adhesive

Even while removing the floor tiles is often simple, it is the stage with the most hazardous dust. Once the tiles are in place, you’ll notice that the floor is covered in thin set mortar or similar adhesive.

To remove the adhesive, you’ll have to go over the entire room with the chisel a second time. If the fragments of glue you leave are a little over one-eighth of an inch thick, you don’t need to remove them all.

Vinegar or other acidic cleaners can help remove the remaining tile adhesive.

Ensure the space is well-ventilated as these solvents emit dangerous fumes into the air beside you, dealing with all the dust.


How Much Does it Cost to Remove Tile From a Concrete Floor?

You can expect to pay between $1.50 and $4.15 per square foot of ceramic tile for tile removal.

For instance, if your room is one hundred square feet in size. You could expect to pay $150 to $415 for tile removal.

Factors Affecting Tile Removal Cost

  • Location: It’s important to consider where you live. A flooring business may charge more to remove the floor in some areas compared to others.
  • Floor size: Most tile removal contractors charge per square foot of tile to be removed.

First, the pro will ready the area to minimize the mess. For example, the flooring expert may place a plastic divider between the tile removal area and other rooms. Defective floor tiles will be removed first.

A professional floor scraper tool would be used most, or a chisel is used to start at the grout line. Throughout the process, the flooring professional will use a chisel and scraper to remove all floor tiles and leave a smooth floor underneath.

The job cost to remove a tile floor accounts for the time involved. Because of the mess, removing tile flooring is a challenging task. A flooring professional may use heavy equipment, such as a jackhammer or commercial floor removal machines to minimize dust as they remove tile flooring.

When the tile project is complete, you’ll have a smooth subfloor ready for new flooring.

tiles on floor

Can You Out Tile On Concrete?

Using the proper techniques we show here, you can install new ceramic tile right over the old. It eliminates the time-consuming and untidy tear-out process.

Tools and Materials Required

  • Angle grinder
  • Belt sander
  • Dust mask
  • Notched trowel
  • Safety glasses
  • Shop vacuum
  • 80-grit sanding belts
  • Ceramic tile
  • Thin-set mortar

If the old ceramic tile in your house is worn or dated, you may install the new tile over the old one and save yourself the trouble of tearing it out. It’s something that professionals do all the time. However, the job assumes that the floor is solid concrete and that the current tile is free of fractures. (Learn How to Remove Tile From Wall)

Step 1: Check the Surface

  1. Tap the tiles lightly with a wooden mallet or a piece of 2×4 to ensure they are secured to the floor. Top Tip: If you hear a hollow sound, it means a tile is loose.
  2. Remove loose tiles and replace them with thin-set mortar.

Step 2: Level the Floor

  1. Mark any high points with a 4-foot level on the old tile.
  2. Use a right-angle grinder with a masonry wheel to grind them down.
  3. To scratch any surface glazes, sand the tiles with an 80-grit belt or orbital sander.
  4. Using rotary tools or a carbide scraper to remove any moldy or loose grout.
  5. To remove dirt, sealers, and wax, vacuum the tiles and clean them with soap and water.
  6. Allow the surface to dry after rinsing with clean water.

Step 3: Cover with Thin Set

  1. For greater adhesion, spread a thin layer of thin-set on the back of large tiles.
  2. Use a larger-notch trowel tool if you’re going to spread thin-set on the floor instead.
  3. Always comb the adhesive in one direction, regardless of which method you employ.

Step 4: Position Your Tiles

  • Press your new floor tile onto the floor thin-set. Slide them perpendicular to combed lines of the thinset.
  • Let the adhesive dry on your new flooring project.

How To Remove Tile From Concrete Floor (1)

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