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Removing tiles from concrete

Removing tiles from concrete

A failed floor adhesive, loosened tiles or a tile lifting off floor are reasons to have your tiles removed from your concrete floors. For any individual or contractor, this can be a massive challenge. The task is even larger for retail or commercial projects with large square footage and tight deadlines. Several methods are available for removing tiles from concrete floors. Some ways are more accessible and faster than others, but they all work.

The key is to find out what is most suitable for you. In this article, we discuss the main types of removal and the pros and cons of each, so you can decide which one is right for you.

How hard is it to remove tile from a concrete floor?

Regardless of your goal, removing tile from a concrete floor can be daunting, time-consuming and physically demanding, especially if you remove terracotta floor tiles. These tiles have multiple uses, can be found worldwide and are naturally appealing and inexpensive. But, over time, they will deteriorate.
When you scrape up the tile, the surface is often covered in stubborn thin-set or mastic that is even harder to remove. However, it can be tricky if the tile is glued directly to the concrete floor. Without an underlayment or subfloor, the tile will be difficult to pry from the concrete and you will have to knock out the tiles to detach them from the adhesives.

How to remove tile from concrete floor?

There are several ways to remove tiles from concrete depending on the size and the type of tile. The most common way, especially when it comes to a DIY tile replacement, is to simply use a hammer and a chisel. So, how to remove one tile from the floor with a hammer and a chisel?

Start by placing the chisel at a 45-degree angle against the tile. The best way to rip up a tile is to strike it until it penetrates through the glaze and the body of the tile. Once you have made a few scores in different directions, place your hand on top of the tile and apply pressure until it snaps free from its setting bed.

Tile Chisels

There are many high-quality, portable hand-held tools available for removing tile from concrete surfaces. They can be helpful in getting into tight spaces as a second removal tool. For smaller residential projects or occasional small tile removal jobs, tile chisels are recommended due to the time spent removing tiles, as well as the effort required to do so. Tile Chisels that can be used with power tools, like the Diablo Tool Plus Tile Chisel pros and cons include:


  • Inexpensive
  • No previous experience is necessary to use it
  • Maintenance-free
  • Perfect for tight spaces, corners, and by walls


  • Slow production rate
  • Intensive labor
  • Ineffective on older tiles with a stronger bond

Walk-Behind Floor Scraper

Walk Behind Floor Scrapers offer an upgrade from hand-held scrapers, but they are not all the same. Only a few of them can effectively remove tile from concrete because of the power required. Among the most effective, users like CONTEC models from Bartell Global. Walk behind floor scraper pros and cons include:


  • User-friendly
  • Less labor is required
  • Removal that is effective
  • In smaller rooms and areas, it is easy to use


  • Too small for large jobs
  • Struggle with tough removals
  • Compared to a hand-held, it is more expensive

Ride On Floor Scraper

The Ride Floor Scraper provides the most effective solution for removing tiles from concrete floors. Removing tile is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task but you can simplify it by using the right equipment. The Ride On Floor Scrapers, especially the INNOVATECH models from Bartell Global can remove more square footage faster than hand-helds or walk-behinds. The pros and cons of a ride-on floor scraper:


  • A high rate of production
  • Easy to operate
  • Fast and effective removal of tough flooring
  • Reduces labor requirements and worker fatigue


  • Quite Expensive
  • Requires training


Without the right knowledge, removing tiles from concrete floors can be difficult. However, by following the instructions above and using the right equipment, it will be possible to remove even the most difficult tiles from concrete floors with ease.

Remember to always wear safety gear when removing tiles. If you have questions, call or visit The Tool Locker for solutions and advice. We offer a large range of construction tools such as concrete tools.

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