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Question DetailsAsked on 3/18/2018

I need a tile floor demolished and removed from a commercial suite, 1700 square feet.

This is to prepare for LVT or LVP. Is this going to cost a fortune? The cost of removing tile looks pretty ugly...

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2 Answers


Call a commercial demolition company and ask for an estimate

Answered 2 years ago by the new window man


Unless you want bumps or waves telegraphing through the new flooring, the underlying subfloor (be it wood product or concrete) needs to be fairly well levelled - in particular no bumps of glue or mortar/thinset sticking up, small dimples or wood tearouts are less of a problem. If a padding is going down under the new vinyl product (almost never with tile or sheet products, sometimes with plank products) then slight roughness in the surface is generally OK - tiles are a lot less tolerant of that and generally will show bumps or pop connections if there is roughness underneath, so most quality installers will want the substrate ground down to a pretty smooth surface and any significant dimples or tearouts/popouts fromthe subfloor filled in with levelling compound.

Plank is somewhat more tolerant if padding is put in underneath, same issue as tile if not.

Some achieve this by carbide/diamond grinding of the surface (which is real dusty), others - especially if doing so will not result in an unacceptably high transition to adjacent rooms - will rough scrape or grind the surface then put down a levelling compound to level the surface.

How hard it is to get up the existing tile - depends on how it was put down, whether there is an underlying bond-breaker (like Schluter tile system or an underlying water/vapor barrier like visqueen) and whether put down with mastic (usually pops up easier), just a plastic cement thinset (in-between ease of removal) or a full mudcoat with mesh (usually hardest to remove).

Cost - by a demolition specialist (commonly cheapest) or the flooring installer (usually more expensive) can run around $2-4/SF if the tile and any underlying mortar pops right free due to a an underlying plastic layer or because it did not bond to the substrate, more like $4-8/SF if tougher or very tough to remove. Minimum charge typically around $350-500 to anything more than a very small area - but your job is far larger than a minimum charge size anyway.

Another option, though it does make for a high transition to adjacent flooring, is (assuming the tile is not popping free) is to just put a underlayment down over the tile, and install the new flooring over the top. Almost always much cheaper. Commonly a 1/4 or 3/8" underlayment is used. Over tile care needs to be taken in fastening it down - driving nails can cause fracturing of the tile, making for loose pieces of tile underneath which can make for bumps showign through the underlayment - safest to use a structural power screw driver and self-tapping masonry screws through the underlayment and tile into the subfloor under the tile. Cost typically around $2-3/SF - sometimes less.

Some contractors use a thick steel plate or water-filled "donut" with bonded teflon glides on the underside (or mounted to a handtruck) with a hole in it which they drag around, using a power nail driver (like a ramset) to drive nails through the tile into the subfloor, with the steel weight or water filled donut (which weighs about 70-100# and is kneeled on by the worker to add another 150-250#) holding the underlayment down during the driving so popouts cannot raise it up during the nail driving process. Quicker than screws but requires a helper to move the weight around as the other worker drives the nails, or goes slow if done as a one-man operation, with a weight move between each nail insertion. But a whole lot cheaper and quicker than removing the tile - commonly

One other option, assuming normal tile grout joints (or filling in real recessed ones) and depending on floor condition and elevation transition issues with adjacent flooring, is just overlaying the tile - with a thick, strong snap or glued joint (not nailed) LVP, laminate plank, engineered wood, hardwood, or stiff padding under carpet.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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