Removing tile (and messed up toilet)

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by hector, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. hector

    hector New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Ontario
    I need tips for the best method of removing tile.

    Basically I've got ceramic tile, on top of thin set, on top of linoleum(!), on top of whatever subfloor they put in basic suburban starter homes circa 1985.

    Issue #2 is that instead of tiling under the toilet, they thin-set mortared around it to make it level with the surrounding tiles. So the toilet is actually cemented to the floor at this point. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    As for the tile, some guy here mentioned using an orbital sander to get the thin set mortar off (after chipping the tiles away first with a hammer and chisel I presume). Is there a simpler method given that it's on linoleum? I've built and fixed a number of things, but I've never really demolished anything (intentionally that is (ha)) except for old furniture.

    And then what about the toilet? Remove the tank and vacuum or pump out the water, then sledge it? Or try to crack it apart from the mortar? I really have no idea. Also, would it be a bad idea to do the toilet last (because it might break apart from the vibrations of removing the tile)? I wanted to take my time with all this and still use the toilet if possible.


    Hector
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,512
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    turn off the water to the toilet and remove the water from it. Then KICK the side of the toilet, on both sides, to break it out of the grout.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2011
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,905
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    On a job like your's, you may need to pull the bowl, remove the subfloor, and start over.
    It's quicker and better to install from scratch then to try to sand off glue and thinset.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New England
    I think you're lucky it lasted...

    There is no thinset (that I know of) that is rated for direct installation over linoleum. And, if the linoleum is installed over 1/4" luan ply, which is common, that's not an approved substrate, either.

    Now, that being said, a highly modified thinset is pretty sticky, but any wax or other contaminants would likely be a bond breaker. I think that if you can get a good start point, and use a flat chisel at a low angle, you'll probably find that the tile comes off at the thinset/linoleum boundary when you whack it a bit.

    Then, you'd need to rethink your subfloor, if you want one done to one of the many different industry standards.
  5. hector

    hector New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I'm surprised it's lasted as well as it has. The tile extends out of the bathroom across a hall and into a kitchen and there's only two cracked tiles (one only recently). It's been in there probably 15-20 years. On the other hand it's always been hideous.
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    You might consider cutting your losses and gutting the flooring in the bathroom so you can start over. If you have a bunch of extra tile from the original job, you could cut out a 3'x3' square where the toilet is and just rebuild that section. Getting the height of the patched section to match the surrounding floor would be the biggest challenge.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,917
    Location:
    New England
    If you don't want to replace all of the tile where it meets up, cut out the grout between them, and you'll probably be able to remove those adjacent without affecting those you wish to keep.

    Check out www.johnbridge.com for help on tiling things.
  8. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I second the recommendation to troll over at John Bridge's site for tile advice. I also would probably suggest full subfloor removal in this case, sounds like it would be way faster and easier than messing with that. Maybe try to get up under the linoleum first and see how it goes, but then you will need a new proper substrate over that, which will make your new tile not line up with the old, if you're keeping the tile outside the bathroom.

    If the toilet is original builder grade 1980's model, I'd also take this opportunity to upgrade to a lower water consumption, better made toilet. Toto is the best, if money allows, but Terry has a bunch of stuff about quality toilets of all sorts on this site. Take a look at that.
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