Tiling Question

What tool would you use to remove exisitng floor tiles and remove adhesive off of the back?


We had laid Riven slate floor tiles onto a concrete floor/screed or self leveller, (tiles 900x600) back in Sept 2011, the footage covered was 31 square meters. Flexible adhesive and grout used for concrete and under floor heating used. We noticed that some of the tiles sounded hollow when you tapped them/walked on them, but everything seemed fine and we thought nothing of it. At the end of January 2012, we turned on our under floor heating (water). Recently though we have noticed that 5 of the tiles, some half under the kitchen move up and down slightly if walked on or make a slight noise.

The tiler is coming back to rectify the moving tiles, he confessed in a telephone conversation that he dab and daubed the tiles onto the floor, from what I have read on the internet, this is fine for bathroom and kitchen walls, but to do this on a floor and with them being such big tiles, surely this is not correct???? Can someone please advise what tool would be used to bring some of the tiles back up? Is an angle grinder the only way? We have an open plan living room, dining room and kitchen (living area is adjacent to where the floor tiles finish the tiler put adhesive down the sides of the tiles too.

Also, what tool or method would you use to get the adhesive and grout off of the existing tiles, assuming they survive?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

6 Answers

Best Answer

You mean dot and dabbed.This is not the way to do ANY kind of tiling and definetly not on a floor.You will need a small breaker with a tile removing bit to get them up and this will be noisy and bits of tile will fly everywhere.None of them will really be reusable and any replacements will probably be noticably different.Sorry but your tiler (if he is one) has let you down pretty badly.

Answered 28th Feb 2012

Roc builders

Member since 25 Aug 2011

Sorry to hear of your problem, this guy is a complete cowboy & shouldn't be let near a tiling job ever again but let me tell you this....... there is absolutely NO chance of saving these tiles. Save yourself the time & effort & take a hammer to these loose tiles & smash them out, with a standard rapid set chances would be slim but with a flexible adhesive you really don't have a hope i'm afraid. With it being slate you'll be able to buy replacements without there being any shade or batch no. problems & just pray that the rest of the floor doesn't start to come away too.(but it probably will).
All the best & hope you get it sorted.

Answered 4th Mar 2012

michael lamb ceramic tile fixers

Member since 30 Sep 2011

As you have already been advised, this floor is ruined. The tiler should never have dot & dabbed as the adhesive will never take in any application. Removing the loose/hollow ones now will help but the rest will come away with time. Any reputable installer would tell you that starting again is best. The tiles will no doubt come up with ease by sliding a flat blade/trowel under them. Soak the tiles in water to help remove the adhesive but only do this if the slate has been sealed properly (of which I doubt) as the soaking process could ruin them, if not its a grinder then hammer and chisel im afraid. Check the floor for level as it suggests the floor is not completly flat if he has dot & dabbed. If floor has high and low spots self level and allow to dry. Re-lay the floor using 1 part flex tile adhesive out of a bag not a tub using a 10mm trowel and apply adhesive to floor and not the tile. Grout with flex added aswell, do not run u/floor heating for at least 7 days to allow floor to completly dry.

Answered 5th Mar 2012

Dave Webley and Son

Member since 14 Oct 2010

I have had to take up quite a lot of tiled floors due to this exact reason,
Firstly , the tiler has made a huge error in laying the floor with the dot & dab method, This is amateur to say the least and will allways lead to issues such as this. In all honesty the only way to ensure the floor is upto standard is to remove the whole lot in my opion, Sounds drastic i know but do you think your tiler will come round again to remedy the next lot of loose tiles?? I think not.
One thing in your favour is the slate is pretty strong so you should, if care is taken, be able to lift the tiles and remove the majority of the adhesive, I would suggest initially trying to lift the tiles with hand tools (Bolster chisel & Hamme) to see just how easy the lift, if this doesnt work you will probably have to resort to a mechanical breaker method but great care should be taken with this machine, you can get carried away with it and end up cracking tiles.
To remove adhesive on the reverse of the tile use to start with an angle grinder , making sure you have a good hold on the tile itself or if possible place the tile onto a tile mat which will hold it as you use the grinder, use this method to remove 90-95% of the adhesive the remainder should be removed with by the hand tool method pre mentioned.

Finally, I would suggest checking over the subfloor, check the level accross the whole floor, and make sure it is suffiecently primed prior to re-fitting the tiles.
The slate tiles should also be sealed.... so should check this has also been carried out by the tiler. Flexible Adhesive and Grout should be used due to the underfloor heating.

All the above is purely my opion and im sure there will be other views as to best remedy the issues,
Hope you get it sorted.

Answered 28th Feb 2012

OTT Property Services

Member since 2 Nov 2010

Try soaking tiles in water.

Answered 29th Feb 2012

LJH design n build

Member since 24 Feb 2012

Hi, sorry to hear your problem,it does sound as though you've had Roy Rogers for a tiler! and would suspect these tiles won't be the last to come up.

We find the best tool these these days is a Multi Cutter such as a Bosch GOP 250 which with the appropriate cutter attached will make a clean cut(without too much dust) through the grout without damaging the tile-but do be prepared to lose them !
If you cut through the grout on the loose ones then use a pair of fairly strong wide bladed filling knives to lift them you might have a chance.

You'll be able to get the adhesive off the tile(sounds like there won't be much)with a grinder-your big problem though is you probably won't be able to expose enough of the "biscuit"that is the pattern on the back of the tile which forms an important part of the laying process and helps the adhesive grip the tile,without that adhesion can be a problem,you should wet the back of the tile-that may help suck the adhesive into it.

Best of luck,just make sure you've got somewhere the tiler can tie up "trigger" before he enters your house again.
Andy

Answered 28th Feb 2012

AY Installations

Member since 12 Aug 2008

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