Removing tile to install laminate

16 Replies

Hello all, 

We are closing on a house on Monday and really want to replace the current tile, potentially with laminate. The reason being is most of the tile needs to be re-grouted and some large sections of tile are not adhered to the floor. You can here the thin-set crumbling as you walk over it. This will be our primary residence until the Army decides to move us again, then a rental.

We want to DIY as much as possible, but this will be our first time with this type of job. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Tips on removing the tile and thin-set from the floor, and if this is even a good idea, should we just repair the tile? The tile is throughout the house, minus beds and baths.

Removing tile can be a full day tiring job.  How many sqft?  I'm sure there are some YouTube videos giving you a better idea but you rent a machine to help you take the tile up.  There are different kinds, I've only used the jackhammer style.  Once you get the hang of it you can take them up pretty quick with someone taking the tiles out as you do the other side of the room.  We did about a 1,500sqft house in a day with lunch breaks and other interruptions; but that was not getting all the thin set up so it would be ready for new flooring.  My father-in-law finished that in about a day.  I'd say the biggest concern would be are you rehabbing the entire house because this gets pretty dusty.  If you are okay with the look of the tile why not buy a few to replace the bad spots and clean the grout/re grout?  In my opinion tile is a better long term option than laminate.  Good Luck! 

@Adrian Smude

Thanks for the feedback. I haven't done the measurements yet, but it should be around 1000 sq. ft. We are not thrilled about the look of the tile (plain white). I agree that tile is a better long term option. I am beginning to reconsider the laminate. Like I said, we are new to this. But I do think the current tile needs to go... I think my biggest concern is preparing the floor for new flooring.

@Trailson Moore Post some pictures on here to get ideas from others.  Personally if I knew I wasn't staying in the house for a long time and it was becoming a rental I'd go with tile.  and chances are I'd fix and keep the tile there.  Changing the wall colors to help the tile look better is easier and cheaper.  My wife has impressed me with picking colors out to help the place look better.  

In warm climes, tile is very popular. Consider not only future tenants but also future resale value. Tile is very durable too. You can add color and character with area rugs, window coverings, wall paint, and furnishings. Tile is easy to re-grout, especially when it is on a flat horizontal surface, like a floor. You may be able to pull up the loose tiles intact and re-set them.

If you are set on taking up the tile and looking for a replacement, consider luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT). It is proving to be a good looking and durable choice. There are quite a few informative discussions about flooring options in the BP forums. The most popular being this one: http://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/52/topics/1371...

The cost to have someone demo the existing tile is not expensive. Laying new tile takes a bit more precision. Make a few calls to local smaller contractors to see how much they would charge to take up the tile and thin set - you might find that for a little more than renting a machine yourself, you could enjoy a day or two less of frustration and have it done. Then lay the new flooring yourself (I agree with using tile rather than laminate for the new floor - lasts much longer).

Just go on top. It's flat. No need to remove it.

I would also check the subfloor, if it is plywood subfloor then removing the tile just got a little harder and you may never get all the thinset off the wood. If it's a concrete slab it's a bit easier but still not a fun job. 

Good luck 

We do a ton of tile work John said go on top of it is very true only if it the old tile  is sound you can use the tile for a backer if its not sound and moves you can not and will have to take it out. You can get a day labor to take tile out for you  and  clean it up then call a handy man in  to install it after you get the supplies . You have a 1000 SF most people charge by the Sf to install.  ask t the installer what  will  they charge for 1000 Sf  of  tile to install you have all the supplies. I would also recommend  hard backer  for the subfloor its great.The demo dust can go every were but use some plastic and get your day labor to vacuum up . If your more hands on it would be a nice weekend project with a few you tube clips  on how to install tile should get your there. or  just call a pro a handy man may be your best bet over a contractor   .

I second what @Christopher Adams said with looking at the subfloor. Plywood is a pain in the *** to get cleaned up and ready for new flooring. Concrete is easy just time consuming and you need tools.

Also if you go to just the few tiles that are loose be careful and check the rest of them. We remodeled a bathroom and with "a couple" loose tiles and when we started pulling them up the whole floor came up with just our hands.

Sometimes its better to let the pros do the tile so you don't run into this problem again in the future. Not saying you can't do it, but it can become a big job pretty quickly.

Vinyl on the other hand is pretty easy to do some of it looks almost as good as tile!

Removed the old tiles and re-tile it. It will last much longer then the laminate flooring. Seal the grout to keep the dirt out. I bought a house with carpet in the master and laminate throughout the house. I had my contract pull the carpet and laminate flooring out of the house. The tiles I buy is the porcelain type, stay away from the red clay backing tiles from the box stores. They are cheap and if they chip the red clay shows up on the surface.

Good Luck 

I would not consider saving the existing floor unless you know why the tiles are coming loose. You would just be repairing it forever otherwise. I like quality laminate, and have used the click vinyl planks too.  But I'm in the north where no one would tile the whole house.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am pretty sure I will remove the current tile. What I will put down is still undecided. @Marcia Maynard would putting down a vinyl plank hurt the value of a home that previously had tile? I definitely want to be cost effective and durable while maintaining the homes appeal.

Originally posted by @Trailson Moore :

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I am pretty sure I will remove the current tile. What I will put down is still undecided. @Marcia Maynard would putting down a vinyl plank hurt the value of a home that previously had tile? I definitely want to be cost effective and durable while maintaining the homes appeal.

I suggest you read the extensive discussions on BP about flooring. Use the link I provided and also put "vinyl plank" and "flooring" in the search box. There are many factors to consider in determining home value. There are pros and cons to all of the flooring choices: hard wood vs. laminate vs. vinyl plank vs. tile vs. carpet vs. stained concrete vs. linoleum/vinyl sheets. The luxury vinyl plank flooring is sometimes hard to distinguish from real hard wood floors. Like anything, the quality can vary from high end to low end.

Don't forget there is no law against mixing: Tile is great for main living areas, kitchens etc and vinyl plank works great in bedrooms. With tile set them as close as allowed by manu for minimum grout and just plan on using darker colored grout if you ever plan to rent the home. Also, if on a slab consider polished concrete, which is the least maintainance of all and trendy now!

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