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How to Best Remove Tile from a Concrete Floor

Removing tile from a concrete floor can be a huge task for any flooring contractor. Often retail or commercial projects will have a large amount of square footage of tile to be removed, with a very tight timeline.

There are a few ways to remove tile from concrete floors. In this blog, we will touch on a few of the main ones and go over the pro's and con's of each to help you find the best tile removal method for you and your job. Some methods will be easier and faster than others, but at the end of the day all methods will get the job done. Finding what works best for you and your job specs is keys.

WITH SMALL HAND-HELD EQUIPMENT

There are a lot of quality, small hand-held equipment options in the market that can remove tile from concrete surfaces. Typically, hand-held equipment is best for smaller removal jobs because of the time it takes to remove the tile, and the effort needed by the operator. Below is a brief list of the Pro's and Con's

PRO'S

  • Less expensive
  • Easier to use without previous experience
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great for tight spaces, by walls, and corners

CON'S

  • Lower production rates- especially for larger removal jobs
  • Labor intensive
  • Less effective on older tiles because the adhesive tends to have a stronger bond over time

When using any piece of equipment, it is important to know what it can, and cannot do. If a hand-help piece of equipment is the only tool you're bringing to a floor removal job, make sure your expectations are realistic. A hand-held unit is sometimes useful as a second removal tool to get into the tight spaces. These units are more suited for occasional tile removal jobs, or smaller residential projects.

WITH A WALK BEHIND FLOOR SCRAPER

Bull-Floor-Scraper-Main.jpgA Walk Behind Floor Scraper is the next step up from a hand-held unit. One thing to keep in mind is that not all Walk Behind Floor Scrapers are made the same. There are only a few on the market that can effectively removal tile from concrete floors because of the power needed to do so.

If you would like some more info on how to compare Walk Behind Floor Scrapers, check out this blog.

Here are some of the Pro's and Con's of using a Walk Behind Floor Scraper:

PRO'S

  • Easy to use
  • Depending on the unit, less labor intensive
  • Effective removal
  • Easy to use in smaller areas and rooms

CON'S

  • Still a little small for larger jobs – make sure to check production rates
  • Although stronger than a hand-held unit, it can struggle on very tough removals
  • Higher price point than a hand-held unit

Walk Behind Scrapers are a great option for removing tile from concrete in many ways. Just make sure that if this is all you have at your disposal to not take on huge jobs with tight timelines. Even though they are much more productive than a hand-held unit, reality is, they still have limitations because of their smaller size.

WITH A RIDE ON FLOOR SCRAPER

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A Ride-On Floor Scraper is one of the most productive ways to remove tile from concrete floors. These machines can remove a large amount of square footage much quicker than the hand-held or walk behind options we talked about above.

There are different types of Ride-On Floor Scraper on the market and some can remove tile better than others.

Here are some Pro's and Con's of a Ride-On Floor Scraper

PRO'S

  • High production rates
  • Easier to operate
  • Effectively removes the toughest flooring, quickly and efficiently
  • Drastically reduces labor needs and operator fatigue

CON'S

  • Highest price point of all three options
  • Requires some operator training

Ride-On Floor Scrapers are one of the best machines for removing tile from concrete. Removing tile can be a difficult and labor intensive task, but using the right equipment will ensure the process goes much smoother.

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At the end of the day, the best way to remove tile from concrete is going to be based on the size of job and the timeframe for completion.

If you’re not sure what is best for you, we suggest renting a few different types of units first to see how they work for you and your business. If you’re unsure, renting will give you the best understanding of what you need going forward, without having to make a large investment upfront.

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