You might think that doing your own interior tile demolition requires a bunch of heavy equipment and special tools. In reality, most demolition jobs can be done with a few basic tools. The most important thing you need for the job is manpower! Make sure you enlist a few assistants. Whether they are paid labors or friends volunteering to help out, you don't want to take on the job by yourself. Here are the most essential tools and techniques that you, and your helpers, need to complete the job safely and efficiently.
Dress for the Job
When doing interior demolition, you want to wear long pants and sleeves, no matter how hot it is. You also need protective glasses and shoes. Steel toe boots are the best because you can actually use your foot to assist with breaking tiles. A kick here and there can be very effective. Lastly, invest in some comfortable and protective work gloves. Be wary of brand new gloves that you have never worn before. The last thing you want is to get a bad blister on your hand within the first hour of working. When you start to demolish the tile you will be swinging a sledgehammer and a bunch of loose, possibly sharp, debris. Protect yourself by wearing the right clothes and equipment.
Removing Tile and Mortar
Knowing what your subfloor is made of is essential before you start to work on your tile. If you have a concrete subfloor, your most important tool will be the sledgehammer. You can just smash the hammer directly down onto the tile as hard as possible. This will knock the tile and mortar loose from the concrete very easily. This means there will be a lot of debris created. Having a helpers to pick up the debris and carry it out is very important.
If you have wooden subfloors, you need to be more careful. If you hit the tile too hard with a sledgehammer, you can actually cause damage to the wood. A most effective technique is to use hammers and chisels to loosen the tile at the grout lines, as opposed to just breaking the tile into a bunch of small pieces. By placing a chisel directly on the grout, and then hitting it with a hammer, you will knock the grout loose and the tile should become easy to lift off of the floor. This is more time consuming, but the best way to protect your wooden subfloor.
The work is simple but very physical, so be prepared and gather some helpers.