How to Remove Ceramic Floor Tile From a Plywood Subfloor?

If you have ceramic floor tile on a plywood subfloor, you may be wondering how to remove it. Fortunately, it is not as difficult as you might think. But you will need to make sure you have all of the proper equipment and safety gear. 

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First, you’ll need to know where the tile is located. You can start in a corner of the room and work your way outward. Or you can begin at a doorway and work your way down. Whatever method you choose, you’ll need to keep a bucket close by to catch pieces of tile. Keep in mind that the bigger pieces can get quite heavy. 

You can use a hammer drill with a chisel attachment to break up the tile. This will allow you to remove large chunks easily. A floor scraper is another tool you can use to pull up loose tiles. The scraper is particularly helpful if your plywood subfloor has been damaged. It can also be used to remove a layer of adhesive, which is needed to prepare the surface for new tile. 

Next, you’ll need to cut out any exposed nails. These can be a trip hazard and must be removed. If you don’t have a hammer drill, you can rent one. However, you’ll need to be careful not to damage the plywood, as it will absorb moisture. When the tiles are broken, they will need to be cleaned up before being transferred to a trash can. 

When removing ceramic floor tile from a plywood subfloor, you will need to use gentle methods. The wood expands and contracts with temperature and moisture, and tile is a heavy material. Using a chisel and hammer can break the tile, but you’ll want to be very careful. 

You can also use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up any debris. Be sure to wear safety glasses, goggles, and a mask. Also, keep plastic sheeting on your vents to prevent dust from escaping the house. 

Once you’ve gathered your tools and equipment, you’ll need to find a spot to start breaking up the tile. Often, this will be in a doorway. Alternatively, you can begin on the edge of the tile and work your way outward. Depending on the type of tile you have, you can also start by using a jackhammer to remove larger pieces. 

Finally, you’ll need to find a place to lift up the pieces. Ceramic tile can be very sharp when it breaks, so you’ll want to be careful. While a hammer will usually be enough to break it, you can also use a heat gun to soften the glue. Make sure the heat gun isn’t too close to your work area, however, or you might accidentally burn the tile. 

Once you’ve broken the tile into smaller pieces, you’ll need to transfer them to a contractor’s trash can. If you don’t have a trash can, you can use a heavy-duty contractor’s bag. Ensure the bag is a sturdy one so it won’t get too heavy.