Sunday, August 9, 2009

First Bag Of Mail: Demolishing Tile

Hi Kelly! :) I have a quick question for you. My boyfriend and I are doing some do-it-yourself renovations to his house. We want to tear up the tile on the floor in his kitchen/dining room. He thinks it's ceramic and he says that it's sealed. As someone who fixes up houses, what would you suggest would be the most effective way to go about this? Our ultimate goal is to stain the concrete throughout his house. Any advice would be appreciated. (Ever think about doing a question and answer section in your blog?) By the way, you are a great read!

Happy Sunday,
Ann's Bag Of Goodies

So, Ann, you want to know about the lovely process of demolishing tile, do you? Well. Are you ready for a good time? Is your refrigerator stocked with beer? Are the little ones pre-occupied? Is your patience properly in place? Once you've checked yes to all of the above, there are a few ways you can go about this process. I highly recommend the first one.

1. I know most of your project is intended to be do-it-yourself, but you really should consider paying someone to demolish the tile. If you ask me, it is well worth the approximately $1.00 per square foot that I usually get away with paying. I just use a handyman since there isn't a lot of training or skill required to get the job done. Let them give you the price for the job then offer to remove the tile and dump it yourself. Use this as a negotiating tool. Paying someone to do it could save you a lot of time and, depending your level of experience, many cuts and bruises. Also, instead of finding your local dumpsite for the dropoff, try tooling around your neighborhood to see if anyone else is doing a renovation or dumping that they'll let you piggy-back on. It'll save you both a few dollars.

2. It is possible to use the old sledgehammer and flat bladed chisel for the job, but keep in mind how large the area is and how old your kneecaps are. (I have no idea what your age is, so don't take that personally. I'm only thirty, but my knees have suffered over two decades of running so they're probably as rickety as your grandmother's.) If you decide to go this route, let me warn you that this is about as much fun as eating sand. Actually, I take that back. Eating sand is way better.

3. This is the option that most do-it-yourselvers (I'm aware of that's not a real word) I know choose to do. Rent a demolition hammer. An electric jackhammer will get the job done faster than any other destruction method you can employ by hand, and your boyfriend will probably have a good 'ole time doing it. You can rent one for less than $100 a day, which should be plenty of time to knock it all out. The problem with this method, in my experience, is flying shards of sharp tile plus inexperienced operators. I've never seen someone try this for the first time that DIDN'T end up cut up at the end of the day. If you're going to do this, for crying out loud, wear pants, goggles, gloves and have a really ugly face. Because if you cut up your pretty mug on account of a suggestion of mine, I will feel mucho terrible. Probably. So in other words, please refer to my first suggestion.

Next, a few more things to keep in mind:

1. This will be dirty. Dirtier than a raunchy magazine rack. The amount of dust and debris will surprise you, I promise. Cover everything in your house that's not in the demolition area, including taping off all doors with plastic. After you're finished, you should strongly consider having your air conditioning vents professionally cleaned.

2. A lot of times the tile will just pop up once the grout has been removed. So it makes sense to tackle the grout first, then try to get underneath the tile.

3. The sealant that you mentioned on the existing tile was most likely a clear formula mopped over the it to protect the porous nature of the material. It shouldn't have any bearing on the removal.

4. This is a good resource to check out tools of the trade.

Lastly, in terms of staining concrete:

I adore stained concrete. There are so many directions that you can go with it, and I love the look and feel of concrete. I have had a bit of a nightmarish experience with staining it, though. During my last year of architecture school, I was working on my very first private commission, which was a home in the South Florida community of Lighthouse Point. Inspired by some retail floors she'd seen that were stained concrete, the owner had a company (that she hand picked out of Texas who specialized in staining concrete) come out to apply stain her slab. The first problem was that leveling and prepping the floors was quite a chore. There was some existing settlement, and even after we floated them, they were never quite perfect. Keep that in mind. The next problem came to my attention recently. While working with her last year on another project, I went to her home for the first time in years and got a good look at the floor. I was so disappointed to see how the sun had caused extensive uneven fading of the stain. If I had known it would change the character of the color so drastically over time, we might have considered a lighter stain with just a high gloss seal of some type. So those are a couple of issues that I'd want to be aware of moving forward if I were you.

I hope this answered your question, Ann?

Good luck with your floors!


Ann said...

I HEART YOU! Lol.. Seriously. This was/ is awesome. As much as I love being hands on, it makes more sense to go with #1. We can handle the hauling away part no problem. I'm not to worried about leveling the floor as much as I'm worried about the stain fading. I'm happy you brought that up because I would have never thought of it myself.

Thank you so much, Kelly!!! This not only answered my question but potentially saved us time & money. My knees thank you as well {if anyone asks, I'm 39. Perpetually.} And yes, I will be back with a lot more questions. :):):)

Kelly Muys Wood said...

Good! Promise you'll share pictures when you tackle this?