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Thread: Removing tile (and messed up toilet)

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member hector's Avatar
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    Default Removing tile (and messed up toilet)

    I need tips for the best method of removing tile.

    Basically I've got ceramic tile, on top of thin set, on top of linoleum(!), on top of whatever subfloor they put in basic suburban starter homes circa 1985.

    Issue #2 is that instead of tiling under the toilet, they thin-set mortared around it to make it level with the surrounding tiles. So the toilet is actually cemented to the floor at this point. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    As for the tile, some guy here mentioned using an orbital sander to get the thin set mortar off (after chipping the tiles away first with a hammer and chisel I presume). Is there a simpler method given that it's on linoleum? I've built and fixed a number of things, but I've never really demolished anything (intentionally that is (ha)) except for old furniture.

    And then what about the toilet? Remove the tank and vacuum or pump out the water, then sledge it? Or try to crack it apart from the mortar? I really have no idea. Also, would it be a bad idea to do the toilet last (because it might break apart from the vibrations of removing the tile)? I wanted to take my time with all this and still use the toilet if possible.


    Hector

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    turn off the water to the toilet and remove the water from it. Then KICK the side of the toilet, on both sides, to break it out of the grout.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-04-2011 at 11:42 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    On a job like your's, you may need to pull the bowl, remove the subfloor, and start over.
    It's quicker and better to install from scratch then to try to sand off glue and thinset.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I think you're lucky it lasted...

    There is no thinset (that I know of) that is rated for direct installation over linoleum. And, if the linoleum is installed over 1/4" luan ply, which is common, that's not an approved substrate, either.

    Now, that being said, a highly modified thinset is pretty sticky, but any wax or other contaminants would likely be a bond breaker. I think that if you can get a good start point, and use a flat chisel at a low angle, you'll probably find that the tile comes off at the thinset/linoleum boundary when you whack it a bit.

    Then, you'd need to rethink your subfloor, if you want one done to one of the many different industry standards.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member hector's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I'm surprised it's lasted as well as it has. The tile extends out of the bathroom across a hall and into a kitchen and there's only two cracked tiles (one only recently). It's been in there probably 15-20 years. On the other hand it's always been hideous.

  6. #6
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You might consider cutting your losses and gutting the flooring in the bathroom so you can start over. If you have a bunch of extra tile from the original job, you could cut out a 3'x3' square where the toilet is and just rebuild that section. Getting the height of the patched section to match the surrounding floor would be the biggest challenge.

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