• Home
  • >
  • How-To's
  • >
  • Remove floor tile - everything you need to know

Remove floor tile - everything you need to know

Removing floor tiles is not difficult - However, it will take you at least half a day and the right tools

Difficulty: Easy | Costs for 20m²: from 15€ | Workload for 20m²: approx. 8 - 10 hours including sanding the floor

Handyman removing the old floor tiles with a hammer and chisel

Removing floor tiles is an inevitable task that many homeowners have to tackle during a renovation.

It doesn't matter whether the living room, dining room or bathroom is modernized or completely renovated, it is and remains a physically demanding task.

In this article we will give you detailed instructions on how to remove floor tiles effectively and safely, how much it costs and how much time it can take.

Table of contents

1. Why remove floor tiles?

Remove floor tile

There are many reasons one might want to remove floor tiles.

One of the most common situations is that the tiles are damaged or no longer meet the aesthetic requirements.

In addition, tiles can lose their functionality due to moisture or other environmental influences. In such cases, it is important to remove them and replace them with new ones.

1.1 Very important: examine alternatives

Handyman laying laminate over old floor tiles after considering all options

It may make sense to check alternatives, whether removing the floor tiles is necessary at all.

In old buildings in particular, it can make sense to fill the old floor with screed and lay the new tiles over it.

Our tip: A building surveyor or a professional tiling company is the right place to go. They can give you the best possible advice.

Frequently used alternatives are:


2. What tools do I need to remove tiles?

2.1 Basic Tools

Tools needed to remove old floor tiles

Floor tile removal requires a few basic tools:

  1. chisel
  2. hammer
  3. crowbar
  4. spatula
  5. shovel
  6. broom or hand brush
  7. diamond cutting disc

Tile cutting disc when cutting tiles to remove them

2.2 Additional Tools

Additional tools that can make your job easier are:

  1. Electric tile remover
  2. grinding machine
  3. heat gun

3. What machines do I need to remove tiles?

Floor tile machine choice banner image. 1 angle grinder with tile diamond cutting disc. 2. Impact drill with tile chisel. 3. Tiled floor remover machine

Choosing the right floor tile removing machine depends on the method you intend to use.

Especially with underfloor heating, pipes or electrical lines in the ground, care should be taken not to cut or drill too deep into the ground in order to avoid damage as much as possible.

The different types of machines that can be used to remove floor tiles are:

  • angle grinder
  • drilling machine
  • Electric tile remover
  • impact drill

3.1 Advantages and disadvantages of the machines and methods at a glance:

method Advantages Disadvantages
Cut floor tile with angle grinder
  • High cutting precision
  • Reduced risk of the tiles breaking
  • Cheap method
  • formation of dust
  • Danger of hitting pipes or electric lines
Pry out the floor tile
  • Easy to use
  • Cheap method
  • Physically demanding
  • Possible damage to the substrate
Remove floor tile with tile remover
  • Efficient and effortless
  • Less physical exertion
  • Higher acquisition or rental costs
  • noise and dust development
  • High dead weight - Must be carried by at least two people

1. Cut out floor tiles with the angle grinder and a diamond cutting wheel for tiles

Craftsman cutting the grout of the floor tile with the Flex (angle grinder) and a 125mm tile cutting disc to rip it out

Good to know: An angle grinder with a tile diamond blade can be used to precisely cut tiles for easier removal.

User video from the community: A defective or broken floor tile is replaced.

Step-by-step instructions for removing tiles by cutting

  1. Cut along the grout to loosen the tiles. Check the cut from time to time to see how deep you have already cut.

  2. Carefully pry out with a chisel, screwdriver, or pry bar.

  3. Avoid cutting too deep into the floor tile grout to avoid damaging electrical or heating pipes

Note: The average thickness of the floor tile is 8 mm - 12 mm. Porcelain stoneware floor tiles can be up to 20 mm thick.

125 mm tile cutting wheel Produktbild for flexing tiles with the angle grinder

2. Is it advisable to break out the defective tile with a hammer or tile chisel?

Chisel out floor tiles with SDS tile chisel

Another method for removing floor tiles is to use a tile chisel in combination with a power drill or impact drill.

Step by step:

Our tip: The drill must be operated in impact mode.

  1. Place the tile chisel on the edge of the tile.

  2. Hold the chisel particularly flat at the smallest possible angle to prevent damage to the subsurface.

  3. Remove floor tiles piece by piece.

3. Remove floor tiles with an electric tile remover

An electric tile remover is a powerful tool specially designed to remove floor tiles efficiently and effortlessly.

He works with a rapidly swinging blade or chisel point that is pushed under the tiles to loosen them from the substrate.

4. Floor tiles remove costs

Floor tile removal cost? banner image

Our tip: You can reduce your costs by hiring a demolition company instead of a tiler.

The cost of removing floor tiles can vary depending on whether you hire someone to do the job or do it yourself, the method you choose, and the tools and machines you need.

4.1 Overview of costs

The table below gives an estimate of the cost of removing floor tiles yourself using various methods:

method Estimated costs
Cut out the floor tile with the angle grinder
  • Angle grinder (purchase or rent): 50-150 €
  • Diamond blade: €15-25
Pry out the floor tile
  • Drill (purchase or rent): 30-100 €
  • Tile chisel: 15-30 €
Remove floor tile with tile remover
  • Electric tile remover (rent): 80-100 €/day
  • Additional possible tool costs

4.2 What is the cost of a company removing a floor tile?

The cost of having a company remove floor tiles can vary by region and provider.

A rough estimate of the craftsman costs is around 30-40 € per square meter. Note that these costs can vary depending on the complexity of the project and local conditions.

Our tip: In order to save additional costs, you can agree to dispose of the remaining tiles yourself or to include them in the agreed price.

4.3 Our assessment

The total cost of removing floor tiles depends on several factors:

  • chosen method

  • Do it yourself or hire a company - It can be helpful to ask a tiler and a demolition company. This work does not necessarily have to be done by a master.

  • Disposal costs of the old tiles

  • Local conditions and utilization of the companies

It's wise to consider all costs up front and explore different options to find the best solution for your project.

5. What safety measures must be observed when removing floor tiles?

5.1 Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Put on protective equipment when ripping out floor tiles - banner image with safety glasses, gloves, safety shoes, hearing protection

When removing floor tiles, your safety is of the utmost importance. Make sure to use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), including:

  1. safety goggles
  2. ear protection
  3. Gloves
  4. safety shoes
  5. dust mask

5.2 How to protect the environment from possible damage!

Anti-dust door protects other rooms from dust when grinding the tile adhesive after removing floor tiles

Protect the environment to avoid damage to surrounding surfaces or furniture. Cover adjacent walls, doors, and furniture with masking film or cloth. An additional dust protection door protects other rooms from pollution.

6. Step-by-step instructions on how to remove floor tiles without machines

Floor tiles are ripped out by a do-it-yourselfer without machines using only a hammer and chisel

  1. Step - preparation

    First you should clear the room as much as possible and remove all furniture and carpets. Prepare the necessary tools and put on your PPE. Make sure the room is well ventilated to remove dust and debris.

  2. Step: remove tile

    Start removing tiles from a corner or edge of the room. To do this, place the chisel or pry bar on the joint between two tiles and hit it lightly with the hammer to loosen the tile. Carefully pry the tile and remove it. Repeat this process for all tiles.

  3. Step - Clean the surface

    After all the tiles have been removed, you need to clean the subfloor.

    Remove old adhesive residue, mortar or leveling compound with a spatula or scraper. For stubborn residue, a grinder or heat gun can help. Sweep the surface carefully and wipe it off with a damp cloth if necessary.

6.1 The emergency solution - grind the surface smooth with a diamond cup wheel

If conventional methods of cleaning the subfloor are not sufficient, or if the subfloor is uneven, a stopgap solution may be to grind the subfloor with a diamond cup wheel.

This special grinding disc is mounted on an angle grinder and enables efficient and precise grinding of concrete, screed or tile adhesive residue with the angle grinder.

Sanding smoothes the subfloor and removes residues so that it is ready for new tiles or other floor coverings to be laid.

Please note that grinding with a diamond cup wheel is dusty and noisy work and requires suitable protective measures such as the attachment of an extraction hood.

Produktbild 125 mm diamond cup wheel with 125 mm mounted on the angle grinder for grinding tile adhesive on screed after removing floor tiles

More guides for tile removal

7. What do I do with a stubborn tile that cannot be solved?

7.1 Use special tools

For particularly stubborn tiles, the use of special tools such as an electric tile remover can be useful. These devices make removing tiles easier and greatly reduce physical exertion.

7.2 Application of heat

Floor tile is heated with a hot air gun to loosen the tile adhesive

Using a heat gun can help soften the adhesive underneath the tile and make it easier to remove. Please handle the heat gun carefully.

8. Completion and Disposal

8.1 Disposal of leftover tiles

After all tiles and debris have been removed, the tile residue must be properly disposed of.

Check with your local recycling center or waste disposal company for the regulations for disposal of tiles.


Our tip: If you hire a craftsman to remove your floor tiles, you should include the disposal in the price.

8.2 Cleaning the work area

Thoroughly clean the work area to remove dust and dirt.

Wipe down all surfaces and sweep or vacuum the floor.

Conclusion - Removing floor tiles is not difficult.

Removing floor tiles can be a daunting task.

With the right tools, safety precautions and a step-by-step approach, this job can be done efficiently and safely.

Remember to treat stubborn tiles with special tools or heat, and to thoroughly clean the work area and discard the remains of the floor tile after the work is complete.

With the article finished, here are five frequently asked questions about removing floor tiles.

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about removing floor tiles

Question 1: How long does it take to remove floor tiles?

The time it takes to remove floor tiles depends on the size of the room, the type of tile and the tools used. For an average room, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day.

Our assessment: From our experience, we can tell you that removing the floor tile and sanding the subsurface takes about 30 minutes per square meter.

Can I reuse floor tiles after removing them?

In some cases, tiles can be reused if carefully removed and cleaned.

However, they can be difficult to remove without damaging them, and the extra work involved in cleaning and preparing them can outweigh the benefits.

Question 3: Can I lay floor tiles over existing tiles?

It is possible to lay floor tiles over existing tiles as long as the sub-floor is level, firm and clean.

However, this can cause problems with the level of the floor and it is often better to remove the old tiles and prepare the sub-floor for best results.

This can also depend on local regulations of the authorities or the community administration.

Question 4: Are there alternatives to removing floor tiles?

An alternative to removing floor tiles can be to cover them with another type of flooring, such as laminate, vinyl, or carpet.

This can be a less time-consuming and less expensive option, but it is important to carefully inspect the sub-floor to ensure it is suitable for the new flooring.

Question 5: Do I have to clear out the entire room to remove floor tiles?

It is recommended to empty the space as much as possible to free up the work area and avoid damage to furniture or other items.

However, heavy furniture that is not easy to move can be covered and protected as long as it does not impede access to the work area.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

  • Bild von Jürgen Kleis Werkzeuge Experte - Tipps und Tricks rund um das Thema Handwerken und Heimwerken

    Jürgen Kleis

    "With my many years of experience in the tool industry, I can give you helpful tips and tricks for DIY and handicrafts".

    To the author page 
  • Other helpful platforms

    I try to give the community at all available levels tips for building a house, renovating or gardening.