Slate tiles are made of natural stones which are much stronger than ceramic tiles. Slate floors last longer than other natural stones because of their density, formation process, and strength. Though they are installed like any other natural stone flooring, removing slate floor tiles may require slightly more effort. It is a labour-intensive job that needs the right kind of tools and techniques.
Every care must be taken to prevent damage to the sub-floor. Most Slate or Marble tiles are laid on the screed. (Screed is a mix of cement and sand primarily used to create a level bed to lay slate tiles on. The bed is thickness varies between 20 and 100mm). Not all slate floors are laid on the screed. Some are directly stuck to the timber sub-floor without any screed. The removal process may damage the timber sub-floor. Therefore, exercise caution when you remove slate floor tiles.
Here are few generic tips and the best ways to remove slate flooring:
- Grab a cold chisel and a three-pound sledgehammer. You can start from anywhere, but it is recommended to begin from the center point of the floor. Place the cold chisel on the grout line and hit with the sledgehammer. This will chip the grout around the tiles.
- Be careful not to crack the adjoining tile. If the grout line doesn’t pop loose, then insert a thin flexible putty knife under the tile and try pulling it loose.
- Next, hit the hammer on the center of tiles to break them. Keep chipping away at the slate tiles until they start breaking off in chunks. The thin-set concrete will start to separate from the floor.
- Use a broom to sweep the floor and empty the debris in a garbage bag. Sweeping will help you identify the difficult areas and prevent small pieces from getting stuck to the floor.
- Remove the smaller chunks by hand for smaller areas. This will create space for you to work on bigger areas and clean up the floor quickly. For bigger areas with bigger tiles, fit the blade of the electric tile stripper against the subfloor, adjacent to the slate tile. Push the machine across the floor and remove a small number of tiles at one time. This will avoid the build-up of tiles in front of the stripper and any damage to the machine.
- Now remove the loosened tiles by hand and keep using the stripper to remove more tiles until you finish with the entire floor.
Since slate tiles are heavy and removing the floor tiles isn’t that easy, it becomes time-consuming and a little expensive at the same time. Make sure you are equipped with safety glasses and gloves. Broken slate edges are sharp and can hurt you as much as glass. Working with a chisel and hammer is not a gentle job. Collateral damage is likely to happen. Hence remove cabinets or fragile fixtures from the floor area.
*Disclaimer: All information and advice given above in the blog are to the best of our knowledge. Please reconfirm at your end before execution.