tile a bye-bye | Bower Power
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tile a bye-bye

2013 May 23
by Katie

At first we thought the floor was linoleum.  I thought maybe the previous owners went a cheap route and just bought those giant stick down floor tiles…totally a budget move.

ahem.  I was wrong.

This is bonafide tile.  excuse the mutant toes.

So here’s how we removed it all.  First…removal of the quarter round.  I recommend trying to save it when you can…ours was coming apart at the seams so there wasn’t a whole lot of salvaging…but it’s cheap to replace so if you do damage yours, it’s spilled milk my friends.

Then we started hammering at the vent.  You can do this also in a regular corner of a tile.  Basically the deal was ‘let’s break it up and see how hard it will be to remove’.  Oh and yes, it’s a good idea to stuff a towel down in your vent so random bits of tile don’t fall down there.

We tried to clean up as we went.

After Jer got some of the tile started, he just pushed the hammer under the edge of the surrounding tiles and popped them up.  They came up really easily.

Ignore the fact that he didn’t have safety goggles on.  We couldn’t find them.  He is now blind in both eyes.

oknotreally…but the point is, he should be.  you know what I mean.

Our tile came up in big chunks…which means that the adhesive didn’t stick really well to the bottom of the tiles.  That could have been a product error or an installation error.  I’d put my money on installation in this house.

Jer kept on prying each one until it when from this…

to this:

Under the tile we were left with the cement board.  Jeremy suggested we try to salvage the board and just scrape the adhesive off.  In theory that’s a great idea…but in reality, I told him no.  It would be a huge time suck and I didn’t want him to waste hours and hours just to make a finished product that may not be perfect for future tile.  It’s worth the money sometimes just to replace it.

Jer set the circular saw blade depth just long enough to cut through the board and not the subfloor and equipped it with a concrete blade.  Then it was dust city…

I crossed my fingers that the board was just nailed down…screws would have been a royal pain in the bum.   not to be confused with pain in the royal bum :)


Jer decided to just break the corners and leave the edges under the baseboards…for me.

One night when Jeremy was laid up in bed with the stomach bug, I was able to spend a solid two hours just pulling up the nails, prying out the old tile/cement board/nails under the baseboards and doing general clean up.

Oh and for those of you wondering…clean up would mean sweeping up the mess with a good ole fashioned broom and dustpan first…and second…and then using a little shop vac…then mopping it all up.  It’s SUPER dusty so try to get as much up as humanly possible.  or as extra-terrestrial as possible if you are good :)

Okay…so that’s that.  Tile a bye bye….next up…prep and priming.

44 Responses leave one →
  1. May 23, 2013


  2. May 23, 2013

    I need to do this in my laundry “room” too. Mine had vinyl that is torn to pieces….dumb builder. You should see the laundry set up. It’s in the stairwell. Not in a room off the stair well. Literally my washer and dryer are in the stairs. So dumb.

    • coldturtle permalink
      May 27, 2013

      Clearly built by a person who doesn’t actually do the laundry very often, if at all haha! Is that to code?

  3. May 23, 2013

    This brings back memories…in our old house ( before kids, when I had time!) my husband was watching football and I literally just ripped the carpet out of our bathroom with NO plan in mind. Let’s just say it was more work than I anticipated! I recruited my hubs to help me tile later that week!

  4. May 23, 2013

    Looks better already! I have some nasty linoleum I need to get rid of in my laundry room!

  5. Allisen permalink
    May 23, 2013

    The fact that your floor was actually tile made me laugh. out. loud. Would that be real-faux tile? or faux-real tile? maybe tile-look tile?

  6. May 23, 2013

    I have to ask… did that tile make you a little dizzy? In the photos I swear they look like those “magic eye” images I could never get to work. A little blurry and out of focus and a whole lotta magic headache creation.

    That clean up is what kills me. In January we ripped out the “rough hewn slate laid as tile” in our foyer. It was the biggest mess ever. And they used screws to attach it to the subfloor.

    Can’t wait to see what you put down next!

  7. KarinK permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Haha – Right after I read “mutant toes” I scrolled down to pic #2 and at first glance I thought, “She’s worried about HER toes? He has monkey feet!” Then I realized it was a glove….. This is what your brain does when you try to look at a picture and read text at the same time. :)

  8. May 23, 2013

    Cant wait to see what you guys put down!!

  9. Barb permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Hi Katie:
    Hope you are all well and the puking is over!

    My Q is this:

    Where and how are you doing laundry while this is going on?

    Also, did you know early about the YHL new house and were you sworn to BFF secrecy???


    • May 24, 2013

      Hello old friend :)
      I did a couple loads at a friends house and I did six loads at the laundromat and a load at my moms. I still have six more but I’ve tried to be smart about how efficient I can be with my time so my friends and family know that if I am coming over, then I’m bringing dirty whites with me :) And yes, I knew about their new house and sworn to secrecy. I truly have never been so excited for them.
      xo – kb

  10. May 23, 2013

    Ah, so much work for such a small room. Totally worth it in the end but I feel like the process seems never ending when I’m in the midst of it. Can’t wait to see the next step!

  11. May 23, 2013

    I entirely thought that was linoleum, not tile. What were they thinking? We have hideous tile in our entryway, but it actually works out well since that’s where we babygate our beagle during the day. She gets to do whatever her little heart likes on the ugly tile.

  12. May 23, 2013

    Our laundry room (I call it the utility room because we have our water heater and door to the back in there…) has outdoor carpet in it. You read that right, outdoor carpet. Not only that, we also have puppy dog chew holes in it. Yeah we could really do some good throwing it out. Yikes!

  13. Brianne permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Yesterday I didn’t really have an opinion on the tile, today I’m sitting here thinking “that tile really is ugly”.

  14. May 23, 2013

    The nail removal and clean u is one of my least favorite parts. I think it’s be a use you feel like yu are so close to the ‘fun’ part. And because I’m pazy, methinks.

    Really looking forward to seeing this one together.

  15. May 23, 2013

    Yikes, it drives me crazy when people spend good money, tile money, on stuff that just isn’t cute. Obviously they thought it was cute at the time, but they should’ve asked me.

  16. May 23, 2013

    Wow. That was some ugly tile that they actually spent money on. Wonder what they were thinking? Can’t wait to see what y’all do!

  17. Jessica Moroney permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Literally can not wait to see what you do in here! It’s gonna be fabulous…I can feel it!!

  18. Avone permalink
    May 24, 2013

    I’m not sure if you’ve ever scraped/sanded old mortar off the subfloor/tile board/slab before, but it was a really good call just to tear up the backer board. Just trust me.

  19. May 24, 2013

    Who would buy tile of bricks? That’s like floor inception.

  20. Patti permalink
    May 24, 2013

    If that wasn’t cement board underneath, how would you have scraped off the old adhesive? We have a concrete floor (no basement) that we pulled wood tiles off years ago and what’s left underneath is the adhesive they used (this black, tar, mastic stuff, I guess). It just get’s gooey if we try to apply anything to soften it to remove it. Anyway, I’m not sure what to do to smooth it out so we can put ANYTHING down. Any tips? ….Anyone? …..Bueller?

  21. May 24, 2013

    I’m excited to see this room continue! laundry room is on my list too!

  22. meg permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Looks like a lot of work.
    Can’t wait to see the finished product. :)


  23. Amanda permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Do you happen to know the source for the tile? I think I want to put it throughout my house, including ceilings and walls. Ugh. I bet it was on super clearance and that is why they picked it. Imagine that conversation:

    Napoleon: I got 100 sqft of tile for $8.23!! And I lurve it. I installed it while you were away.
    Mrs. N: Wow! That will really help the budget. Can I see it?

    And that was the inspiration for the (formerly) massacre-themed powder room.

  24. Alaina permalink
    May 24, 2013

    I CAN NOT believe that was real tile! My goodness.

    PS – your husband is HOT! Ow ow!

  25. May 24, 2013

    Can’t wait to set what the finished product looks like! Great job guys!
    Oh, and lol @” Ignore the fact that he didn’t have safety goggles on. We couldn’t find them. He is now blind in both eyes.

    oknotreally…but the point is, he should be. you know what I mean”
    Good stuff.

  26. May 24, 2013

    So, in the second picture is he measuring or just pondering one of those “seriously?” moments. We are in the middle of our own home renovation and this is a familiar expression….oh so familiar. Oy….

    • May 28, 2013

      haha…nope…that’s just him pulling off the quarter round. It does look like measuring though, doesn’t it?!
      xo – kb

  27. Becky permalink
    May 24, 2013

    I’m excited to see what you do, as always. Yes, I did take up part of my master closet for my washer and dryer. Actually, we gave up a storage room in our garage so we could expand the closet. I’m glad I did it. Sure wish I had done it when my children were younger. For years we had our washer and dryer in a small closet in the hall. I can’t imagine you ever thought that would be a good idea.

  28. Jenny @ simcoe street permalink
    May 25, 2013

    Can’t wait to see the room shape up!

    Also, unrelated, but I am re-reading some of your earlier posts from she Weston was born. We just had our second (feel free to visit my blog http://www.simcoestreet.blogspot.ca to see a pic of little lilah) and I relate to a lot of what you wrote about. Thank you!

    Back to another nursing session


  29. Jessica permalink
    May 25, 2013

    I’m confused about the tile. Are they just large, single tiles that are stamped or painted to look like multiple tiles, or did they really take all that time to cut tiles to fit inside the large square? Or did they by some demolition miracle lay tile over a floor, then miraculously cut it into perfect squares and pull them back up in whole pieces without any cracks?

    • May 28, 2013

      It’s a tile that is made to look like smaller tiles or bricks or something. It’s just one large tile though.
      xo – kb

  30. May 26, 2013

    On a totally different topic, was there ever a Yay! We Are All Done! kitchen reveal? I have been following along, but wasn’t sure if I missed a wrap-up post. :-)

    • May 27, 2013

      I haven’t yet…it’s coming, just got busy…ya know?!
      xo – kb

      • May 29, 2013

        I totally understand being busy. I’m amazed at all you do get done with two little ones to take care of too! Just glad I didn’t miss the post and will be happy to read it whenever it comes out!

  31. Mary-Beth permalink
    May 27, 2013

    I am excited to see what you’re going to put down in place of tile. Also, here’s a random question: do you think the people who used to live there read your blog? So strange to think about. P.S. I love your blog! :)

    • May 27, 2013

      Probably not. Although I do think that since they are from another country and continent, that their taste probably varied quite a bit from mine just simply because of their difference in heritage. I would imagine that anyway.
      xo – kb

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