Removing Ceramic Tile

When we first moved into our house, the kitchen floor was covered in dingy, gray ceramic tiles that weren’t laid very level, and had different-sized/badly-stained (because they were never sealed) grout lines running between them…

So right after we moved in, we quickly covered it up with an inexpensive, dark-colored, laminate flooring we purchased on eBay…

It only cost about $250 to cover the whole room, and it’s been great for the past three years, but now that we’ve finally finished re-doing the original hardwood flooring in the rest of the house, we’re ready to rock the kitchen floor with something that matches it. (PS- Our neighbors re-used the laminate we ripped out in a building they recently built in their backyard.)

At one point, I thought it might be cool to have a brick kitchen floor, but Kev was never 100% sold on the idea aesthetically, and I was never sure about it comfort-wise, so we decided to just go ahead and match the hardwood in the rest of our house. We invited a couple of folks from Carol’s Carpet to come out and take a look at our existing floors to see if they could match it, and sure enough, they found the right stuff (2-1/4″ oak) and they’re coming over to install a kitchen full of it next week! (We’re going to seal it and trim it out ourselves to save some dough.)

Kevin has been dying to get the tile out of there for quite a while now…

…especially since we’ve had to walk over a row of broken-up concrete for, like, the last six months (don’t ask)…

…but he’s just getting over a bad case of pleurisy, so we hired a friend of his (Jason) to come over today and help him chip it all out before the hardwood folks get here next week.

He’s a hard worker, that Jason…

I’m not sure if he knew anything about removing ceramic tile before, but sure is a pro at it now!

Here’s a short video of the two of them talkin’ tile removal:

So, breaking up the edges of the tile with a hammer first seems to be the way to go.

I’ll post pics of the new kitchen floor when we’re done sealing it next week, and in the meantime, I’m going to call around and get some estimates on the next big redo we’d like to save up for and tackle- a wall of windows! Sort of like this…

Here’s a virtual drawing I created in Photoshop a while back to kind of show you what that might look like…

Right now we’ve just got the one teeny-tiny little window in there (above the sink), so we’re anxious to bring in a little more natural light, and take better advantage of the view of the woods behind our house.

Of course we’ll have to move our dishes to the other side of the kitchen when we install windows across that wall, but that’s okay. I’ve got big plans for that side of the room, too…

PS- For more info about our kitchen, visit the OUR HOUSE tab in the menu bar at the top of our blog!


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  1. whislerpotpie says

    I don’t often comment on your blog – but I wanted to let you know I read every post and enjoy it very much. Thanks for terrific inspiration! Have a great week.

    • Layla says

      Why, thank you, Erika! :-D
      I sure do appreciate you stopping by and commenting today…and hope you have a great week too! :-D

  2. says

    How fun to watch you tackle project after project. ANd the wall of windows? Love that! When we were deciding on cabinets vs windows, I went with more storage, but seeing those windows really makes me rethink it. :) 12 years later, I do not know what I would do with all the kitchen “stuff.” More cabinets = more stuff = more clutter. :)

    • Layla says

      Hey Jen!
      Thanks for commenting today- it’s always fun to hear from you! :-)
      Kev and I aren’t really into cooking, so we don’t have that much “cooking stuff”, but that wall across from where we want to put the windows is just dying for a bunch of cabinetry/shelves. I can’t wait to load it up with storage…and who knows, maybe even more cooking stuff- LOL! :-D

  3. says

    Ugh! What a laborious job! I did that to our kitchen floors by hand! It may or may not have taken me 3 straight weeks, and I probably have arthritis now. ha!

    Can’t wait to see your floors!


    • Layla says

      Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you had to do that by hand, Charlie! :-O
      I bet it looks fabulous now though!

  4. says

    Are those Tolix dining chairs I spy in the corner of one of your pics? I just bought some for myself last week! I don’t recall seeing them on your blog before.

  5. Cindy says

    Layla and Kevin: First, I do hope that Kevin is feeling much better. A few years back we ripped out all the original flooring on the first floor and ran h/w floors…love it! I clean the floors with Bona and their mop; the floors still look new. I think h/w in the kitchen is the perfect flooring. Enjoy yours! Cindy

  6. Sharon says

    What a great idea, a wall of windows it will look wonderful. I would love to have that in my kitchen/family room area. I enjoyed seeing how Kevin removed the ceramic tile in the kitchen, that is what mine looks like now and I have been trying to figure out how to do it. Enjoy your site, you have given me lots of ideas.

  7. says

    I can’t wait to see your new floors. We are in the same boat, except we have a much worse looking floor in our kitchen than you do right now…researching vinyl planking-have you ever heard anything about it?

    • Layla says

      Hi Tanya!
      Yes! We’ve used vinyl planks before and they’re great! Just make sure the surface you’re laying them on top of is dry and smooth!

  8. says

    I grew up with brick flooring and loved it! Now I’m living in the house I grew up in for a year (long story nobody cares to hear) and feel completely different about it. I have bad feet (such a lovely thing to say) and so I’m more sensitive to the kind of flooring I live with. I never realized how much brick flooring hurts when you walk around barefoot all day! Wood flooring isn’t much better, but at least it’s smooth. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!!

  9. Lauri McIntosh says

    Hi Layla, I continue to be inspired by you, and you’ve been so great about answering questions. Here’s another one for you…what program do you use to show your ideas like the wall of windows? If I could see things like that beforehand, I could sure save myself alot of time buying and returning to the store! Looking forward to seeing your kitchen floors after you’re done!

  10. chandel says

    You two are just too dang cute and creative for words! I love to see what you guys will do. And i’m glad you guys ‘caved’ with Kit Kat…although i think we could all see that coming (ever since the video of him kneeding in your lap) :)

  11. Tiff says

    Glad to hear Kevin is getting better – pleurisy is a nasty, hurty way to be sick.
    Layla, you are so gifted. I have a kitchen/living area and master bed/walk-thru robe/ensuite area I need to redo and it stumps me every time I begin to think about it! Each time I try to figure something out I think “WWLD?”!! But I need your brain here because it just doesn’t work :(
    Thanks for being so inspirational. Without your ideas I’d be more lost than I already am!

  12. says

    Sooooooooo, I am curious if you are ripping out the concrete backer board as well or do you have something else down there as the backer? I want to rip out our tile floors in the kitchen and dining rooms and when we replace the carpet in the living room, go all out and replace those floors at the same time. It’s open concept and those 3 rooms are really just 1 BIG room, so I think h/w on all of it would be much nicer. HOWEVER, the hubs installed the tile and knows that there is concrete backer board with screws every 2 inches holding it to the underlayment and is not pleased with the thought of ripping it out. Just curious if that fancy little machine takes care of that, too….:) Or how much trouble I’m going to be in if I decide to “surprise” him and do it myself….

    • Layla says

      Hey Jess!

      There’s actually a concrete foundation under the tile we’re ripping out, so the folks at Carol’s Carpet are going to use a glue-down hardwood floor next week. I can’t wait to see it all going down! :-D

  13. says

    Can’t wait to see the floor. I love your blog and have been so inspired by you! The wall of windows will looks so nice when you do them and will also bath the kitchen in light. Lovely.

  14. Bethany says

    Hi Layla! Wow can’t wait to see the finished product! We have ugly tile in our guest bath and wanted to add laminate until we could afford a bathroom redo, was it very hard? How would you add it around the toilet??? Thanks!

    • Layla says

      Hi Bethany!
      You’ll have to remove the toilet if you want it to look all nice and neat! It’s kind of a pain the booty, but it’s worth it in the end!

  15. says

    Yes, you absolutely need to do a wall of windows! Like the kitchen in “It’s Complicated”– tons of natural light! I would soooo do that if I could. Can’t wait to see how the floors turn out; it’s refreshing to know that even savvy and dedicated DIYers like y’all walk across some concrete for a few months mid-project. ;-)

  16. says

    I admit it…I have kitchen envy. I ♥ your kitchen. I would take the bad tile any day compared to what I have been living with for 11 years. Although we are planning our remodel in January. I love hardwood floors. They provide such a feeling of warmth.

    • Layla says

      Aw…thanks Tonya! :-D But trust me when I tell you, you would not have dug the nastiness going on with our tile floor. Truly disgusting….so glad it’s finally gone! :-D

  17. Sue B. says

    Layla! I love, love the window wall! I modified our bldg plans 20 yrs ago to include the same until Hubs vetoed it by reminding me it was to face the drive, side street, and prying eyes! I’m envious of the forested view you will have. I’d give up cabinet space anytime for light and such a view! Continued good luck with the flooring project!

  18. says

    holy guacamole layla what a job!!!! your kevin is one stellar guy {as is his friend! what a gem!} to take on such a project! big job = big payoff though i’m sure. can’t wait to see it!

  19. Kim says

    Love the update! Can’t wait to see all the wood floor wonderfulness! Hope you guys are doing well. Seems like the last few months have been a whirlwind for you both.

  20. says

    Layla, check at Lowe’s in the clearance department. I got all new windows for our house by checking in the back at the builder-return area. I took my measurements and over the course of a month or two accumulated enough windows to re-do ours for about $50 per double-paned double-hung window. And since you can be a little flexible on size, you can probably do the same. Good luck with the window-wall! Love the idea!

  21. says

    I don’t have a handy dandy husband to take out the tile. Actually…I don’t have a hubby at all. BUT I am so anxious to get rid of the tile in my kitchen and am PETRIFIED of doing it myself. But I’ve heard it’s super expensive to have done.

    I’m going to attempt to do my teeny tiny laundry room myself. Maybe if that goes ok, I’ll be doing something similar. Can’t wait to see the new floors!

  22. says

    I am so happy to see an update on the house!! Like the commenter above I have read every post just to get up to date and love your blog so much!! Keep up the good work!

  23. Sandra says

    I can’t wait to see the end result. I know it will be fabuloso, like everything you and Kevin do! :) Keep us posted on the progress.

  24. Tisha says

    I love the windows. I have several in my house and never tire of the natural light. I would recommend plain panes rather than mutton bars. I would prefer an unobstructed view…. just food for thought.

  25. Lari says

    Just picked up both the magazines yall are in this month! Love all your decorating ideas! I’m here in P’ville too but about to move down to Northwest Florida in December. Moving into a 1966 ranch style home that has not been updated since it was built! It is a family home and we are in love with it! Want to take a road trip (only 2 1/2 hrs) and help me decorate? My mother in law has 3 sheds of antiques that I am going to raid :)

  26. says

    so amazed by the transformation already! you guys are such an inspiration. i’m so happy to have found your awesome blog!

  27. says

    I LOVE the inspiration kitchen!!! HOLY COW!! What a lot of work you guys have signed up for, but it’s going to be amazing…like everything else you guys do!! Best of luck, can’t wait to see!!

  28. Mardi says

    We’re going to be doing something similar soon, so thanks for the great post. Oh & hope Kevin feels better. I’ve just had a 9 pound baby drug free & I still say pleurisy was more painful!

  29. Bethanie says

    Hi Layla,
    First of all, I picked up my BHG’s Christmas Ideas magazine this weekend…Love it. So cool to see you guys in there!! Love the idea of all the windows in your kitchen…if you have lots of cabinet space on the other side, I’d go for it in a heart beat! You’re a talented pair!! Hope Kevin feels better, I had pleurisy (sp?) a few years ago, I thought I was dying!! :0)

  30. Gaela says

    Praying that Kevin feels better soon. My husband had pleurisy back in January and it was awful. We’ll be praying for y’all! :)

  31. Bernie says

    I love your vision! About the only thing we left to professionals was tile removal. The tile was not the problem, (easy) scraping the thinset off the floor/base was labor intensive AND dusty!

  32. Liz VanKirk says

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw the photo – the older photo of the kitchen with all the windows! I have that same photo & used it to do the same thing in our kitchen. We now have 5 windows across the back of the kitchen with our range & sink below them. Love them!!! It was the best decision we ever made in our kitchen.
    Liz (from Michigan)

  33. says

    Love love love the wall of windows! This house we are renting could use a lot more windows…and some lighter wall colors!
    Anywho cant wait to see what you guys do!
    Ps I was wanting to order that galvanized cake stand for my son’s bday party…is it big enough for a round cake?? I notice you just have some decor on it?


  34. says

    I may have to stop reading your blog. I’m constantly drooling onto my computer keyboard! Haha!

    I love your kitchen the way it is now….and of course with the hardwood flooring it’ll be even nicer. But I too think that wall of windows will be extraordinary!

    We put an offer on a home that really had “everything” to be done for the kitchen. We didn’t get the home, but that didn’t stop me from “planning” out a virtual kitchen design in my head :-) The fun part was, there wouldn’t have been any demo…just start from square one, since there were no cabinets/cupboards at all…just a few free standing shelves! Alas…the house got a different buyer..But maybe someday….{dream..sigh}

  35. Linda B says

    Love the hardwood flooring, it will look sooo nice.
    The wall of windows is also a dream of mine and has been for two houses. I would love to see you do that.
    I also have the magazines you are in, and the spreads are amazing. You are quite an inspiration!

  36. Stephanie says

    I absolutely love the wall of windows. I have 2 windows over my sink & am thankful for those but the more windows the better, in my opinion!!

  37. Barbara says

    I love the black diamond pattern on the floor! It’s so bold! I think I’d be scared to do it, but it seems that nothing scares you two and it always works out beautifully. I love reading your blog and really enjoy your tips. Good luck with the kitchen redo. Can’t wait to see it!

  38. says

    That kitchen is going to be gorgeous! We are both doing kitchen renovations right now. :)
    I want to do larger windows above my sink, but we can’t because of where the windows are located on the front of the house. Poo-ey!
    I’ll live vicariously through you.
    Love ya!

  39. Liz VanKirk says

    By the way – when we did put our wall of windows in we did casement with grids (love the look) inside the glass. We had the windows open different ways so we could choose which one to open when just the ride breeze was coming in. We also just had the builder put the windows in and finish the outside part. He did it in 1 day. My husband did the electrical & wired 2 sconces (upside down nickel bathroom ones from H.D.) in between the windows (2nd & 4th). I painted everything and we really get lots of compliments from the AMOUNT of light it brings into our kitchen.

  40. says

    Wow! Kevin and Jason deserve a cold brew and steak dinner after that job! We have the original hard wood floors in our kitchen but it was pretty beat up after all those years and we stained it as a temporary fix. Not sure if we are going to refinish or replace with something else. I loved the wall of windows the first time you shared it. Always look forward to TLC progress reports! {You always make the honor roll!}
    Your Friend,

  41. says

    I love your house and your kitchen is going to be so amazing with the new floors and a wall of windows! Excited to see it all happen :) xo K

  42. says

    Oh WOW. That will be absolutely incredible. It makes your home feel even MORE happy! Can’t wait to see the new wood too. Yay!!

  43. Kar in Colorado says

    It’s going to look so beautiful when the hardwood flows through the whole space! My hubby and I spent the summer ripping out builder-grade carpet/vinyl/tile and laying hardwood in our entire main floor. There was a 5’x5′ area of tile inside the front door that hubby knocked out by hand with a hammer and a ‘sonofab!tch’ (what we call a pry bar). It didn’t take too long….but the hammer did slip out of his hand once and he quite literally threw the hammer at the wall. Ouch. Now we get to patch the drywall. There’s always somethin’ with DIY, right?!?! :-) Loooove your blog – soooo inspiring!

  44. says

    So, will you re-use the cabinets and hang them on the other side of the room. If memory serves, you just have a lower cabinet and counter over there? Don’t be a tease : ) Tell us your plans for the other side, pleeeeease.

    • Layla says

      I’m a Photoshopper, not a teaser. :-)
      I’ll whip up a fresh batch of “what-I’m-thinkin'” drawings, soon!

  45. sarita says

    i hope that kevin’s all better now – no fun having pleurisy..and i think (for what it’s worth!) that the windows will look terrif and bring in tons of light! i really enjoy your blog – and all of the things that you post..especially your videos…
    thanks for sharing

  46. Sherry Ann says

    Augh ! Busting out tile is a BIG, MESSY job ! We did it 5 years ago in our total house makeover and our back are still aching & I think I am still cleaning up dust from that very same project ! Fine, awful dust that would never go away. So worth every ache, pain and dust particle. Have fun, can’t wait to see pictures of the new floor. Are you going to paint the black harlequins on it like your virtual picture? Love that idea.

  47. says

    Hi Layla,

    Thanks for mentioning “sealing the grout”….something they don’t seem to do here in Israel.

    Now a favor, could you point the camera from the kitchen to the livingroom so we can get a glimpse? :)



  48. Stephanie says

    UGH! We are in the middle of a kitchen floor project right now, too. We ran into awful 100 year old pine floors that I thought we could salvage and have decided to paint it all white. My huge three story house is FULL of dust. So stressful…..

  49. Lisa D. says

    So glad to see this as I am getting ready to take out the tile in my bathroom. I do love some demolition!!!

    I would love to know where you got the baskets that are hanging on the wall to the left of your cabinets in your kitchen! I love them!

  50. Jennifer Stanley says

    I have been wanting to remove our tile floor forEVER now and my husband has resisted because of all the mess (ie dust, dirt, debris) it makes. So, tell the truth….is it really, really bad, like unbearable? We have three kids under 7 and I really want to tackle this project but don’t even know where to start. Thanks for posting this. I will be watching. :)

  51. says

    Hi Layla

    Found your blog while I was searching for glass apothecary jars! Glad I stumbled upon it ~ it’s full of lovely decorating ideas and useful information. Will be visiting again!

    Best wishes from Montreal, Canada

    ~ Marie

  52. Lise Landry says

    When I saw your home for the first time featured for the decor you had for Christmas, I absolutely fell in love. I could see how you have a connection with your home and there is a calming simplicity to it but all while being completely thought out. I have decorated every home I have lived in like this. I get the feel of it, then I can decorate acoording to the house’s personality. Like you, I like the warmth and all the little details that come with it. Great job Layla!!

  53. Monica says

    I love it…I have almost the same exact tile and wood floor…and 5 kids. Debating weather to continue the wood floor or put in tile again. Kitchen is always a mess with all these kids:) Any suggestions? I also love the color of your cabinets. did you do that too?

  54. holly says

    Can you please source your inspiration picture with the diamond pattern on the floor? I HAVE to see more of that space!!

  55. Kristen L. says

    Do you know what the name of the tile demo machine you used is called? Is it something that can be rented? We just bought a home with tile flooring and can’t wait to tear it out! Thanks!!

  56. Kat says

    Layla, I love your style. Would you mind telling me the color gray that you used on the bottom cabinets? It looks great!

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