How To Remove Tile Underlayment? Home Cosmetica

Tile underlayment is such a material that sits between the tile and subfloor or underneath the tile on a floor. It’s usually used to provide a smooth surface so that tile mortar can be bonded with tiles, and the subfloor remains undamaged.

The underlayment ensures better tile adhesion and the longevity of a ceramic tile floor by reinforcing the framing system of the subfloor. It’s also used because the sub-floor cannot provide a water-stable base and support the ceramic tile properly.

How To Remove Tile Underlayment

However, there are many people who need to know how to remove tile underlayment. They’re willing to remove it because they may have cracked the tile when moving any bulky piece of furniture or want a change of their old tiles.

If you’re looking for doing so, you’ll notice that it takes plenty of hours. Now, you definitely need the best possible way to remove tile underlayment. Don’t worry; we’re going to show the entire process in some easy steps.

Related review: Smart Tiles Review And Installation [Read here]

How to Remove Tile Underlayment

Using long wood wedges and a sledgehammer is quite effective in removing even the most stubborn tile underlayment. But, it’s still a lot of work to do before you start. So, let’s take a look at the sequential steps below.

Prepare the Tile Floor for Removal

For preparing the tile floor for removal, you have to remove trim work or baseboards around the room. You should be aware of removing the trim work so that you can reinstall when the floor is tiled again.

Prepare the tile floor for removal
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Besides that, if possible, you have to remove any built-in furniture like cabinets. Then, you need to cover any ventilation system with plastic and the removable tape of the painters to prevent dust from entering into it.

Collect the Necessary Tools

There are plenty of available tools that you can use to do the job, whether they’re power or hand tools. Here we’ve compiled a list of necessary tools that you require when removing tile underlayment.

  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • Scraper
  • Hammer
  • Shop-Vac
  • Painters’ tape
  • Shovel and buckets
  • Tarps and plastic wrap
  • Long-handled floor scraper

Wear Safety Equipment to Protect Yourself

Having the right gear to keep yourself safe is just as important as having the proper tools for the job. When a tile is broken, it can be extremely sharp. So, we recommend you wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.  

When it comes to protecting your hands and eyes, you should wear gloves and safety goggles all the time. Again, having a safety mask is a must because the tiles create a lot of dust that can make your breathing complicated.

Remove the Tiles

If you want to remove all the tiles, you must need a hammer. By using the blunt edge of the hammer, make sure that you break the first tile and then use a chisel against the bottom edge of the tile to lift it.  

Remove the tiles
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Once you’ve removed the first tile, place the chisel to the adjacent tiles in the same way. Then, hit the chisel with the hammer so that the tiles can easily pop up. This way, you can remove the rest of the tiles.

Inspect the Underlayment

Once you’ve removed all the tiles, it’s time to inspect the underlayment. You’ll usually find one between your finished flooring and the subfloor. If you find it in good shape, you can reuse it for the next tile installation.  

The underlayment made of plywood is not going to be the best for your tiles. A half-inch and quarter-inch cement board can be much better than plywood. After inspecting the underlayment, remove floor tile adhesive properly.

Remove Floor Tile Adhesive

Removing floor tile adhesive needs a citrus-based adhesive remover that you find at most home improvement stores. Once you’ve applied the adhesive remover and wait for the recommended time, use a scraper to loosen the material.

If the tile was installed with thin-set or tile mortar, use a hammer and chisel to weaken the larger pieces and keep working until all floor tile adhesive is removed. Finally, open windows and turn the fan on to keep the area well ventilated. 

Remove the Underlayment

Removing the underlayment is essential if you want to install a new floor. It’s because you need a unique underlayment every time. But, we always recommend replacing the old underlayment if possible.

If you find the underlayment torn up or water-damaged, you should remove it and don’t try to use it again. Use your pry bar to remove any screws and continue prying until the entire job is completed.

Clean the Subfloor

It’s time to take old tiles, adhesive and smaller chunks into your buckets and throw them out. If you run a larger project, you can use a dumpster rental to dispose of the trashes. Finally, use a shop-vac to vacuum debris and dust.

Frequently Asked Questions

#What is the easiest way to remove tile flooring?

At first, break by hitting the center of the first tile with a hammer and then use a chisel to lift the rest part of the tile. Apply the same method to all the tiles. Finally, strike the mortal with the hammer to remove from the underlayment.

#How do you remove tile without damaging backer board?

To do this, remove the grout from around a tile. Then, drive a stiff putty knife underneath the tile in a parallel way with the floor to pop the tile of the cement board. In the end, gently hit the end of the knife with the hammer.

#How hard is it to remove tile flooring?

Removing tile flooring can be an easy job if you have the right tools. It may take plenty of hours if you use the wrong pieces of equipment. Check the guide above to make sure of the simple removal of your tile flooring.


You’ve already learned how to remove tile underlayment properly within a short time. Now, it’s up to what you’re going to do next, either you replace your old tile floor or manage a new one. We believe you cannot go wrong.

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