Tilemageddon: The Removal

February 20, 2014

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

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Monday we were able to get all the carpet torn out of the main floor and the tack strips up and last night tile demo started. When I say “we” unfortunately I am excluded from all the fun while trying to keep this baby of ours in and Greta downstairs. But I did peek up a few times to snap photos and cheer Chris and his two buddies on last night as they demo’d the tile. We were expecting the worst when it came to the time-table (as in no less than several hours over a couple nights), but they got all the tile up in the great room in an hour. We were thrilled with how swiftly the job went!

photo 1

There is still tile to be removed in the laundry room and the hall bath, as well as under the kitchen appliances, but we’re celebrating this big chunk of a victory.

photo 2

We bought a handful of tools (hammer, ceramic floor scraper, pry bar) to tear up the tile, but the one that was passed around amongst all three guys was this 42″ wrecking bar we found at Home Depot. Chris used it like you would a shovel. Sliding the pointed end under the tile and then push down a little bit. Repeat in neighboring sections. And then the tile would pry up in larger sheets. They were convinced that if all three men had a wrecking bar they could have cleared the area in 20 minutes.


I’ll try to catch the process on video tomorrow night for anyone else faced with a sea of tile. There is a ton of debris and mortar to clean up and we ran into another issue with the subfloor that we’re going to have to deal with. But if there’s one lesson we learned from the whole tearing-up-the-tile task that we were dreading since we started planning this project 6 months ago, it is to just hunker down and do it. Don’t try to find a way that’s physically “easy” – just muscle your way through it. We wished we didn’t fear the project as much as we did and just got to it. Paul Coelho puts it perfectly in his book, The Alchemist, “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” We are living in chaos, yes. This project is huge and the timing is terrible. But, we’re doing just fine tackling one part at a time and celebrating each accomplishment. Carpet free? Check. Tile gone? …almost

P.S. Prints of last week’s paint, Sprung, are now available in the Etsy shop and today is the last day to take 15% off ANY print using the code XOXO15.

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What do you think?

  1. […] did an insane amount of work this year. Big projects, like tearing up all of our flooring. Adding a fence! But, I thought it would be best (and the most approachable) to just to highlight […]

  2. Erin says:

    While hard work, I’m hoping you are able to find some joy in busting it up. Might be a great stress outlet!

  3. Michelle says:

    I so feel for you guys. We just did a tile demo last May and removed all 1800+ sq. feet of tile on our first floor which for some reason included 5 different styles/colors of tile. It was hideous and a tough job! But now that we are on the other side and have enjoyed our new floor (bamboo) for a few months, it was well worth it. I can’t wait to see your results! :)

  4. Woohoo! Your floors are going to be awesome when you guys are done!

  5. Alison says:

    Ah, I love it! Demolition is probably my favorite thing in the world. Can’t wait to follow with you on this journey-we just finished tiling our kitchen (only about 270 sq feet) and although it was a complete pain, it was SO worth it! Your space is going to be awesome! (Get really good knee pads!! haha)

  6. Chantel says:

    Wow, great job!! I’m saving all of these helpful posts for the day that we move out of our city condo and buy a house and may need to do any of these things :)
    I thought of you this morning: do you ever look at One Kings Lane? They have a very similar rug to the beautiful purple one you have for the nursery and I know you mentioned possibly having a blue one in the living room…? Just wanted to point it out!
    Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  7. You’ve made great progress!! It’s going to look amazing!!

  8. The floor looks all ready for its new look! How are you guys disposing of all your demo’d materials? Did you get a dumpster or a Bagster?

    • Julia says:

      We don’t have a Bagster pickup anywhere near us, which is such a bummer because that would have been ideal. We did get a truck a few months ago, which has been great for hauling debris to our local transfer station to be sorted.

  9. Amaze… can’t wait to watch the putting-it-all-back-together part! It’s going to look fab! :)

    • Julia says:

      We were talking about that as we fell asleep last night. It definitely feels like we have taken major steps back, but we’re headed in the right direction and can’t wait to be on the other end of things.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    Well this post answered my question from the other day! This renovation you’re doing is so fun to follow, thanks for sharing.

    In a similar vein to your post about painting the ceiling, do you think now would be the time to paint the cabinets too (if you’re planning on doing that as an interim step to replacing them eventually)? Or is that just tackling too much at once when there’s no real benefit to doing that in conjunction with replacing a floor? Would you have done that prior to removing the floor if you were planning on doing that?

    I tend to snowball things and then get more overwhelmed or procrastinate even more – would appreciate your insight on the balance of diving right in vs. taking on too much.

    • Julia says:

      Haha! I totally know what you mean! Everything seems like it is snowballing right now. As for the cabinets, I thought about painting them, but I am glad we held off. All that tile debris could have damaged a paint job so we’ll wait until we get the new floors in. BUT! I will say, last night we decided to demo ONE MORE THING before laying down the floors and I am hesitant, because–there’s already so much mess–but now is the time to do it. Am I being obscure enough? Haha. Details to come Monday!

      • Jackie Noto says:

        Haha thanks for the reply! I guess some portion of a wall… ;) good luck with the plans!


  11. Jessica says:

    I just found my way here from YHL, and this post could not have been more perfect! Our ENTIRE (albeit tiny) house is tiled. It’s very South Florida, except we live in South Carolina… whomp whomp. Anyhow, we have been dreaming about/dreading the tile demo and new floor installation for a couple of years now. All of your concerns: the mess, the chaos, the subfloor…I share! Looking forward to reading more!

  12. Kelly G. says:

    I’m definitely going to need a source list on that shirt. Kthanksbye.

  13. The wolf shirt!!!!!

    So relieved everything went smoothly and relatively quickly. Proud of you guys!!

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