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The Guide to Removing Tile or Wood Flooring and Internal Walls

15 Jun 2014 14:10:31 | Posted in Advice & Tips By Hank Evans |

Do you hate that ugly wall or flooring in your living room, kitchen, or bathroom? Don’t you also wish there was a good way to get your anger out after a hard day’s work or during the weekend? If you’re ready to start renovating your home, you've come to the right place. We decided to take an in-depth look at some popular projects that homeowners undertake every year to help you safely and effectively tear apart those undesirable areas of your home.

Removing Floor Tiles

removing floor tiles

First, we’ll start with a project to get your hands dirty and get you on your way to the floor or wall of your dreams. There are some who may wish to keep the tiles. Unfortunately, if a tile has been fitted properly, there’s not a great chance that it will survive the removal process. If you'd like to try it, use a very thin chisel and hammer it gently along the length of the tile to separate it from the adhesive. Don’t try to leverage it or it most certainly will snap.

To remove tiles quickly, use a hammer and chisel and chop from the side of the tile. Alternatively, you can use an SDS drill with a wide chisel bit for even easier tile removal. No matter what you do, remember to wear gloves and goggles.

After cleaning the floor with a Hoover or a good sweeping, use a torch to check for bumps that may have been left behind. If the floor is left uneven, use a self-leveling compound to smooth out any gouges that might remain.

Removing Wood Flooring

removing wood floor

One of the best parts about ripping up wood flooring is that you can reuse it for a variety of other purposes. Use a circular saw blade and set the depth for the thickness of the saw blade plus 3mm and cut into the floor about 300mm away from the wall and toward the tongue's face.

Use a crowbar to lift the boards up by pulling the groove side away from the tongues. Pull the tongue side back toward you until the nails are around 10mm away from the sub-floor and cut them with a reciprocating saw and metal-cutting blade until they can be removed. Continue removing the boards between the cut lines and near wall in the same way.

Continue prying up boards one nail at a time. Once they’re taken out, knock out the nails with a hammer or pry them out with pliers. Find a dry location to keep the boards until you find a use for them.

Removing an Internal Wall

removing a wall

Before beginning such a laborious project, you’ll need to inspect your home to make sure it’s within your capabilities. Let’s start by checking for weight-bearing walls. If it’s hollow, like plasterboard, it’s usually okay to knock down. If it’s not hollow, like stone or brick, you should go upstairs, and check if the wall that sits on top of the one you want to remove is solid. If so, it’s guaranteed to be a supporting wall. If not, you need to check the direction of the joists to see if they rest on the wall in question.

Under the carpet you should have either floorboards or chipboard panel flooring. In the case of floorboards, they’ll run in the opposite direction to the joists, so if they run toward the wall in question, the joists don’t rest on it which reduces the chances of it being a supporting wall. However, if the flooring is paneling, you’ll need to lift up a panel to accurately check. Avoid knocking down any weight-bearing walls or you could end up with a disaster on your hands without proper preparation. Removal of solid walls requires Acrows, a rolled steel joist, and the presence of a structural engineer. In fact, if you have any doubts, consult with an expert before proceeding. 

Also remember to check for cables, wires, pipes, or any other obstacle that might be in your way on both sides of the wall you plan to knock down. If you’re in a newer house, the wires leading to\from an electrical outlet should be conveniently covered by a sleeve that runs vertically up or down the wall. If your house is older, you’ll need to loosen the socket and check the direction of the wire yourself. If you’re really unsure, you can buy a device that functions as a wire and pipe detector that will help you not make a mess of things. Mark any areas to be avoided on the wall using a pencil to prevent mistakes.

Now that you've thoroughly inspected the wall and determined that this project is something you can actually do, you’ll need to get build regulations approval before proceeding.

Getting Down to Business

First and foremost, you need to shut off the power to the area where you’ll be demolishing the wall. Mark the sections to be removed with a pencil and a straightedge. Remember to remove the architrave from the doorways or other areas prior to beginning and score the plasterboard with a utility knife along the previously drawn lines. 

Lay down a plastic tarp and knock through the plasterboard with a hammer and peel it away from the studs. Use a reciprocating saw and a pry bar (if it gives you some trouble) to remove the top and bottom of the wall frame in addition to the studs.

Final Touches

patching a wall

Sometimes you’ll accidentally remove a little too much plasterboard. If you did, don’t worry about it. Simply use new pieces of plasterboard to touch up the corners and edges and install new trim around the top and sides of your new opening. For any other flaws in the wall, hit them with a hammer to create a slight indention. Once you’ve done that, use a plasterboard patching compound to fill the area and smooth it as best you can. After it’s dry, you can sand smooth it to perfection and paint or finish the walls as you see fit.

Precautions

In many cases you’ll need to get approval before starting work, wall removal, electrical and gas work especially require this. Speak with your local authority to see if you need building regulations approval or planning permission. Know your limitations and don’t take on a task that you don’t feel comfortable with. Speak with an architect or structural engineer before making any drastic changes to the structure to avoid a catastrophe.

If your house was built before 1970s, be aware that asbestos could have been used in pipe lagging, cladding, and some types of flooring. Don’t try to remove it without seeking proper advice from a professional. In pre-1960s homes, you should also be careful when sanding and heating any painted areas, as they could very well be lead based. Instead, you should use a paint stripper while using the appropriate protection.

It’s always recommended that you consult with a professional regarding new building materials. For instance, if you plan to lay tile flooring, you could consult with an expert to make sure you get the proper slip resistance and material, though they can also help you with styling and colour matching. Trade Price Tiles offers expert feedback and guidance if you purchase our tiles. Visit our contact page to find a convenient way to reach us at any time.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to perform maintenance on any gas installations or certain electrical units. Strict rules govern this kind of work.

Safety Equipment

Make it a point to buy proper footwear and always wear goggles. They may not be the most fashionable things to wear, but you’ll appreciate it when stray pieces of tile and wood are flying across your face. 

You should always familiarize yourself with tools before you use them. Watch a tutorial video online or ask the company you hire or buy the tools from. On the same note, use the tools the way they were meant to be used. Remove hazards from the area as they become apparent. This means remove excess plaster and plasterboard as they fall or tiles from the floor to eliminate the chances of tripping and injuring yourself.

To reiterate what was mentioned above during the wall removal, know where the isolation valves are for electric, water, and gas. Use them as necessary and don’t take chances.

Remember, you should never hesitate to call in a professional or at least ask for their advice.

 

Which renovation are you planning in your home? Tell us in the comments!

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