Tile Demolition Tools – 6 Removal Machine & Equipment Rental

Here we’ll be discussing tile demolition tools and how you can use them.

Tiles look beautiful when they are artistically laid across your interior and exterior floors. However, a time may come when you’d like to tear them off and replace them with fancier tiles.

The good news is, you can rip your tiles off yourself if you have the time and zeal, saving yourself hundreds of dollars that would have been otherwise spent on hiring a contractor.

DIY tile removal isn’t difficult, but if you don’t have a clue how to begin or what tools to use, then you are reading the right article.

Stay with me!

Using A Sledgehammer

When it comes to domestic smashing, the first tool that will pop up on most people’s minds is a sledgehammer.

This is a hard and powerful tool so it’s normal for homeowners to think in that direction. However, sledgehammers may not be the best tool for breaking tiles.

This may sound strange, being that tiles are brittle and the sledgehammer is hard enough to make quick work of it. But there’s something you need to consider, what if you want to keep the surface under the tiles intact? Don’t you think the force of the sledgehammer will destroy it too?

There you go, see why a sledgehammer may not be the best tool for breaking tiles?

So what are the ideal tools for tile demolition? Keep reading, as I’ll be discussing them below.

The Best Tools for Tile Demolition

Tiles are not as tough as concrete or rock, this is why tearing them apart requires no special skill or training. It also doesn’t require the use of heavy-duty tools, as a set of smaller handheld tools can do the job.

These smaller tools can rip up tiles from both the floor and walls, so don’t fret about getting some extras for the job.

Before we get into the tools, I have to sound a word of caution. You can afford to strike a little bit harder when removing tiles from concrete floors, but you shouldn’t apply the same amount of force when removing tiles from a more subtle surface.

That being said, let us take a look at the tools you will need to remove your tiles, either from the wall or floor.

  1. Pry Bar and Hammer

When you want to do some minor demolition work at home, two of the most helpful tools for you will be a pry bar and hammer.

These tools are not only convenient, but they are powerful enough to get the tiles off the ground or wall in quick time.

The claw end of a pry bar can be fitted into the edges where one tile meets the other (or the wall), then broken off simply by pressing the other end of the pry bar down.

Keep in mind that you will have to exert some force to sink the claws in, as the tiles have been well attached to the subsurface.

A gentle strike at the edge will create the space needed to fit the claw in. You can then push it under the tile then press the tail end down to break it off.

The good thing about using a pry bar is that it also serves as a hammer in some instances. This is because you can use the curved end (just before the claw) to strike the tiles and break them off the ground or wall.

You can then use the flat end of the pry bar to pull them off.

In a case where the tiles are stubborn, then you may need more force to break them apart. And this is where a hammer comes in.

A small 16-ounce hammer is enough for you to smash stubborn tiles, all you have to do is strike them hard enough to break, but subtle enough not to damage the subsurface.

At some point, you will come across pieces of tiles that are still stuck to the ground, but you can grab your pry bar one more time and stick the flat end under to pull them off.

If you are ripping tiles off your wall, both tools can also be used, although you have to employ a more subtle approach. A pry bar is great in this instance, as the flat end can do all the pulling, without the need for excessive smashing (except in the case of stubborn tiles).

  1. A Sledgehammer

Are you surprised a sledgehammer made the list? Well, don’t be. Because even though they are too powerful to be used on tiles, they can also spare you of back pain.

A 16-ounce hammer can indeed forgive you if you strike too hard, but they are small and will require you to bend lower than you would like to when smashing.

This is not the case with a sledgehammer, as they are built with longer handles that can allow you to maintain a more upright position during tile demolition.

One more time, be delicate when striking your tiles with a sledgehammer, as excessive force can damage the subsurface.

The power of the sled will also cause pieces of the tiles to fly up at great speed, and any one of these pieces can hit you in the eye. This is why you need protective gear when doing such work (we’ll discuss protective gear later in this article).

I also have to warn you that sledgehammers are not the best when it comes to removing wall tiles, as you can accidentally damage your walls if you swing too hard.

The good thing about sledgehammers is that you can also use the butt to jab at the tiles and cause them to crack, making the rest of the removal easy.

  1. Rotary Impact Hammer

A rotary hammer is similar to an electric drill in the way that they spin. But in the case of a hammer, the drill is backed up by a striking force, and not a piercing force as in the case of a drill.

Rotary hammers are great when dealing with extremely stubborn floor tiles, however, many would still consider it overkill, being that a sledgehammer can do the same job.

Sledgehammers are cheaper and more common too, but if you like the swag that a rotary hammer offers, then feel free to use it.

  1. Jackhammer

Jackhammers are like the King Kong of domestic hammers, as they deliver a lot more power through any surface they are tearing apart.

What makes a jackhammer so destructive is the rapid back and forth movement of the hammer at the tip of the machine. This will destroy your tiles in no time.

The only problem with using jackhammers is that they work with large air compressors. They are also known for their vigorous vibrations, so you need to be strong enough to get a firm grip on them.

There are smaller jackhammers in the market that work on electricity, and this is the type you should go for when it’s time to tear up your tiles.

As you would expect, jackhammers are expensive, so renting maybe your best option, especially as it is a tool you would probably only need like 3 times in your life.

You can rent a jackhammer from a hardware store in your area.

One more thing, jackhammers are best used for outdoor tile removal, not indoors.

  1. A shovel and wheelbarrow

Tile removal can be a very messy job, as you will find broken tiles, sand, and some concrete debris on the floor after the job is done. Of course, you cannot leave the dirt in your home, which is why you’ll need a shovel and wheelbarrow to dispose of them.

You probably have these tools at home already, so all you need to do is wheel the barrow in and out as many times as necessary to clear the rubble.

  1. Protective gear

Any form of demolition can be hazardous, regardless of whether it is domestic or industrial. This is why you need to protect yourself once you are on the job.

And while protective items aren’t exactly demolition tools, it would be unwise to begin destroying any structure if you don’t have them on.

So what do you need to put on for tile demolition?

First, you will need a pair of eye goggles. I regard them as the most important protective gear for tile removal, and good reasons too.

Tiles are very brittle, and when smashed, the small pieces can be sharp. As your hammer swings down hard on them, the chances of one or more tile pieces flying into your eyes are very high.

Getting hit in the eye by a piece of broken tile can cause severe eye injuries. Even worse, it could lead to blindness!

Other protective gears include gloves, rugged work boots, and a facemask.


You don’t need high-powered tools to destroy your tiles, as simple hand-held tools will do. You also don’t need to hire a professional for the job, since it is simple enough for you to do it by yourself.

I trust this article on tile demolition equipment has been helpful.

Take care!

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