Our Guide to Removing and Replacing Tile Floors with Hardwood

Replacing an old tile floor with wood flooring is doable but not always easy. Learn what’s involved in the process with our guide.

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Photo: Adam Albright

Flooring is an important consideration when looking at new homes or planning a remodel of your existing space. Tile is a popular choice, but it's not for everyone. If you're looking at replacing tile floor with hardwood, you're in the right place. We're here to answer basic questions about tile replacement, how to remove tile floors, and how to install hardware flooring.


What's Involved in Replacing Tile Floors?

The first step is to remove the tile floor. This part of the job can be easy or difficult depending on how the tile was installed, but often homeowners can do the demolition work themselves. Start by determining whether the tile was set into mortar or glued down to the subfloor.

To determine if the tile is set in mortar or glued down, pull up the grate from a floor register and look around the rim below the floor level. If there is no floor register, you might have to pull up the threshold of an exterior door to see what's under the tile.

cut tile

What if the Tile is Glued Down?

If the tile is simply glued down with an adhesive, you might be able to use a crowbar and hammer. Once you get a tile started, the rest come up easily.

thinset on tile back

What if the Tile is Set in Mortar?

The job will be much more complicated if the tile is set in mortar. Sometimes the mortar can be up to 4 inches thick. Power tools such as a rotary hammer will be required to chip out the tile and mortar if that's the case. Visit a home improvement center to rent tools and get tips on using them.

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How Much Does it Cost to Install Wood Flooring?

A local flooring company can provide a price quote for installing solid-wood floors (and removing the tile if you wish). It generally costs $5-$15 per square foot to have hardwood flooring installed and finished professionally. This depends on labor costs, where you live, and the type of wood you choose. (You can save money if you finish the floor yourself.) You can also install prefinished hardwood flooring. The price may be higher, but the job will get done quicker and with less mess.

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