How to Remove Self Adhesive Tiles

Written by sue-lynn carty
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How to Remove Self Adhesive Tiles
Remove self-stick tiles that look dingy. (wet tiles image by Stephen Orsillo from

Removing self-adhesive tiles themselves isn't all that difficult. The only difficulty comes when some of a tile's adhesive backing remains stuck to the floor. If you plan to install new flooring after removing the self-adhesive tile, make sure you have a clean working surface. Dirt and debris get stuck in the adhesive of the previous floor. If you install a new floor without first removing this adhesive, you'll likely be less than pleased with the results.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Floor scraper
  • Metal putty knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Adhesive remover

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  1. 1

    Scrape up large pieces of tile. Slide the floor scraper underneath the first piece of tile you're going to remove. Forcefully shove the scraper underneath the tile until it comes up.

  2. 2

    Continue scraping large pieces of tile, working your way around the room.

  3. 3

    Remove small pieces of tile. Some pieces of the tile break apart during the removal process and remain stuck to the floor. To remove these smaller pieces, slide a metal putty knife underneath the tile and scrape it off.

  4. 4

    Put on rubber gloves. Chemical-based adhesive removers are caustic and can burn the skin.

  5. 5

    Apply adhesive remover. Pour the adhesive remover on the floor, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  6. 6

    Remove remaining adhesive. The adhesive remover breaks the bond between the adhesive and the subflooring. Once this happens, use the floor scraper to clean up any remaining adhesive.

Tips and warnings

  • Work in smaller sections. Working in 3 foot by 5 foot sections at a time keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by the project. It also makes sure you're thoroughly removing all of the pieces of tile and adhesive.
  • Check to see if you need a neutraliser. Some chemical-based adhesive removers require a neutralising agent, such as white spirit, after using. Check the product's label to see if you need a neutralising agent.
  • Don't let adhesive remover sit on wooden subflooring for too long. Allow the remover to sit only as long as the manufacturer recommends. If you let it sit any longer, it damages the subflooring.

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