Worried about removing replacing existing tile over mortar bed

QUESTION

Replacing Existing Tile over Mortar Bed - I have porcelain tile in my kitchen, installed by previous owners. Cabinets, fridge, stove, etc, are on top of the tile. The tile is white, picks up all dirt, food, etc and I want to replace. Contractors I've talked to are worried about how to remove it; if it was laid with a 'wet bed" and whether they can safely and professionally remove the tile and lay somethign else down. I can't lay new flooring on top, because it would be too high. I thought this would be a common problem, but apparently, it's not. do you have any suggestions? I live outside of Philadelphia. Thanks--I could really use a professional opinion.

ANSWER

ANSWER - It sounds odd that the installers are saying they are worried about removing the old tile. If it was installed in a wet-set method where they installed the tile over the freshly installed cement mortar bed then I would expect some of the mortar bed to break loose as the tiles are removed, but there is a chance that some of the tiles will come loose without excessive damage to the mortar bed. The tiles should be removed by chiseling laterally to shear them off the surface of the mortar bed. This should not be a problem if the installers are skilled at installing and removing mortar bed installations. After the tile is removed the mortar bed surface needs to be scarified and then any holes or divots in the mortar bed have to be filled with a proper patch material. There is an Installation Guidelines document you can download from our website by clicking here: Tile Installation Guidelines.

 

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