How do I Remove Tile Concrete Mesh Floor?

By Sal Marco ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Cold chisel
  • Hammer
  • Coal shovel
  • Wire brush
  • Grinder
  • Heat gun
  • Sledgehammer
  • Chipping hammer

Installing tile over a concrete mesh floor provides a durable, solid surface for the tile that prevents tiles and grout from shifting and cracking. Installing a tile-over-mesh floor consists of layering concrete onto a cement board or plywood sub-floor, laying wire mesh and then setting tiles in a bed of mortar or thin-set adhesive. Once the tile sets in a mortar bed, it becomes one with the concrete, which makes removal of both the concrete and the tile necessary. If the tile is set with thin-set adhesive, removing the concrete is optional as long as it is in good repair. This is a messy project, but is a job a do-it-yourself type homeowner will accomplish with success.

Tiles Set in Thin-set Adhesive

Don safety goggles, dust mask and gloves.

Place a cold chisel over the center of any tile on the floor. Hit the cold chisel with a heavy weight hammer to break the tile. Break out four to six tiles in this manner.

Place a heavyweight coal shovel at the edge of the broken tile, and forcefully push the shovel to lift and remove the surrounding tiles and wire mesh.

Scrape thin-set adhesive off the concrete with a wire brush or grinder, or use a heat gun to heat the adhesive and then scrape it off.

Hit the concrete forcefully with a sledgehammer to break it up and remove it. Continue until all concrete is gone.

Tiles Set In a Mortar Bed

Wear safety goggles, dust mask and gloves.

Chip away at the tile and concrete with an electric or gas-powered chipping hammer, which is a small version of a jackhammer.

Remove debris from the floor as tile and concrete becomes loose and movable.

Continue to chip the floor away until you expose the sub-floor.


If the bed is unknown, chip away at the tile to expose the materials underneath. If the material is a dark brown or black and very thin, it is adhesive. If the material is gray and 1/2-inch thick or greater, it is a mortar bed.


Do not hit the tile floor with a sledgehammer because sharp shards of tile become projectiles and will cause injury. Always remove the tile first.

About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.