Evan did all of the demolition work, thankfully. I am terrible at demo—I’m not very strong, and I get overheated easily. (Okay, and I hate wearing goggles and face masks.) Once he had a system down (namely chiseling out the grout first, rather than just banging away on the tiles with a sledgehammer like they do on TV), the actual tile removal went more quickly than we thought it would.
The thinset underneath the tile was a different story, though. Evan spent hours upon hours over the course of two days scraping and chiseling and sweating in order to get it all off. Putting cement board over the thinset and tiling on top wasn’t an option, because we can’t put any additional height on the floor. The step/threshold at the front door is a huge hunk of slate, and it would be very sad to have it not line up right with the edge of the tile.
95% complete. You can see the grid lines pressed into the concrete from the original 1880s floor tile (long gone, sadly). This photo doesn’t show it well, but the concrete actually shows the relief of the logo embossed on the backs of the original tiles—American Encaustic Tiling Company. Neat, huh?
Next up . . . THE TILE!