removing 1990's orange kitchen tiles in house

Missy Enberg
August 7, 2016

how costly is it to rid entire downstairs of these tiles? Any possibility of asbestos? Want to replace with hardwood flooring.

Comments (22)

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Terra cotta tiles are a valuable and CLASSIC asset to a home. It would not be an upgrade to remove them in favor of wood. To get a slab smooth enough for wood that has tile on it requires grinding it, and some fill. NOT cheap. Figure $15-$30 a sf for demolition, floor prep, and new quality wood flooring materials with the proper waterproof low VOC adhesive.

  • PRO

    Keep the tiles. They are versatile and classic as Sophie indicated.

  • PRO
    Home Art Tile Kitchen & Bath

    It won't be cheap removing them. While they are a valuable asset to a home, they have some downsides. They are porous and absorb moisture quickly; they are susceptible to acids, alcohols, oils and vinegar - these can leave spots. If you decide to keep them, seal them annually in order to prevent cracking, discoloration and staining. If you, however, decide to remove them, we suggest opting for wood look ceramic tile or wood lookporcelain tile. These are much more practical than a hardwood flooring.

    Missy Enberg thanked Home Art Tile Kitchen & Bath
  • flopsycat1

    Don't know if those are Saltillo or some other type of terra cotta tile. We live in the desert Southwest where Saltillo tile is very common. We have never had any problem with staining or absorption of moisture. We damp mop them routinely and twice a year apply a professional grade product, Johnson's Fortify. They have also stood up well to the claws of two very large and active dogs.

  • chiflipper

    I feel your pain, I would never buy a home with these tiles...just ugly.

  • PRO

    All these homes installing the wood look tiles will look dated in a few years, where as the Saltillo tiles have been something prized for more than a century.

    Missy Enberg thanked BeverlyFLADeziner
  • Bette P

    Have you just purchased this home? If so, leave them be. Wait a year. Settle in and feel out the house. Use area rugs . Start an ideabook of photos, enter Saltillo tile in the Houzz photo searchbar and save photos of decor that appeal to you. I see nothing but luscious goodness in these photos, from traditional to contemporary, suits all styles.

    What style of decor do you like?

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    Missy Enberg thanked Bette P
  • Carolyn Zone9alady

    I love those tiles, which I had them. They are not 1990's...they are classic and have been used for hundreds of years. But to each his own, that will be a lot of work to hammer up. No asbestos should be involved, they are clay.

    Missy Enberg thanked Carolyn Zone9alady
  • susanalanandwrigley
    We used to have terra cotta in our kitchen. Agree it is a classic look but did not fit with rest of home, plus the surface was quite uneven which we didn't like, so we replaced with a simpler tile when we did our kitchen reno.
  • saniam

    Those tiles are good. If you want to update something, it might be worth replacing the light fixture there.

  • km kane
    I love wood floors! Couldn't live with tile. Call some contractors and get prices as these things vary regionally. All you'll get here are opinions!
  • shirlpp

    Kmkane - Well said...3 Likes from me!

  • PRO

    If Santa Fe is your style I would keep them....very limiting.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Santa Fe isn't the only design style to use terra cotta tile. Moroccan. Eclectic Tuscan. Contemporary Texas Farmhouse. French Country. Mexican Beach. Italian Modern. Chinese Cottage.

    Anywhere on the planet where the climate is warm, tile floors will be more popular than wood. For a very good functional reason. Fads come and go. A great floor like that is timeless. Anyone who uses the ''d'' word for them is essentially clueless about history, or lacks creativity for the now.

  • live_wire_oak

    Love the tiles! I wish they weren't so expensive or I would use them more often in projects. Getting this up would be quite the chore. Jackhammering is best done before you move in, as it is incredibly dusty and dirty. You will also need to grind the slab afterwards. That adds another layer of filth. I'd suggest you either tackle the project before you move in, or not at all.

    Just putting down a good quality wood in a well prepared slab runs $10-20 per square foot for medium quality materials. You could go lower end for $7-$10, but that would not really match the quality level of the existing floors. The removal and slab prep will add another $5-$10 per foot, depending on how bad the slab is underneath the tiles.

    Missy Enberg thanked live_wire_oak
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO it depends on where you live and your style i woulld never keep something I dislike because of resale unless I was selling in less than 2 yrs . I don’t actually love those tiles but removing them is a huge undertaking and a bigger mess than you can imagine so I think the poster that suggessted living with them for a while and using area rugs is smart.

  • Missy Enberg

    First photo shows tiles in front entrance. This photo shows kitchen. Can I replace the carpet in bottom photo with wood flooring. It will be adjacent to terra cotta tiles

  • live_wire_oak

    What GREAT 80's contemporary bones the house has! Sure, you can do wood where the carpet is now. But you need an overall design plan for the whole home in order to make appropriate selections. I would suggest choosing a wood with color times similar to the tile, like jatoba.

    Mid also suggest paying for a few hours to a local designer who has a sympathy for 80's contemporaries and can help you create that plan that will help you to make it yours while keeping the bones that make it so great.

    Missy Enberg thanked live_wire_oak
  • PRO
    Premier HD Construction, LLC

    Anything can be done, it is a matter of budget and preference.

    Do you know the square footage of the following: 1. Tiled area to be demoed and prepped. 2. Area where new flooring is to be installed, sanded and stained.

    Do you know if the downstairs is concrete or framed / is there a crawl space beneath the tiled areas?

    What type of hardwood flooring would you like to install? Stain color or natural polyurethane?

    If you can provide these details I can provide you with a quick estimate.

    Missy Enberg thanked Premier HD Construction, LLC
  • PRO
    Premier HD Construction, LLC

    Yes, you can replace the carpet with hardwood flooring.

    If you peel back the carpet where the carpet meets the tile you can measure the thickness of the tile. Hardwood flooring is 3/4" thick. This will help you determine if you'll need a transition piece to hide the height difference of tile and hardwood OR if the hardwood flooring will sit flush with the tile. Little details like this are important to some people / aesthetics.

    Hope this helps!


  • Missy Enberg

    Yes it does help. I'll be back at house Friday. The carpeted area is approx 22x25 that I'd replace with flooring. seems like the sub floor is below tile. So that's good.

  • PRO
    Elizabeth McGreevy

    Keep the tile floor and replace the outdated chandelier. Clay tiles floors are classic.