We recently installed a Pergo Outlast laminate floor into a bungalow home. To do so we had to remove the tile which was covering the entire living and dining rooms. Clearly, that would involve a considerable amount of demo. For the 400 square feet we were looking at, it was unthinkable that we would go at the job manually. We need a power tool assist. That assist would come in the form of an accessory I spotted earlier this year at the 2016 World of Concrete. The Makita SDS-Max Floor Scraper was a brand new accessory designed specifically for removing tile, linoleum, and similar materials from floors.
It promised to simply what would have otherwise been a very labor-intensive job. In fact, we wanted to see if the tool would save us more than it’s worth in time and money. More on that later.
To begin the job we enlisted several VERY good friends, and the Makita AVT rotary hammer which would be used with the floor scraper accessory. You cannot remove tile without generating a lot of dust. To keep the mess from getting throughout the entire home we used the ZipWall ZipDoor kit. This is a dust control system we reviewed several years ago, but it remains a valid solution. It’s certainly one of the easiest to use ways to contain dust. ZipWall also has a line of commercial products that are suitable for hallways or quickly walling off entire areas.
Using the Makita SDS-Max Floor Scraper
After clearing the furniture and installing the ZipWalls, we inserted the Makita SDS-Max floor scraper into the rotary hammer. We used a 27-lb Makita SDS-Max HM1214C demo hammer (visit their website for more info) which gave us more than enough power. This demo hammer uses Makita AVT technology to significantly reduce vibration to the user. It works.
The 6″ SDS-Max floor scraper slides easily into the tool. It uses a flexible blade that’s replaceable, and the accessory is meant for tile and linoleum removal. It will also make quick work of any remaining thinset—which really helped after we popped the tile.
The Makita SDS-Max floor scraper quite literally exploded the tile off the floor. It required some effort, and we had to experiment with using the correct approach angle, but it was quick. Four of us passed around the tool, and everyone commented on how quickly it could get the basic tile off the wood floor below. In limited runs, the tool actually became fun to use. If you’re doing this all day…well, I doubt you’ll describe it as fun after the first 30 minutes. A good testimony came from a friend of mine, who is an Army vet. He’s actually fired .50 caliber machine guns and still enjoyed demoing flooring with this tool!
Makita SDS-Max Floor Scraper Features
- Shank: SDS-Max
- Blade width: 6 in. (T-02602 replaceable)
- Tapered head design
- Protective coating to prevent rust and corrosion
- For use with tile removal, adhesive removal and other demo applications
- Composition: High strength steel w/Grade 8 high strength bolts
- Bushings help isolate vibration
Check out all Makita products at Acme Tools!
This tile overlaid a heart-pine wood floor, not a plywood sub-floor. As such, we couldn’t go at it without caring for the flooring beneath. Still, the Makita floor scraper made quick work of it—and without gouging the wood. We not only removed all of the tile in two rooms, we also were able to remove a majority of the thinset. After we finished, the newly cleaned floor had a smooth enough surface to begin laying the Pergo Outlast laminated floor.
There’s no doubt that the Makita SDS-Max floor scraper will save you time. It takes some getting used to, but it’s quick. You’ll want to experiment with angles in order to achieve the fastest rate of removal as well. We found that a more horizontal angle produced the quickest results, but it’s also the least ergonomic for your back. After the tile was off, a more aggressive downward angle produced the best results for thinset removal. It’s hard to stress just how much time this accessory saves. I would no longer do a job like this without it. The floor scraper accessory runs just under $160 and replacement blades are $55 (which includes replacement bolts and bushings).
The only negative is how quickly the nuts will loosen over time as you use it. I would highly recommend grabbing some locking washers and Locktite for the bolts. It will save you some hassle in the long run. Hopefully, Makita will improve the design to allow for aggressive use without having to find aftermarket solutions to hold it all together.