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nails in vintage tile hearth

My husband and I pulled up the old carpet in our 100 year old house only to find the previous owners had carpeted over the ceramic tile hearth. The problem is, they NAILED the carpet strip to the tile.

How can we remove the carpet strip without ruining the tile? Is there some king of saw that can cut the nails off flush at the tile (between the strip and the tile)?

Any sugesstions would be appreciated.

Re: nails in vintage tile hearth

I'm guessing that if they actually nailed into the tile it is damaged. If it doesn't appear to be broken, then maybe they nailed into the grout joint.
If into the grout, I would try to remove the nails carefully while supporting the tile so it doesn't chip. Then patch the grout.
If you cut off the nails flush, a dremel tool with a thin cut-off wheel would be small enough to get fairly flush. Just be carefull using it as they tend to jump if the wheel binds.
Hard to believe someone would carpet over a tile hearth in front of a fireplace. Good luck.

Re: nails in vintage tile hearth

thanks for your reply.
It appears they did nail directly into the tile (they are the small tiles about 1.5"x3" with a very small area of grout in between).I wish they had gone into the grout I already damaged one trying to pry the carpet strip off.

I guess we can try to use a dremel and if that doesn't work, maybe we can replace the tiles we ruin by prying the strip off.

And, yes, we also can't believe anyone would do this to this beautiful tile. We also couldn't believe that they had covered 2 tile fireplaces. Go figure.

A. Spruce
Re: nails in vintage tile hearth

Removing the nails will cause more damage than cutting and grinding them smooth. Sure, you're going to have nail spots that will rust over time, but if you don't want to damage the existing tile or replace it, then cutting the nails will be the better way to go.

Start by removing as much of the tack strip wood as possible. Use side cutters to nibble the majority of the wood tack strip away, then use the dremel with a cut-off wheel to snip the nails close to the floor, then install a sanding drum or grinding wheel to grind what's left of the nail smooth to the floor. I would recommend not trying to grind the first few nails flush until you've gotten the hang of using the dremel in this particular instance. As ed points out, they can get away from you pretty quick.

Re: nails in vintage tile hearth

If you have an angle grinder or a Dremel rotary tool, grind the head off the nails. You should then be able to gently pry the strip up over the nails shanks. Then when you go to cut them off use a thin wide putty knife or even a playing card to rest the cutoff tool on so you don't scare the tile.

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