Uncovering a Hex Tile Floor Before + After

Remember that weekend when Dan went out of town and I decided to have some fun in our upstairs bathroom and rip up the floor? And I found original white hex tile underneath?! Sounds like a good surprise makeover right? What I intended to be a little “hang something on the wall” and “paint the vanity” turned into a full blown renovation of sorts. I wanted to give you another update on uncovering my original hex tile floor and what it looks like today.

Here is the floor we originally had {on the left}. Although I have no idea why anyone would put a brown and yellow floor in a bathroom. Maybe for obvious stain cover up but that’s just gross. So was the floor. And on the right is how far I’ve come after peeling off the vinyl, and scraping off the paper backing off that vinyl for hours and hours on end over the course of about a year.

Did I mention it took hours? More on that in a minute.

Hex Tile Floor

This project started with only a tiny corner of the old vinyl peeled up and with me jumping up and down over what I’d found. I decided to see how much of it I could get off in a day. Of course nothing is ever as easy as “just peeling up the floor” Although I wished it could have been. That’s for sure!

On the left was my first glimpse of that amazing tile and on the right was about how much came up with that first pull on the pliers. It was then I figured there was hope to rescue that floor.

Hex Tile Floor

Then I proceeded to pull and rip and pull and cut. It took me about 3 hours. I will do a full how to remove vinyl from tile floor post some time, but just to fill you in quickly, I basically pulled off the vinyl with any tool I had that gripped it, soaked the paper backing that underneath {that was stuck to the floor with the adhesive it was put on with}, and scraped that paper off on my hands and knees with a razor blade.

There really isn’t any other way folks. Trust me I googled. And I You Tubed. And nothing. I decided I had to go my own way at this.

By the middle of that first day I had this. Mind you that day was the same one my hubs was to return home also. So this project was on fast track!

This is the paper backing of the vinyl floor, which stuck to the tile with the adhesive it was put on with. D*mn adhesive. I cursed it I tell you. You can see by my assortment of tools I was trying anything. A pry bar, tin snips, spackle blade. I ended up using a razor blade scraper and lots of water. Acetone worked well to dissolve the adhesive but you can’t leave it on the tile or it will eat away at the baked on finish and I was not about to further damage these tiles after spending so much sweat uncovering them!

You can see on the right the parts of the paper backing that are wet. That’s to make the scraping easier. It comes off better when its wet.

Hex Tile Floor

After hours of scraping over the course of several months, I had this. During on the left, and today on the right. Pretty much anytime I’d wash the floor, I’d don the knee pads, fill a bucket with cleaner, and scrape away.

Hex Tile Floor

It was so exciting. THIS exciting! Late night selfie. Note the ear plugs and my nice black and white sports bra. Wait, don’t look there! Ear plugs are for the scraping noise. It was about 85 degrees and humid, blah.

Hex Tile Floor

The good news about the floor is that most of the adhesive and paper is now off of it, about 98%. The not so good news is that we uncovered damage, which I’m sure is why it was covered in the first place. Three corner spots are filled with self leveling concrete and have had the tile totally removed, so we’ll have to chip that out and replace the tile. And there is a large crack across the middle of the floor. Most of it we can cover with a rug, but it’s still there and we’d have to replace that too.

Hex Tile Floor

But over all this floor is as clean as it’s ever been in about 30 years and I’m absolutely loving the tile. I think I have found a replacement too, which is huge. 100+ year old tile is not easy to find, believe me I’ve looked. But there’s hope and just as soon as we finish the bathroom downstairs, we’ll be up here replacing that hex. Can’t wait!


  1. Yay!! for amazing discoveries and love lovely hex tile!! The tile is in amazing shape!! We decided to go with white hex tile & grey grout for our master bathroom ~ best decision ever ~ Crossing my fingers are stays as amazing as yours has over the years

  2. I am in love with that floor! So glad you found a match for those corners! And super cute selfie!

  3. OMG it’s like hitting the tile jackpot (minus all that scraping!) it’s awesome even with its flaws!

  4. Sophie Palmer says:

    What a brilliant result – well done on the time and effort especially the patience. This is a gorgeous patterned tile, simple yet effective which is sometimes the best!

  5. this is so funny…we just peeled up ugly green vinyl that looks like the sister of your yellow…and found the exact same tile! right down to a big crack down the middle.

    so, i’d love to know where you found replacement hex tile that’s 100 years old as my house is nearly that old too.


  1. […] cover it up and clean things up. We didn’t know what we’d find if we tried to replace that original tile, and this saved us a lot of money too. The floor was less than $3 a square foot, which is very […]

  2. […] did this while I was ripping up the old linoleum floor, these after photos are from when I finished that project. We subsequently covered that amazing hex tile with sheet vinyl. It wasn’t an easy decision, […]

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