How To Remove Cement Board (4 Easy Steps)

The trouble with this job is that when you put down your backer cement board on the floor you mostly use a mortar or an adhesive to bond the board to the plywood subfloor. You can also find them nailed down to the subfloor which is easier to take off. In both cases, you can use a hammer drill to get in between there and get those boards off.

Take your pry bar and hammer it inside. Just go up a little bit and take a shovel and shove it underneath the board and pull it upwards. Don’t let the board crack and just work your way in. this way you’ll be able to get larger chunks at a time. Use the pry bar as a wedge and lift the board apart. 

There are other more effective professional ways to do the same thing with much more efficiency and take less time and effort, which you also can learn about if you just read through the whole thing down below. 

How To Remove Cement Board

Different contractors use different methods How To Remove Cement Boards from the walls or the floor and the method that we are going to discuss here is easy to apply and very cheap as well. Usually, contractors use galvanized roofing nails to the cement boards so they don’t move. So it becomes easier to remove those nails. But if there are screws on the boards the job gets much harder. This hack will work perfectly in both cases. 

How To Remove Cement Board

Step 1

Take a hammer and a regular pry bar. Bang the pry bar in, so it gets behind the nail and you can pop the nail out. It’s that simple! You should be able to see most of the nails on the surface, scattered around the board, and might be driven flushed.  

Step 2

Use the end of the pry bar back behind the nail and it does not matter if you damage the cement board in the process. So place the top or the edge of the pry just above the top of the nail and then hit it to drive this into the cement board. When you are back behind it pry the nail out all the way. 

Step 3

This way go around the board, find all the other nails, and pop them out. Then at some point, the board’s going to get loose and you will be able to pull it right off the wall or floor. Be careful they are heavy so you don’t let it drop on something that’s finished below. 

Just keep in mind that there’s a lot of grit involved and you want to protect everything below where you’re working including your feet. But if you have access to the back of the wall you can use another trick to take off the cement boards. 

Step 4

Go to the other side of the wall where the drywall is already gone. Make sure there are no tiles attached to the boards as it will get much heavier and difficult to work with, much more dangerous when it falls. Just use a scrap of 2×4 and a hammer. Put it against the cement board and hit it. It’ll blow it off of the wall. 

How To Remove Thin-set From Cement Board 

There are a few different ways and methods you can use to remove thin-set from cement boards. Here we are going to explain three of the easiest ways to complete this job. But before we begin you need to know some safety precautions as well. 

Safety Guideline

There are some things that you’ll need when you’re removing the thin sets like:

  • Knee pads
  • N95 or P95 mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Heavy-duty gloves 
  • Ear plugs

Make sure to have proper ventilation as there will be a lot of dust filling up the room. Make sure to wet down the surface. You can use a spray bottle to wet the thin-set and that will help eliminate a lot of dust. 

Method 1

To remove a thin-set from cement board the easiest way is to use an SDS plus rotary hammer with a chisel bit or a thin-set bit. They come in various sizes and you might want to get a bigger size like a 3-inch or a 6-inch one. It will make your job a lot snappy. To use this tool you need to sit down or bend much lower as this tool is smaller. 

But it works faster and takes less time and effort than any other tool. One downside of this tool is that it creates a lot more dust than the other tools but if you are wearing a mask it shouldn’t concern you. Also, make sure you are wearing ear protection as it’s also noisier. 

Method 2

Use a San Angelo bar to scrape off the thin-set layer from any cement board very easily. If you use this tool you down have to sit or bend down while prying off the thin-set. Just hold the bar at an angle and use little pressure while pushing it against the thin-set layer. It might be a bit noisy but works very well and takes less time. 

Method 3

Using a wide scraper with a long handle also works fine while removing a thin-set layer from the cement board. With this tool, you can follow the same motion we explained earlier. Hold it at an angle and push against the thin-set to remove it. It works much faster than the previous tool that we mentioned. 

How To Remove Tile And Cement Board From The Shower 

There are some different ways to remove tile and cement board from an old shower while remodeling. You can rent an expensive jackhammer to cut the tiles out or a regular hammer drill. But if you don’t have one on deck then you can just rent one for this purpose. Just use a wide spade bit on the tool. Also, set the hammer drill on a still function to create an impact on the surface. 

In this kind of job, you have to start by removing the tiles first. Because if you try to take off the cement board you won’t be able to get on the screws that are underneath the Duroc. Use safety gear like a mask, gloves, goggles, ear plug, etc. to protect yourself from the impact. 

Removal Of The Tile 

The trick to this is to get the angle just right. You have to kind of start out at a steep angle and then lower the angle as it goes under there ad that’s the best way to get this underneath the tile. Do not put too much pressure on the toll while breaking through the tile. Also, you have to make sure the surface is fully dry and safe to use those tools in the shower.

Removal Of The Cement Board

When you are done removing all the tiles you can now go around with the screw gun and take up all the visible screw heads that you can see. But the ones that aren’t you have to break them loose later on. 

When you are done taking out all the screw heads, take a wooden wedge. You can make this wedge by cutting a 2×4 about 18 to 20-inches long and snapping a chalk line across it and cutting it. You’ll get 8 wedges out of an 8-foot long 2×4. 

Place this underneath the wall that you want to pull up. You have to use a metal pry bar to get started. You have to space the wedges pretty close if you have a weak wall and use a hammer to shim the wedges underneath. 

Once you get all the wedges in place, you have to slowly hammer them in working yourself a little bit down. Once you get your wedges underneath, just take a long-handled scraper and try to flip the board over, this way the cement boards will break into pieces and won’t even damage the underlayer. 

Just keep flipping those boards over until you’re done and then after that just go around and pull if any nails or screws or staples or whatever is sticking up out of the wall so that you can put down your new wall layer.


Do I Need To Remove The Cement Board?

If you are remodeling your home or need to fix the old walls or floors or install new tiles, you will also need to remove the old cement boards that are probably damaged throughout years of using it. But if the cement board is not damaged, then you can just let it be like that. 

How Do You Remove Old Cement Boards From A Wall?

Once you take the tiles off you need to remove the concrete board and for that use a roto hammer to get started with making a-holes in the concrete board so that you have somewhere to grab onto. If you have a way to the edge of the board then you don’t need to make a hole. When the board will loosen up just rip them apart with your hands. 

How Do You Remove The Concrete Backer Board?

Use a pryer to take out all the visible screws off the board. Then use wooden wedges on the edge of the board and hammer them inside. These will work as a lever. Then push your scraper underneath the board and lift it upwards. This will loosen up the board and you’ll be able to get larger chunks off the floor. 

You might also like

Final Verdict

If you are new to construction work then all this information will be very beneficial to you. When remodeling a house this kind of work is a must. There are a lot of options when it comes to the tools and also several methods that we’ve covered here.

I'm Jimmy, the creative mind behind Drawing from extensive expertise in home improvement, I founded this platform to help individuals transform their living spaces. My dedication lies in empowering homeowners with dependable advice, ensuring that every DIY project not only elevates your home but also enhances your lifestyle. Join me as we redefine homes, one project at a time.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x