Sorry for the long post. We have a tough basement flooring situation that has us stumped. Hoping you all have some ideas.

We have about 900sf with ceramic tile, but it's missing in a large section where we removed the old bar and flows into three other rooms that are just the original concrete (about a 1/4" lower).

Our original plan was to remove the existing ceramic tile to restore the entire basement floor to a flat surface and then refinish. However, we are having no luck getting that stuff off of the floor, even with a hammer drill. The problem is that the tile consists of 3"x2" rectangular tiles set in a cobblestone pattern. Even if we get one pried up, it only clears about an inch of floor at a time.

So, we're looking for an alternative to removal that will still give us a flat surface for refinishing. We've considered just covering the tile, but, in addition to the huge number of grout lines, the tiles themselves are textured; so very uneven from a height perspective. Self-leveling compound for the entire 1000+ sf area seems cost-prohibitive. Is there anything else we could try?