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Old 10-12-2008, 08:57 PM   #1
PalmHarbor
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Removing old mortar/thinset?

Hi, I am in the process of my first tile job. I'm replacing the tile in my kitchen which is about 6'x7' on a concrete slab. Taking out the old tile was very easy although a bit messy :P My problem is with the old mortar/thinset. Some came up with the old tiles. I would say about half of the area in different spots chipped off real easily. The rest of it is extremely difficult to get off. I have been chipping away at it with a chisel for the past couple days and its getting old fast! lol I went to Lowes and they sold me a hand grinder with disc for concrete. That works great but makes a huge mess, dust cloud and is difficult not to gouge into the cement. Most of the areas left are around the cabinets so I don't think the big air hammer/chisel they rent at home depot would work there. Do I really need to remove all the mortar/thinset? I went over the areas and smoothed them out some so its only like 1/8" high in some areas. The guy at home depot says you have to get it all off! Any thoughts or ideas please?!? lol I am sooo sore and not looking foward to the entry way and bathrooms planned for later! Thanks!
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:07 PM   #2
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hey palm harbor. have u tried a 4" ravor scraper. lots of elbow greese. i would try to remove the rest if not posible you can use a self leveler for what u did remove.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
ceramictec
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an 1/8" is nothing.
when I remove floor here in Florida I float the floor with thinset to make flat if there is too much leftover thinset that cant be removed.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:18 AM   #4
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I think I agree with CeramicTec--- an 1/8" is really nothing.

But for your future jobs, I recommend renting a rotary hammer and chisel bit. They rent here in OK for about $65 per day, or for the whole weekend if you rent after noon on Sat. I have found no way that isn't messy, dusty and annoying. But the rotary hammer is the fastest, just becareful not to dig into the concrete, some marring is okay, but don't aim for China. Keep it on an angle and stay at it. It's less wearing than any manual option, but probably the dirtiest, but for the time it saves it's worth it. Tape off your area, get a good dust mask and get to it.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:23 AM   #5
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I also found that a "Bushing bit" on a chipping hammer works great to break up the old thinset. it pretty much pulverizes the old thinset.
need to hold the electric chipping hammer striaght up and down witht his bit.

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Old 10-14-2008, 03:04 AM   #6
Swimmer Steve
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Brian,

I've seen what you're talking about (post 3) here in Florida. They'll go right over the old thinset. Any way you can explain to us shallow end swimmers how to do this? Do you skim, dry and then re thinset? Or do it all in one swoop? I can barely keep the lippage down when I have a perfectly flat floor to work with. Guess that's why you're a pro eh?

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Old 10-14-2008, 08:22 PM   #7
PalmHarbor
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Still chippin away! :P

Thanks for the input! I haven't tried a razor scraper yet, sounds like a good idea! I have been using a wood chisel actually. The thinkset scrapes off pretty easily with that. The only problem is that I only get maybe a 5"x5" area off before the blade gets too dull then I have to go back to the grinder. I am just going to do alittle every night till this weekend then tile over whatever I have left! :P I am definately going to rent that big hammer when I do the bathrooms and entryway. That bit with the points looks pretty cool but looks like it would just chew right through the concrete?
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:39 PM   #8
ceramictec
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Quote:
Do you skim, dry and then re thinset? Or do it all in one swoop?
I pretty much skim the whole floor with semi loose thinset.
just on the top of the leftover thinset.
once dry I go over it with a large scraper or rubbing block/stone to smooth it.
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