Thanks to its affordability, durability and wide range of styles, ceramic tile is among the more popular flooring materials in homes today. While tile is not impervious to damage, it generally can remain in great condition in a home until well after the appeal of its style has faded. After you have selected the beautiful flooring material that you want to install in your home, your primary objective turns to removing the old tile. This can be a labor-intensive process, but you can make lighter work of the project when you learn how to remove ceramic tile adhesive from concrete floor the right way.
The Four Types of Ceramic Tile Adhesives
Generally, the process of removing tile is completed in two steps. The first step involves removing the tile pieces. This is often accomplished with the use of a chisel, a hammer or other similar tools to break off sections of the tile. Removing the tile and the underlying adhesive can be a dangerous, messy job because the tile shards and other debris will fly through the air. Ensure that you are wearing protective clothing before you start. You also should have a plan for hauling away the tile, mortar and grout debris. This material is much heavier than you may assume. The weight and the sharpness of the shards generally eliminates curbside waste removal service as a viable solution unless you are dealing with minimal waste from a very small work area.
After the tile chunks have been removed, you must remove the underlying adhesive. Several adhesive products are commonly used during the installation process. Because their recommended removal steps vary, you need to determine which material you are working with as a first step.
This is an organic material that is water soluble.
This material is closely related to cement. While it is not water soluble, it can be removed with the right technique.
Vinyl Flooring Adhesive
This adhesive is relatively easy to work with, and it has the unique benefit of adhering more strongly to the underlying surface over time. Because of this, the adhesive may be much more challenging to remove if it has been on the subfloor for more than a few years.
If the tile was installed in your home before 1984, it could have an asbestos-based adhesive. Asbestos is a known carcinogen that must be handled with care.
How to Remove Ceramic Tile Adhesive From Concrete Floor
You understandably want to cut to the chase and use the removal method that produces fast results. At the same time, you need to protect yourself and your home from harm. How can you remove the adhesive from your concrete subfloor?
Removing Mastic Adhesive
Because mastic adhesive is water soluble, it will weaken when it is exposed to water. Unfortunately, you cannot simply mop the adhesive away. Instead, you must lay wet towels over the adhesive. After the adhesive has absorbed moisture, it will be relatively soft. You can then easily scrape it off of the concrete. Keep the adhesive wet as you move throughout the room for the fastest and easiest results.
Scraping Off Thin-Set Mortar
While thin-set mortar is not water soluble, it is hard and brittle. Chip away at the mortar with a chisel. Use a 45-degree angle, and do your best to protect the concrete subfloor. Because the mortar is firmly attached to the concrete, it is possible to chip the subfloor. You will need to patch these chips after you remove the mortar so that you have a smooth work area to lay the new flooring.
Removing Vinyl Flooring Adhesive from Concrete
The vinyl adhesive is perhaps one of the more difficult materials to pull off of a concrete subfloor. While its bond with the subfloor will strengthen over time, heat can soften the adhesive so that it is easier to work with. The heat should never come in direct contact with the vinyl adhesive. Therefore, you should place a few sheets of paper or other materials over the floor before you blow hot air onto it. When the vinyl adhesive is soft, scrape it away with a chisel or a putty knife. An alternative to using heat is to use an orange-based solvent. These are available at local home improvement stores and online. Depending on the instructions, you may need to allow the solvent to remain on the adhesive for up to 2 hours before scraping the gunk away.
Scheduling Asbestos-Based Adhesive Removal
You should not come in contact with asbestos. This material can become airborne and is harmful to inhale. Because of the health risks, this type of adhesive should only be removed by a professional. Once the asbestos-based adhesive has been removed, you can then install your new flooring on the clean subfloor.
Replacing your outdated tile floor can do wonders for your home’s décor and its value. Removing the existing floor is only the first step, but it can be a major chore. Identify the best method for your situation before you get started.