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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    657

    Default Removing thinset?

    We chipped up about 400 sf of tile today and need to remove the thinset thats left over to install a new glue-down hardwood floor.

    Whats the best way to remove old thinset?

    We can't use anything with water because there is a hardwood floor right next to it and I don't want it to wick up any water and get damaged.
    Andre T.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Branford CT
    Posts
    306

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    AZ : If you do a lot of this kind of work , it might be worth looking into buying the 7" setup from Blastrac / United Surface Preparation. with a Blue Max wheel on it. Its a 7'' Metabo angle grinder with a special dust collecting shroud with a vacuum port on it. The dust is tremendous you have to have it connected to a industrial vacuum. EDCO makes a line of floor scarifiers and dust collection systems. Another company that carries the products is DAWSON MCDONALD.

    This is not anything that the local Big box rentle center will carry.

    I can scarify 350-500 sqft in a day at $2.50 a sqft , not a bad days work . We did a 1800 sqft floor on concrete with a big 240volt walk behind and we had it ready for tile in 2 days, there was some thinset and some carpet adhesive over concrete.


    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Jonathan70; 03-26-2008 at 08:03 PM.
    Jonathan70

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    actually they rent that stuff at my local Home Depot
    Steven

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Washington St.
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    I am assuming it is on concrete? If you have a rotohammer, get the widest blade you can and go at it. Not to dusty but it does take time. You would want to get a few guys on it doing it that way. A big machine or something like that was mentioned earlier would definitely be faster.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    You might also try a pneumatic scraper

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    Quote Originally Posted by thedcdude View Post
    You might also try a pneumatic scraper
    Evening. I'm brand new here and just stumbled on this thread. Would the pneumatic scraper be acceptable for residential, in-home use where dust is a major issue? Any other suggestions, if it isn't? Thanks in advance.
    Rich

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kiawah Island, S. Carolina
    Posts
    1,210

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    The trouble with recommending a specific tool is that we have no way of determining the conditions of the floor - other than that it is covered with residual thinset mortar.

    Demolition crews rarely arrive at a jobsite with only one removal method. Instead, they may have air-scrapers and chippers, bush-hammers, and even shot blasters, and use whatever tool or combination gives the best results for the prevailing conditions.

    Within your question lies a clue. When used properly, thinset mortar is very tough to remove: during your demo, some of the old setting bed should also have come away with some of the tiles. I would first try a hammer and chisel to test the chipper/scraper potential, and use that route if the thinset comes away from the slab.

    If not, you should step up to a bush-hammer. If you use either the bush-hammer or a shot blaster, you will need to think about re-habbing the surface of the slab with an SLU.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    Thanks for your input. Truth be told, I'd rather not get involved with this, due to my own level of experience, but the client is a repeat customer who wants me involved, and right now I don't have anyone I feel comfortable subbing this to. The full time installers I've worked with in the past have either moved out of the area, or simply gotten out of the business.

    I'm not familiar with a bush-hammer, but I'll look into it.

    Thanks again.
    Rich

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    657

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    I'm looking into getting a Milwaukee 7" grinder with a diamond grinding cup.

    What works better on removing the thinset, a segmented diamond cup, single row or double row grinding cups?
    Andre T.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Va.
    Posts
    3,675

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    AZ,
    I have around 800 sq ft of residual thinset left on a slab. What did you end up doing to finish this job?
    Last edited by Andrew R.; 03-23-2010 at 09:21 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    So. NH
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    I did a small bathroom today with a cup grinder. The tiles came up easy but left alot of thinset on the hardibacker. It removed the thinset no problem without damaging the hardibacker. 64sq feet including demo, cup grinder and vacuum cleanup took about 2 1/2 hours. It was actually quite satisfying work because the cup grinder worked so well. Definitely use a good respirator.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Removing thinset?

    Do you have to match up to anything? why not just float it flat and install the wood floor over the top of it?

    No easy way of going about it, but ive found that a 6" scraper (razor blade type) and alot of elbow greese is the fastest and most efficient way to remove thinset without big fancy machines. Good Luck!
    Jeremy
    www.buildingforward.net

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