removing old thinset


Old 10-05-05, 04:25 PM
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removing old thinset

i have about 500 square feet of poorly laid tile to remove. it is ceramic tile on
a concrete slab. my problem is that the tile comes up easy but the thinset has been very difficult to get up. ive been using a pneumatic chisel and it has taken me about 9 hours to do about 100 square feet. i've checked with some local rental stores and they sugggest either a rotary chisel, which is silmilar to what im using, or a vinal floor remover with this big blade on the end, which they would not guarantee to work. i did talk to one guy though who said i could use a floor buffer with a coarse 34 girt paper to sand the thinset down. does anyone out there have any experience with this? any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-05-05, 08:07 PM
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There are floor grinding machines you can rent, sometimes tough to find, they look and work like a buffing machine. Has "bricks' mounted on the plate on the underside. Machine hooks up to a shop vac to control the dust somewhat.
Old 08-26-06, 11:05 AM
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Talking Air chisel

I ran into the very same situation trying to remove thinset a couple of years ago. I couldn't locate a grinder at a local rent center to do the job and my air chisel with a small 1" blade took eons to remove thinset material.

This is what I did to speed things up. I took one of my old air chisels and welded a 1.5" x 4" piece of steel to it. Before welding, I put a beveled on one 4" side to form an extra wide chisel.

This sped things up considerably and I was able to do about 240 square feet in about about 5 hours. Depending on the hardness of the steel, you'll have to regularly dress up the bevel with a grinder.

One disadvantage of using an air chisel is that you'll need to use ear and protection and your hands will definitely ache after several hours. But, it did get the job done.

Necessity IS the mother of invention. I hope this helps someone out.
Old 12-04-10, 05:14 AM
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Remove thinset like the pros

After you get the tile up, best done with a rotary hammer of some type, get your hands on a surface grinder with a purpose built vacuum.

You can rent these for around 80.00 100.00 a day and generally come with an industrial vacuum to help keep the dust down. You will also need to buy the cup grinder wheel that goes onto the grinder and is what actually is the abrasive wheel that cuts into the material. If you have a lot of area to prep you may need more than one cup wheel, these cost around 80.00 each.

The cost will run 160.00 to 200.00 to rent the equipment but it is money well spent. The labor to manually scrape a floor of any size is quite physically demanding and the end result is generally of less quality than when using a surface grinder.

Ear, eye, protection is a must and so is a respirator, skip the paper dust mask concrete dust is hard on the lungs and silica is hazardous.

Best of luck.

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