Removal of tiles is a process involving two parts. Firstly, the tiles have to be removed – by cutting, chiseling or prying from the floor. Secondly, the adhesive, which was holding the tiles, has to be removed. Based on the adhesive type and the tile type, you can use different methods to remove the glue. It is important to clear away the adhesive well, prior to installing new flooring.
Here is a guide on removing different types of adhesives that you may come across after tile removal:
Removal of Tile Mastic:
Mastic, an organic compound, is employed for adhering wall tiles that are put in dry areas. Older floors and counters also may have mastic used on them. Mastic is not resistant to water. It disintegrates and dissolves if water comes in contact with it. So, water is an effective for it. For removing excessive mastic after removal of tiles, soak many clothes in water, and then lay these clothes over the mastic. Allow the mastic to absorb the water, until you find it as soft. The remaining adhesive should then be scraped off using a putty knife.
Removal of Thin Set Mortar:
Thin set mortar is one of the products of Portland cement. It is used in wall tiles and on floor in many areas. After drying, thin set mortar becomes resistant to water, durable and tough, but also brittle. Large amounts of thin set mortar often come up along with the tiles, and leave behind random amounts along with an uneven layer.
The random amounts should be pried and chiseled to prevent the substrate below from getting damaged. Fit a pry bar’s one end under the larger amounts of thin set mortar, and apply pressure on its other end for pulling up the larger amounts. You can remove the smaller pieces by aiming a chisel at the smaller pieces’ base. The chisel should be held at an angle of 45 degree to the substrate. Hit the chisel’s end using a hammer to clear away the mortar slowly.
Removal of Vinyl Tile Adhesive:
Vinyl Tile Adhesive is one of the flexible adhesives, and becomes stronger with time. So, vinyl tiles that you laid down before 1 year, can be removed more easily than those laid down before 20 years. Based on the time passed after laying of the tiles, you may scrape up the glue quickly, or you may need to have some patience.
Start with scraping the maximum possible amount of the adhesive using a putty knife. If you find it unyielding and hard, apply some heat to soften it. To apply heat, a heat gun can be aimed at the adhesive, or an iron can be held a few inches above the adhesive. Remember that you should never place any hot object on the adhesive directly. Wait for a few minutes to let the glue start softening, and then scrape up the remaining glue.
There are times when water and heat are not enough for softening vinyl tile adhesive and mastic that are very old. In such cases, you will need an adhesive remover solvent for breaking down the adhesive, so that you can scrape it up. Get a solvent designed for the adhesive type you wish to remove. Ventilate the area well and apply the solvent on the glue liberally. Wait at least an hour for the solvent to start breaking down the glue, and then scrape up the remaining glue. You may require a combination of several solvents along with other methods for clearing away all the adhesive.
In case, your tile flooring was installed before 1984, and/or the glue beneath it appears tar-like or black, your glue may consist of asbestos fibers. Asbestos was used quite often during the 1970s and 1960s, and during the early 1980s in some jobs, for attaching linoleum and vinyl flooring tiles.
If you suspect that your floor adhesive or tile floor contains asbestos, never try to remove the tiles or the adhesive on your own. Doing such may release the asbestos fibers into the air, which may pose a risk for health. Seek the assistance of a professional tile remover or installer. You can find a home lead-test kit in many hardware stores.
This guide will help you remove different types of glues that are left behind after the removal of floor tiles. However, be cautious while doing such jobs and keep in mind the warning given here.
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