Porcelain tiles are among the strongest, most durable types of tiles and are known for their density.
These tiles tend to be used in areas that require frost proofing or anywhere else that might cause them to take on wear and tear.
Porcelain tiles are therefore commonly used in installations in sinks, baths, basements, and other areas that require a little bit of water resistance. Even a concrete floor can benefit from the addition of porcelain tile.
There is one problem with porcelain tile, however, that has to be dealt with: removing adhesive from porcelain tile isn’t a simple thing to do.
Laying porcelain tile without the understanding of how to remove excess adhesive left behind can end in disaster if the proper action is not taken.
Below, you will find some tips on how to remove tile adhesive from porcelain tile to save you plenty of frustration and effort.
5 Ways to Remove Adhesive from Porcelain Tiles
Removing adhesive from porcelain tile involves labor, no matter the way you end up approaching the problem.
Tile adhesive is known to be quite strong and in turn quite stubborn.
Sometimes, tools are needed to truly clean off every tile.
If you don’t have the recommended tools on hand, that’s okay—the steps below can help you remove adhesive with ease.
1- Flooring Chisel
A flooring chisel is a good tool to have on hand when removing porcelain tile adhesive, especially from a concrete floor.
The catch is that it can take a lot of time to clean porcelain tile adhesive from larger areas since this tool is meant more for removing thin-tile adhesive for smaller areas.
2- Heavy Duty Floor Scraper
If you need to clean porcelain tile adhesive from a larger area, you should turn to a floor scraper instead of a small flooring chisel.
This tool can be purchased at any hardware store and makes relatively quick work of removing the adhesive.
It is quite tall at around 40 inches, so you don’t need to work on your hands and knees.
You can get a new blade each time you go to work on a tile removal project to ensure that you are getting the most effective cleaning action possible.
It is not recommended that you reuse the blades, because they can quickly become dull and ineffective.
3- Stand Up Floor Scraper
Another great option for those who don’t want to get down on the floor to clean the tile adhesive is a stand-up floor scraper.
It has the same design as a chisel or standard scraper, and many find it to be more comfortable and convenient to use while also requiring far less labor.
If you have a large area to take care of, it may be better to use the traditional scraper, as using this tool for long periods of time can be tiring.
4- Oscillating Tool
Next is an oscillating tool that is comfortable to hold and does much of the work for you in removing the dried adhesive from thin tiles.
It features a scraper attachment that is great for removing the tile adhesives, especially from tight areas.
For larger spaces, this tool may take a bit extra time so it’s not a recommended option if you need to work on a large area.
5- Flooring Adhesive Stripper
It is recommended that you use a flooring stripper since it can cut down on the time and effort needed to carry out the job.
The stripper product requires a bit more time and work to remove, but only because it needs to be coated several times and allowed to sit.
The number of coats you need to apply to the area will depend on various factors, like the porcelain tile adhesive itself and the size and type of flooring.
It will need a bit of time to break down the bond of the adhesive, so many people tend to leave it sitting overnight.
The next day, they will take a chisel or scraper to it and clean it up that way.
If you do this and it doesn’t seem to come off well, you can always add another coating of it, let it sit, and then repeat the process.
You are free to do this as many times as it takes to get the adhesive off of the floor.
Can Vinegar Remove Tile Adhesive from Porcelain Tiles?
Yes, if you don’t want to use a chemical to complete the job, you can simply try using vinegar as an alternative.
Follow the steps below to complete the process…
Step 1. Collect your materials
To ensure you’re ready for the job from start to finish, collect all of the items you’ll need to complete the task. These include:
- Clean rag
- Mop bucket
- Warm water
- White vinegar
Step 2. Soak the Rag
First, you’ll want to soak the rag in warm water. Wring it out a bit until it is just damp.
Place the rag on the sticky adhesive and allow it to soak for up to 20 minutes.
During this time, the adhesive starts to loosen its bonds to allow the molecules to easily break down.
Step 3. Mix the vinegar solution
Create a vinegar solution by mixing white vinegar and warm water.
Pour a gallon of hot water and one cup of vinegar into a mop bucket to give you plenty of liquid to work within easy access.
Step 4. Mop the floor
Finally, take a mop and mop the floor using the vinegar solution.
You should notice that this method works well on ceramic, porcelain, and stone tile floors especially.
The solution breaks down any leftover residue from the porcelain tile adhesive slowly over the course of 20 minutes.
Once it has had time to work its magic, you can just mop it up and wipe it away to leave the floor looking exactly as you expect.
If you are working with porcelain tile or other tile floors such as ceramic or vinyl, you may want to use a scrubber or other abrasive brush.
These tools will help you remove any of the adhesive residues without negatively impacting the appearance of the tile.
Keep in mind that the more you give the tile adhesive a time to dry, the more labor you will have to put on in removing it later. So, be quick rather than late.
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.