Stubborn floor tile adhesive

12 Oct 2009
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United Kingdom
Three years ago I fitted ceramic floor tiles to my bathroom floor, using Palace Rapid set adhesive, that I mixed myself with water.
My wife and I are unhappy with the style of the floor tile and have decided to remove them.
The floor tiles are coming away from the adhesive reasonably easy enough using a hammer and cold chisel, but the adhesive is very hard and proving difficult to remove.
The floor is 22mm plywood, screwed every 200mm, so is pretty solid.
Could you please advise me on the best method of removing the old adhesive as I want to refit some more (different) floor tiles......
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Maybe try a belt sander, with an abrasive sheet similar to a gravel path, with excellent dust extraction? John :)
i would have tried overtiling myself as tile adhesive is a bastard to get up and i never could try latex over the old adhesive.i realise tese methods increase floor height but im capable of trimming doors etc .thats why i choose the options above.i realise not everyone can or is happy to attempt this, so need to go down another route.
I have previously tried quite successfully using a steamer on wall adhesive.
I could also use my small angle grinder with the door closed and sealed and the window open, using ear pugs and a mask and eye protection.
I just thought there might be an easier method.......
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Try an SDS drill with bolster chisel attachment,whichever way you go mate its gonna be hard graft.

And i would`nt go down the route "chukka" advised, as its not just a case of trimming a door,if the bathroom furniture are removed you then have to alter pipework and the soil pipe, although you can get offset soil pipes, BUT more than that, you are gonna end up with a step up at the doorway
Thanks for that. You have confirmed what I thought , that there is no easy way to get around this problem. In the past I have used my SDS drill with a bolster chisel on, and this was to remove adhesive from a bitumen floor in the kitchen. Not sure if this is the best option for the wooden floor though.
I think I will try the angle grinder carefully so that I don't grind into the wood, with all the gear on, window open, and doorway sealed!!!!
I ignored the Chukka route as this would cause more problems with differing floor levels etc.
I am not afraid of hard work anyway.
Thanks again for your comments.............
you may want to think about overboarding this time oldbiker with 6mm backerboards just in case "her indoors" changes her mind in a few years. ;)

sometimes its easier just to lift the whole lot and lay 18mm ply then 6mm b/boards, only raisining your floor by off ;)
Thanks for that.
Its a good idea if there is a possibility that you may need to replace in a few years, and I will remember this for future projects. Normally I would not replace for years, but in this case I had previously tiled the floor with anti-slip tiles that are good for their duty, but it was difficult to remove the original grouting stains from a couple of years ago!!
In my case it would be possible to fit say 5mm or 6mm ply or even hardboard prior to laying the floor tiles.
In the meantime, I have e mailed Palace chemicals in Liverpool for their advice on an alternative method of old adhesive removal.
I will post their reply on this topic as and when............
Have used my bosch 180e with old blades ground to chisel point to give a power chisel, bit like the sds method but gets under the adhesive better and light enough to let the wife have a go [after all it's alway them changing their minds that cause the problems]
Update on the adhesive removal........
Last Saturday I sealed the bathroom door from the inside, and around the cable feeding in for my angle grinder. I had a pair of goggles on, with a face mask and ear plugs well into their cavities, and set off grinding the old adhesive away..........well what a job, as I knew it would be!
I fitted an old carborundum grinding (thick) disk into the grinder and for about 3.5 sq metres it took me about two hours, including regular stops to clear my goggles, and brush the excess dust to one side of the floor. I had the bathroom extractor fan on and the outside window open. A couple of times I had to stop as there was that much density of dust in the atmosphere, I just couldn't see a thing! An hour later after the dust had settled I vacuumed up all the ground out dust. The grinder and disk were ideal for the job. The dust was everywhere as I had expected. It had even got onto the landing although the edges of the door had been sealed with 50mm wide masking tape. My bathroom has plastic walling, and the dust had formed a layer over all of this and the large mirror.
A tip for anyone attempting this exercise is to remove every small item or tools from the room, as it makes it easier when using the vacuum cleaner later.
I really needed a shower after this dusty exercise, fortunately we have a separate en-suite bathroom.
On Sunday I re-tiled the floor using Dunlop tile on wood adhesive, and this was brilliant to use.
Best wishes from oldBiker
When I did a similar job a few years ago (previous householder had stuck tiles directly to floorboards, which flexed, and many had popped up :rolleyes: ) a garden shovel was my weapon of choice. With the blade nicely worn to resemble a plane iron, and with the help of a size 10 behind it, that shifted most of the old adhesive very quickly.

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