Thinset is a mortar mixture used in troweling on top of concrete to help with the adhesion of tiles or stone when laying them down. It’s no surprise that thinset has so many uses because of how nicely it works with different surfaces, but once you have finished your tile work and other tasks, you need to get rid of all the leftover thinset. What do you do if you have already used up all your water on cleaning up? Fortunately, there are ways to remove thinset from concrete by hand. The trick is knowing exactly where, when, and how much of it remains. This article will give you some helpful tips on how to remove thinset from concrete by hand.
How To Remove Thinset From Concrete By Hand?
It’s hard to imagine that a process as simple as a vibration could have anywhere near the impact as a solvent, but it does. Vibration is used in many different industries, but it is particularly useful in removing thinset from concrete because it is both fast and effective. Thinset Removal vibrators use a very powerful motor to send a vibration up through the concrete, breaking apart the thinset and making it easy to remove. The one downside of this method is that the vibration can also cause damage to the concrete, so it is best to use it when the concrete is still fresh before any other forms of removal have been attempted. Overall, vibration is a quick and reliable method of removing thinset from concrete that can be used at any stage of the project.
2. Manual Scraping
As simple as it might sound, manual scraping is a surprisingly effective way of removing thinset. This method is best used when the concrete has had time to cure and is hard enough for a scraper to get a good grip on it. Depending on the type of thinset that you are using, you may need a special tool called a “scraper bar.” These bars have a hard steel edge mounted on a wooden or plastic handle. Using the bar in a scraping motion, you can create a small groove in the concrete, allowing the thinset to pop up. Scraping is labor-intensive, but it is also extremely effective when you have enough time to do it properly. If you are working on a large project, this method could be a huge time sink.
3. Drying and Vacuuming
Drying and then vacuuming the thinset off the concrete is a two-step process that is best done while the concrete is still fresh. The first step is to use a blower to blow hot, dry air over the surface of the concrete. This will help to speed up the curing process, but it is most useful for drying the thinset out. To do this, you need to make sure to get the thinset really wet. If the concrete is still soft, you can use a garden hose. Once it is soaked through, you can then use a hand-held vacuum to suck the thinset up and off the surface. This method is fast, effective, and minimally damaging to the concrete. It is also very easy to do. Although it can be a little time-consuming, it is a great option to try when you first start trying to remove the thinset from concrete.
4. Steam Cleaning
If you are working with lime-based concrete, you can use a steam cleaner to remove the thinset. Steam cleaners use high-pressure water to clean different surfaces, and they can actually soften the thinset and make it easy to remove. You will need to be careful not to use too much pressure or you could damage the concrete. You should also wear protective clothing and eye gear. Once the thinset has softened, it can be scraped off or vacuumed off the concrete.
5. Acetone Vapour and Solvents
While these are not exactly the most environmentally friendly methods, they can be a very effective way to remove thinset from concrete. If you are working with alkaline cement, such as Portland cement, you can use acetone vapor or a solvent such as a xylene to dissolve the thinset and make it easy to remove. After the thinset has been dissolved, you can then vacuum it off the concrete. This method is very effective, but it is also messy and potentially damaging to both the concrete and the environment. It should be reserved only for those instances where nothing else is working.
How To Use Baking Soda And Bleach To Remove Thinset?
- If you don’t have a concrete saw, you can use baking soda and bleach to remove the thinset. First, pour baking soda along the border of where you know the thinset is.
- This will help to break up the thinset so that it can be removed.
- Next, spray a very small amount of bleach on top of the baking soda; this will help to break down the thinset even further.
- Let this sit for about 30 minutes, and then use a putty knife to scrape up the thinset. Baking soda and bleach can be used in conjunction to ensure that you get rid of all of the thinset on your concrete surface.
- The baking soda will help to break up the thinset so that it is easier to remove, and the bleach will break down the thinset even further so that it can be scraped off the concrete.
How To Check For Leftover Thinset?
Check the Trowel
Before you even start mixing a new batch of thin-set, you can check the trowel left in your bucket to see how much is left. If you’ve been measuring the amount of water and dry mix as you normally would and the trowel shows there’s still a few fingers’ worths of dry mix left, you’re good to go. If you’ve been eyeballing the amount and there’s not much left on the trowel, you’ll want to make more. Since you’ll be measuring the amount of dry mix left on the trowel, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean and free of any old mix. If there’s any mix left on the trowel, it’ll be hard to tell how much is really left and may skew the results.
Shake the Bucket
If you’ve been measuring the amount of water and dry mix as you normally would and the bucket of thin-set is mostly empty, shake it up to see if there are any pieces of tile left inside. If the bottom of the bucket is mostly clean except for a few pieces of tile, you’re good to go. If there are chunks of tile and mortar, you’ll want to make more thin-set before continuing with the project. If you’ve already shaken the bucket, but there are still pieces of tile left inside, you may want to try the mesh screen method to check for leftover thin-set. If there are bits of mortar in the mesh screen, there won’t be in the bucket and it may be easier to tell how much is left.
Check the Mesh Screen
Before you even start mixing a new batch of thin-set, you can check the mesh screen for any pieces of tile that may have fallen in during the last project. The screen is meant to filter out any big pieces of tile or mortar, but it’s not perfect. You may find a few pieces of tile on the mesh screen and know there’s not enough left in the bucket to finish the job. If there are bits of mortar stuck in the mesh screen, they won’t be in the bucket and it may be easier to tell how much is left. You’ll want to check both the top and bottom of the screen as it’s possible for pieces of mortar to fall on the sides and not in the center.
Thinset is a mortar mixture that can be used to set tiles or stone on a smooth surface such as a tiled wall in a bathroom or a kitchen countertop. It is used to help the tiles or stone stick to their desired surface. If you want to remove thinset from concrete, you can use a concrete saw, baking soda, bleach, or a hammer and chisel. You can also use a black light or water to identify where the thinset is sitting. Once you have identified where the thinset is, you can scrape it off using a putty knife.