Whether you’re a novice or an expert when it comes to home improvement, there are always bound to be a few minor mistakes here and there while installing ceramic tile, porcelain tiles, or stone tiles. Perhaps time prevented you from the proper mortar clean up after the tile installation.
Whatever the situation may be, we’ve got some good tips to remove mortar from a tile. You’ve pulled out the old tile, replaced them with some natural stone floor tiles, and set your trowel aside and sealer.
You thought your job was complete except for that one crucial step. That would be cleaning the mortar off the tile floor, wall tiles, and grouting. Now all you’ll need is a little elbow grease, a few tools, and some time.
How to Remove Mortar From a Tile
Here are three cleaning solutions that you can utilize as a home tile cleaner to remove tile mortar.
1. How to Remove Thinset from Tile
After you’ve laid down the new tile, it is essential to clean the thin-set mortar off before it dries. Once dried, the thin-set can be challenging to remove from the surface of the tile because of its thin layer.
If you’re reading this, then you probably delayed in this step and need to know how to remove thinset from tile. No worries. While it may be a little bit tedious, it is possible to remove that thin-set from the tiles.
Start by adding some dish soap to the bucket of warm water. Scrub the tile surface with a soapy sponge, making sure to remove any of the thin-set that is not entirely set. Wipe the tiles down with a dry rag.
Use a chisel to scrape away the dried thin-set, carefully chipping it loose from the tile without scratching it. Use the grout scraper to remove any thin-set from the grout lines that is more than 40% of the tile thickness.
Use a 50-grit sanding disc attached to a rotary sander at its lowest setting. Carefully position the disc onto the tile to gently remove the remaining thin-set. Finish up by vacuuming the area to remove dust and then polish the tiles with a dry rag.
2. How to Remove Cement From Tiles
This method shows you how to remove cement from tiles using a vinegar cleaner. The vinegar reacts like an acid solution when it comes into contact with cement-like elements.
It’s weak enough so that it doesn’t damage dried concrete, yet strong enough to loosen bonding elements. It’s also ideal for removing glue from ceramic tile.
Spray the area with the vinegar and wipe down with the sponge. Pay special attention to areas that may have excess mortar, such as grout lines on a tile floor and grout joints on a tiled backer board.
Make sure to apply pressure to the areas with the thickest layer of thin-set. Gently use a scraper or razor-blade to work unusually thick areas. Repeat if necessary.
3. Cleaning Salvaged Tiles
Use this method if you plan on salvaging the old tiles you have removed during your DIY tiling project. Tile is usually applied over a layer of thin-set mortar.
Once you have removed the old tiles, you will notice a layer of thin-set and dried grout along the back and sides. This dried material will need to be removed before those tiles can be salvaged.
Make sure you put on all of your protective gear before beginning. Fill the bucket with the water and muriatic acid. Carefully submerge as many tiles into the solution as you can and allow them to sit for five minutes.
Remove one tile at a time and scrub them with the brush to remove the loosened residue. Rinse with clean water and lay out to dry for about 24 hours. For other tips, check out our concrete cleaning solution page.
While the process of removing mortar from tiles may be a little time consuming, the resulting clean tile is worth it. All you need is a few proper tools, and some soap, vinegar, or muriatic acid and those tiles will be good as new. If you enjoyed this article, you might also be interested in our DIY pressure washer detergent method.
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