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How to Remove Tile Adhesive From a Concrete Floor

By Samantha Volz

Laying tiles over a concrete floor revitalizes a room, but removing those tiles later can be tricky, and sometimes may even require professional help or heavy duty tools. Once you've managed to remove the tile itself, you will be left with a near-solid mass of tile adhesive coating your concrete floor. Methods for removing the adhesive will vary depending on the type of adhesive you have. Try a number of techniques to get back to a clean concrete floor.

Open windows or doors and run exhaust fans to ventilate the work area. Even the least toxic adhesive removers produce some odor, and breathing in the fumes from strong chemical removers can be dangerous.

Put on gloves. Cover the adhesive with a citrus-based professional adhesive remover, available from hardware and home improvement retailers. The citrus naturally dissolves some types of tile adhesive, especially those commonly used for vinyl tile. Saturate the floor or spread the paste across the surface (application methods will vary by product, but generally involve a mop, rag or putty knife ). Allow the adhesive remover to sit on the surface for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

Scrape away at the loosened adhesive with a plastic or metal scraper. If you are dealing with tile mortar or thinset (it will look a little like cement), try chipping away at the adhesive with a cold chisel and hammer. Some solvents will help loosen even mortar or thinset. Reapply the remover and continue to scrape or chip as necessary until the adhesive is gone.

Upgrade to a solvent-based adhesive remover if the citrus-based remover does not work. Follow the product's instruction instructions and scrape or chip away at the loosened adhesive until it is all gone.

Rinse the bare concrete floor well with clean water to remove residual adhesive remover. Remover residue can stain the concrete or interfere with future floor renovations.


Things You Will Need

  • Exhaust fans
  • Gloves
  • Citrus-based adhesive remover
  • Scraper or chisel and hammer
  • Solvent-based adhesive remover

About the Author


Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.