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Old 01-03-2008, 01:05 PM   #1
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


When laying a new tile bathroom floor, I had a family emergency that took me away from home for a few days. As the tile being laid was fairly small (2" hex) and the substrate not totally level, some excess thin set oozed up between some tiles and a little onto the face of a few. I have been painstakenly trying to remove it with a five in one tool, scraper etc. We are way past the point of wetting doing any good here. I know that this should have been handled while still wet, but like I said I had an emergency.
Please, any tips, or tricks to getting this up so i can grout and finish would be priceless, as there is no way I can afford to rip the tile up and start over...
I can post a pic or two if that would help, but it's just porcelain tile in thinset...

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Old 01-03-2008, 02:07 PM   #2
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


Use a single edge razor on the surface. A regular utility knife works best to cut the excess thinset between the tiles. Try to remove at least half of its thickness, 2/3rds is the norm.

Jaz

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Old 01-03-2008, 02:44 PM   #3
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


Thanks JM.
While part of me was hoping for a miracle patch of some kind, i guess i should just expect to go through a whole bunch of blades...
is there a special blade for morter or do i just blast through a few dozen?
do i not need to worry about the single edge scratching the tile?
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:05 AM   #4
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


I have used this scrub pad i got from home depot in the tile department to get off mortar or grout that got on the tiles and i missed while it was wet. It looks like an industrial brillo pad on a plastic handle.
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:23 PM   #5
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


I have had the same thing happen to me. I have 5/8" travertine with tons of thinset all over it. (hired someone to lay it, they did a job.) It's been two weeks and it is as hard as a rock. I've gone through 2 dozen blades and I'm not quite halfway through.

Please tell me you found an easier way?
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:18 PM   #6
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


If you're talking about thinset BETWEEN the tiles, most home stores sell a tool similar to this that works pretty well:
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:12 PM   #7
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Angus - now THERE'S a good looking tool! I have actual blisters from my utility knife. My patience is blistered as well. The thin set is indeed all between these tiny little tiles, as well as on the surface. As you know, travertine is pocked and I suppose I'll tackle the challenge of getting it out of the "pocks" when I get that far. I'm trying SO hard not to scratch the tiles with the blade.

Have you heard of using white vinegar?
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:32 PM   #8
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


Yes, white vinegar and a plastic brush. However, remember that vinegar is a form of acid and that's not something that should be used regularly for cleaning. Any form of a stronger acid can start getting dangerous.
Be careful with when scraping the travertine. Don't use too stiff of a brush. You don't want to scratch the tile either!
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:13 AM   #9
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OMG, I am so thankful for your suggestions! Here's my plan: I'll pick up that tool and some vinegar and a firm toothbrush tomorrow. I'll dip the toothbrush into the vinegar and scrub a section of tiles. (it's just the smaller accent areas that have the problem, not the entire job) Then I'll use the tool and chip away at the thinset. Hopefully this will clean the tiles and soften the thinset at the same time, thus saving me lots of time. I'll be sure and let you know how it turned out. I just bet you'll be standing by with bated breath! Oh I can't wait for this to be over.

Thanks again, Angus.

BTW, I just got done removing a large section of drywall around my new kitchen passthrough and doing it over. The same guy did it and he did a horrible job on that, too. It took some creative problem solving on my part to get it to lay flat against warped studs, but I have to say that it looks professional now. I've really learned my lesson about hiring less-than-skilled people to do this stuff. If we could afford professionals to do it all, we would, but that would have cost us an extra $20G. Thank goodness for helpful people like you. (btw - we did hire professionals to do the really important stuff like plumbing and electrical and floor sealing)
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:40 AM   #10
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


its called a ' tile scribe ' & there're several types avail.
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:06 AM   #11
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Hiya concrete! Thanks so much. Now I don't have to sound like the typical woman..."yes, I'm looking for this tool that has this handle and a blade thingie at the end". "I need a tile scribe" will sound much better.
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:13 AM   #12
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


My bad. Here's the link to the picture:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...de=cii_9324560

I'm sure it's called a few other things too.
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Old 07-14-2008, 12:41 PM   #13
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Hey, no problemo Angus, I would have just gone to the tile section and looked for it, then to the tool section if I didn't find it in tile. My pride would never allow me to utter the word "thingie" while tool shopping. Grout saw! and only 10 bucks! Looks like it's just what the doctor ordered.
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:29 AM   #14
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


Well, actually you probably will. Since the tile job went so poorly, I started doing some research. I remembered that he used greenboard in the shower over the studs. Everything I've read says this is a baaaad thing. A few things said that if it is done exactly right, it can work, but guess how many things were done exactly right? Yup, none. This guy used to work for a company that remodeled the bathrooms for the Sheraton Hotels, so I didn't even think to check up on what he was doing. I can do a lot of things in the remodel spectrum (I did my own kitchen and it looks wonderful!) but installing tile in a bathroom is not one of them. I guess I know a lot more now. It all has to come out. We are out of money for this project and my husband's three weeks of vacation are over. My 19 month old has no patience for mommy to be building stuff, so it looks like we'll be minus one shower for a while. Luckily we have two others. In the meantime, I will be learning everything I can on the subject, and I'll be doing it my DANG SELF! At least now I know where to come for advice!
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:59 AM   #15
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Removing Excess (dried) Thin Set


Can't you get ahold of the guy that did it wrong and make him fix it or at least try telling him you want some money back? Tiling a shower is something you can do yourself if you did your kitchen. Just lots of research from people on here!

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