DIY: How To Remove Thinset On Your Own

You all must have come across a layer of mortar, adhesive in nature, beneath tiles and grout. The main purpose of this layer is to hold the tiles properly. This is known as thinset and it is made with the help of fine sand particles, cement and a small portion of water holding agent. In this article, we will have a deeper insight on how to remove thinset.


There are chances that people decide to re-do or re-decorate one or two rooms of their house in order to give it a new look. Now, re-doing any room not only includes changing the setting of the furniture or other decorative items, but it also includes changing the wallpapers, flooring in the rooms and the like.

In order to get the new flooring done, the old tiles need to be removed. As you start taking out the tiles, you come across this adhesive layer- thinset which also needs to be removed. It is glued very well to the cement base and holds the tiles with the cement. Once you start to chip the thinset, you will find it a very difficult task and one must know about the right way and the right tools to carry out this hassle full job.

Well, don't you worry! Following points will help you to be an expert in the process of chipping the thinset layer.

Things You Need

You require the following set of tools to carry out the process on your own:

  • Hammer Drill with a Tile Chisel Bit
  • Sledge Hammer
  • Floor Scraper
  • Square Shovel 

Well, when you are done removing the thinset, the entire waste and pieces of the thinset layer need to be dumped in the garbage bag. Doing this task with hands can be dangerous as you might get hurt even with the gloves on. 

So, the best way to collect waste in a trash bag is by using a shovel. It takes lesser time and energy.

Other small things needed in order to remove the thinset include the following:

  • A big trash bin or a polybag to throw and collect the pieces of broken thinset
  • Cloves and knee pad so that you won't get bruises of any kind
  • Long sleeved shirt to protect your body
  • Dust pan to rapidly collect the waste and a broom
  • Dust masks so that you won't inhale any kind of dirt or dust particles
  • Closed-toe shoes to protect your feet

Step By Step Procedure for Removing the Thinset

Step 1: Cover Each And Everything Present In The Room

The first and the foremost thing to do before you start the process of removing the thinset is to cover every item present in the room with sheets. This protects them from dust and dirt that is produced while doing the job. Also, replace all the decorative items from that room.

Step 2:Now, Start With The Tiles

Initially, you have to remove the first layer, that is, the layer of the tiles. For this one should start hammering the tiles with a sledge hammer at the right angle. Knowing the right way to hit the tiles make it easier to remove them and it also saves a lot of time. In this step, you can also opt for a hammer grill.

Step 3:Clear The Edges Of The Room

​When you reach the walls, corners or the cabinets, you will find difficulty in removing the tiles. This is owing to the reason that hitting with the hammer at these spaces is quite difficult. So, for these areas, it is better to go with a hammer drill. It proves to be more useful for such corners and the tiles are removed easily.

Step 4:Clean Up

​​The next step involves cleaning of the broken pieces of the tiles from the entire floor. Be careful while doing this work as you may get hurt with the sharp edges of the broken pieces. It is better to wear gloves during the process. Then, sweep the entire floor with the help of a broom.

Step 5:Now, Scrap Off The Thinset Layer

​​​The next and the most important step involves scrapping of the thinset layer with the help of a hammer drill. For this, start with wearing a mask as this work produces a lot of dust which may affect your lungs. Try to scratch it until the surface is smooth and becomes perfect for the next flooring.

Step 6:Then Use The Floor Scraper

​The next step involves smoothening of the floor with a scraper. For this step, it is better to call help as it takes a lot of time and energy. And, the smooth floor is important to place the new set of the tiles. So, this part has to be perfect. The sharp ends of this floor scraper would help you to attain a smooth surface.

Wrapping Up

The points mentioned above is the total overview of how you can easily remove the old set of tiles and thinset layer. Though it is a hassle full job, however, if you know the right kind of tools and the correct procedure, then you won’t face any issues.

Got any query? Write to us in the comments.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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