Thanks for the suggestions. I googled the topic and found quite a bit of info. There are also some youtube videos. One of them was of something that looked like a large ride-on mower/mini-steam roller that scraped it away very easily. But i doubt that machine is available at the tool rental place. I'll look into the stripping maching Javipa suggests as well as see what the Home Depot rental has tomorrow.
Below is a compilation of articles and posts I found on the web in case it helps anyone. The first 2 are from eHow.
This looks like an ugly project. Makes me think of one of Javipa's posts where he quoted some guru from a long time ago that said something like: "Do what others are not willing to do, so you can do for the rest of your life what others are not able to do." I guess tomorrow's the time to do what others are not willing to do.
ARTICLES AND POSTS ON REMOVING THINSET FROM CONCRETE SLAB
Removing Thinset From Concrete Slab
Thinset is sometimes referred to as mortar because it is used to secure tiles to a floor or wall. It is made of cement and forms a durable connection to the tile when dry. This can be a challenge if you decide to remove the tile, since most of the time the thinset remains stuck the floor. To remove thinset that is on a concrete slab, you must rent power tools to assist with the job.
Plug the cord of an electric hammer drill into an electrical outlet. You can use either a hand-held hammer drill or a larger hammer drill that you can run while standing. A hammer drill looks similar to a traditional drill but has an end that resembles a slotted screwdriver head.
Put on safety glasses, a dust mask and ear plugs before turning the drill on.
Turn the hammer drill on and place the flat end onto the floor at a 45-degree angle or lower.
Push the flat edge of the drill blade along the surface of the concrete slab to chip away the thinset. Continue until all of the thinset is removed from the concrete.
Turn off the hammer drill. You can now take off the safety glasses, dust mask and ear plugs.
Sweep the entire floor with a push broom to collect the small particles of thinset. Dispose of the thinset in the trash.
How to Remove Thinset From Concrete Floor
Thinset is not simply tile glue; it is a cement used for adhering tiles to walls or floors. Many chemical adhesive removers will not soften thinset like they do mastic. When thinset has hardened, it is very hard to remove. You may not have to use power tools, depending on the age and brand of the thinset and condition of the subfloor. Hand tools and How to Remove Thinset From Concrete Floor
Put on an N95 respirator (or, at the least, a common dust mask) and safety glasses. Leather gloves can prevent blisters.
Starting at one corner of the concrete, use a razor scraper (a long-handled one if you are working on a concrete floor versus a wall) to chip away some of the thinset at the edge. If it is coming up, continue scraping it.
Visit a home improvement store and ask about renting an electric floor chipper, grinder or similar tool for removing thinset. This might be necessary if you are unable to get the thinset up with a scraper. These are usually simple to use; you walk behind the machine, holding onto the handle to guide its path.
Finish removing the thinset, either by scraping manually or using the power floor scraper/grinder.
Sweep the thinset dust and debris from the flooring with a stiff broom. Do this before you put away the tools; you might have missed a spot and not noticed when the floor was dirty.
Tips & Warnings
- If you use a power tool for this, there will be a lot of dust, so keep several N95 dust masks around. The filter will get clogged after a while. Wear a head covering if you want to avoid getting thinset dust in your hair. If the layer of thinset is very thin, you can also try simply sanding it down (with a hand-held
- power sander).
A hammer drill with a chisel bit loud dusty heavy thingy...
Good set of work gloves, dust mask and plenty of time......
I’ve had a few people looking at this job.. some say I need only to level the floor and fill in the holes with a leveleling agent.. I'm planning on putting laminate down..do I have to go the chisel way??
Any self leveling or Portland cement based patching compound will work as long as all you have is trowel ridges and no high spots. Any high spots need to be ground down. This process may raise the floor a bit, shouldn't be much however.
we rip up the tile, clean and make sure there is no loose thinset and dust, prime with a primer and either re-float with a multi purpose thinset or use an SLC.
When I tried it today, using the air hammer and chisel, IT IS DEFINITELY EASIER WITH THE THIN-SET WET. It seems to "chip" easier and it is also easier to define the boudary between the thin-set and the slab. That is not to say that I have not made many "divots" in the slab, but it definitely beats doing it dry. In some areas, the slab was "floated" (is that the proper term?) better than in other areas. If there is a good "cream" layer (hoping that also is the proper term) on the slab surface it is very hard to penetrate. In other areas the surface of the slab seems rather soft or at least less hard, and once penetrated, the sub-surface slab concrete gets ripped up rather quickly if you don't pull the air gun back fast.
After six hours of chipping with a 1" chisel (I can't find a wider one to fit my air hammer) I have cleaned about a 6' by 4' area. It is a damn good thing I don't do this for a living! I'd be broke in a week.
To anyone removing thinset, WET IT DOWN FIRST, it will make it easier but not EASY. It is still UGLY, UGLY, UGLY.
You could rent a concrete scarifier and a grinding cup. That would clean it up in a hurry. And make lots of dust.
Some scarifiers have a vac attachment so there won't be any dust. Atleast mine does.
Here's how I removed the thinset from a hallway, entryway, kitchen and bathroom after removing the tiles. I rented what looks like a large, electric hammer drill from Home Depot. You can get a long, wide "blade" (like 6-7 inches wide) that will allow you to almost stand upright while you do this. The blade should be kept at enough angle so you don't auger into the concrete floor, but chips off the thinset. Too steep and the concrete will start to chip out. Not steep enough and the blade will skate over the thinset. You'll get the hang of it. Here's another tip that's been debated by many people. Wet the thinset before chipping it off to just about eliminate any dust. It also makes the thinset much easier to remove. (at least most of the common thinsets used) The longer you can let the thinset soak, the better. I did part of my kitchen the day after I soaked the floor with water (no puddles, but definitly wet!) and let it sit overnight. The thinset was almost pasty the next day.
Oh yeah, get some ear plugs!
If you do a lot of this kind of work , it might be worth looking into buying the 7" setup from Blastrac / United Surface Preparation. with a Blue Max wheel on it. Its a 7'' Metabo angle grinder with a special dust collecting shroud with a vacuum port on it. The dust is tremendous you have to have it connected to a industrial vacuum. EDCO makes a line of floor scarifiers and dust collection systems. Another company that carries the products is DAWSON MCDONALD.
This is not anything that the local Big box rentle center will carry.
actually they rent that stuff at my local Home Depot
Do you have to match up to anything? why not just float it flat and install the wood floor over the top of it?
No easy way of going about it, but ive found that a 6" scraper (razor blade type) and alot of elbow greese is the fastest and most efficient way to remove thinset without big fancy machines.