How Can You Remove Ceramic Tile Adhesive?

Remove ceramic tile adhesive by softening the adhesive and using a putty knife to scrape the adhesive from surfaces. The method used to soften the adhesive depends on the type of adhesive you need to remove.

  1. Prepare to remove the adhesive

    Cover the floor with a drop cloth beneath walls with adhesive stuck to them. For safety, wear safety goggles, work gloves and a face mask. Open any windows or doors to increase the ventilation in the room.

  2. Soften the adhesive

    Test a section of the wall to determine which is the most effective way of softening the adhesive. Apply water to the test section, leaving it in place to soften organic mastic used as adhesive. Test whether the adhesive is softening by scraping it with the putty knife every few minutes. If the adhesive is organic, the knife can easily cut through the adhesive layer. If the water does not soften the adhesive, then use an adhesive-removing paste formulated for ceramic tile adhesive instead.

  3. Scrape away the adhesive

    Cut through the adhesive with the edge of the putty knife until you reach the wall. Tilt the knife to a slight angle, and push it along the wall to scrape away the softened adhesive.

  4. Chisel away tough adhesive

    Use a hammer and chisel to cut through adhesive that you cannot scrape off. Place the point of the chisel on the edge of the adhesive at about a 45-degree angle, and then tap the head with a hammer to lift the adhesive away from the wall.