How to Remove Thinset from Tile Without Grouting (3 Easy Ways)

How to Remove Thinset from Tile without Grouting

Thinset is not a new word for tiling, adhesives, and masonry. It is a type of mortar explicitly made for tile. We will explain more on mortar as you read. 

An angle grinder, putty knife, and hammer drill are three of the tools you can use to remove thinset from tile without grouting.

Thinset is a mix of cement, water, and fine sand. It is an adhesive cement used to keep floor and wall tiles set to concrete or cement. 

Thinset contains a water-retaining agent like the alkyl derivative of cellulose. It is usually used to attach tile or stone to surfaces such as cement or concrete.

Terms like cement, mortar, concrete, and grout are often used interchangeably, although there are significant differences between the strength and application of these materials.

Read on as we throw more light on how to remove thinset from tile without grouting.

Related: How to Degloss Ceramic Tiles

Ground Concrete Component

Ground concrete is made from cement and is commonly used in DIY and construction projects to stabilize the work.

Grout is a thin mortar used to fill the gaps between tiles and cavities in masonry. Grouting is to insert this mortar in between tiles to make them more stable.

To remove thinset from tiles, you don’t have to grout first. There are some primary ways to remove the thinset without damaging any surfaces and the tile itself, and the best method for you to use will depend on what type of surface you used the thinset on.

How to Remove Thinset From Tile Without Grouting

Some surfaces like kitchen walls, wooden floors, and other hardwood floors are too delicate to use particular methods.

There are three primary ways of removing thinset:

Angle Grinder

This tool should be handled carefully. A 13 to 18 cm diamond cut wheel should first be attached to your grinder.

Then, connect the grinder to a 5-horsepower wet-dry vacuum. The vacuum’s hose connects to the dust shroud and should be pressed in till securely connected.

Then seal with duct tape. Move the wheel along the thinset as it breaks up little by little when this is done. 

Hammer Drill

You’ll need to attach a 5.1 to 7.6 cm chisel bit to your hammer drill. Stick to wider chisels to make the work easier.

Keep your chisel at 45 degrees but for wider thinsets, reduce the angle of your chisel. Anywhere the drill cannot get to, you can use just a chisel.

Please look at the manufacturer’s manual and follow the safety precautions while using his tool.

Putty knife

This tool is the easiest and safest to use. You want to pour boiling water over the thinset first. This will loosen it up and make it easier to chisel away.

Then, set your putty knife at a 45-degree angle and hammer it with a 0.9kg hand maul. The thinset will begin to chip.

Be gentle with the hand maul to prevent a broken blade or damaged floor. After this, you can go back to the angle grinder to finish it off.

As was stated earlier, these methods can’t all be used for the same floor types as they don’t even involve using the same intensity.

These tools should be handled with care to avoid injury to oneself and damage to the floors. If you cannot handle the DIY, it’s best to call an expert.

Another question most people ask is about cleaning dried mortar from porcelain tile.

Read: How Long Do You Wait to Clean Tiles After Grouting

How to Clean Dried Mortar off Porcelain Tile

People sometimes use the word thinset and mortar interchangeably, but they are not the same.

Mortar is an adhesive used to fill the gaps between the bricks and blocks in masonry and construction.

Sand, a binder such as cement or lime, and water are all mortar. It is then applied in paste form before it sets.

Materials Needed

What You’ll Need to clean dried mortar:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Clean cloth or towel
  • Scraper
  • Razorblade

Steps of Removing Thinset From Tile Without Grouting

  1. The spray bottle should be filled with vinegar and sprayed on the surface you wish to work.
  2. Use the sponge to wipe the solution, especially on areas with excess mortar marks. These areas should be repeatedly wiped over.
  3. More focus should be placed on areas with thicker thinset.
  4. In case of any mortar stains left, carefully make use of a scraper or blade to remove it.
  5. Finally, wipe it down with a damp cloth and warm water.
  6. Dry out the tiles, and there you have the cleaned-out mortar from porcelain tiles.

Read: How to Remove Stains From Marble Floor Tiles


The world of masonry and construction comes with its terms and methods, but you know what to do and how to go about it with an article like this.

Be it thinset, grout, mortar, or concrete. You’re sure to find your way around it.

This article was written to give you in-depth knowledge about how to remove thinset from tile without grouting.

Regardless of the outcome of your decision, we’re pretty sure it would be the right one for you. Good luck!

It is our sincere hope that this article help give you the knowledge you require, if it did, kindly share it across your social media platforms.

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