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Flooring and Carpeting/Removing Level Compound/Restoring Tile

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Perry -

I was excited to find your 2011 post suggesting the use of floor scrapers to remove self-leveling compound, and suggesting to wet/steam the compound first.  Our project is a little different in that the goal is to remove the leveling compound to expose the original tile (as found during a toilet replacement).  We understand that the tile may not be in perfect shape, but it is an old house.  I also removed some of the compound in the closet and it appears that no bonding agents were used.  My questions are:  1. Do you have any new advice since the 2011 post regarding tools for removal?  2.  Do you have any recommendations for the removal of spotty locations of remaining compound from the tile?  3.  Do you think that the floor scraper would "scratch" the tile?  Any help would be appreciated, this is something that we have wanted to do for a long time.....

Answer
Thank you for your question Ali,

    I'm glad that you discovered something that you found interesting and helpful that I addressed some time ago...thats rewarding for me as well. Even though a couple years have passed since I answered the earlier question little has changed in the interm. At least for me and this scenario. I suspect that perhaps you discovered some Mosaic tile beneath the remodeled flooring. Those kinds of things can be exciting like finding buried treasure. But with the term "buried" there will come the expedition portion of the process. The tools remain the same and the reminder to employ "hand" tools because power tools tend to exact "too much" help when you are trying to save something not remove something. Employing the floor scraper is still the best option and the easiest way to prevent scratching the tiles would be to keep the blade nice and flat always working with a new/fresh blade. It is when the blade gets "bent", or a piece of it broken off that it can damage your efforts to get the full benefit from the tool. Now when you get to the areas where the float is putting up a fight then you can turn to an old friend which is an acid. There are some that are mild like Sulfamic Crystals or Phosphoric Acid which can soften the thinner edges of the float allowing you to get more done with the scraper. With the more stubborn patches you can elevate the strength of the acid to a Muriatic acid. If you end up having to go with the much stronger chemical; you will also need to employ a neutralizer in order to stop the chemical reaction this acid always has with a cementicious material...Baking Soda. You just put a small box of Baking Soda in a couple gallon bucket of water and when the acid has done it's thing you can then just apply a liberal amount of the Baking Soda solution to the acid and it will very quickly stop the eating/etching process and neutralize the acid. Then you can go back to the scraper to remove additional material. It may take the process more than once to get the hard stuff loosened up but the rest should be easy. Keep in mind Ali that the float won't be the only thing affected by "any" application of acid and in particular the stronger acid is that grout is also cement based so if you are not careful you can start to eat away the grout from the old tile install as well....so just keep an eye on that as your are dealing the areas that have residual float...ok? That's it Ali I hope this helps you with your project, feel free to return anytime...

PS: If the newly discovered tile is dull and lifeless once you complete the reveal you can simply purchase a "color enhancing" sealer to apply to the exposed surface and it will bring the tile back to life and protect it as well.

Perry V.

Flooring and Carpeting

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Perry Vellenga

Expertise

Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.

Experience

I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

Publications
My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

Education/Credentials
too many most of which don't count...

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