Reusing floor tiles


A foundation problem caused cracks in a few ceramic floor tiles at one fellow's house. His fix was to remove the floor tiles and replace them with carpet (which won't crack). I ended up with the tiles, about 200 of them.
They're quite nice, probably $3.00/each retail, so I'm inspired to re-use them.
The residual grout is easy to remove, but the thinset is difficult. Unless someone knows of a wipe-on, wipe-off thinset removal liquid.
How much success should I expect in resetting them on perhaps thicker thinset, taking extra care to get them as level as possible?
I guess I could experiment by laying a few rows on the garage floor...
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HeyBub wrote:

you can use the flat edge of a 4.5" continuous rim diamond blade (HF) in a cheap side grinder (HF) and it will remove a LOT of the old thinset very quickly. very dusty. use a breathing mask unless you have a spare set of lungs.
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Probably because whoever set them didn't wet the joints first.

I never tried it, but if the residual is 1/8" thick or less I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult.
I would pull them from a bucket of water to set to encourage adhesion. -----
- gpsman
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I don't think you need to get every last spec of it off but the bulk needs to come off even if you use thick-set (pun intended).
What you can try is placing a scrap of thick carpet on a solid surface and whacking the edge of the thinset with a broad heavy blade.
I would try using my broadest bit in my air chisel. Small repeated taps are better than heavy blows.
I have cleaned brick, wall tile and block using this method but I have not tested it on floor tile. Tile is more fragile than brick or block.
Do wear some protective gear.
--
Colbyt
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HeyBub wrote:

You could try taping sandpaper to a flat and smooth surface, and rub the tiles on the sandpaper. Even if it didn't remove all the thinset, it would tend to level it out.
--
Tony Sivori
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Ceramic tiles are pretty fragile. And if they're coated with hard thinset, they are NOT worth $3 a piece anymore. Don't bother with them. After you waste time on them, you'll be money in the hole compared to buying new and/or more durable tiles if your time is worth anything to you.
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HeyBub wrote:

If they were well laid in the first place the stuck on thinset should be uniform in thickness though not in area. Butter them with new thinset to fill in the low areas, let it dry and they are good to go.
--

dadiOH
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There's no way you can get this stuff off easily. The best thing is just chuck them out. If only a few are affected, as someone else said, the diamond disk will get it off. If you're bent on a struggle, then you could just relay them on fresh comppound but it will take a long time to get them level and you'll need lots of compound.
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As said, very time consuming. In my case I had old tiles removed from one area and needed to use them to repair another area that could not be matched with new tiles. Used the diamond blade on a RotoZip and it worked well. As said, dusty. They were small tiles only 2-3" square. Took a block of wood and used a router to create a recessed square to hold the tile while removing grout.
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I'm cheap enough that I have done this many times, even with tiles that I got on 'special' at Home Depot for 67 cents each.
I soak the tile in a bucket of water, scrape off as much as I can with a carbide scraper, then put a wire wheel on my grinder to finish it up.
Hope this helps you.
Lewis
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Water?
Who'd u've thunk it?
I'll give it a try - thanks.
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HeyBub wrote:
...

...
I just had a repair -- very hot water softened it and the cove base pieces that had a smooth backing it just peeled off. Not so lucky on field tiles but could remove some.
As limey above says, the wire wheel will do wonders to remove down to the tile quickly. Just take a modicum of care as you can take the tile itself down since the back isn't as hard as the baked fronts if are too aggressive.
--
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