I'm re-doing our bathroom. It was last refurbished in roughly the
early '60's and so is your typical pink and black bathroom with
tile walls. I've removed the tiles using a hammer and chisel.
Underneath is a glue that kept the tiles stuck to the wall. I
don't know what they used; it's brownish in the color of Liquid
Nails, but much less gooey and even sort of dry. In fact, I can
use a putty knife to scrape some of it off, but other spots are
too hard to do so.
I'm wondering how I can get this off so that I can smooth down
the wall to paint it. It doesn't seem to be water soluble. It's
too rough and hard to sand, at least with the little electric
sander I have (it would take forever and would require a zillion
sheets of sandpaper). Paint remover seems to soften it up very
nicely, allowing me to scrape it off with a putty knife, but the
problem here is at least the paint stripper I'm using costs about
$10 a jar and it would take a lot of stripper to completely
remove the glue, thus hundreds of dollars. Mineral spirits
doesn't seem to dissolve it.
Any recommendations for getting this stuff off? I can't be the
first one to run into this situation.
Ooh, that nasty old brown mastic. Remeber the smell well. The tile guy that
worked for my father's construction company always acted weird- wasn't till
years later I realized it was from him inhaling all those VOCs in the stuff,
in an enclosed space, with zero protective gear.
But on to your question about cleaning up the residue. Short answer-Life is
too short to screw with it. Bust out the wallboard or plaster down to the
studs and rerock with the appropriate product. Green damp-resistant drywall
(or cement board for around the shower) is cheaper than solvent, and will be
less work than a month of scraping. And nice smooth walls will provide a
MUCH nicer finished job than any scraped and skim-coated old surface. If you
are not confident in your own drywall skills, doing the demo and maybe the
basic rock hanging yourself, and having a pro finish it ready to spot-tile
and paint, won't be that expensive. Bonus- while walls are open, trivial to
add the extra outlets and lights a 1960-spec bathroom is probably lacking.
And if bathroom or especially tub is on an outside wall, also to bring the
wall and under-tub insulation up to snuff, to ease that January-morning
chilly feeling in there. I'd also strongly recommend upgrading the tub
faucet and shower riser while you are in there.
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