How to Remove Thinset From Drywall

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Thinset is an adhesive used to set ceramic tile and stone. The cement-based adhesive sometimes remains on surfaces after tile removal. Removing the thinset provides a clean, smooth surface to work with when installing new tile. Although it is possible to remove thinset from drywall, significant damage to the drywall's surface occurs during removal. This has no significance when reinstalling tile to the drywall but may require repairing the surface before painting.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor scraper
  • Scraper blades
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Insert a new blade in a floor scraper. Tile suppliers and home improvement centers sell floor scrapers and blades.

  • Scrape the drywall's surface with the floor scraper to remove the thinset. Adjust the pitch of the scraper to minimize damage to the drywall. During thinset removal, it is common that the outer layer of paper peels off with the thinset.

  • Clean up the thinset debris with a vacuum cleaner or broom and dustpan.

  • Inspect the drywall's surface for remaining thinset and remove if applicable.

Tips & Warnings

  • If painting the drywall, skim its surface with joint compound and lightly sand before applying paint. Repeat this tip two or three times to hide drywall damage.
  • Use a putty knife in place of the floor scraper. Although not as effective as the floor scraper, it gets the job done.
  • Use extreme caution when operating a floor scraper.
  • Wear leather work gloves to minimize injury in case of an accident.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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