How to Remove Tile Mastic

Updated July 20, 2017

Mastic is an adhesive used to secure floor or wall tiles as an alternative to using cement. If you are considering a home remodel and want to replace your flooring or wall tile, you will need to remove all of the old mastic before applying any new covering material. Depending on the type of mastic used in the original application, this can be a simple task or it could require professional help.

Determine when the original installation occurred. If the original application of mastic occurred before the early 1980s, stop and consult a professional tile installation company. Many mastics produced prior to the early 1980s contained asbestos and require a more precautionary removal process.

Remove the old tile and attempt to scrape any remaining mastic from the floor or wall with a chisel or other scraping tool. Often, the mastic will remain somewhat pliable and may come up in strips or chunks, depending on the application method.

Pour chemical mastic remover over any remaining mastic if you cannot scrape it up. These removers are available commercially at most home improvement stores.

Allow the chemical to soak into the mastic according to the manufacturer's recommendations, and repeat the scraping efforts.

Sweep up large pieces of mastic and dispose of them according to your local waste guidelines. Some municipalities have specially designated areas for the collection and recycling of construction debris.

Vacuum any remaining dust and particles before applying new floor or wall covering.

Things You'll Need

  • Chisel or floor scraper
  • Chemical mastic remover
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Vacuum
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About the Author

Larry Tripps is a career federal employee who began writing professionally in 2009. He has written articles for Trails and eHow on a variety of topics including travel, golf and wildlife management. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Alabama in business and has nearly 20 years of experience writing policy and procedures for the federal government.