My bathroom had 12" square vinyl tile squares which I chipped off. There is some residue of adhesive left on the concrete. Do I need to try to remove it? The floor scraper I have is not working. Will a solvent help? I am laying large ceramic tile with thinset.

Here is a photo with a bit of the tile on the left under the commode, showing the floor.floor image


3 Answers 3


I have successfully used orange oil to soften the adhesive holding vinyl squares. I used it undiluted in just enough quantity to soften the adhesive. Then I scraped up the softened adhesive with a floor scraper frequently scraping off the floor scraper with a 3 or 4" putty knife into a trash can.

I then went over it again with more orange oil wiping with paper towels. Finally I used an electric floor cleaner and mopped. The concrete was still glazed and the tile installer used some kind of floor grinder to roughen the floor. I was not present for this; I was out of town. (The serious professional installation specifications for ceramic tile state that fresh concrete is not to be finished with a metal trowel prior to ceramic tile installation.)

  • Great! I'll give it a shot and let you know. Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 0:03
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    I use metal trowels and have for years to clean up small float marks. The end finish is what I believe you are referring to. You want a porous surface not a highly polished finish that metal can provide.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 2:24
  • Well I tried a wood floor cleaner with orange oil and I can see concrete now! Thanks Jim and Ed for the help! Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 4:19
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    We prepared our entire 2000 sq ft slab this way, in two parts for same 1st rate ceramic Daltile 18" x 18" 'English Slate'. First we did everything but 2 of 4 bedrooms and put all furniture in a pod outside. The contractor said he had never seen such good prep and no further prep needed. Every other tile has a hollow sound. The (different) contractor for the two lesser bedrooms said he always grinds. The tile in these two bedrooms is solid sounding. He said the 1st contractor probably used an inferior thinset. Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 11:31
  • I was present for the first and major part of our tiling job. The contractor had a crew of six and several were novices. Each of the 18" x 18" tiles was buttered. I was under the impression that a narrower gout joint was best and asked them to use the narrowest that would meet specs on the tile. I was out of town for tiling last two bedrooms, but did hire the contractor on a recommendation (one guy (Eastern European and not young) and one skilled American helper). I made no requests and they used a larger grout joint, it looks great and makes a smoother joint. Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 11:49

Another way to get a porous top, is to etch the concrete. There is an acid etching solution you can spray on and mop off. Its best outdoors since it gives off fumes, but a few fans to exhaust the room and you should be good. Check for this at a hardware store. I have used muriatic acid etch for many things, patio, sidewalk, driveway, even to stabilize hot tub ph.


Goo Gone goes through this stuff like butter. Just make sure you read and follow all the safety instructions.

  • Tried the Goo Gone over the same area that I used the Orange Oil and it got up more of the goo. Thanks! Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 3:39

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