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I'm redoing my bonus room, it's close to 300 sq ft and the floor is all concrete. Most of the room had carpet which came off easy but about 130 sq ft had ceramic tile that left a lot of thinset grooves everywhere.

If I want to have a finished concrete floor what is the best way to go about leveling the area where the tile was? SLC or some other product? The 130 sq ft needs to be level with itself and not with the rest of the room. It works with the design somehow.

Also, can I just seal the whole room after the leveling is complete?

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    I would grind the 130 sf of thinset rather than redoing the entire floor. – Ed Beal Jun 22 '16 at 10:42
  • To @EdBeal 's point, I would think any floor sanding/grinding/polishing that could handle concrete, could also take care of that thinset. – BrownRedHawk Jun 22 '16 at 12:43
  • drop terrazzo grinder rental into a search engine. – Ecnerwal Jun 22 '16 at 14:59
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I was thinking of a grinder like this disc for concrete I have one I bought years ago for my 9" grinder the disc is 12" it will take a entire single bay garage floor surface in about 2 hours. Cheaper than shot blasting and my disc has done 5 or 6 garages and still has a couple left. The trick is to keep the grinder moving in overlapping orbits. the link shows a smaller model that should be able to do the 130 sf in an hour or so.

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Ed is right that any grinder for concrete will handle thinset. However I doubt that the thinset is grindable.

When thinset goes onto concrete there is no molecular bond that causes the thinset to stick permanently to the concrete. In fact it expands and contracts at different rate as concrete so it is actually "moving" all the time.

Thinset works because of this. It "sticks" because the thinset sticks well to itself and so the bind of the thinset really keeps it in place. Yes it may kind of stick to the concrete, but not that well once you start breaking it apart.

Meaning if you start grinding it, sure some parts will grind down well but others, the thinset will just pop out of place - meaning your floor will have divots.

The best course of action is to jsut knock all of the thinset loose which can be done with a mallet or hammer just tapping the thinset straight down hard. You don't want to take swings as you will nick the concrete. The thinset will come up quickly like this. Note if you just leave thinset on the concrete it will all eventually come loose after walking directly on it.

After you are done removing thinset you can fill in any gaps or use leveler to make the surface more livable. However thinset is not an option here because as noted before it does not bind well with concrete. I have taken thinset/tile out of more the my share of bathrooms with concrete floors and the concrete looked practically brand new after I was done.

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    The thinset pops right off with a disc like the one I linked two much easier than hammering just run it around with overlapping orbits so the surface is not cut away and it will be done, way cheaper than shot blasting, but have had some huge jobs in a shopping mall where shot blasting was the fastest way to go. – Ed Beal Jun 22 '16 at 18:53
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    @EdBeal - I think the grinding takes longer and more apt to damage concrete. Just been my experience. Also grinding is just a mess of dust and what not. Hammering usually breaks things in little chunks. – DMoore Jun 22 '16 at 19:56

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