After reading my previous article “How to remove tiles and thinset using a homemade tool?“, the next question is: Can you reuse the existing mortar bed? The answer is YES.

To do this, you need an angle grinder and there is an additional tool you want to invest. It is a dust extraction tool which hooks up to the shop vac. Trust me, you will need this. I also got a 4.5″ diamond cup wheel from Canadian Tire for the angle grinder.

After removing the thinset using the diamond cup grinder, you can see it more clearly there are damages I did to the mortar bed in previous article, I think my homemade tile removal tool was too powerful. It’s not a big deal, I just use some self bonding patching cement to fix it.

The Pros and Cons of reusing the mortar bed

One of the advantages is the amount of waste materials would be largely reduced, you can dump the tiles as regular weekly garbage. For a small area, it may take several months, but it saves you a lot of money. However, if you remove both tiles and the mortar bed, probably you need to rent the metal bin for garbage disposal, that’s not cheap. Now, with self leveling compound on the mortar bed, it makes the floor perfectly flat and it is foolproof for DIYers to tile the floor. The downside of re-using mortar bed is that, it takes much longer than using DITRA uncoupling membrane for example, because you have to wait for the patching cement and self leveling compound to dry.

Is Self Leveling compound needed?

Yes, in this case. Because when I used the grinder to get rid of the thinset, I could not guarantee it was completely flat or level. To make life easier when installing the tiles in the next step, self leveling compound is gonna help. If you are using Ditra over plywood, it is not needed. I will talk about it and show you my Ditra related project in the future.

To prepare for self leveling compound, you need to put the masking tape everywhere. Make sure toilet flange and air duct register are properly taped. There is no second chance to fix it once you start pouring the compound on to the mortar bed. One of the reasons people complain about self leveling compound doesn’t work is because they forget to apply Primer. Always read the manual. This Primer is extremely toxic and it smells so horrible. I was wearing a P100 Mask. Remember N95 doesn’t block vapor, you need P100.

There is DIY tips, always mix the cement into a bucket of water, but not the other way around. Alright, slowly pour it onto the floor and et it flow. Let’s wait for it to dry overnight. I am excited to see if it’s going to get leveled by itself.

Let it dry overnight and check it out, wow.. it’s perfectly leveled. I have this super long level, measuring from one end to the other it’s around 6 feet. Look, It’s close to perfect, that’s awesome. Self Leveling cement works!!!!!

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