How To Separate Materials Bonded Together With Construction Adhesive - Home Decorating & Painting Advice

How To Separate Materials Bonded Together With Construction Adhesive


I am building a home and accidentally placed tile on a wall using a construction adhesive in the wrong area. How do I remove these building materials?


You can remove building materials that are bonded together with a construction adhesive. However, you must separate the items before removing the construction adhesive.

For larger applications:

What you'll need:
  • Windshield cut-out wire (also called music wire), available at most automotive parts stores
  • Safety gloves and/or handles for the wire
  • Safety goggles or a face shield
  • Two screwdrivers to prop parts into an open position
  • Wire cutters

Step 1.

Cut a length of wire about two or three feet longer than the width of the building materials to be separated.

Step 2.

If you are using handles, connect the handles to the wire. If you are not using handles, be sure to wear heavy safety gloves to protect your hands.

Step 3.

Starting at one corner, work the middle of the wire under the edge of the material you are removing.

Step 4.

Saw back and forth with the wire, using moderate pressure. This should start to cut the construction adhesive.

Step 5.

After a few inches have been cut, use screwdrivers to prop open the gap. This helps prevent adhesives from re-adhering.

Step 6.

Continue sawing, moving the screwdrivers as you go.

Step 7.

After separating the pieces, scrape away residual construction adhesive.

Step 8.

If the adhesive is too hard to scrape, apply a light layer of baby oil or petroleum jelly, wait a couple hours, then scrape.

NOTE: Do not use baby oil or any other softening material if the surface will be painted. Baby oil will stain.

Step 9.

Repeat if necessary.

Step 10.

Wipe your surface with mineral spirits to remove any residue. 
Please refer to the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet (TDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for safety and detailed application instructions.