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Old 12-02-2011, 02:40 PM   #1
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Stripping tar glue off c1915 Hardwood Floor


Does anyone on here have any suggestions for stipping the tar like glue that they used to use to put down linolium tiles back around 1915? I'd like to take my kitchen floors back to the original hardwood floors that are under them, but not sure of the best way to do this. BTW...the floors are about 2" birch or doug fir.

I have done some reading and several suggest using a very coarse sandpaper (12grit to start) and run over the floors with that, then working to a 40, then 60, and finally 100 grit paper. Others have said scrapers, steam, etc.... What I have actually looks like tar paper in lots of the areas, I've exposed, but it doesn't come up easily.

Now for the safety aspect, I realize they say a lot of these old glues have asbestos in them and so that is an obvious concern as I have young children at home and obviously also don't want to put myself or my wife at risk either. If I were to sand it, I'd block all air vents and doorways, as well as use strong fans to suck air out of the room to the outside and I'd wear a respirator, etc.. When done, I'd vacuumm with a HEPA filter on my shop vac and wipe all surfaces down. My question on that is, would that be safe? .....or should I take even more precautions?

Another thought was to carefully pry all the boards up and taking them outside and running them through a 12" bench planer, while wearing a respirator, any issues there? Would that be a better plan and if so any recommendations on tricks to easily pull up the old flooring with the cut nails in it? I actually wonder if this might be easiest, since so far there are a few boards to replace and I am wondering if an area that was added later, actually has these boards under it. Don't really want to pull all the current flooring up until I have a plan in place.

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:15 PM   #2
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Stripping tar glue off c1915 Hardwood Floor


Really, the best thing to do, would be to replace them. There is no way that they are going to be perfect. If you can take from other areas that may be carpeted, and put a sub-floor down, then that is one possibility. The other would be to go to a architectural warehouse that resells salvage materials from old homes, and purchase new flooring.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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Stripping tar glue off c1915 Hardwood Floor


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Really, the best thing to do, would be to replace them. There is no way that they are going to be perfect. If you can take from other areas that may be carpeted, and put a sub-floor down, then that is one possibility. The other would be to go to a architectural warehouse that resells salvage materials from old homes, and purchase new flooring.
I have a few spare boards in the basement, but can't rob from anywhere else in the house. I did however, after posting, call a local salvage warehouse and they thought they still had some in stock. They said about $1 - $1.50 per 10' board, so that very well may be the route I take. I'll try to get over there this weekend and see what they actually have and go from there. The room is about 14' x 11' (under cabinets), with a small walk in pantry that is about 4' x 5' (not including under cabinets). For that price, if I'm calculating correctly, I could just rip up and put new boards down for about $150 +/- $50. Not worth messing with! ....of course this is IF they have what I actually need.

Just in case that doesn't work out, I'm still interested in other ideas. They seemed to think the planer would burn the wood trying to get the tar off, plus I'm not sure what it'd do to the cutter.
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:35 PM   #4
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Stripping tar glue off c1915 Hardwood Floor


If flooring is under cabinets, take them up from there, and use plywood that is the same depth as the finished flooring, placed under the cabinets. Beware, that the replacement flooring may not look the same when both are stripped & finished. I would take a few sections of both, sand the same, finish with the color & poly you are going to use, and see how they both look.

You may end up alternating strips of both types to get a pattern that would look better, than making it look like a patch job.
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:50 PM   #5
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Stripping tar glue off c1915 Hardwood Floor


I'd use a solvent to remove the surface residue.
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