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Old 05-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Hello,

I'm redoing the floor in my basement (I'm going to install porcelain tile), and I've just started removing the existing vinyl/linoleum flooring. The vinyl tiles are 12"x12", and I'm pretty sure they're the self-adhesive kind. So, I got a scraper, and the tiles come off pretty easily, but unfortunately now they've left this nasty/sticky residue (the adhesive) behind.

Is there a best way to go about removing this adhesive? I've read some people say to use a scraper, but it's a really thin coat, and I'm worried a scraper won't work, especially since it's very sticky. Some folks said a heat gun and scraper, and I was even told you could use a butane torch for stubborn spots, but I figured I'd ask here first before I tried anything, as you guys always know what to do. I bought a gallon of adhesive remover from the local big box store, but again, I didn't want to make matters worse and figured I should do a little research first. Thanks!

-Mike


Last edited by NewHomeDIYGuy; 05-05-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


What type flooring are you replacing it with. I'm asking because in some cases it does not need to come off.

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Old 05-05-2012, 03:23 PM   #3
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Sometimes you can sprinkle cornstarch on it and it will scrape up easier.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:28 PM   #4
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
What type flooring are you replacing it with. I'm asking because in some cases it does not need to come off.
I'm replacing it with a 12x24" porcelain tile with thinset. If I don't have to remove all the gummy residue that'd be great, but everywhere I've read says I need to make sure I prep the surface well and get it clean, so the tiles have a strong bond to the slab..? I'm all ears for suggestions.
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Old 05-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Update:

Upon further futzing w/ the floor, it doesn't seem like the glue/residue is water soluble. I poured some water on the exposed glue and it made it possible to remove (whereas it's impossible as it sits as it's just sticky and gummy, very much like tree sap on your car), but I literally have to scrub with a bristle brush in order to remove it all and get to the clean slab. I have to clean/remove the vinyl tile for about a 400sq ft area, and I think my arms would be sore after vigorously scrubbing a few sq ft. Has anyone ever used something like goo gone (the citrus based cleaner) to clean this residue? The residue reminds me of tree sap, and goo gone works very well on it. My other big concern though is the residue left by any cleaners on the slab that might cause problems with the thinset bonding to the concrete..

The glue/residue has an orangish color, I'm not sure if that's any help or not.

Anyone else have any ideas in terms of how to go about prepping the floor? If I can use some kind of thinset on top w/o removing it that'd be great, but I don't see how it'd have a good bond with this layer of crap on the surface. At this point I'm open to all suggestions. Is it possible to maybe have the slab sanded by machine so it takes the layer of glue off? If I need to hire some people to professionally prep the slab, I'm certainly all for it at this point.. sure beats literally killing myself scrubbing the slab by hand.. lol

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Old 05-05-2012, 03:38 PM   #6
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


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Sometimes you can sprinkle cornstarch on it and it will scrape up easier.
Rusty thanks for the suggestion, will this make it harder/more brittle? The issue now is the layer of glue is so thin and very sticky, I can't scrape it w/ anything. It's like a very thin layer of tree sap on my floor..
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Update2:

It seems a razor/scraper does work, at least after the glue has gotten wet with water, but wow is it a pita. I first tried with a utility knife blade, and it gets the surface perfectly clean, but does such a small area at a time. I have a hand scraper with about a 4" blade and it works decently. I guess I'm going to head over to the local store to see if they have anything else a little bigger, but I guess it's going to be a very tedious/painful job either way.

Regarding the slab.. do I need to rough it up at all before applying the thinset and tile? It's very smooth after cleaning it, but perhaps that's fine? Also, for a 12x24" tile, should I use a medium duty thinset or can I use regular (modified or unmodified) thinset? Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Use a butane torch and a scraper.............the fumes are bad though.

Maybe I'd send my grand kids down and and have then play ball with the dogs
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


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Use a butane torch and a scraper.............the fumes are bad though.

Maybe I'd send my grand kids down and and have then play ball with the dogs
Woody thanks for the suggestion. I tried a butane torch and no luck, just makes it sticky and no easier to get up. It seems like a little water, which softens it a little, and a scraper are the only real effective way to get it off. It is some hellacious work, but I haven't found a better way. I tried some boiling hot water, and it works a little better than just regular water, but not a whole lot. I've found the best is to just do it for an hour or so each day.. Otherwise I'll end up..
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #10
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Fine sand used for masonry should stick to it and if nothing else will act as a abrasive. The glue is a pain since it is designed to no be water soluble your floor would come up if it got wet. Acetone will work for sure but you better have good ventilation.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


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Fine sand used for masonry should stick to it and if nothing else will act as a abrasive. The glue is a pain since it is designed to no be water soluble your floor would come up if it got wet. Acetone will work for sure but you better have good ventilation.
Bill, thanks for the suggestion. Acetone, can that be bought from a paint store? Is it essentially paint thinner? If a chemical will work that won't leave a nasty residue on the slab, I'm all for it at this point.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:51 AM   #12
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


It is sold in the paint department of any large home improvement store. It is different than paint thinner but similar I guess. It is the main ingredient in nail polish remover. It is used as a cleaner it will leave no residue. It evaporates extremely fast which is not always a good thing. It is very flammable and bad to breath... stupid kids sniff it intentionally to get high so make sure you have lots of ventilation.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:43 AM   #13
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


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It is sold in the paint department of any large home improvement store. It is different than paint thinner but similar I guess. It is the main ingredient in nail polish remover. It is used as a cleaner it will leave no residue. It evaporates extremely fast which is not always a good thing. It is very flammable and bad to breath... stupid kids sniff it intentionally to get high so make sure you have lots of ventilation.
Thanks! I'll be picking some up on the way home today. I hope to God this stuff works, as it's quite the workout scraping this crap off w/ just water.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:10 AM   #14
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How to remove vinyl/linoleum tile adhesive from slab?


Anyone tried/rented a "floor stripper"? http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...&storeId=10051

I'm wondering if these generally work quite well for what I'm trying to do, and at about $50/day for a rental, I'll gladly pay the price.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:45 PM   #15
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Most of the strippers I know............I mean that my errrrr friends know want $300 a gig

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