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joe_cole5000 01-31-2010 09:44 AM

Moisture Barrier and Adhesive Removal
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Hello all, I have removed some 400 sq ft of vinyl from this renovation and left in it place the adhesive,(or paper backing and adhesive) remaining on the concrete floor. My intention is to lay porcelain tile in it's place however I have several issues to resolve before continuing.
First, I notice that when I was removing the vinyl, the undersurface felt wet, not wet so much but it certainly contained moisture. While I did not put a moisture meter to it, I'm pretty sure is was more than just cold. There was no vapor barrier on the slab which by the way is from the late 60's and I have seen several areas that appear to have cracks,(98% continues to be covered by the remains vinyl as seen in the picture)

Question: How do I remove the paper/adhesive left on the floor?

Question: Do I need a vapor barrier so the new tile stays in place?

Question: Do I need to use a self leveling mix to offset any abnormalities in the floor? ( keep in mind the area I live,(Dallas) is geologically unstable / clay mostly and we have a great deal of foundation movement.

Thanks in advance for helping
Floored in Dallas

Bud Cline 01-31-2010 11:51 AM

Use water to soak the remaining felt, then scrape it with a razor blade type scraper to remove all of the felt leaving just the adhesive residue. The adhesive residue should be nothing more than a stain in the concrete.

Moisture in concrete usually isn't a deal killing issue in the Dallas area. You are correct however about the clay soils and the continuing movement from seasonal and weather related expansions and contractions of the soil.

The cracks you have are typical of most concrete and most certainly in your area. If the cracks are at the same elevation on both sides of the crack, I would recommend using the Schluter DITRA membrane or the Noble Company CIS membrane.

If the cracks show two different elevations on either side of the crack this means one side is heaving. Tile wouldn't be recommended for this situation.:)

joe_cole5000 01-31-2010 12:28 PM

Noble Company CIS membrane
Thanks Bud,
I appreciate the advise. O have come to find that as a DYI type, EVERYTHING is going to cost more than I expected. Looking at the Noble website it looks like the cost for my 10 x 40 room will be about a grand offsetting what I thought was a good deal on the tile. now i know why the previous own put down carpeting.....ugh.
thanks again for bringing me up to speed, you and the other pro's on the site are of great help, you have saved me countless $$ and time.

rusty baker 01-31-2010 12:40 PM

If tile is too expensive, or the floor is too unstable, why not an IVC vinyl, like Flexitec?

joe_cole5000 01-31-2010 01:10 PM

Flexitec or Tile
Rusty, the way this all started is I traded a old hunting bow for 700 sq ft for porcelain tile. I thought it would be a bargain but with the vapor barrier that Bud suggests it's not so cheap. However, I imagine that a fair price on tile on average is about 1.50 sq ft...guessing, I can still get it done...I hope.

Bud Cline 01-31-2010 03:06 PM

The two products I suggested do serve as a vapor barrier but that isn't the reason you would be using them in this case. The DITRA is an isolation membrane that allows concrete to crack and move slightly laterally under the tile without transmitting those stresses through to the tile. Same for the Noble product but in a different manner.

These products only work for expansion and contraction of the substrate in a side to side fashion. If the cracks have one side that is raised higher than the other side of the same crack then neither product will protect your tile. There is nothing that can be done in that case.:)

There are also "flexible thinsets" available that would lend to helping absorb lateral movement situations but there again they won't absorb a heaving substrate. Those thinsets cost around $62 per fifty pound bag as compared to a regular modified thinset (offering no protection against movement) that costs around $18.

DITRA will run around $1.85 per square foot and thinset about .35 cents per square foot. DITRA is available at Home Depot and can also be found on the Internet for a little less than that $1.85 but then you have to pay shipping costs.

There really aren't any short cuts in installing tile.:)

If the cracks aren't heaving you could use only the flexible thinset mentioned above without a membrane and that cost adds about .85 cents per square foot.

Trying not to confuse but you do have some options maybe. No real savings, just options.:)

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