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juju647 08-26-2008 02:35 PM

Vinyl tile trouble
Okay, I'm new to this board but really need some help.

I live in my family's (old) house and recently I took up the vinyl tile in the kitchen because it was there for years and was worn with holes in it. The subfloor doesn't look very good in some places and there are cracks in it. A friend of mine told me to put a cement mix on my floor to fill the cracks and that didn't turn out well.

I am a single woman who is fairly handy but I do not want to have to lay a new sub floor - I don't even have the necessary tools. I also do not want to spend a lot of money as I won't be staying here for much longer and my family doesn't want to chip in.

I heard today from someone that I could put tar paper on my floor. Is that true? All I want to do is lay new vinyl tile.

Also, any tips on getting up this cement??

Please be gentle with me.. I know I should hire a flooring person, but as I said, I'm leaving soon and don't want to spend any more money.

Thanks so much!

Termite 08-26-2008 04:18 PM

Welcome to the forum!

Felt/tar paper won't do much of anything for you. You need a surface for the vinyl tiles to stick to.

You might consider installing 1/4" thick lauan (pronounced LOO-AHN) underlayment plywood on top of the existing subfloor. It is pretty smooth and can be screwed to the plywood with some 3/4" screws. It would make a decent surface for the tiles to adhere to.

As for getting the cement up, that depends on how much you put down. Can you describe it a little more, what it is exactly, how thick, etc?

mike costello 08-26-2008 07:58 PM

What exactly didnt turn out well with the patch? Is it so bad it cant be scraped and sanded? What was the product you used?

Personally I would much prefer preparing the floor you have rather than using luan . Its more of a waste of time than anything else because rarely is the correct type ( underlayment grade) available to the average consumer.

That being said, your probably dealing with luan anyway under the tiles you pulled up. Have I covered it before with good results? Sure, but some extra time is needed to do a good job prepping it to make it smooth. Its more of a band aid than a proper fix but its doable for your needs.

If you can somehow knock what you have done flat it can be recoated with a skim coat of a good quality cement based patch like Ardex Feather Finish or Mapie (sp?), or Henrys.

A belt sander is a great tool to use. You can rent one for short money or borrow one from a friend. I use a really course grit paper to smooth floors.

Smooth flat and clean is the key

Bud Cline 08-26-2008 08:23 PM

Has anyone asked if the subfloor is wood or concrete?:)

Termite 08-26-2008 10:03 PM

Is the floor wood or concrete? :wink:

mike costello 08-27-2008 05:26 AM


Good point

ccarlisle 08-27-2008 06:16 AM

Yeah, good point. But many - and I included me in that group - assumed a wooden floor in a kitchen, even in an old house; cement kitchen floor? with what all the plumbing running through it or on top of it? :huh:

Bud Cline 08-27-2008 08:51 AM

And I would make the same assumption if it wasn't for this statement:

A friend of mine told me to put a cement mix on my floor to fill the cracks
That's sort of misleading maybe.:) What cracks?:)

juju647 08-27-2008 10:10 AM

Sorry! didn't mean to be misleading.

The subfloor is wood, but it's not big sheets of wood and the "cracks" I was referring to is I guess splits in the wood, maybe from water damage?

The cement I used was this fast setting stuff that my friend gave me called Cement All. Maybe I did it wrong, but the cracks that I wanted it to fill just reappeared in the cement, meaning the cement cracked along where the wood was when someone walked on it.

What did I do wrong? I tried sanding it down before I got any responses yesterday, but it didn't seem to do much. Maybe I used too much?

As for the luan, I really don't want to put a new sub floor down as I said, because I'm moving in a few months and don't want to spend the money.

Thanks so much for all your help!! It's greatly appreciated!

Termite 08-27-2008 10:29 AM

Lauan is cheap. You wouldn't take out the old floor, you'd simply overlay it.

juju647 08-27-2008 11:06 AM

Umm.. I don't have the necessary tools to do that. As I said in my first post, I just wanted to know if there was anything that could be done with the floor aside from putting any type of wood down that would need to be measured and cut.

Like I said, someone told me about tar paper.. and someone told me to use cement.

Thanks tho!

Bud Cline 08-27-2008 05:31 PM

You gotta quit listening to all those "someones".:(

If you are going to use vinyl tile you will need a new subfloor installed first. From the sounds of things you have somewhat of a mess on your hands and there are no magic bullets for what you want to do.

Tar paper certainly isn't the answer.:no:

Termite 08-27-2008 09:19 PM


Originally Posted by juju647 (Post 152271)
Umm.. I don't have the necessary tools to do that. As I said in my first post, I just wanted to know if there was anything that could be done with the floor aside from putting any type of wood down that would need to be measured and cut.

Can't always tell people what they want to hear unfortunately. Like Bud said, there isn't a magic bullet for this job. It will involve some work and some expense.

NoExperience 08-29-2008 10:16 AM

JuJu maybe you should put up a picture so these guys offer you your best advice.
In any case if you were to need underlayment I dont see that being a major cost for a kitchen and you really dont need a lot of tools to do the job.

26yrsinflooring 08-31-2008 10:57 AM

I suggest you get the floor as flat as you can and use a Vinyl sheet goods product called Flexitech it is very thick and very easy for the do-it your selfer to install. it also does not secure to the floor in any manner.
This will work as temp floor with little floor prep required.

Here is a suggestion

The only way tarpaper will work is as a template.
This called: Pattern Scribing.
You get some tarpaper and lay it our over the whole floor tape the joints together and then cut the walls to fit so the whole floor is covered just as you want the vinyl to fit.
Now lay the vinyl out, take the tarpaper template/pattern you have made and lay on top of the vinyl and cut out your kitchen pattern.

Be sure the floor is spotless clean of all dust and dirt.

Layout your new vinyl, trim all your edges 1/8 from the walls. take double face tape and tap an X under your fridge and stove and in front of the door ways, trim the edges with 1/4 rd to hide your expansion gap.
Secure all your door ways with top set gold metal. do not nail through the vinyl just cover the edge of the vinyl with metal keep the nails off it.
Your Done!
Knock em dead!

Oh yeah, throw the tar paper away, your done with it!
Use a common utility knife with a good sharp blade, be careful!

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