Best Way To Remove Old Vinyl's Backing From Particle Board Underlayment - Flooring - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:37 PM   #1
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Best way to remove old vinyl's backing from particle board underlayment


Old 3/8ths inch particle board underlayment with the very thin old vinyl removed... There is a layer of "paperish" stuff left in most places over the particle board. I've tried a little sanding, but what would be the recommendation for removing that paper (figuring it was the backing of the old vinyl)?

If yes, sanding is it, is there a particular type of sandpaper that might be better than the typical rough/medium/fine sandpaper I've been trying?

(This is a limited section of floor repair in a bathroom under the toilet, and so there is new underlayment and then the original older underlayment I'm blending to - hence the use of the dreaded particle board underlayment. And by "particle board" I don't mean OSB or Plywood.)

Thanks...
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:47 PM   #2
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I would not sand it in case it contains asbestos. What will be the next flooring? Many flooring products can not be installed over particle board.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Thanks, Rusty, for the asbestos warning. I'm going to look into getting a small piece tested before sanding away. The house was built in 1988, but from what I've read companies were allowed to use up their asbestos products for a while, so I shouldn't assume it's all good.

I did find that my orbital drill attachment proved sanding will be easy (I barely did one spot...) and I was just being thrown by my hand sanding wimpiness. A mouse sander will let me get up to the corners I need to get to.

To answer your question, I am wanting to bring the level of the old particle board down some to the edge of the rest of the old vinyl, and I plan on laying one of the very products (vinyl tiles - VT solid, not VCT) that don't work on particle board. I'm hoping to shellac or otherwise seal (Lee's Everseal is something I've heard a lot about - or one of the primers by Henry/Ardex) the dang particle board (old and new) to allow the cheap tiles to look and work okay for a few years.

I'm hoping my getting this all to work okay on particle board will leave it so down the road I can pretty easily do (or have done) a new floor. Of course, if there's asbestos in what I've got, all bets are off and I'll, uh, have to go the full floor/bye bye all underlayment route, and then that new toilet will seem like it's never getting installed!

By the by, the new section of floor which is, uh, larger than usual when repairing water damage from a toilet... turned out well, is overbuilt, solid-as-a-rock, and this DIYer is quite happy with it.

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Old 11-10-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
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I can not think of a single good reason to leave particle board under any flooring.
In a bathroom it's a time bomb waiting to happen.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:59 AM   #5
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joecaption: Well, from all I've read, agreed. Since I'm not a flooring person I can't tell you why it's so prevalent, but it does seem to be so in this area (Santa Cruz, California). Lower costs? It is the only thing "Home Despot" sells that they call "underlayment", so go figure.

The reason I used it for my section of new floor was to most closely match what the rest of the bathroom's floor is, and at that stage of the project I didn't know it sucks.


rusty baker: I'm not finding (yet, still checking) a local way to test for asbestos. Friends are saying "no way" for vinyl sheets from 1988. But breathing some and seeing if I die in ten years does seem like a bad way to find out...
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:04 AM   #6
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Particle board has no place in a bathroom. Rip it up and get it out of there entirely. Any time you spend on trying to 'work with it' will end up wasted when you have to go back and rip all of it up again when it fails. Then it'll take all your new material with it. Best to rip, replace and be done with it.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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No way was there only particle board subflooring available in any box store.
Particle board is rarely even used any more.
http://www.homedepot.com/s/underlayment+plywood?NCNI-5
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:02 AM   #8
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joecaption - I'm positive you would know better than me, and yes our box store has plenty of good options, but the particle board underlayment was the only one labeled "underlayment" that I found and it matched the piece of the old "underlayment" I'd brought with me exactly.

My assumption from just a couple friends' homes that particle board is still used a lot was just that - an assumption. And from what you say, thankfully a wrong one!
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:54 PM   #9
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Are you sure it's particle board and not chip board or MDF?
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rusty baker View Post
Are you sure it's particle board and not chip board or MDF?
Which wouldn't improve the situation, either way. Junk like that really has no place under a floor, let alone one in an area very likely to see moisture.
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