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Old 09-25-2011, 10:56 PM   #1
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Trying to get to subfloor


I am removing the old vinyl tile squares in my half-bath and replacing them with porcelein tile. Removing the vinyl tiles was easy but getting down to the subfloor is not. There is a layer between the vinyl and the subfloor but ti is very difficult to tear off. It is about the same thickness as the vinyl tiles and has a pebble-like design on the top. However, it is smooth like the vinyl. Even after I do get that removed, there is thin-set between that and the subfloor. I attached a picture that shows the layers, if it helps.

What is the best way to remove this layer above the subfloor, and once I do that how should I go about removing the thin-set. I plan on re-applying thin-set and using 1/4" cement backerboard.

I appreciate all feedback, as I am getting quite frustrated at this point.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
I attached a picture that shows the layers, if it helps.
Yeah, a pic will help.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
I attached a picture that shows the layers, if it helps.
Where is it?
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

My apologies, I thought I had attached it. The "pebble-graphic" layer is what was beneath the vinyl tiles. I have been trying to rip that up but it keeps peeling which is the white area. Below the layer that I actually do rip up is old thin-set.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Here's what I get when I click on the link.

"Sorry, that page was not found."
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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Third time's a charm
Attached Thumbnails
Trying to get to subfloor-lav-floor.jpg  
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:01 PM   #7
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Okay first let's fix the terminology thing. Actually "thinset" always refers to a cement-type mortar used in installing ceramic tile. So for now, I doubt you have any thinset to deal with.

Next; that type of vinyl flooring is sometimes installed over a 1/4" plywood underlayment installed as a part of the vinyl installation. Is that the case here? If so...the plywood should be removed with the vinyl so check that out and see if that's the case.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:52 PM   #8
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That is Armstrong's Montina inlaid sheet vinyl which dates back to the '60's - 80's, (maybe even a little more recent). The white backing is called hydrocord backing and it contains asbestos. Definitely not thin set.

Bud is right, (of course) so look for a 1/4" underlayment and remove both at the same time.

After you do that report back on what you've found the subfloor is made of.

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Old 09-26-2011, 04:45 PM   #9
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I will check this out and report back. I appreciate the information!

Btw, should I be concerned about the fact that this stuff contains asbestos?
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:06 PM   #10
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Remove any 1/4" underlayment with the vinyl still attached and not problems. Sanding and scraping of the backing may create dust which could stay in your lungs. Generally it would take years of exposure to make a difference. But I don't know for sure, why take chances. If you have to scrape, keep the floor wet by misting as you work.

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Old 09-26-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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Looks like it could be cutback adhesive, which also could contain asbestos.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:18 PM   #12
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Glad you brought that up Rusty. I didn't want to confuse things since removing any 1/4" ply would solve that problem too, but don't scrape that either.

Apparently someone removed VCT glued with that black cut back, then the sheet vinyl was installed. Or maybe they glued the Montina with the black stuff? Which of course is all wrong. No need discussing if the wrong adhesive was used so I skipped that.

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:45 AM   #13
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It does appear that there is a thin (1/4"?) underlayment that the old flooring is bonded to. What would be the best way to remove this? I have a crowbar but I am having trouble getting enough leverage to tear up the underlayment. If I go from the edge, I am afraid I will damage the drywall. What would you suggest?
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
What would you suggest?
Generally speaking a pro would use a circular saw (set to the proper depth) to cut through the vinyl and the 1/4" plywood. It would be cut into manageable strips that could be pried upward.

Normally the plywood will have a million staples in it and the smaller strips make it easier to pry the plywood out. Some staples (assuming there are staples) will stay with the subfloor and will have to be pulled out individually. A pair od side-cutters or end-cutters works better than a standard pliers for removing the remaining stubborn staples.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:43 PM   #15
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To all who have responded, I thank you for your helpful feedback. I may end up hiring a professional as I am worried about the asbestos not to mention the fact that I'm a complete amateur.

Does anyone have an idea as to what the cost might be to remove the existing floor down to the subfloor? The half-bath is 4x6 ft and I may want to do the 3x3 ft. area just outside the bathroom.

Last edited by sullijos; 09-27-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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