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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I'm redoing my kitchen floor and planning to put down ceramic tiles.
After some reading it seemed clear that I need to remove the old tiles and put down 1/4" backerboard. The problem is that the old linoleum tiles seem to be held down with tar.

My big tile removing shovel won't slide along at all... at best it takes chunks out of the plywood underfloor. I have peeled off a few tiles with a hammer and chisel, but this process will take a very long time.

Is it possible to but backerboard over linoueum? If so, what kind of adhesive could I use? Or should I slug it out and remove the tiles... and will backerboard + thinset adhere well enough to tarry ply? Thanks RR
 

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It's mastic not tar.
Figure out what's under the tiles if it's 1/4 anything that also should go.
How old are these tiles? Some contained asbestos.
Have you checked the floor joist and subflooring to see if tile will even work there? We need the spans, spacing species and width.
 
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That black stuff is called 'cutback' and was used from the 1940s into the 1960s when more friendly adhesives became available----
 

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If the old tiles are very secure--you have a couple of options---
Option #1--Cut your 1/4" backer to fit---remove--then trowel down a bed of modified thinset--install the board --add roofing nails or screws and set the tile---

Option B---Install 3/8" or 1/2" BC plywood over the existing subfloor---then your 1/4" tile backe as above---

Either will work---with the old tiles and cutback--often it is best to bury it than to disturb the old material.

More details are needed to get a fancier answer ====
 

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The cutback adhesive and tiles, both probably contain asbestos.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all for the replies. I didn't know that older tiles contained asbestos. This is very worrying. I think my best choice is to simply cover the old tiles as I do not want to mess with asbestos. I figure I will put down a layer of thinset (with a poly mix?) screw on backer, and put the tiles on that. This will make for a thick joint between tiled floor and hardwood, but I don't mind. Cheers RR
 

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The thinset is there only to fill in any voids--1/4 x1/4---or 1/4 x 3/8 will be fine---modified thinset is what I use---
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Mike, I was just coming back to check on that. Just to clarify- I can screw down the backerboard onto the linoleum without thinset underneath, yes? The thinset is just used to fill voids, and I would trowel it on over the backerboards. I hope I have this right. Thanks RR
 

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No, you must put thinset under the CBU, too.
 
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Set the backer board as if it was a big tile----then nail with roofing nails or Rock screws---you want thinset under the backer to fill any voids---
 
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