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Vinyl Tile Adhesive: How to Remove from Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Michelle in Washington on the line who’s dealing with some flooring adhesive. What’s going on?

    MICHELLE: We have pulled up our vinyl off our concrete floor. We have a slab floor and want to replace it with tile. But we have the residue left from the vinyl being pulled up. And I want to know the best way to get that up, if there’s any kind of chemical or just boiling water. I know it’s going to be scraping but I didn’t know what I could put on it ahead of time.

    TOM: Adhesive goes down easy and sure doesn’t come up that way.

    MICHELLE: No, it doesn’t. And it’s probably been there for 20 years, so …

    TOM: Yeah. Is it fairly smooth or is it …?

    MICHELLE: Oh, it’s fairly smooth. The vinyl came up but it left the paper backing.

    TOM: So, if it’s fairly smooth and it’s well adhered to the concrete, you might be able to just glue the tile down right on top of that. Because I’ve got to tell you, it’s really hard to get that adhesive up. It’s not like you could cover it with boiling water or vinegar or something like that. You might be able to use a citrus-based adhesive remover and that might help you a little bit. But if it’s already well adhered to the concrete slab, then I don’t see why you couldn’t go on top of it with the new tile mastic.

    MICHELLE: OK. I did that in my kitchen. I went right over the old tile because it was very flat. But now I’m doing another area. It’s not a big area – it’s an entryway – but we’re doing a whole big room that includes the entryway and it’s ceramic plank. And I was concerned about the – you use a different mastic, because I understand with the ceramic-plank floor – and I thought that heat might wet that paper enough to not give me good adhesion.

    TOM: Well, if it’s just paper, you could probably do some abrasion, some sanding of that glue to get through the paper. Because yes, you don’t want to have a non- sort of adhesive layer in between the tile adhesive and what you’re going down to. But that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, especially if it’s a small area.

    MICHELLE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: But like I said, you could use a citrus-based adhesive remover. Try to see if that will loosen it up. There’s also a way to grind it off but it’s expensive and you need some specialized equipment.

    MICHELLE: Great. I’ll try that. Thanks for taking my call.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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