what's on my floor and how to remove it?

amaryllis52June 22, 2012

Any ideas about what is on my kitchen floor and how (or whether) to remove it? I was planning to strip a kitchen floor down to a decent surface then put on peel & stick vinyl tiles. After taking off two layers of vinyl and adhesive, I thought I had a good enough surface but a local handyman says I should go down to the plywood underlayment and put 1/4" plywood over that.

-What is on the floor? The top layer is a thin material with a smooth surface, a blue backing, and a middle consisting of gray fibers like cardboard. This is glued to a lower layer of some rough material that crumbled when heated, with a cardboard-like backing. The handyman thinks I have 2 layers of old linoleum from the 1950s-60s, but I don't know.

-Do I have to remove this stuff? I thought I could put new tile on top of what I now have, since the old vinyl tile was stuck to it pretty well. The top layer is discolored but it's not sticky at all, though I would need to glue some of it down a little better and patch a bit. Maybe a floor primer would make it a decent surface? (Covering all with thin plywood isn't an option.)

-How do you remove this stuff? If I wanted to strip the remaining stuff (whatever it is), what's the best way?


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BTW, that top layer covers the entire kitchen in two thin sheets, one about 6'x9', the other about 4'x9'.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Got a photo?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Some of those old floor coverings from the 50 and 60's are made with asbestos and should NOT be removed or disturbed in any way. Scraping and sanding can cause asbestos to become airborne and is dangerous to your health and the health of anyone nearby.

If your handyman does not know what this flooring is made of, then call in someone who can accurately identify the flooring in question. If it does contain asbestos, then you can likely add a layer of new subfloor over the top and start fresh, thus encapsulating the old flooring and not disturbing it. I highly suggest you take a look at the http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/ website to learn more about asbestos and how to deal with it properly.

Here is a link that might be useful: AbcCarpets.com

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:22PM
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