an unexpected discovery . . . . .

kellykathDecember 3, 2012

Hello everyone . . . I've started a new project with a 93 year old house and as I have been lifting up old carpeting, cleaning out cabinets, etc. etc. in a bathroom down the hall, the bubblegum pink one . . . underneath the newer 70's tile that I tore out, I had yellow linoleum and underneath that - to my pleasant surprise, BINGO the small hex marble with periodic navy dots around the edge. Here's my problem, it is so filthy dirty and disgusting I don't know what I should do next. I'm going to need something very powerful other than the strength of my arms. Please give me some of your "hot tips". I'm going to be around for awhile and will post some of my pics soon. Thanks!

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First of all - great find. Is it in good shape? Makes you wonder why they covered it all up, other than they thought the style too old fashioned(!). By "filthy", do you mean dirt and crud or residue left from whatever they used to stick the linoleum down with?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:38PM
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"Here's my problem, it is so filthy dirty and disgusting I don't know what I should do next. I'm going to need something very powerful other than the strength of my arms."

Yes, but it's amazing how well some things clean up. I'd start with something intended to cut grease and clean floors, like a 1/4 cup of 409 concentrate in a quart of really hot water. Apply it liberally and let it sit for a few minutes, then use a scrub brush to see how tough the dirt really is.

Escalate from there to the stronger cleaners if you have to, the ones with a bit of ammonia. Goof-off can get rid of old paint stains, and a scraper blade and a hair dryer can soften lots of things.

You can buy brushes that fit on a drill :)

You can even use super fine sandpaper (400 grit) to rub out some things.

Also, the final cleanup can be with a commercial marble cleaner, let it dry thoroughly, then seal it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Ok, this is just in case ... once upon a time, in a rental house, there was a shower with a fiberglass floor that was hopelessly nasty. I had sprayed it thoroughly with the k-mart version of "scrubbing bubbles" aerosol bathroom cleaner when the new baby woke and needed attention. When I got back to the job an hour later the floor was shiny bright white with just a rinse.

We were renting from a US Navy admiral and that Navy admiral's wife was one of those who give Navy wives their reputation - like when they lived in Navy housing they literally had someone from the Navy come around with white gloves to check up on their housekeeping. That Navy admiral's wife was impressed with that shower because she had never been able to clean it up.

So if all else fails spray it good with scrubbing bubbles, k-mart version if you can find it, and walk away for an hour or so. The newborn baby probably isn't really necessary to the success of the technique. Good luck. (And, oh yeah, open a window. It's my fondest dream to find the same thing buried under the painted vinyl/asbestos/whatever tiles in my own bathroom.)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Thanks, I'm going to try your suggestions as soon as I can. It was the glue that was used to keep the linoleum from lifting up. I think I can get it done - today I really worked hard with comet on a 4" square area and it showed some improvement. I will try to send some posts soon!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:29AM
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Sometimes the mastic that holds down linoleum and tile has asbestos in it. Just sayin'


    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:26PM
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I did this years ago. Search for posts "lauren674 hex tile" and they'll pop up. It was time consuming but rewarding. I even replaced some missing tiles successfully. But in the end we replaced the floor with new hex because the cracked and raised mortar bed had created an uneven crack that was not repairable and the floor sloped up beyond the crack and caused an uneven base for the toilet.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:36AM
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I had a double post, and don't see how to delete it so I'm editing it as another post.

I remember using Tilex to clean the water soaking to disolve the black glue (like 15 minutes and then scraping/scrubbing). Also 409 at some point.

This post was edited by lauren674 on Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 9:11

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:37AM
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congrats. sounds like you already have some good advice but here is another bloggers method that worked:

Here is a link that might be useful: another tile cleaning experience

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Circus Peanut

I've had surprisingly good results cleaning nasty dirty old grout with a 240degree steam cleaner. Mine's a fairly nice one, so it's a bit of an investment, but so useful in many old-house projects. If you can get your hands on one, it's a great way to clean and sterilize without chemicals.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:34AM
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Steam and boiling water are great options. I've done this in a couple rentals I remodeled. The really old mastics (pre 1940s) seem to be a nasty mix of what I'm guessing is a hide-type glue and something that smells like crude oil. Very unique smell. Surprisingly, though, the ones I've dealt with have been water soluble.

Let the hot water or cleaners do you work for you. You'll save yourself aching muscles and stress. As far as asbestos, which I don't think is likely in the mastics I'm talking about, even if it is present you've massively cut any risks by using moisture--your asbestos risks are w airborne particles. Just use gloves and paper towels, then carefully bag. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:07PM
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I used Franmar's Bean-ee-doo on hex tile that had been covered over with vinyl, and it worked quite nicely.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:06PM
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