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Do you think this is worth it?

Posted by vedazu (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 23:22

After my mother passed away last year, I bought the house from my sibs and have been re-doing it. It is a very good house, everything sound and extremely well built. I'm working on the kitchen now, doing some updating of appliances and so carpenter pulled up the (current) vinyl floor and underlayment today, and found an old vinyl floor, glued down to the original linoleum, which is adhered with tar. So, my carpenter isn't nuts about trying to get this mess pulled up. My problem is that I want to put down porcelain tile, which will require a layer of cement board screwed down or cork flooring, glued down. This will make the transitions to the hardwood flooring in the living room, and the quarry tile foyer on another side awkward. Do I have to pay someone to come in and pull up that floor, or is there a work around? Would value your opinions.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Do you think this is worth it?


Pour scalding hot water over the "tar" and saturate it. If it's the same stuff that was in my 1910 kitchen, it will scrape right off.

You may have a beautiful wood floor hiding under there and your transition problem solved too.

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Not a job for a carpenter. If you want tile, get a professional tile guy (not any tiler). They'll prep the floor properly. If you are planning on large format tiles with tight grout lines (like everybody seems to want these days), then that's all the more reason to use a pro. Absolutely worth it.

I just did a bathroom with a similar situation as yours. The black "tar" is called cutback adhesive, and likely has asbestos. In our case, fortunately there was a sheet of thin ply under the cutback. so it all came out.

Take a look at the john bridge tile forums. Might find a recommendation over there.

This post was edited by homebound on Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 7:36

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Trebruchet: Thank you for taking the time to respond. The problem is that you have to get past a layer of vinyl, a layer of underlayment (stapled down) and the original linoleum (no hardwood there--the house was built during my childhood and linoleum is original. Rest of the house has hardwood.) Then, you get to the tar. My guy just doesn't want to /know how to get all of that up without going inch by inch. Are there people who can do it with special tools?

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Both the adhesive and the tile contained asbestos.
There is a simple method that easily defines what you have.
Remove a portion of or a whole tile exposing the glue. Pour a small quantity of boiling water on the adhesive. If the adhesive bubbles and loosens, IT IS NOT CUTBACK, if it does not, it is, and your option become substantially narrowed.

Caution needs to be taken in the removal of cutback adhesive, which becomes dangerous as it becomes friable IE airborne, and keeping the area moistened is recommended.

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

If it's asbestos, I'd let a pro do it.

Have you checked out the modern linoleums? Like the brand Marmoleum, not vinyl that everyone calls "linoleum". It would still take some prep because you need a good smooth surface, but you'll have less of a height transition.

It's really nice stuff, sort of upscale, and comfortable underfoot.

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

+1 on very likely potential for asbestos.

Get it tested and abate with care.

There is usually more in the mastic than in the tile or at least more easily friable material.

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Thanks for the advice. The linoleum is not tile--it is inlaid sheet, with mitered corners up to the toekick. Probably not asbestos, according to most people I've spoken to. I realized that I wouldn't be happy with a "do around" so I found a fellow who can scrape it all up with a power tool of some sort. So, that's happening, and we'll be down to the original subfloor and go from there. Ah, remodeling--you think you have a budget, and then you don't.....

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

A really good floor man is worth his weight in gold!

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Yep, scrape it all up with a power tool of some sort. You'll never notice the effects of the released asbestos for decades. And it'll save you a bunch over using an approved asbestos remediation company.

(Incidentally, roll vinyl flooring with asbestos was manufactured until 1983and old stock was sold for years afterwards.)

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

better to test it for asbestos, and know for sure.
if it is asbestos, then leave it alone & floor over
or pay to have it safely done.

on one hand lots of folks remember the asbestos
issues of years past, otoh lots of product resemble
asbestos and are not.

these days of mold is gold got their start from
the asbestos gold mines.

better to know than risk anyone's health.
then once you know..proceed from there.

just my opinion

Best of luck.

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

I'm so sorry, I didn't come back to this thread after the job was done. I'm 1000 miles away, but my carpenter there tells me that the man who did the work was properly garbed, with a face mask, they poly'ed the door ways, and used water to clean up/bag the "remains." We're putting down cement board, screwed down before proceeding.
Just out of curiosity, was linoleum (1952 installation) also made with asbestos? Thank you for your comments!

RE: Do you think this is worth it?

Just out of curiosity, was linoleum (1952 installation) also made with asbestos?
Could have been.

Too late to get it tested and properly removed. I'd suggest paying a company to come in and test your house now to see if there is asbestos dust everywhere.

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