Hey folks. I've got a house that was built in the 1950s. I'm replacing the tile in the laundry room with durable vinyl flooring. The laundry room has a concrete floor and there had been tile there (from when the house was built). I found, when I pulled up the tile it left behind the old adhesive that had secured it to the concrete.
The adhesive is now a tar-like substance in appearance and consistency. I can't get it off the concrete. I've tried scrapping and general household chemicals. Nothing seems to do the trick.
Anyone have any suggestions?
Assuming that this was not ceramic tile but something like asbestos or hard rubber tile that was glued down.
You have lucked into one of the most difficult substances known to man to remove. You're looking at more scraping and/or stronger chemicals - with finding a solvent probably giving the best results. BIG thing to be concerned with is ventilation while you are working with a solvent. Also watch for any open flames or pilot lights.
The only good news is that you do not have to remove 100% of the old glue, just get it down to a thin, uniform layer.
Gonna have to respectfully disagree with Jaybee on this one too. Cured epoxy is hard to remove. Black asphaltic adhesive is messy to remove but not hard to remove.
Back in the 1950's, the Roberts company marketed a paste for LINOLEUM tiles called "Linogrip 55" that dried to a dark brown colour. And, being a true paste, and not a glue or adhesive, Linogrip 55 will still dissolve in water, even after 65 years. So, if it's dark brown in colour, ALWAYS try water first.
If the adhesive you have is black, then it goes by many names including "cutback", "black out", "black vinyl adhesive" or "black asphaltic adhesive", and I've never had a problem removing it with Titan Lab's "Oil Flo".
My understanding is that Titan found out that everyone was buying Oil Flo to remove cutback adhesive, so they optimized the formulation to remove cutback and called the resulting product "Oil Flo 141". Both are made by Titan Labs in Sunnyvale, California.
I've used Oil Flo many times, and it does make removing cutback adhesive relatively easy. Wear old clothes when doing it, tho. I've never used Oil Flo 141, so I can't say if or how much better it works, but my understanding is that it's specially formulated for removing that black cutback adhesive.
You can get almost as good results by dissolving the cutback with mineral spirits, and then mixing in a 50/50 mixture of Simple Green and Mr. Clean into that dirty solvent. Then, emulsifying the dirty solvent by mixing in water. When you do that, the black mess on the floor will turn gray as the black solvent mess transforms into gazillions of tiny droplets of solvent suspended in the water. The cutback adhesive will be dissolved in the solvent, and the solvent droplets will remain suspended as separate droplets in the water and won't coalesce because each droplet will have a film of detergent molecules at the solvent/water interface, and the detergent molecules all want to remain dissolved in water. Post requesting an explanation if you don't understand what I mean by that.
You can then use a wet/dry vaccuum cleaner with a squeegee nozzle to vaccuum up that emulsion, thereby removing the cutback adhesive from the floor in the form of gazillions of tiny droplets of soiled mineral spirits. I've done that on two of my laundry room floors. But, that home made formulation just doesn't do as good a job as Oil Flo at removing the cutback.
Oil Flo doesn't have any volatile solvents in it, so you don't need to be careful about providing plenty of ventilation when using it. 141 doesn't have any volatile solvents in it either.
Phone up any carpet retailer in your area, and ask to speak to their installations manager. Ask the installations manager who sells flooring installation supplies in your area, and he'll give you some names and phone numbers. Phone those places and ask if they sell Oil Flo or Oil Flo 141. If they don't, they'll know who does. It's a very popular product amongst flooring installers for
removing black asphaltic adhesive (in Canada anyway).
Please don't ask the Installations Manager who sells Oil Flo or Oil Flo 141 in your area because his response will almost certainly be "You can order it through us.", in which case you'll end up paying twice as much for it as both the flooring installation supply store and the carpet retailer will each take a bite out of your wallet.
If he asks, tell him you're interested in installing your own carpets and want to see what's available in knee kickers and wall trimmers from the places where the installers buy those kinds of tools. I doubt if Home Depot would even sell a knee kicker or wall trimmer, and if they did, they'd probably sell relatively cheap ones.
I can tell you that Oil Flo works well, and I understand Oil Flo 141 is formulated specifically for removing cutback, but I'd phone Titan and ask their tech support people if Oil Flo or Oil Flo 141 is recommended here just to confirm my info is accurate. I wouldn't want to steer you wrong.
There have been reports that using petroleum distillates to dissolve cutback adhesive will result in a residue on the floor that can interfere with the adhesion of other flooring adhesives. So, to do a Cadillac job, remove the black asphaltic adhesive with either Titan product. Then, spray or squirt some mineral spirits onto the cleaned floor (go in small 4 square foot areas, one at a time), scrub the mineral spirits into the floor with a scrub brush to dissolve any residual petroleum distillates, then scrub a 50/50 mixture of Mr. Clean and Simple Green into the mineral spirits. Then add water and scrub to emulsify the mineral spirits into the water. Any residual petroleum distillates will remain in the emulsified droplets of mineral spirits. Then suck up that emulsion with a squeegee nozzle and a wet/dry vaccuum cleaner. Best to use a scrub brush on the end of a pole and a garden sprayer to do this more comfortably.
Then wash the floor with water, scrub, and vaccuum up to remove any detergent residue still on the floor.
That will guarantee the floor is clean as a drill sargeant's whistle and ready for another flooring to be glued down onto it.
Also, if I were you, I wouldn't use a sheet vinyl flooring in a laundry room. I'd pay more and get real linoleum like Marmoleum or Congoleum. An unbalance washing machine with 250 pounds of water in it will kick the $#|^ out of sheet vinyl flooring. I'd put in the much more durable REAL linoleum like Marmoleum or Congoleum which will stand up to that washer dancing around on it. Real linoleum, which is made with linseed oil, will continue to crosslink with oxygen from the atmosphere and get harder and stronger as it ages, just like linseed oil based paints.
Post again if you don't know how linseed oil reacts with the oxygen in the air to transform into a solid.
Also, to install a sheet vinyl flooring, best to make a pattern of the floor with wall paper, trace that pattern onto the sheet vinyl or linoleum, cut out the pattern, dry fit the sheet vinyl or linoleum into the room and make any final cuts to improve the fit, weigh down one side of the flooring with something really quite heavy like a spouse, fold back the unweighted side, spread your adhesive on the exposed side of the floor, spread the flooring into the tacky adhesive, move the spouse to the opposite side of the floor and do an encore performance on the other side of the floor.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
BTW, I really don't mind if you disagree with me - as long as you get my name right.
Thank you for the great info and step-by-step instructions. Really appreciate it.
The adhesive is definitely more black than brown in color (and somewhat fiberous?), so I believe it is cutback/black vinyl adhesive, as you've described. I'm going to give the Oil Flo process a try. I'll let you know if I muck it up too badly.
Thanks again, guys!
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