There's got to be an easier way!!!
We pulled up some old linoleum in my bathroom but it left a lot of the backing still stuck to the floor. We've tried putting towels down and putting boiling water on them then later scraping the backing off... while some came off, most did not. Now I'm running a belt sander with rough paper over areas that I have not been able to get up but it takes forever just to do one spot.
Any suggestions on how to get it up ???
A wide razer blade floor scraper.
What do you plan on installing once it's done?
Most sheet vinyl floors are installed on top of a thin plywood layer - we frequently wind up setting a circular saw to the thickness of this layer and removing both the flooring and the plywood.
It is a big factor as to what you are putting back in. If you are going with a backer board for tile, then you may not need to remove 100% of the old flooring, just enough so that it does not hump up the new flooring above. The same holds true if you are going back with new sheet vinyl. In the new flooring can handle the slight extra height, you would install a 1/4" to 3/8" smooth subfloor layer on top of the existing and then install your new vinyl floor.
I'm planing on going back with vinyl planking over the existing 3/4" plywood so it has to be pretty smooth.
I've done this 21 times. My former brother-in-law, who is actually an uncatalogued species of orangutan, decided it was too hard to get that stuff off the floor, and simply installed Peel & Stick tiles over it. What a mess he made. It would be comical if it wasn't so awful.
Go to Home Depot, and in their painting aisle you should find something they call a "wallpaper scraper" that looks like this:
Now, if they don't have anything similar, phone some of the carpet retailers in your area, ask to talk to their Installations Manager, and ask him who sells flooring installation tools in your area. The place that sells flooring installation tools will sell much the same kind of thing, but of much higher quality made by either Crain or Gundlach. The Home Depot tool made by A. Richard will cost about $10. The much stronger Crain or Gundlach tools will cost closer to $40, but they'll last you a lifetime.
The tool will come with the blade installed BACKWARD, so that no one cuts themselves handling it. Buy some spare blades because you'll be going through them quite quickly.
Use this floor scraping tool to shave the paper off the adhesive that's still stuck to your floor. You may end up cutting into the plywood underlayment, but that can be repaired with some cement based floor leveler like Mapei Planipatch, also available at Home Depot, afterward.
It takes a bit of practice to learn how to shave the paper off the floor without cutting into the plywood so be both careful and patient until you get the hang of it. Once you get most of the paper off, put the tool away and get out a roll of wax paper.
Most adhesives will dissolve in lacquer thinner, which is typically mostly toluene with some other solvents added. What you do is spread some lacquer thinner onto your floor and immediately cover with wax paper to prevent the lacquer thinner from evaporating. The lacquer thinner will penetrate into the residual paper on the floor and when it reaches the interface between the paper and the glue holding that paper down, it will dissolve the glue at that interface. So, then you simply pull the wax paper back slowly and remove the residual paper with a putty knife and deposit in a garbage can. Removal of the residual glue follows exactly the same process; apply lacquer thinner to the glue, cover with wax paper and allow time for the lacquer thinner to dissolve the glue, then scrape the glue off the floor with a putty knife. I've never tried applying lacquer thinner directly to the paper without shaving it down first, but I expect that given enough time, that might even work, too. The wax paper serves only to prevent evaporation of the lacquer thinner, so anything you can do to help the wax paper do that, including taping or weighing down the edges of the wax paper is fair game. Also note that time is on your side as long as you're preventing the lacquer thinner from evaporating. The longer you leave it, the deeper it will penetrate into what ever is beneath the wax paper.
Also, lacquer thinner (and all of the solvents in it) evaporate completely without leaving any residue.
Obviously, allow plenty of ventilation and if you choose to use a vaccuum cleaner to ventilate the bathroom, have it blow air INTO the room rather than suck air out. That's because vaccuum cleaners will pass the air they're moving over the motor to cool the motor, and the brushes in that motor could produce sparks. So, it's better to have fresh air blowing over that motor than air that could potentially have a lot of solvent vapour in it.
What you're doing is very hard to do if you don't know how to do it, as you have discovered. I've done it lots of times, and so I've learned how to do it.
Another, safer, method is to remove the residual paper with the razor scraping tool, and then use a heat gun and scraper to remove the glue from the floor. You have to remove most of the paper with this method since the paper insulates the glue from the heat, so that it doesn't soften up sufficiently to scrape off easily. I'd say that the heat gun method works better only because you don't have to deal with flammable solvents. A cheap heat gun will cost you about $39 or so, and a good one about $160.
If you opt to buy a good heat gun, and I think you should if you're already starting to do DIY work, I highly recommend the Milwaukee Model 8978 heat gun or it's equivalent. This heat gun has an electronic temperature control with infinitely variable heat setting rather than just a Hi-Lo-Off switch, and that allows you to set the temperature so as to remove the glue easily without scorching any wood. Accessories are also available for it for specialized work.
If you opt for the heat gun method, buy a pair of leather gloves (to protect you from the heat) and a scaper similar to the one shown below, which you should be able to find in any hardware store:
This kind of scraper will be sharp enough to scrape the hot adhesive off the plywood, but not sharp enough to cut into the plywood.
I'd recommend the heat gun method only because it's much safer since you're not using any flammable solvents, but both methods will work very much better than a belt sander.
Hope this helps.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,
Then you are almost there. 3/4" subfloor grade plywood is probably going to leave some marks at the seams - even for thicker vinyl planking. But it will work fine if you add a thin layer of smooth subfloor. This will isolate any subfloor movement from the finish flooring plus it means that you just need to remove the bulk of the old flooring - but not all of it.
I tried lacquer thinner. It did not work. I tried the heat gun and it took far too long. It was also a fire hazard. Finally I tried my wallpaper steamer. It works extremely well. The steamer melts the glue. The paper and glue slide right off with a putty knife. I do have one caution. Be to be sure to scrape off and/or wipe off any excess water that remains on the floor. Wood can warp if it gets soggy.
Grab your saw and start cutting....it will take WAAAAY too long to scrape. That stuff is from the good old days when they made things to last!
Coach/Real Estate Investor
uh, sanders? on lino backing?
you are aware that if there is asbestos in linoleum mats, that's the part you're whaling on with the belt sander, right?
minimized exposure is from scraping as Nestor described, or by dropping a layer of 1/4 plywood over the floor, screwing it down through all the layers, and putting the new floor on over that substrate. you could use backer board if you're tiling.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
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