View Full Version : Help! Glued down laminate tiles

12-15-2006, 08:51 AM
We are trying to remove some horribly generic looking laminate tiles that appears to have been glued down with some mean glue. Digging and trying to break pieces off isn't so easy. What kind of tools do I need to lift these off? My son is helping and we're using something that looks like a knife (not the kitchen type), but man oh man that's a laborious undertaking.

Any short cuts? Is there a specific tool to get them off? What about the horrible glue that is left behind? We want to lay tiles afterwards, probably porcelain.

12-15-2006, 12:02 PM
For the glue, buy a wide razor scraper with the long pole and some extra blades, it will scrape the glue off. For the flooring, maybe a cat's paw? or a bar with about a 2" wide sharpened edge. You can use your hammer on the other 90-degree bent end to pry under the stuff. Might be a better way...not sure.

12-15-2006, 01:12 PM
Goof Off is an incredible cleaner-I always keep a can in the garage.
For tough spots use this in conjunction with whatever method you use.
The good news is that it will really help remove or loosen the glue.
The bad news is the fumes are a problem-be careful not to use to much all at once. Use a lot of ventilation.
You Do Not want to stink up the house with this stuff on a large project.

I use Goof off on all kinds of tough removal situations. Paint-Glue-Varnish etc. When finished--put the rags outside until dry or dispose of properly.
Pick it up at any big box store.

(I'm not a pro)


12-15-2006, 01:24 PM
Be VERY careful using any kind of solvent on concrete where you eventually want to install tile. It can drive the glue down into the pores, and prevent the thinset from holding! It is best to avoid any solvents. When you are done getting as much off as you can, you need to do a water drop test. Sprinkle some water down on the concrete. If it soaks in, thinset will hold. If it beads up, you will then have to grind (scarcify) the top layer to get to virgin concrete, or you will have the tile popping loose.

Bob NH
12-15-2006, 01:48 PM
I used a grub hoe (a mattock) to rip up laminate from a concrete floor at my son's house. It combines the hammer and the cat's-paw in one tool and I did about 150 sq ft in an hour.

I had to sharpen it a bit by beveling the inside of the blade. You need a grinder of some kind for that process. Actually, the cheaper homeowner/garden variety works best because it has a thinner blade than the heavy duty version.

The advantage of the grub hoe is that it has a 3 ft handle and you can swing it with both hands without bending over. Set your feet apart so you don't hit your shins if you miss.

I ground off the glue with a 7" angle grinder because I was concerned about leaving anything that would affect the thinset. However, the dust was terrible. There must be a better way.

A heavy duty wire brush on the angle grinder just smeared the adhesive.

12-15-2006, 03:12 PM
Sometimes a heat gun (hair drier on steroids) will help soften the glue for the razor knife/scraper...
Try not to use solvent if it can be avoided as mentioned before....

12-15-2006, 04:07 PM
Are you talking about a floor, countertop, wall, etc...? How much area are we talking about?

12-15-2006, 04:36 PM
just to complicate things and confuse you.... some thinsets are designed to stick to glue residue on concrete. Cutback adhesive is dark brown and rubbery. According to some thinset instructions, cutback adhesive is OK to thinset on. Check it out.


12-15-2006, 05:28 PM
Many of the modified thinsets will work over cutback, but if you read the fine print...you do need to get nearly all of it off AND the slab must absorb water, not bead it up. I don't think what you have is cutback, though. A heat gun works much better on things like vinal tile or sheet material. The laminate won't have that great of a heat conduction, nor will it likely get soft enough, quick enough to help. You can try it, but I'd be surprised if it helped much. WIth a flexible sheet, you can peel it away as the glue gets soft, can't do that with laminate.

Try the tools mentioned, it should go fairly quick if you're lucky.

12-15-2006, 06:04 PM
I'm sure someone will criticize and tell me what an idiot I am .... but I've been using a propane torch for years to remove asphalt tiles and anything that is glued down. Yep, it is hazzardous and yep, need good ventilation and eye protection & gloves... be safe and don't burn the house down.

12-15-2006, 09:31 PM
I will post a pic tomorrow so you can see what lovely vinyl tiles these people put in the bathroom. It is the type you see for commercial use and especially at Wally world's older stores.

12-16-2006, 08:06 AM
Here's the beaut I'm dealing with. My manicure no longer exists:D

12-16-2006, 08:08 AM
These are commercial tiles (not porcelain/ceramic). I call it laminate but really have no idea what they are made of.

12-16-2006, 09:29 AM
Well, at least you're not dealing with a terribly large area. I would just keep chipping away and get it as clean as possible. Most bathrooms are not large enough too maneuver a long handled scraper, which is what you really need. Another possibilty, as a last resort, might be to just put down a subfloor right over the top of that mess.

12-16-2006, 09:34 AM
We have used a chipping hammer with a large scraping blade in the past - don't know if it would work in your situation...

12-16-2006, 10:07 AM
Here is another shot of the glue. I'm grateful that this is a half-bath.

12-16-2006, 05:50 PM
That's a plywood floor, isn't it? How's the bounce? You might have to put in a substrate (like cement backer board) anyway, even after all that!!!

12-16-2006, 08:28 PM
Betcha a heat gun or propane torch will soften them up (and the glue) to make removal easier... use a stiff scraper. You might break the handle but a tap with a hammer to chisel them up can speed it up too.

12-16-2006, 08:31 PM
I have done a few that worked well with a good paint scraper and hammer......as long as the area wasnt to bug.

12-20-2006, 10:25 AM
when was your house built?

these MAY be VAT's ( vinyl asbestos tiles )

are they 9" or 12"?

12-20-2006, 02:13 PM
I had to take up a bunch of VAT 12 by 12 tiles that looked a lot like them in my laundry room and as the house was built in 1971 I was worried about possible asbestos problems. So I wanted to take the tiles up without breaking them apart and creating airborne particles if possible. What I found worked best was to cover the tile being worked on with tin foil and then heat the area with an ordinary iron. After a few minutes I worked up a corner and using a hard edged "gum scraper" I was then able to force up the rest of the tile in one piece by pushing the scraper under the tile.

12-20-2006, 04:19 PM
Yep...basically the same thing I posted about above using a propane torch. There is actually a gizmo you can rent which is on wheels, has a torch and scraper attached for removing glued down flooring.

12-21-2006, 10:07 AM
If you have dry ice available, it works great. Have to let it sit a couple of minutes and the tile will pop off with a scraper.

12-24-2006, 07:33 AM
You need more than a hair dryer. I used a craftsman (sears) heatgun on tiles like that recently. Go to sears and check it out, this heatgun is great for removing tiles, it softens vinyl tiles and glue, and they become easy too scrape up. It is good for removing old paint,It will start a fire, be careful!
It is good for heatshrink tubing as well..if you do any electrical splicing.
We had glue left on our concrete floor, we left it there, and then put down a ceramic floor over the old glue and concrete..so far so good.

01-07-2007, 06:17 PM
I just took up a kitchen and dinning room full of this type flooring. I used a hoe-looking tool. It looks like a regular garden hoe but instead of the end making a 90% turn, Its flat. It was about $10 at the local hardware. Once you get an area started, it really goes pretty good. I did the job in about 30 minutes. The left over glue would almost pull your shoes off your feet. Good Luck!