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Thread: Vinyl floor/carpet tile removal

  1. #1
    Software Engineer ktambascio's Avatar
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    Default Vinyl floor/carpet tile removal

    In preparing for our upcoming basement bathroom addition, I took my floor scraper and popped off about 5-6 12" grey vinyl tiles (they look like the everyday commercial ones). There was a black and beige glue bonding them to the concrete floor. After 5-6 (they all came up in one piece) it dawned on me that I wasn't thinking about asbestos potential. I'm not too worried about the tiles since they all seem to be popping up in one piece, so in theory I'm not releasing any fibers. I don't know about the glue though.

    I was planning to get one of those mail-in test kits that they sell at the Borg. Half of the bathroom will be on what is now these 12" vinyl tiles, and half is on carpet. Under the carpet is a yellowish glue.

    What's the best way to remove this glue from the concrete? Is there anything you can pour over it to put ceramic tile on top? Since it's a new bathroom, we will be cutting the slab floor so some of the glue will get removed that way.

    From googling about this, it looks like the tiles were not manufactured after 1983. I also read that asbestos tiles were typically 9". Not knowing when the previous owner put them down...they look newer than what I would think this floor would look like after 26 years, but I have no way to know for sure.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  2. #2
    Product R&D for a powertool manufacturer dgold's Avatar
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    The "glue" is probably mastic. I would think you could probably find a chemical to strip it.
    Not a pro, but happy to share my lessons learned whenever I can. This forum has been a fantastic resource along the way.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you are going to install tile, you do not want to use a chemical stripper - it can force stuff into the pores and prevent a good bond with the thinset. Many thinsets can be installed over 'cutback' adhesive, but you must scrape off most of it so you can see the concrete underneath.

    Check out www.johnbridge.com for tiling help.

    If it contains asbestos, use a spray bottle, keep it damp and scrape it up with a razor scraper. You don't want to grind it or work with it while dry.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Software Engineer ktambascio's Avatar
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    Jim: I couldn't find any of those test kits at Lowe's or HD, though the website claimed they have them. Looking at the tile more, I don't think it is 26+ years old (asbestos was banned in 1983), so I'm fairly convinced it is not dangerous. In fact, they still sell the same exact Armstrong commercial flooring tiles at HD, as I saw in the store today. The previous owner probably put them down a week or two before putting the house up for sale.

    I'm just going to scrape the floor after wetting it down...I only need to clear about 20 square feet out of there to make room. Of course the same mastic is under the carpet, so there will be a lot of scraping.

    -Kevin

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default tile

    If you are not grinding or sanding the tile, it makes no difference what they are made of.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member DIY Duder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktambascio View Post
    Jim: I couldn't find any of those test kits at Lowe's or HD, though the website claimed they have them. Looking at the tile more, I don't think it is 26+ years old (asbestos was banned in 1983), so I'm fairly convinced it is not dangerous. In fact, they still sell the same exact Armstrong commercial flooring tiles at HD, as I saw in the store today. The previous owner probably put them down a week or two before putting the house up for sale.

    I'm just going to scrape the floor after wetting it down...I only need to clear about 20 square feet out of there to make room. Of course the same mastic is under the carpet, so there will be a lot of scraping.

    -Kevin
    FYI Just for anyone reading this, there is techniclly no ban on asbestos products in the United States. The EPA wanted a ban in 1989 and faze out by 1992 but the epa was suied and the asbestos industry won in Federal Court. For example, the auto manufacturers all have stopped putting asbestos break pads on cars. The last car to have asbestos pads was the 1993 crown vic/grandmark/towncar that had them to stop a break squeek problem. But they have all stopped for liability reasons now. The catch is that if you don't buy stock pads from say Toyota or whoever, the aftermarket manufacturers DO NOT have to label them as asbestos pads. We all should pressure out ledgislators for a full ban on ALL asbestos products. The UK, France, and a long list of 60 other industrialized nations have already band asbestos in ALL forms. Canada brought a suit against France in the WTO claiming trade interferance. Remarkably, France won and the ban remains. Who would have known?

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    As to the glue issue: any stripper may be a flammable hazard, so if there is a water heater or furnace nearby, turn off all pilots and ventilate the area while using.

    But there are a number of adhesives( See the Henry product line ) which can be installed over cutback asphaltic residue. Be sure to use one which is so rated, because otherwise it dissolves the old adhesive and the floor comes up!

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member
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    I am forgetinng the name of camical but you can purchase from any shop to clean your tiles.

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