ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
We're about to remodel our kitchen and attached half bath. The home was built in 1929, and there are at least 3 layers of self stick vinyl tile on top of the original hard wood floor. Does anyone have any experience and/or ideas for how to remove all the vinyl tiles?
The pieces we've pulled so far are very brittle and break in small parts. How do we remove the tacky glue? How do we prepare the floor surface for a new vinyl surface? Thank you for your help and guidance.
Rene from Cleveland, OH
Well to be honest you really don't need to remove the existing tile, but since you already started
use Mean Green Cleaner you can get from the Dollar Store or grocery store that stuff will peel paint. Or you can use Windex.
I would use a scraper and be sure to wear a mask when doing this the old houses have mold and asbestos that can be under all that mess. If you have any more rooms with tile leave the tile and just go over top of it less work and easier for you. It will not hurt any thing if you do, just adds insulation.
My husband states that layering vinyl tiles is a no-no. He removed the tile from our floor using a heat gun and a putty knife. They seemed to soften up and came off rather easily. He just replaced the tiles with other ones, thus he didn't have to remove the glue from the floor.
Really to do the job right, one should put 1/4 inch plywood down first in order to get a reasonably level surface. By doing this, one does not have to remove the old glue. In fact he said it would help hold down the plywood. Also if the floor boards squeak when walked on, nail or screw the boards to the floor joists. This will eliminate the squeaking. He feels that tiles should not be put down over hardwood flooring as the seams will eventually show up in the tiles, thus stating the use of the plywood. Hope this helps and gives you a few ideas. (05/08/2006)
By Malinda from PA
Home improvement stores have a long-handled tool for removing tiles, looks kinda like a small snow shovel. Works good, you just scrape them up. Why not refinish the hardwood floors. I am so jealous.
I recently read an article that said one shouldn't remove old vinyl flooring because it contains asbestos. It recommended laying the new floor right over the old. (05/09/2006)
By Carol in PA
Are you people crazy? Do not remove any vinyl tiles yourself, unless you are certain that they do not contain asbestos.
Any tile over 14 years old will most likely contain asbestos and needs to be removed by a professional asbestos abatement company. Wearing a mask will do nothing to protect you. Asbestos will still get on your clothes and will be released into the environment of your home where it will recirculate for decades. Asbestos abatement companies will seal off the area and use special vacuum systems to remove all asbestos contaminants from your home environment. Don't risk your long term health over a few dollars. Call a professional instead.
Lay a wet washcloth over the tile and use a steam iron and the tile should come right up. At least it did for me. You may have to keep re wetting the rag. Use the iron for about 30 seconds. You may have to do it more than once. (03/15/2008)
Dry Ice, in square blocks. You wet the floor and then put the dry ice block over it and then wait. Within about 5 to 10 minutes the tiles will start to pop off. Pretty cool to watch. (03/26/2008)
By Big Joe
We removed vinyl tile, not the self adhesive type with a blow dryer. It worked great, even got the glue off the bottom. (05/07/2008)
I have just started a project just like you are talking about and tried many different things. However I bought a Wagner 705 Power Steamer from Home Depot for $50. I just heated the tiles up with it (all of 15 seconds) and the tiles pulled right up with ease. To get the sticky stuff up I bought a bottle of Goo Gone spray and the glue just dissolves away with a simple wipe of a damp rag. Hope this helps it sure worked for me. (07/23/2008)
Lee is right. Have a sample of your tiles, ideally one that's been chipped off, tested for asbestos content. It costs ~$90, more than you'd think. Ours were vintage 1957 for the oldest possible batch and had asbestos: one 3%, another 65%. I was told by one abatement company that if I was removing them myself to wet the tiles down first.
I've been given both answers as to whether one can put tiles over tiles that have asbestos in them, and contractors have bid on doing the removal and the new vinyl who weren't an abatement company, so there's an obvious lack of consistency out there. The general consensus seems to be that if you're not nailing the new covering into the asbestos tiles, e.g. nailing carpet over tiles containing asbestos, as that "stirs up" the asbestos material, that's a no-no. The hair dryer/steamer idea wouldn't seem to violate this notion, whereas trying to chip away at them would. (06/02/2009)