Plywood-Over-Linoleum Disaster; Solution?

Hi,
Any suggestions for the best way out of the following linoleum floor installation disaster?
A (young) installer (with experience) opted to cover an old linoleum floor with quarter-inch plywood and then cover that with new linoleum. The plywood was secured with abundant use of one-inch staples dispensed from a quality gun, then the new linoleum was glued to the plywood. The problem is that the plywood has bowed up in the center, at least a 4 foot diameter bubble raised about a half inch. How could this happen? Obviously the staples failed. Would the approach have worked if screws secured to the floor joists were used instead of random application of staples to the subfloor? The linoleum is glued tight and if one tries to pull it up the paper backing tears and is an ugly mess.
I'm trying to think of solutions; I hate to recommend a lot of unnecessary work, such as tear everything out, or pull off the linoleum, scrape off the glue, screw the plywood down into the floor joists and try again. I know this sounds insane, but could the bubbled plywood be screwed down through the new linoleum (into the floor joists) and a second layer of plywood be used and newer linoleum glued to that? Seems to me that if this is done the big bubble will just become smaller bubbles.
My role is that of an advisor to correct this farce (I'm related by in-law once removed). I wasn't involved in the original work (thank heavens) so I can't comment as to why it didn't work as planned; however, I do feel that the plywood-over-linoleum idea should have worked OK, if it had been done correctly, and I see it has been recommended in this newsgroup, so I probably would have gone along with the idea if I'd have been consulted at the start, but not necessarily the idea to use staples.
Thanks,
Dale
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I would tear it down to subfloor and try again. This time, when stapling down the luan (1/4") use subfloor adhesive first to help hold it down. Maybe look into using longer staples if possible, it's possible that the staples aren't penetrating the subfloor deep enough to hold.
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Many vinyl installers won't use luan. The problem is not too short staples. The problem is the luan. Most is not 1/4 inch making the 3 veneer layers very thin. The staples blow right though it. The use of a proper underlayment is the solution.
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wrote:

Is it padded vinyl? Is there a seam or line in the pattern you can cut? is the bubbled area lifting because the plywood is too big, or what? Was this a commercial job, or in his own house, where he can live with a band-aid approach?
Taking a router and routing a big X through the middle of the bubble would probably remove enough material to make the plywood lay down flat. THen he could inject glue under it to make it stay that way. Unfortunately, that leaves a big X in the middle of the floor. So you then have to take the router and turn it into a 4' compass rose, and fill the trenches with epoxy. . .
Hmm.. Maybe you could just cut out a circle around the bubble, and claim it's a UFO landing site.
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Staples may not be the best choice, depends on what they're going into. A better choice probably would have been ring shank nails.

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dalemstevens wrote:

It depends how perfect it has to look.
You could put screws through the linoleum/plywood/linoleum into the sub-floor.
If there is a pattern where the screw holes wouldn't stand out too badly it might be okay. You can fill the screw holes with some sort of filler when you're done, yo match the color of the linoleum.
Every house I've owned that had linoleum has had many layers of it, without any plywood in between. Why did he put the plywood in?
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wrote:

Dale, I also think all those layers should be ripped up. There is a new type of vinyl floor that need not be glued down. It comes 4 meter wide or about 13'. It has a fiberglass backing instead of cardboard and thus more flexable. So after the ripup belt sand the high spots and use a levelor on the low spots.
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