I want to take up the vinyl sheet floor in my downstairs bathroom. It
is a concrete pad and the original floor from 30 years ago. Looks like
it was spread with an adhesive and the sheet laid on top
Heat helps, but it is very time consuming. Heat gun does not really get
hot enough. Any suggestions?
Ceramic tile will be going down in this remodel of the bathroom.
If you will be putting down tile then you will need to have a pristine
concrete surface for the thinset to stick to. What you probably need to do
is rent a floor grinder for a half day. One of these will take off the
vinyl remnants and adhesive and the top bit of concrete to eliminate the
old adhesive which is clogging the pores so that the new surface has a
chance of sticking properly. I've always used a heavy floor scraper to get
most of the vinyl up beforehand but the grinder will probably not care what
it is chewing through.
Oh, and you probably want to specify 'porcelain' tile over 'ceramic' --
much harder and the color goes straight through so that chips and damage
On Saturday, April 26, 2014 1:24:52 PM UTC-4, Frank wrote:
I've never had to do this, but I'd take a look at Youtube. A lot
of people have put all kinds of DIY videos on there and a lot of them
are pretty good. I had to pull the inside door panel off a BMW X5
and a 5 min video there saved me a whole lot of time. The videos are
really good for that kind of thing, seeing where the hidden fasteners
are, what holds it on, etc. Only thing I wished I had paid more attention
to was what the guy said about the airbag. Had to take that out and he
mentioned that if you turn the ignition back on, you should put the
airbag back on or it will set the warning light which will stay on for
awhile. Since he said for awhile, I assumed it would eventually reset
itself. Doh! It doesn't. Requires either a special code tool, different
from the OBDII, or a trip to the dealer where if you're real lucky they
might do it for free. Others have reported paying $100.
Dry ice thing makes sense if adhesive is tacky. Cost and availability
of dry ice could be a problem.
I see a lot of good you tube videos but also see a lot of crap.
Older and less agile, I tend to get service work done that I used to do
Yuck. Sounds like no fun.
I don't know the answer, but I would probably try one of these bent scrapers
(a favorite tool of mine that works for a lot of other uses like removing
Plus, maybe the 4-inch scraper that someone else suggested.
And, I know that I would have to at least try using regular ice to see if
cooling the glue and vinyl does make it easier to remove instead of heating
it. I don't know that I would be able to figure out where to get dry ice or
how to use it without giving myself frostbite, but it's an interesting idea.
After the vinyl is up, maybe some type of solvent would get most of the glue
up, or maybe more ice and more scraping.
And then, maybe rent a hand-held concrete grinder at Home Depot or wherever
to grind the residual glue surface so you would end up with a glue-free
concrete surface for the thinset.
If you figure something out that works, or mostly works, let us know.
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It's not the adhesive , it's the backing material on the vinyl that has
asbestos . But if this floor dates from the 80's it's probably not
asbestos-reinforced . Still not a good idea to breath the dust though .
On removal , the best way I found <was in the business for over 15 years>
for small spaces like that is a 4" razor blade scraper . HD and Lowes both
sell them at a reasonable price in the flooring dept .
Ed Pawlowski;3227631 Wrote:
> I want to take up the vinyl sheet floor in my downstairs bathroom. It
I've done this kind of work in at least 21 bathrooms, and I believe I
have it down pat.
But, by "vinyl sheet floor", I presume you are talking about sheet vinyl
with a vinyl wear layer and a white paper backing. The white paper gets
glued down with a full spread adhesive.
Removing the sheet vinyl is a two or three step process, depending on
how you do the job.
The first thing to do is remove the toilet and cut through the flooring
around the floor flange. I prefer to use a plastic laminate knife (the
kind with the one tungsten carbide tooth) for this job, and basically
scrape my way through the flooring.
The next step is to remove the vinyl wear layer from the paper backing,
and this is easiest done with the most common tool used by flooring
installers, but which you hardly see anywhere except in the tool box of
flooring installers, and that's a Roberts 10-510 Molding Lifter.
Home Depot supposedly sells these in their flooring department, but if
you phone any carpet retailer and ask their Installation Manager who
sells flooring installation supplies in your area, the places they name
off will certainly sell them. It's probably one of the most commonly
used tools by flooring installers, but the only place you find them is
in places where they sell flooring installation supplies.
Once you have the vinyl wear layer off, the next step is to remove the
paper backing, and there are two ways to do that. You can use the QEP
4" flooring razor:
'QEP 4 in. Wide Razor Scraper and Stripper-62900Q at The Home Depot'
but if you do, buy PLENTY of spare blades because you'll need them. The
paper dulls the blades very quickly, AND it takes a bit of practice to
get good at slicing the paper off the floor. Home Depot sells this tool
in Canada as a wallpaper stripper, which is stupidity on stilts because
it's so sharp that it would be difficult to remove wallpaper with it
because it would just cut into the wallpaper or into the drywall beneath
You can do a bathroom with a small flooring razor like the one pictured
above, but anyone that does a lot of this kind of work will buy a 20
inch long flooring razor made by either Crain or Gundlach. The 20 inch
tools are built very much stronger than the small ones you buy at Home
The second way to get the paper off is to use a solvent like lacquer
thinner. Use a sharp knife to remove some of the backing paper in a
corner of the bathroom to expose the underlying glue, and then use
various solvents to see what dissolves that glue. And, try using water
too. In the 1950's Roberts made a flooring adhesive called Linogrip 55
which was just a water based paste. That paste would re-emulsify if it
got wet, but flooring installers used it to glue down all kinds of
flooring, including carpet and including in wet areas like bathrooms.
If water doesn't dissolve the glue, the best bet is to try lacquer
thinner. If lacquer thinner dissolves the glue, then you get a ketchup
or mustard bottle from any restaurant supply store and put your lacquer
thinner in that. Now, use a razor knife to cut through the backing
paper into 10 to 12 inch wide strips. Apply the lacquer thinner to the
backing paper and immediately cover with wax paper or aluminum foil, and
weigh the perimeter of the wax paper or foil down. The idea here is to
prevent the lacquer thinner from evaporating from the floor. As long as
it's covered with wax paper, the lacquer thinner will penetrate through
the paper, so time is on your side here. Once the lacquer thinner
reaches the paper/adhesive interface, it will dissolve the glue at that
interface, and the paper will pull off the adhesive easily. Remove the
paper, then apply more lacquer thinner and put the wax paper or foil
down a second time, weighing down the perimeter of the wax paper or foil
so the lacquer thinner doesn't evaporate. Then, when the underlying
glue has been dissolved, pull the wax paper or foil up starting from one
end, and scrape the adhesive off the floor with a putty knife.
Now, when you say that the heat from a heat gun won't soften the glue,
there's gotta be something wrong. Probably the second most common tool
used by flooring installers to get old flooring adhesive off is a heat
gun, and my own personal experience is that sufficient heat will remove
any flooring adhesive.
If you do choose to use heat to soften the adhesive, wear a pair of
insulated leather work gloves while scraping the glue off because the
scraper will get pretty hot.
Anyhow, the two ways to remove the paper backing is by shaving it off
with a 4 inch flooring razor, or by dissolving the glue with a solvent
and using something to prevent that solvent from evaporating. As long
as the solvent is prevented from evaporating, it will eventually migrate
to the paper/adhesive interface, and once that happens removing the
paper is easy, but a little messy. Turn on the bathroom ceiling fan to
provide plenty of ventilation, and if you start daydreaming too much,
it's time for a breath of fresh air outside.
And, the two ways of removing the adhesive are with a solvent and with
Hope this helps.
And turn off ALL potential souces of ignition, and don't wear nylon
or wool clothing. And don't operate light switches or run any device
with a brush type motor.
If he peals the wear surface off first, the heat gun has a lot better
chance of softening the glue and soft glue scrapes off easier than
cold hard glue.
This is where the HF multifunction tool with a scraping blade excels. I did
half of my floor with a manual scraper before I bought mine. The difference
in effort is night and day. Got mine for less than $20.
Many thinset spec sheets say that they stick to "Vinyl composition tile,
asphalt tile, linoleum or non-cushioned vinyl sheet goods (provided
existing flooring is well-bonded to an approved substrate)".
I'm assuming yours isn't cushioned since I understand that's stuck down
And it sure does sound like it's "well-bonded"!
I kept soaking the blades in WD-40 to keep the gunk from building up. I had
been using a section of rebar with a heavy-duty scraper lashed to the end
but it was dreadfully slow going. Then I got the HF tool, strapped on the
kneepads and finished what had been a weeks' long job in one day. If only I
had that sucker when I stripped 50 year old wallpaper from the bathroom.
That's the kind of job I think the Devil hands out to new arrivals in Hell.
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