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OT- Taking up old linoleum floor

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  • OT- Taking up old linoleum floor

    Remodeling the kitchen, and the original floor was sheet linoleum. There was 12x12 tile layed on top of the linoleum, so I figured it best to remove it all before doing the new floor.

    Using a scraper, I've been getting under most of it and peeling up the flooring, but a fair amount of the original linoleum is stuck to the sub-floor. This makes an uneven surface, which I intend on installing an underlayment prior to the new flooring.

    I would like to get most of the old linoleum up, but it's not going well. The scraper isn't making much progress compaired to the amount of sweat being given. I tried using a propane torch, lightly heating the linoleum, and it helped a bunch, until my wife put an abrupt end to the work!

    So any suggestions how to get this stuff up without heat?

  • #2
    Apply "dry ice" to the surface. It will make the adhesive brittle so that it can be removed more readily with an ice scraper.
    ralphe

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    • #3
      If your wife did not like the propane torch, she is probably going to be less happy with the pneumatic flooring chipper I was going to recommend. I think I even saw one in the HF catalog for us one-use types. It several feet long so you can stand up.

      Do be careful, at least some linoleum tile contains asbestos...something thats not an issue until you go digging at it.

      I suppose the last choice is to leave the rest of it and use floor leveler to get rid of the bumps (some stuff you mix with water and trowel on).

      Paul
      Paul Carpenter
      Mapleton, IL

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      • #4
        Don't know what you have there. But my house (constructed 1986) had linoleum over 1/4" luan plywood over 3/4" ply subfloor.

        I didn't even try and get the lino unstuck from the 1/4" ply. I just took the 1/4" ply and lino up as one layer. A lot easier. Then I put a new 1/4" luan layer down to smooth everthing out again. You might not have this option.

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        • #5
          Old Linoleum

          Assuming that you are a prudent and careful worker, (requirement for membership on this forum!) I assume wife's objection was a) stench, and b) fire risk. The smell comes from the adhesive fumes burning in the torch flame. I suggest a cheap and dirty electric heat gun like a B&D. There will be MUCH less odor and very little fire risk, but it will be a bit slower. The lino only has to be hot-to-touch, not like removing paint. Duffy in Gatineau
          Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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          • #6
            Duffy's got the right of it. You can get a cheap heat gun from Horror Freight for about $10 - don't have a clue how long it will last, but at that price, it can be an "over-the-left-shoulder" tool. Just get the tile hot enough to flex and pry up - doesn't have to be cookin' hot. The lino might be more troublesome, because the backing on that is stickier. Heating and scraping still work, but just take longer.

            One point - there will be goo left on the subfloor - when you install the new underlayment, be sure to tape or otherwise seal the seams in it, or the stuff may in time leak up and discolor the new floor covering. We had that happen to our $1800 seamless-vinyl kitchen floor. (I warned her not to get pearly-white for the kitchen. Lot of good it did me...) A good argument for taking up the underlayment (if there is any) with the lino, as Steve suggested.

            Pete in NJ
            Pete in NJ

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            • #7
              Call your local equipment rental yard and see if they have a powerd floor scraper. Not alot of places have them but if you find one the floor will be up in no time.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rws
                Remodeling the kitchen, and the original floor was sheet linoleum. There was 12x12 tile layed on top of the linoleum, so I figured it best to remove it all before doing the new floor.
                So any suggestions how to get this stuff up without heat?
                Just a thought: I beat myself crazy trying to remove linoleum on a concrete slab many years ago. Chisels, scrapers, sanders, acetone. Yeah it worked, kinda...

                Then I accidently spilled some water on it. You got it, the glue was water soluable.

                Can't hurt to try.

                Doug

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                • #9
                  The asbestos risk for linoleum is very serious. If it is stuck down good, I'd put a new underlayment on top of it and call it a fine day.

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                  • #10
                    Get everything ready in the garage then send the wife to the other side of town for pizza. When she gets going, you get going and take it out with an axe if necessary. It's easier to get forgiveness then permission as was recently quoted here on the forum.
                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tony ennis
                      The asbestos risk for linoleum is very serious. If it is stuck down good, I'd put a new underlayment on top of it and call it a fine day.
                      A couple of years ago I was laying new hardwood flooring in my house and when I ripped up the carpeting in the living and dining room I found the floor in the DR had linoleum sheet stock. About the first five or six square feet came up nice and simple. The rest was a royal PITA. The dealer I bought the flooring from when I went in to order some matching registers told me that if I had decided to hire out the install after finding the linoleum and taking part of it up they would of refused the job without a HAZMAT asbestos removal company coming in first. Once you start tearing this stuff out yourself you're stuck doing it yourself. Plus you might have to be sneaky with the disposal.
                      Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

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                      • #12
                        I have one of the $10 HF heatguns, works like a champ.
                        "four to tow, two to go"

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                        • #13
                          One thing for sure! DO NOT USE gasoline to soften the glue. It is way too flamable. Once saw a guy in the St. Elizabeth Burn Center that tried using it to take up linoleum. A spark ignited the gas and the old guy that had it all over the floor and himself.

                          He was crying because his skin grafted and patched arm was stiff and the therapist was making him bend it beyond his comfort level. The next time that I went to see my brother there, the old guy was gone and the nurse said that he had died. NOT WORTH THE RISK!

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                          • #14
                            Yes, it was the smell my wife threw a fit over! Geez, I was on my hands and knees, right over it, and I didn't feel bad. But she came out coughing and hacking like she was poisoned or something.......

                            Since I've already taken up 2/3 of the floor, I can't turn back. What I have is that some of the lino came up to the sub-floor, some didn't, about a 50-50.

                            So I have two options I think, I have to leave what's there and fill in between for a relatively flat sub-floor, or take up the remainder to the original sub-floor. Either option is a lot of work.

                            So, if I go out and get a heat gun, how much "stink" will be given off to loosen the adhesive, as opposed to the propane torch? I just can't see trying to scrape this down without the help of heat. I can get leveling compound and fill in a bunch of spots and areas, then smooth and finish.

                            Thanks for the help so far.

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                            • #15
                              Just a hunch- it's probable that if you leave whats remaining and level over it, sooner or later it will telegraph through and be ugly. I'd go with the heat gun and just stick it out till it's gone. It won't be as bad as using flame, and as suggested you can always send the wife out for the duration. I would have a constant ventilation going on during the process, and I would probably wet mop a couple times after the job, just to get the loose stuff up. You could maybe vacuum, but you run the risk of raising a toxic dust mixture into the air, not knowing what materials might be there. A built-in vac might be ok, depending on where it exhausts.

                              A buddy of mine took up the lino in a bathroom once, and he probably learned a few new four letter words during the many hours it took to do the job.

                              Here's one for ya- my house has solid hardwood floors throghout, but is covered mostly by carpet with underlay. In the kitchen and bathroom- guess what- covered by lino. I'd like to bring the original floor back, but I don't even want to start that job.
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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