View Full Version : Help with hardwood flooring

Ron Taylor
03-17-2003, 11:14 AM
I'm getting started on a fixer-upper to sell. After removing all of the carpets, I find vinyl floor covering, sheet linoleum, and bare oak hardwood. Removing the vinyl and linoleum, I find that the entire house is done in beautiful oak flooring. Some areas were never sanded. The house was built about 60 years ago.

The decision was made immediately to restore the red oak with tile in the kitchen and bathroom only. The rest of the house will be oak hardwood.

Being a dyed-in-the-will DIYer, even though I've never done any hardwood flooring, I will do the restoration myself. Obviously, hiring a contactor is still an option, but only when I've exhausted all DIY options.

My first and probably biggest problem is glue. Two kinds. In the area that had vinyl, the oak is covered with a clear or translucent amber colored glue. In some areas, it is tacky, others it is hard, almost like varnish. Under the linoleum is a black glue that looks like roofing tar, but very hard.

How do I get the glue off without staining the oak? And without breaking the budget buying sand paper. Is it feasible?

Secondly, my recent Woodworking mag advertises the VARATHANE system (no affiliation) including a three-pad orbital sander which is supposed to be five times better than a drum sander. Anyone with experience with this machine? Know where I can get one? Their web site is not very good on resources except that they deal only with resellers.


Kevin Gerstenecker
03-17-2003, 4:20 PM
Ron, while I cannot offer much in the way of refinishing advice on the Oak Flooring, I can enlighten you on the Adhesive you mentioned. Most Adhesives from that era, especially the Black and Brown colored stuff more likely than not contains Asbestos. Back then, they put Asbestos in all sorts of things, including mastic's and Linoleum. The mastic is non-fryable in it's present state.....meaning there is no asbestos Fibers being released. However, if you disturb it, such as sanding or scraping, there is a danger of the asbestos fibers becoming airborne. Asbestos Abatement is not cheap, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Just something to think about before tearing into the Black stuff. It may be better to leave that area alone. You can probably find an abatement company to test the adhesive for you, but that may open a can of worms you don't care to deal with. Good Luck, but most importantly, BE SAFE!