View Full Version : scraping up old flooring

kramer jones
05-08-2006, 5:39 AM
We have just started on a big (for us) kitchen remodel. I was trying to do as much of the work myself to keep costs down. I had planned to strip off the old floors and install a new oak strip flooring to match the dining and living room. After doing a test area I was reminded of why back in the 80's we put the new vinyl flooring over the old floor leaving all in place. The original linoleum is adhered very well to the fir t&g subflooring with black mastic. After 60 some years it has really stuck on there. I know such old floors are notorious for having asbestos so I already sent a sample out and the test was negative.
My question is how to get the black mastic up off the subfloor. On the sample area I got all the vinyl and linoleum up with sharp flat bars and chisels but the last layer, the mastic stays stuck on the wood and only partially came up using paint scrapers. Scraping the entire floor (220 sqft) would be possible if i dedicated about a week to it but the real problem is damage to the subfloor. It is real hard to scrap off the mastic with out now and them gouging into the wood. I'm thinking the mastic need to be softened first either with a solvent or be heat. So if anyone out there has successfully done this I would appreciate you sharing you experience.

Joe Pelonio
05-08-2006, 8:01 AM
That's an ugly job, I've done it and there's no easy way. I made a scraper to save my back by taking apart a heavy duty 6" putty knife and mounting it on a 1" dowell 6' long. This was for a kitchen. Eventually it broke and I had to do a second putty knife. Oh, and I sharpened the edge on the bench grinder. As for the mastic you have no way to know what will soften it, so you have to experiment. Any liquid will soak into the subfloor, especially bad if it's particle board. Heat may help some as it will soften the linoleum, the worst part is getting the mastic off after the floor has been removed. Mine was too gummy to sand, and since it was only about
150sf I ended up replacing the subfloor up to the cabinets.

Tyler Howell
05-08-2006, 9:04 AM
They sell/rent some hd scapers just for this job. Power assisted ones too.
I went through this twice. The first time with a belt sander and solvent (black oily slime will drip through to the lower level DAMHIKT).
The next time I did the floor first and let it wear off during the remaider of the construction project I recomend #2.

tod evans
05-08-2006, 9:18 AM
kramer, use a sawsall and cut beside each joist and remove the subfloor too. much faster, less work and you can start with a new subfloor that`s straight-n-true..02 tod

Ken Fitzgerald
05-08-2006, 9:20 AM
They make some really strong solvents for this. I bought mine a "super" hardware store. You MUST wear a respirator to use the stuff I bought. I don't remember what it was as it's been 6-7 years since I didn it.

kramer jones
05-08-2006, 3:42 PM
Thanks for all the replies.
Ken, was the solvent you used by chance "sealer and adhesive remover" by Jasco?
Tyler, Did you treat with solvent and sand the softened mastic? Seems like the more "gummy" the mastic the harder it would be to sand. I have thought of renting a big floor sander but thought that the sandpaper would just clog up real fast. BTW the wood subfloor is T&G fir, nice wood but somewhat soft.

Tyler Howell
05-08-2006, 4:05 PM
Sand first till the paper was clogged:o then use the solvent.

Ben Grunow
05-08-2006, 11:08 PM
You could also try renting a floor sander for re-finishing floors. Maybe save the job for your floor guy if that is in the future for your remodel. Anyway, try sanding with belt sander, if it doesn't gum up too quick this could be an easy out. Good luck.

Todd Davidson
05-08-2006, 11:46 PM
Hi Kramer ~

I just dealt with a similar situation and went Tod's route. Unless you feel the need to maintain the integrity of the house by retaining the T&G, removing it is your easiest solution IMHO.

In peace, Todd

Kevin Herber
05-09-2006, 9:29 AM
Hi Kramer - I like Tod’s suggestion too. A couple years ago we removed the spongy subfloor in one of your bedrooms and replaced it with 1 1/8 t&g. Man, that floor is rock solid now. Today the room is our exercise room with a lot of HEAVY stuff.

We rented a ‘toe kick’ saw to cut the existing subfloor along the perimeter of the room. Worked real good. Beware that the long axle allows the blade to angle in the kerf and kick out. This will scare the crap out of you a couple times until you get the hang of it.

Here's a pic of the saw: