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Remove linoleum floor

I am trying to remove the linoleum flooring before I install slate tiles. I am using easy-mat instead of cement backerboard. Will the easy-mat stick to left over glue/paper backing from the linoleum, or does anyone have any suggestion about how to best remove the linoleum, it's paper backing, and glue? I have been scraping it, but I am constantly gouging the sub floor. And, if the easy-mat doesn't stick to the floor in some spots will the weight of the tile and mortar make up for it?

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Posted 2010-12-13T19:19:10+0000  by frank frank

Hello Frank!


Welcome to the community! I am a flooring associate from the Atlanta area and I have used SimpleMat myself on tile installations and in my tile classes I teach to customers such as yourself in my stores. While it is great for backsplashes and countertops, SimpleMat unfortunately cannot be used on the floor due to the thinness of the product, not of the adhesive per se. Here's a link to the SimpleMat Instructions:


SimpleMat Instructions


In your situation, I would definitely place a backerboard or uncoupling membrane (sounds complex but stick with me :smileyhappy:) down in lieu of SimpleMat. A moisture barrier has to be placed down before you can set your slate tiles on the subfloor.  The two best options to use are EasyBoard backerboard in 1/4" sheets, its nowhere near as heavy as the other brands. Here is a screen shot for EasyBoard's specifications sheet:



The 2nd option is to use the uncoupling membrane I talked about earlier, that little product is by Schluter and is called Ditra. It is sold on a roll and very easily rolls out, and all you need to do to install it down is unmodified (no latex added) mortar and a brayer or roller to get it to adhere to the mortar flatter. Thats it! Its the easiest underlayment The Home Depot sells and I would recommend it as a time-saver, here's a page from the install guide to show you it's features.



Now, as for removing the linoleum, you will need to get the linoleum and paper scrapped off at minimum, and really theres nothing out there that I am aware of better than a good ol' floor scraper, here is a picture of one we typically sell, notice the foot handle on it, you are going to need that when getting to tough spots and corner areas, whereas the wider scrapers just don't have:

floor scraper.JPG

Any remaining glue thats left on your floor needs to be taken up with an adhesive remover and/or a floor maintainer (buffer) with scour pad that we rent out at our Tool Rental Department.  To do this, read the enclosed link that is from an earlier post from another member of the community regarding taking off the glue/floor:

Getting Adhesive off of floor


The subfloor doesn't have to look pretty or nice to have the actual volume of the glue up, as long as it will not impede when the mortar is put down for the backerboard or uncoupling membrane you choose. Also, slate is a very porous and easy to stain tile since its a natural quarried product, so seal your tiles with a quick pass with sealer BEFORE you put down your tiles on the mortar, its a flooring trade secret:smileyvery-happy:


Well Frank, I hope this helps out with your project, let me know or any of us on the community if you have any further questions!




Posted 2010-12-13T22:06:44+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

HELP! I have hardwood floors in my kitchen that's been covered up with linoleum probably since 1920. After removing the linoleum the floor is now covered with the brown paper looking backing from the linoleum and glue. How can I safely remove this without damaging the hardwood floor?? Thank You!! - Sherry

Posted 2011-08-26T01:55:29+0000  by sdlucas2

Hey there sdlucas2,


With your home being that old and the floor being down that long, did you ever have it tested for asbestos prior to removal? Any home built pre-1970 should be tested before attempting to remove any vinyl type floor, as the asbestos may be present due to it being used as a building material up until the 1980's. If you have not, I would consult with a local abatement company first and see if they can give you more information on the materials used in the houses in your region, as well as to see if they need to have it tested.


Going on the assumption that you have tested; what are you going to be covering the floor with?


To make the glue easier to remove, I would pour a bit of hot water on it as you go, or even a mixture of hot water / vinegar. This will help to loosen the old adhesive and help you in your scraping.I personally don't recommend using any solvents or chemicals, because it can tend to make the job even more difficult than before. Not knowing what adhesive was used, you never know how the chemicals may react with what is down on the floor. It takes some time, but scraping is definitely the way to go.



Once you have it removed, you can lightly sand away any remnant glue from the subfloor and then build upon it with your new floor, or with a skim coating of concrete leveler.


Hope this helps you out!~ Let me know if you have any further questions = )

Posted 2011-08-26T13:49:16+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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