Removing vinyl tile adhesive

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EllenEL

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Jun 29, 2021
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Am pulling up old vinyl tile but floor remains sticky. Mostly OSB.
I tried a bit of Goo gone but it is not very helpful. Floor will likely need to be leveled a bit at least in patches, I am assuming felt paper should be used. Then padding and floating floor but I do not want any sound of stickiness to come thru?
Anything else I could use so floor at least not sticky as much?
 

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Commercial Floor Rep

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What color is the adhesive? If it's black you may need to have it tested for asbestos.

Just a note - you should never use any solvent based adhesive removers when removing adhesive from a porous substrate. The solvents will remain in the substrate and can cause a bond failure if you are gluing a new floor down. Goo Gone is primarily kerosene with a citrus oil (also a solvent) that helps mask the smell of the kerosene.

What are you planning on putting down to replace the flooring? That will tell us how to proceed.

Essentially though, if you're planning on gluing another floor down you have two paths - manually remove the adhesive by mechanically scraping it up (assuming no asbestos) or putting new 1/4" underlayment down and then installing the new flooring on top of that new layer of underlayment. The latter is probably the more likely scenario.
 

highup

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I'm with floor rep on that one. If you were to put down underlayment, I would skim coat the floor with a thin coat of floor patch.... heck, regardless of what you were going to do I would skim coat the floor for the cement based floor patch. You don't want that sticky floor to contact and release, contact and release causing a crackling sound when you walk on whatever you install over it.
 

EllenEL

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As always, thank you thank you!
I am using floating engineered Kahrs wood and their underlayment. I am glad I asked. No gluing. Tiles were put 2004 so presumably there is no asbestos there? I will still use n95.
Also Adhesive is clear brownish in color.
 
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Commercial Floor Rep

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That's good. It's most likely a pressure sensitive acrylic or latex based glue then. That means it's water soluble. If you were over concrete you could use hot soapy water and a razor scraper to get it up. However, over wood that's not an option because the water would likely ruin the subfloor. As @highup said the typical process for what you have is to get the tile up and then cover the adhesive with a layer of cementitious patch. This layer of patch will kill the "stickiness" and help you get the floor flat.

A critical part of a successful floating installation is to make sure that the substrate is flat. it doesn't have to necessarily be overly level but flat is important. The general rule of thumb is 1/8" in a 6' span. Get yourself a 6' aluminum straight edge. They aren't very expensive and set it on edge and look for gaps between the bottom edge of the straight edge and the subfloor. Those gaps should be less than 1/8" in a 6' span. You can use a tape measure to check the gap. If you find low spots you'll fill those with the patch and if you have high spots you'll need to sand those down.

The Kahrs underlayment will help with some of the flatness issue but anything greater than the standard can cause deflection when walking on the floor and eventually lead to the locking system breaking down over time which would show up as gapping in the floor.

If you're having trouble understanding how to do the check with a straightedge there are several videos on youtube that show the process. Most of them deal with concrete subfloors but the process is the same with a wood subfloor too.

Wish you the best with your project and let us know how it turns out for you.
 

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