Tuesday, June 22

a fourth layer?

Once we peeled and hacked away at the three layers of linoleum on our floors, we were met with a new nemesis.
A thick, uneven layer of grey and white mottled adhesive.
it's just so gross...and icky.. and smelly

We first decided to try brute force and scrape the floor with a heavy duty 7inch long handled scraper from Lowe's that was purchased on one of our many weekend trips.

The Man worked valiantly for a good ten solid minutes with hardly any results.  We knew it was time to do some research—this method just wasn't working.  So we were off to youtube, google, and the blogosphere to try and find some answers.

As much as I didn’t want to resort to it, we ended up deciding to purchase an adhesive removing solvent. Based on our online research, KrudKutter was the way to go.
From what I read. it's supposed to be low odor, inexpensive, and quick to take effect.
We did a quick run by the Lowe's and KrudKutter was no where to be found. We were tired, hot, and running late for an early dinner with friends—so we went with this instead:
Chapco Impressions -- MultiSurface Adhesive Remover

It was only about $10 and was over in the flooring section. We decided to go for it and hope it worked. I liked the fact that it didn’t seem as threatening as the adhesive remover that was over with the paint thinner in its boxy, warning bedecked, red and yellow metal can.

A few hours later, we were home and anxious to get to work. I locked the kitties up in their office (my office, officially, but it’s where they stay when we’re doing big house projects), turned off the air conditioner, opened a few windows in the kitchen and we were good to go. The instructions seemed pretty simple, mix one bottle in with a gallon of hot water. We blended the two together in one of the Man’s favorite five gallon buckets and immediately lost a few brain cells.
After a quick slathering with an old mop, we covered the floor in the adhesive remover and washed up (apparently adhesive remover is not the best on bare skin). The instructions said to let everything soak for 1-2 hours before attempting to scrape the floor. The Man and I decided to watch a movie, and tried to keep sane as the fumes grew stronger.

Eventually we had to bail out of the house, and after a quick motorcycle ride through the cool-ish summer air we were feeling somewhat refreshed and a little less dizzy. By that time, the solvent had been working its magic for a few hours softening the adhesive. The Man got to right to work.  Scraping was messy but things went much smoother with the help of the adhesive remover. The Man scraped for about 30 minutes while I swept and scooped up the gloopy adhesive shavings.

We still didn’t remove all of the adhesive, but our floor looked and smelled much better after we mopped it with non-solvent infused hot water.

We mopped again the next day and could finally say our little concrete slab of a kitchen was ready for tiling.

 If you ever decide to remove your multiple layers of flooring—here are a few tips we learned the hard way:

  •  Carefully remove your baseboards (and do so before painting) otherwise you'll be forever patching holes like we were.
  • Be prepared for a stinky, dusty mess no matter how clean you keep your floors.  Our house smelled horrible for a few days!
  • A linoleum blade can save lots of frustration
  • A good floor scraper can save even more—I almost wish we had used that along with our linoleum knife to pull up the tile initially. It made quick work of a few stubborn self-adhesive tiles that were hiding under our washer and dryer.
  • A long soak with hot water can help loosen up adhesive, but a strong adhesive removing solvent really does the job!
  • If you’re going to use an adhesive remover, be sure to evacuate the house while it sets, if possible—it will save your brain cells and prevent you from a toxic hangover in the morning.  I had a killer headache the next day and was really scatterbrained.. but that's somewhat typical for me.
  • Always appreciate those you love, especially when they are crawling around on their hands and knees for hours peeling up stubborn floors (and affectionately calling you the devil, stating that this is his hell, and threatening to divorce you).
  • Remember to remind those you love that you aren't married-- so divorce is not an option, and have a good laugh over the devil/hell thing as an eternity in "hell" is a lot longer than a mortgage. :)
  • A nice dinner of cheesy, garlicky, meaty goodness from Brick Oven can usually make any floor peeling experience just a little bit better.
It's such a great feeling when I look back and see what all we've accomplished as novice DIYers.  True, it was just a few hundred square feet of stubborn flooring.. but it's our stubborn flooring, and we kicked its ass.


Danielle and Clint said...

I had a friend do this recently and she couldn't get all the adhesive off either. But it did look a ton better! It's hard work, but very worth it in the end!

Steven House said...

Also look at the instructions, next time you may need to get a bunch of fans and respirators to help the fume build up (and your self.)

Also if you are doing a bunch more home repairs with toxic or semi-toxic chemicals the respirators may not be a bad idea.

For more safety tips contact Steven House.


Eva @ the nerdy nest said...

I knew I could count on you for some handy safety tips! :)

So good to hear from you and I'm happy to know you're reading!