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Removing tar paper from oak flooring

We recently purchased a beautiful old victorian built 1905 with
the interior intact. The kitchen had vinyl tile laid on top of the original oak floor. Tar paper was laid down on top of the oak and the tiles on top on that. We have removed the tile but the tar paper has glued itself to the floor. Have tried scraping, heat gun, water, water and vinegar, wall paper remover, wd-40, various cleaners with poor results. We do not want to stain the floor with the tar if possible. Any suggestions to a reasonable method? We may just have to sc****.
Thank you in advance.

Re: Removing tar paper from oak flooring

scraping will work, but you have to keep the sc****rs sharp.i have done this sort of thing for refinishing floors both for clients and my own home. its a ton of work if your willing to put in the elbow grease, or use a drum sander with 40 grit paper on it to chew up the tar paper. this way will require quite a few peices of sanding paper as it will gum up really quick..

if you dont want to deal with teh mess though. simply put down some 1/4" underlay and then put new flooring down on that

Re: Removing tar paper from oak flooring

I generally end up scra-ping a floor per year, for whatever reason. Use a 1 1/2" steel scra-per, and buy a new mill bastard file to keep it sharp. If the scra-per is squealing, it's dull. Generally I find I get about 10 strokes per sharpening, but it only takes a couple of passes with the file and I'm off again. Pardon the hyphens, but it's the only way to avoid the ****
Sanding or solvents will melt/dissolve the tar and it will keep sinking into the wood. Wear a mask in case there's nasty stuff in the glue, and vacuum it up to avoid raising dust a second time.
A well scr-aped floor will only need a small amount of touch-up sanding to put a finish on.

Re: Removing tar paper from oak flooring

Mark East:

Can you describe how you used the heat gun?

Raising the temperature will both soften the tar in the paper and any glue holding that paper down, so heat should have worked.

You should also be aware that back in the 1950's and 1960's there was a kind of tile called "linoleum tiles". These linoleum tiles were made in much the same way as linoleum was at the time. They were 9 inches by 9 inches square and consisted of a surface wear layer of vinyl over top of a thick tar paper body. Often when linoleum tiles are removed, the vinyl wear layer comes off relatively easily, leaving the tar paper body stuck down to the floor. If what you have were linoleum tiles, then you should find that the tar paper comes off in 9 X 9 inch squares as well.

If you can explain how you applied the heat and how you sc****d the tar paper off, I'm hoping we can discover why the heat gun didn't work.

Do you still have access to that heat gun?

Re: Removing tar paper from oak flooring

I had the same problem in my 1892 row house. TSP worked well in softening the tar paper.

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