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Daisy137
Underlayment

I am trying to find out how to remove what looks to be tar paper from my kitchen floor.
It was used as an underlayment, with newspapers as the next layer, and then square floor tiles as the top layer.
The newspapers are dated 1960.
There is a nice wood floor underneath all this.
I have tried a thin scraper with no luck.
The tar paper appears to be glued.
:) Thanks for any help with this.
Daisy137

Dave357
Re: Underlayment

This was a common practice in the days before plywood. Felt paper was often glued over maple flooring in kitchens so that the joints between the hardwood strips didn't "telegraph" through the floor tile. Unfortunately, the adhesives of this era often contain asbestos!!! Also, if the tiles measure 9" x 9", they probably contain asbestos also!!!

Have it tested. Scrape up a small sample & send it to a lab. DON'T SAND IT under any circumstances, since the airborne fibers are the killers in asbestos, and sanding would send these fibers all over the house.

I don't want to sound like an alarmist here, but asbestos is nothing to fool around with.

facefromthepast
Re: Underlayment

We had tar paper glued to our hardwood floor, too. I was surprised to find that the safest of all solvents turned out to work perfectly. Rags (we used thick terry cloth) soaked in warm water were laid on top of the paper, the water softened the glue within 5-10 minutes, and the paper came up easily with a plastic scraper. I guess I should add, having read the other answer, that we had no concept of the possibility of asbestos at that time, but at least we weren't putting dust into the air with our method - thankfully! If you find that it's safe to do your own work, try the warm water method first.

Chudos
Re: Underlayment

I have a similar scenario where I had 9x9 tiles from the 1950's that were applied directly to the concrete floor in the basement.

I was silly enough to think I could just simply pull them up only to find the same black gunk stuck all over the floor.

I have tried all these techniques (including steaming it, scraping, chemicals) and now am just sitting here with gunk on the floor and sore shoulders.

I am wondering, can I just tile over this stuff or put on a self-leveling compound or do I have to get the gunk off first?

I had considered using a floating floor type solution but it is a high traffic area with water that will destroy any of those products. I just want to tile the area but dont know if applying tile directly will have problems given the "gunk".

Any advice is much appreciated.

A. Spruce
Re: Underlayment
Chudos wrote:

I have a similar scenario where I had 9x9 tiles from the 1950's that were applied directly to the concrete floor in the basement.

I was silly enough to think I could just simply pull them up only to find the same black gunk stuck all over the floor.

I have tried all these techniques (including steaming it, scraping, chemicals) and now am just sitting here with gunk on the floor and sore shoulders.

I am wondering, can I just tile over this stuff or put on a self-leveling compound or do I have to get the gunk off first?

I had considered using a floating floor type solution but it is a high traffic area with water that will destroy any of those products. I just want to tile the area but dont know if applying tile directly will have problems given the "gunk".

Any advice is much appreciated.

First, there is likely asbestos in that black tar-like glue, so you should have it tested. At the very least, use extreme caution in removing and handling it.

Second, if you take a sample of the tile and glue to a flooring supplier who services contractors, they can identify it and direct you to the proper product that will remove the gunk.

Chudos
Re: Underlayment

Do you think I have to scrape it up or can I put self-level or ceramic tiles on top.

A. Spruce
Re: Underlayment

Depending on what it is, it could affect the adhesion of any product in direct contact with it.

Chudos
Re: Underlayment

Ok, thanks for the feedback.

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