Is this cutback? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Is this cutback?

02-17-2017, 04:30 PM
I've lurked here for awhile, especially when I tiled my first house. Now I need some advice so I registered. I moved and bought a foreclosure (glutton for punishment, I know, but the creek in the backyard is worth it) with a basement that sat without a dehumidifier for a couple of years. The house is old. Like late 1800s old with several additions added over the years.

There is a semi-finished room in the basement where old vinyl tiles had popped off, and others came up simply by sliding a flat-nosed shovel under them. As I removed the tiles, I started to come across black adhesive and the tiles were a bit harder to pull up, but they still popped off pretty easily.

So as you can see in the pictures some of the adhesive is all tan, some of it where it looks like the same adhesive but is turning from black to tan, and, then some areas where it is all black.

Is this normal for cutback? Is this even cutback? Any thoughts? Just trying to figure out my next steps. I just wanted to paint the floor or epoxy it, but might have to encapsulate first for safety reasons.

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Tool Guy - Kg
02-17-2017, 09:37 PM

What size where the tiles you removed?

With all the talk of moisture, you may be headed for difficulties if you try epoxying the floor. The loose tiles are something of a dead giveaway that moisture is migrating up from the slab at something of a high rate. What do you know about the level of moisture coming in? Anything?


02-17-2017, 10:37 PM
Thanks for responding. We are very close to a creek and there is not much topsoil before we hit the shale that makes up the creek bed, so moisture is a constant issue. Right now I can keep the ambient air at 50%, but I'm pulling a lot of water to do so. Our neighbors have the same problem.

The tiles were 8X8 or 9X9. Unfortunately, we are finding that many of the projects the previous owners did themselves were ideas from the Red Green Show, so who knows how old the tiles are.

Epoxy was just a thought, I just want a clean, non-cancer-causing floor, so I may just have a company come in and get rid of it.

Tool Guy - Kg
02-17-2017, 11:38 PM
Historically, 9"x9" tiles have a high probability of containing asbestos. But it's non-friable, making it more difficult to release asbestos inadvertently. The cutback may or may not contain asbestos. There's really no good way to know the odds on this part. For about $20, you can get a sample tested. If it were me, I'd want to know so that I know my options. If it turns out to not be "hot", you could simply grind away the residue and leave a clean, bare slab.

Is the slab in good condition, or is it a hodgepodge of slabs in wonky condition?