Vinyl floor tear out [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-30-2019, 09:09 AM
Iím starting to plan my first tile project in 15 years and first on a wood subfloor (have tiled over concrete before). House was built in 1998, floor Iím replacing is embossed vinyl, Iím assuming that means ďresilientĒ.

Iíve been looking at tiling books (good luck finding those anymore) reading forums, watching videos, etc. What I started out seeing pretty consistently was to plan on sawing through the underlayment with a circular saw set to the right depth and ripping up all the underlayment, then going with cement board over the subfloor.

More recently Iíve read about people having success ripping up the vinyl and scraping the underlayment, then using a membrane like Dirt instead of cement board. I like the idea of this approach because the finished thickness will be closer to the carpet it is transitioning to.

But to my question - based on your vast experience, how would you expect the vinyl to be attached on a house of this era? If there is glue everywhere, I could see that cutting up the underlayment and removing might be easier than scraping adhesive off the whole surface.

I know I could just start pulling up floor now and maybe figure it out, but I am trying to get an idea of how much time floor prep is going to take before I take the plunge. Rooms Iím doing are a powder room, laundry room, hallway, and large closet. Iím thinking of trying to do one room at a time (one per weekend) ó is that a bad idea?

Not having done this for a while I feel a little like Iím standing on the edge of the high dive board trying to get up my nerve to jump.

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03-30-2019, 09:34 AM
Welcome, Rob. :)

Not enough information to be of much help.

You need to know what you have as an underlayment for your vinyl and the method of attachment. And the method of attachment of the vinyl (no way to guess if it's a full glue-down or maybe just a perimeter glue-down.

Then you need to know what you have for a subfloor.

Then you need to know what you have for a joist structure. You can get a go/no-go reading on the joist structure by using the Deflectometer in the dark blue bar near the top of the page.

Until you gather all that information you're just guessing whether it's feasible to install ceramic tile and how difficult the preparation might be. Better to find out if there's any water in that pool before you jump, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.

Tool Guy - Kg
03-30-2019, 11:31 AM
Welcome to the forum, Rob. :wave:

The age won’t help much in this case. The method of install is more often driven by the flooring material itself. A little test...

This isn’t a sure thing, but you can remove a single piece of base to expose a perimeter edge. Then, if you see staples, that would highly suggest perimeter-only glue. If you want further info and you don’t mind the resulting hole, make a cut with a utility knife through the vinyl at about 1” square. Do it maybe at least a foot in from the perimeter. The square of vinyl may pop right out cleanly if it’s perimeter-only glue...or come out with a chisel pry and obvious glue residue. If it seems to come off clean, gently get a screwdriver in the 1” hole and try to lift a little area to confirm the lack of a “full-glue” install.

If it’s full glue, removing it’s substrate is very often the most efficient route.


03-30-2019, 11:36 AM
Hi Rob, If you do decide to pull it up and it's a full glue down, the traffic areas will be the hardest places to pull up, sometimes a square inch at a time.

Cx, no worry of drowning if there's no water. :D

Bubba slid in front of me.:tup1:

Tool Guy - Kg
03-30-2019, 11:51 AM
And it’s easy to be tempted to install cement board over non-cushioned vinyl. But I can tell you that around these parts, vinyl is most often installed over a dreaded layer of lauan (which is constructed with a non-waterproof glue). And it’s most often installed at the speed of light with staples. Removing this vinyl substrate gets rid of the “weak link” lauan. And it exposes the you can adequately fasten down the subfloor that is so often underfastened...or to correct squeaks caused by loose nails.


04-04-2019, 06:13 PM
I went to measure joist size, spacing, span to use the deflectolator on my first tile project that is not on concrete. I find that I have I-joists, which the deflectolator doesn't work for. I looked for numbers on the joists which I could use to find specs online that could possibly give some guidance on whether I can do tile. What I found was a string of numbers and letters about 50 characters long. I have done internet searches for many combinations and groups of those characters, the only thing I can find is one of the strings is CCMC which seems to be a Canadian standards organization. I measure the joists as 9.5" deep, 14.5" centers and a 13 ft span. Any thoughts on next step?

(by the way, the printing on the joists, as far as i can read is 0594-1010 NJ10 #2&B BOCA#97-32 1CB0# PFC 5138 CCMC #12564R


04-04-2019, 07:30 PM
Rob, it'll help if you'll keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. A moderator can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

There is no manufacturer's name or logo on any of your joists?

04-05-2019, 06:05 AM
I went back and finally found that the manufacturer is Nascor, and they do have a specs for an NJ10 i-joist, which was one of the numbers I found. But it is going to take me some time to interpret their spec sheets, as I currently have no experience reading those.

04-05-2019, 08:57 AM
Their span tables are a bit unusual, but it appears you're right on the edge of meeting L/360 deflection, depending upon what you have for blocking or ceiling on the underside and whether the subflooring was glued. I used their 16" on center chart rather than your 14.5" spacing because I doubt that anyone installed at an actual 14.5" spacing. You might wanna check that. You'll also wanna verify the unsupported span.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-05-2019, 07:42 PM
OK, measuring again, you are right on the 16" spacing. Except for the one pair that I measured first, which really is at 14.5". All the rest are 16".

Unfortunately what I had thought was a load bearing wall is not, which now makes the span 15.5 feet. If it was borderline at the 13 foot span I thought I had, then the 15.5 will probably kill my project. I don't know how to tell if the subfloor is glued. And I don't understand much about blocking. I've done some internet searching and reading to try to see what that's about. Any advice on how what to look for regarding blocking? How would I recognize it?

04-05-2019, 08:07 PM
Again, their span tables are a bit - a good bit - different from other manufacturers with which I'm familiar. But it appears to me that no mater how your subfloor was installed, nor how much bridging or blocking you have, nor whether you have a ceiling or not, you cannot achieve L/360 deflection at your unsupported span of 15.5 feet.

It's very uncommon for anyone to build with engineered wood products and not meet that standard, but your builder is apparently an exception.

The only thing I see that would make a positive difference is if you actually have their NJH series rather than the NJ series. Can you verify that your top and bottom chords are vertical 1 1/2 x 2 1/2" sections rather than horizontal 2 1/2 x 1 1/2" sections?

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-05-2019, 09:49 PM
Definitely their NJ series - on the i-joist the 2.5" dimension is vertical, the 1.5" is horizontal. I did see signs that the subfloor is glued. The print on the sheathing says its 23/32", which is not quite the 3/4" thickness listed in their table. But I am wondering if I'm missing something. I'm new to Minnesota, but all of their codes and regulations seem to be pretty strict so if the spacing is questionable I'm a bit surprised it passed in 1998.

04-05-2019, 10:24 PM
As I recall, their table didn't care if the subfloor was 5/8ths" or 3/4" and I feel sure those are nominal requirements, but your 23/32nds" material would would meet their requirements either way.

Are you within a code compliance jurisdiction somewhere in Minnesota, or just in the state somewhere outside such jurisdictions?

04-06-2019, 07:46 AM
I believe the answer would be that we are in a code compliance zone. I checked the city website (Hastings MN) and they list that buildings must comply with International Residential Code 2012, Minnesota State Building Code 2015, and Hastings City Code. I can't find a copy of Hastings city code online. For current Minnesota code it says for i-joists they must comply to ASTM D 5055.

04-06-2019, 08:16 AM
Can't explain how that structure would have met code unless I'm somehow reading the manufacturer's span chart incorrectly. Or your code compliance officer just assumed they met code requirements without bothering to check. Or...........other.

The D5055 is the ASTM standard used to evaluate the product, but has nothing at all to do with determining how the product is used in a particular application. Much the same as lumber grading standards would be used to determine the grade of lumber joists, but not the suitability of the joists for a particular application.

04-06-2019, 10:09 AM
What's below this floor?

04-06-2019, 03:38 PM
Other places I read that floor stiffness can be improved by gluing and nailing another layer of plywood over the subfloor at 90 degrees. Since the spacing and span of the joists are close to meeting spec, could additional plywood stiffen it enough?

04-06-2019, 07:12 PM
Rob, all layers of structural subflooring must be oriented with the strength axis perpendicular to the joists. I recommend you avoid any of the places that advised you otherwise.

Adding a second layer of subflooring, while usually a very good idea for a ceramic tile installation, will do nothing at all to improve the design deflection of your floor joists.

The only way to improve the design deflection of what you've got is to shorten the unsupported span of the joists a little, which I believe is why Kevin asked the question in post #16 that you've not yet answered.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-06-2019, 08:54 PM
Kevin, if I understand the question, under this floor is an unfinished basement storage room.

04-06-2019, 11:11 PM
Sounds like a perfect opportunity to create the famous TYW Closet against one of the walls at the end of those joists. A sufficient header will support the joists a couple feet from the wall and you'll not only shorten the unsupported span and dramatically improve your joist deflection, but you'll provide a little extra storage space and make yourownself a he-row in the eyes of Mrs. Rob. It don't hardly git no better'n that. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-09-2019, 08:40 AM
Besides building the wall, you'd want to sheet it with something, like sheetrock, plywood, or OSB to keep the studs straight.

Without it, the studs can bow independently of each other and continue to allow too much flex in the joists.

Blocking between the joists can also help.

04-12-2019, 08:57 AM
Maybe the cool kids know what a TYW closet is, but I don't. I think I get the gist that I need to add a wall to shorten the span of the joists, but have been scratching my head at "TYW".

04-12-2019, 11:08 AM
TYW is Tile Your World, the website we're on, Rob. Sorry about the cool-kids-only terminology. :crap:

Yes, we're talking about using a new support wall a couple feet from the existing support wall and making it into a closet wall. You can, of course, install a beam there instead to create the same effect, but using it to create a closet makes it a "feature" rather than an unwanted beam addition.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-12-2019, 01:55 PM
Do you guys think using a heat gun would speed up the process of removal ?