Slab floor prep, after vinyl removal [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Pat Galvin
06-05-2001, 11:33 AM
I will soon be removing a 7 year old sheet vinyl floor and installing ceramic tile. How clean does the slab need to be (i.e., how vigilant do I need to be during adhesive removal?) before I embark on new tile installation? Any tips or direction is appreciated. I'll be using thinset mortar. Thanks

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06-05-2001, 03:32 PM
You need to remove ALL of the old adhesive.Several companies make vinyl adhesive remover in liquid form.You can get it at HomeDepot,Lowes or a flooring retailer.If the adhesive has become hard you can try scraping with a razor edge floor scraper.Your last resort will be to rent a floor grinder from your local equipment rental store.

Once you have all the adhesive up clean the floor with a Muratic-acid/water solution or you can purchase non-acidic cleaners from a reputable tile retailer.If you use the Muratic-acid be EXTREMELY careful and use all manner of personal protection,ie;splash-proof goggles,rubber gloves,etc. You must thoroughly rinse the floor after the acid cleaning.Let it dry and check for any irregularities in the slab surface such as high/low spots,holes etc.
Any surface problems will need to be taken care of at this point.

***Stay tuned for more advice from some of our other members.They may know a better or easier way.

John Bridge
06-05-2001, 04:51 PM

I think Keith and I are going to diverge slightly on this issue. In my thinking, if you can't get the stuff off the floor with water, then don't worry about it. Modern thin sets will stick to it. Not very scientific, but if it won't come up now, why would it come up later?

In short, water-base glues should be completely removed. Organic glues that are permanently bonded to the concrete can remain.

And Geez, Keith, don't report me to Dave G. for saying this. I'm in enough trouble already.

Oh, and I don't see the need for the acid wash.

06-05-2001, 04:55 PM
If the sheet vinyl your are removing is felt-back, chances are very high that the adhesive used was a latex based product. A good floor scraper with replaceable razor blades should do the job. If you find some areas more difficult to remove, try damp mopping the floor with plain water and let it sit for 10 - 20 minutes. This will decrease the amount of dust generated and should be adequate to loosen this type of adhesive for removal.

(When your pulling up the vinyl and a "paper-like" material is still stuck to the floor, thats felt-back material.)

Bud Cline
06-05-2001, 05:03 PM
I wouldn't use Muratic indoors. The stuff can be just plain too DANGEROUS. Cleanup is always partial at best. My practice is if I can't flood it with a hose and fresh water then I don't use it. Muratic Acid won't work on the adhesive product anyway, to my understanding Muratic only attacks the portland.

06-05-2001, 06:29 PM
I would agree with John on this one...get it as clean as you can, and if the adhesive isn't water based,then a quality modified this set will stick to it. Don't forget that acid fumes can rust your chrome taps and stainless steel not to use it.


John Bridge
06-05-2001, 07:08 PM
And acid can rust your pipes just like that stuff you guys call beer up there, eh?

06-05-2001, 10:45 PM
See Pat, I told you to stay tuned.

Rob Z
06-06-2001, 05:40 AM
Hi Pat

Two products I use with confidence to set tile over old vinyl adhesive residue are Laticrete 272 thinset with 333 latex additive, and Summitville 777 thinset with 810 additive. Each company has a high end setting material that will bond to this left over stufff on the slab. I wouldn't use the acid for the same reasons mentioned above.


06-07-2001, 05:51 AM
Manufacturers of tile setting products will tell you they have products that work over properly prepared cut back adhesives.

What is properly prepared?

Soundly adhered adhesives, with as much removed as possible.

As always try a small test area to assure yourself of the compatability of the setting product and the substrate.


The next time you are working with 333, spread some of it on to a surface that will hold water. Let it dry and emerse it in water. It reimulsifies. There labeling does not reccomend this for wet areas. I know nothing was mentoned about water in this post, just a little F Y I.

[Edited by flatile on 06-07-2001 at 07:57 AM]

04-03-2007, 08:00 PM
Good heavens, y'all are making this WAY harder than it needs to be.

Slice ribbons into the sheet goods. Soak with H2O using old cardboard wetted down or towels if needed. Let the water soak in for 24 or Longer if you can. Old vinyl and adhesice should peel right off the floor. A quick wash down and you're ready to go.

(JB, can't you keep these boys in line? Where's Marge? I go off for a week and the boys are trying to use a back hoe to plant garden bulbs.) :bonk: KIS it. Keep it simple.

John Bridge
04-04-2007, 05:53 AM
Thanks for keeping us in line, Nessie. It's pretty obvious we wouldn't make it without you. :D

It's very possible the water won't work, though, if the glue is not water soluble.

04-10-2007, 01:30 PM
Well, ya got me there JB. I will admit that I was thinking only of regular old sheet goods. JB is right PAt, there are vinyls that are laid with other glues. How's it going? Let us know if we can help.