Saturday, August 10, 2013

Loathing Linoleum

OK, so do you know what it's like to remove linoleum glue from a cement floor to prep it for tiling?  Let me see if I can describe it to you:

It's kind of like a combination of shoveling a week's worth of caked on hardened snow off your sidewalk. It's back breaking work. It's smelly and dirty work. And after you do it for about 15 minutes, you have to walk around and give your head and arms a break from the constant scraping back and forth because if you don't apply pressure while you scrape, it won't come off.

Oh and to add insult to injury, we get to scrap off TWO layers of linoleum glue..  because the last owners who put down the linoleum we are pulling out, didn't bother to scrape the glue from the first linoleum floor.

We looked all over the internet and YouTube to find the easiest way to remove it. Results were... it's just not easy... period. This is what I discovered from my findings:

  1. Scoring makes the job easier to manage bit by bit.
  2. Heat and water/steam helps loosen the glue.
  3. Using solvents that claim it can dissolve or loosen glue puts your concrete or wood floor at risk of being more resilient to future glue.
  4. No matter how you look at it, it's one of the worst jobs in renovations. So suck it up.

My brother and I are experimenting with different techniques. The moment we found out I was too much of a weakling to use the tall scraper, it meant by brother doing that hard work.

We are lucky that the top layer of the linoleum came off quit easy. It took a bit of muscle, but that was a job I was able to do.

Next, we wet down a surface and then scored it with a utility knife.

My brother then scrapes off as much as he can with the hand scraper...

And I take a steel sander (or whatever it's called) and sand off the rest

It's still a long road ahead. We started yesterday afternoon and spent a lot of the time trying out different techniques we found. Today, now that we've mostly nailed down what my brother's job is and what my job is, we will be working every day to get this done.

Yuppers, I'm definitely "earning" my kitchen.

Okay enough stalling by blogging... I'm back to work.


  1. He he been there done that. We actually gave up after awhile. What we ended up doing after we saw the base flooring was OK. We laid sub flooring over the top of the old flooring, then used a float flooring that is easy to lay and piece together. It comes in all difrnt textures. Our kitchen has a textured stone look. And our dinning room actually looks like a light pine-like wood

    1. Thanks Kyle for reading my blog! Would you explain what float flooring is?

    2. OK, I found out after some research. Floating floor would have been a dream come true if we decided to go with the cork flooring which snaps together much like engineered hard wood. Unfortunately, we're going with tile, so we have no choice but the fasten every layer to the floor. Oh well, c'est la vie! ("That's life" in French)

  2. Hahah. I'm so glad I'm not there to be "volunteered" to help.