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Re: [Shop-talk] Floor scraper...but it's not that easy

To: Scott Hall <>, "" <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Floor scraper...but it's not that easy
From: Brian Kemp <>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2015 18:04:53 -0800
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Scott - I second the asbestos content.  A homeowner can remove small 
amounts, but if a big area, it may be best for a professional.  If you 
touch it, wear a good respirator - more than a dust mask.  I think it is 
N99 vs N95 as in the percent filtered.

Look and see if you have two layers of wood for your flooring.  If so, I 
would definitely at least take off the top layer.  Careful cutting with 
a circular saw should make it easy.

It will probably be easiest to just take a circular saw and cut around 
the edge of the room to take out the subfloor.  I did this in one 
bathroom earlier this year.  I had water damage near the shower and 
toilet and decided it was easiest to just take up the plywood and 1x6 
floor boards and put down new plywood.  I used the oscillating cutter in 
the corners where the circular saw couldn't get.  3/4" plywood was close 
enough to the 1x6 then I topped it with a layer of 1/2" plywood in the 
opposite direction.  The floor is very solid.  I went a step further 
with a layer of Ditra membrane then tile.

My second bathroom had sheet vinyl that had to come up.  I tried a heat 
gun and a scraper blade in my oscillating tool, but both took forever.  
I ended up using my rotary hammer with a chisel bit - an older version 
of this:
This quickly took up the floor in strips.  This was over a concrete 
slab.  I had a couple bits remain, so just hit them with the angle 
grinder with a concrete grinding disk.  I first tried the angle grinder 
with a wire cup, but the adhesive was too soft, so just smeared.  A 
sanding disk would be better for the wood if you keep the existing floor.

They make a compound for leveling the floor, so if you have some scrapes 
and divots, you can just skim the floor and have a near perfect 
surface.  This means you don't have to be as careful removing the old 
stuff if you try and keep the existing wood.

While working, I hung a box fan in the window on high to exhaust all the 
mess outside and wore a respirator.  My safety glasses kept fogging, so 
I switched to swim goggles.  I also wore my hearing protection as it was 
noisy.  Best to take care of yourself so you can keep doing the projects.


On 11/3/2015 11:02 AM, Scott Hall wrote:
> So, the garage had part of the floor covered with vinyl tile.
> No sweat. Bought a floor scraper from Harbor Freight. Nice tool. Very
> sharp, thick blade on the end of a pole. Good for smooth concrete subfloors.
> Now I'm moving to the bathroom, which isn't over a slab--it's hung off the
> side of the building over a crawlspace. Which means a wood subfloor.
> The scraper is too sharp. The vinyl tile is at least two layers deep (they
> just tiled over the old tile) and it flexes. So running the scraper over
> it, it either bites into the tile and binds up (it can't bear against the
> rigid concrete subfloor), or it bites into the wood floor itself.
> I need...a dull(er) scraper. Maybe. Something I can lever under the tile
> that won't bite into the wood or tile. Or do I just need something else?
> can I remove vinyl tile from a wood subfloor? The tile is so old
> that it's disintegrating and I can't pull it up a tile at a time. But it's
> also too crumble-y to try to get a piece at a time--it's take months just
> to do the 10-by-6 area.
> Looking for advice--the garage mahal has a bathroom, and it's going to be
> awesome. As soon as I get this vinyl tile up.
> Scott

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