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  #1  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:17 PM
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Tar paper & wood floors

Anyone had the pleasure of trying to remove tar paper from wood floors? Our kitchen is in dire need of sprucing up, and I started pulling up the linoleum only to find another layer (I'm guessing from the 40's or 50's) of some kind of tile and then, of course, tar paper. The latter does NOT want to come up. Google suggests all sorts of folks have the same problem, but finding solutions isn't so easy.

Heat gun maybe? Heat the whole works up, then peel a bit at a time? I think the floor is pine, but I'm not certain of that. We may just get it clean enough to paint and go with a "primitive" milk-paint look for the floor.

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:41 PM
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You sure it is tar paper? I don't know about the building code in your area, but it would seem funny to have tar paper underneath tile?

You sure it isn't a tile adhesive that may contain asbestos?

Tar paper should scrape off easily, without heat. Adhesive would require something more dramatic - and I'd be wary about potential asbestos content.

Just my $0.02.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:41 PM
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Been there, done that, on a fir floor. Used a scraper and a hell of a lot of effort to get it up, then sanded and painted the floor. After doing that, I purchased a pneumatic scraper from Harbor Freight because I never wanted to face that problem with a hand scraper again.
I didn't try heat. A 20 grit belt sander might take care of the problem but it would take a lot of paper since it clogs up pretty fast.
In retrospect, I might have been further ahead to simply put down a new wood floor right on top of the lino. If I had had access to Lumber Liquidators at the time and was able to find a small lot of discontinued wood flooring at a good price, it would have been an easier choice.
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
You sure it is tar paper? I don't know about the building code in your area, but it would seem funny to have tar paper underneath tile?

You sure it isn't a tile adhesive that may contain asbestos?

Tar paper should scrape off easily, without heat. Adhesive would require something more dramatic - and I'd be wary about potential asbestos content.

Just my $0.02.
It's some kind of tar paper that gets adhered very tight after 100yrs of walking on it. It's definitely not tile adhesive.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kerry edwards View Post
It's some kind of tar paper that gets adhered very tight after 100yrs of walking on it. It's definitely not tile adhesive.
Ah, gotcha. Probably would require a lot of hard wook and solvents then.

I refinished my oak stairs a while back and the carpet runner had been stuck down with some kind of black adhesive. I hand-scraped it all off, then finished with a belt sander. I swear if I had to do it again, I'd just buy new treads - far less hassle. Sometimes you need to know when to fight and when to run.


Or you could rent one of these bad boys -

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  #6  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:50 PM
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Yeah, this stuff is NASTY. Stinks, too. Given the relatively small area of our kitchen and typical "old house" odd dimensions/unevenness, I thought I'd try stripping it all out rather then putting flooring over it. I may live to regret that decision!

Thanks for the tips, BTW.
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2006, 02:54 PM
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I echo Kerry's statement about not messing with it.

If you don't know what you are doing, you can mess up what little floor you have left. They did go over it for a reason.

You already have the sub-floor and can get parquet wood flooring and some strip flooring for 0.99 a sq foot. A lot easier than breathing all that crap.

Home depot has some strip flooring that's unfinished pretty cheap as well.

.02
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2006, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantman View Post
I echo Kerry's statement about not messing with it.

If you don't know what you are doing, you can mess up what little floor you have left. They did go over it for a reason.
I understand not messing with it for convenience sake, but I don't know that I agree with your statement about going over it for a reason... you should have seen what they did to our house in the 50's 'til now. BEAUTIFUL oak floors covered over with nasty padding and terrible carpet, walls covered in floral-print or faux-oak paneling, etc... My guess is that pine floors went out of fashion, and they slapped this "high-falutin'" lineoleum down sometime mid-century for no better reason that aesthetics. Probably about the same time that they put up the baby-blue paneling in the bathroom...
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2006, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantman View Post

You already have the sub-floor and can get parquet wood flooring and some strip flooring for 0.99 a sq foot. A lot easier than breathing all that crap.

Home depot has some strip flooring that's unfinished pretty cheap as well.

.02
Oh yeah, and I have considered the flooring you mentioned. If this proves to be too much work, I will undoubtedly go that route. Thanks for the insight!
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2006, 03:28 PM
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I agree that things could be nice under there. I've pulled up a lot of old lino floors and found decent fir underneath. The last one I did had newspapers from the 1920's as underlayment. Around here, they typically put lino in a center square and then painted the fir between the lino and the wall.
However, I have found that wood floors take a beating in a kitchen. In mine, I had to patch a lot of holes where pipes used to pass thru the floors. So, of all places where I doubt whether the floors underneath are good, kitchens and baths are the most dubious. I have had success in going back to the original in both however.
The last time I was at Lumber Liquidators, I got pre-finished finger jointed 3/4 inch solid oak flooring 8" wide for $3 a square foot. It was a cinch to install given it's width and its still holding up very well.
I do have a soft spot in my heart for painted fir floors. They are absolutely the best choice from a landlords point of view. No refinishing, no shampooing, just slap on a new coat of paint. Black is best since then the gaps between the boards dont show.
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
1993 GMC Sierra 6.5 TD 4x4
1982 Bluebird Wanderlodge CAT 3208--Sold 2/13
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2006, 03:38 PM
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My house in Central Florida was built in 1926.

The hardwood in the bathroom was pretty much shot so I tiled over it. The kitchen has some cheesy tile which I will remove one day and hope that the oak underneath is not too bad.

Do you have any way to see underneath like a sub-floor? Can give you insight as to possible damages......May save you some time.

.02
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Old 11-06-2006, 03:41 PM
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I just did my kitchen floor. Took up the stick on tiles to find another layer of stick on tiles. Beneath that was tar like paper. Beneath that was 3/4 inch particle board. It was badly swollen under the dishwasher and sink areas. I ended up pulling the particle board throughout the entire kitchen down to the subflooring.

Because the subflooring squeaked badly I spent the extra time running two to three deck screws into each subfloor board where it diagonally crossed each joist. No more squeaking. I then laid 3/4 flooring plywood and drove deck screws about every 6 inches along the joist lines. Then laid #15 felt paper.

I finished up with 3/4" x 2 1//4" prefinished Brazilian Cherry hardwood.

No more squeaks and looks great.

I suggest taking the time to get everything out of there you don't want or need and make it right.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantman View Post
My house in Central Florida was built in 1926.

The hardwood in the bathroom was pretty much shot so I tiled over it. The kitchen has some cheesy tile which I will remove one day and hope that the oak underneath is not too bad.

Do you have any way to see underneath like a sub-floor? Can give you insight as to possible damages......May save you some time.

.02
My house is late 1800's, though it's been fiddled with several times since then (additions and renovations). So far, I have exposed perhaps 15% of the wood floor, all of which looks to be intact, but it's all covered in that tar-like mess. I just want to get it paintable, so the wood itself needn't be perfect.

The kitchen shares a wall with a bathroom, which was added sometime in the 60's, I'd guess. It will be interesting to see what the floor is like in the bathroom when we get to redoing it! Maybe it's the same pine; hard to say.

This house is full of surprises. When I pulled out the in-wall bookcase to refinish parts of it, we found a small cavity behind it, next to the chimney. The original plumbing for an upstairs bathroom still hung from above in the cavity -- someone just cut the supply AND return lines and left them in there! I also found several old letters from the early teens and an old breast pump (still in its box) that had obviously fallen down in the cavity from the bathroom above at some point.

Old houses are a pain in the ass, but they sure can be interesting!
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2006, 08:37 PM
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Try some adhesive remover in small patches, might ,make removing/scraping it a bit easier.

Can you imagine tiling over a beautiful wood floor?

I guess like anything else, you get tired of it when something "new and improved" comes along, in this case linoloeum.
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry edwards View Post
I agree that things could be nice under there. I've pulled up a lot of old lino floors and found decent fir underneath. The last one I did had newspapers from the 1920's as underlayment. Around here, they typically put lino in a center square and then painted the fir between the lino and the wall.
However, I have found that wood floors take a beating in a kitchen. In mine, I had to patch a lot of holes where pipes used to pass thru the floors. So, of all places where I doubt whether the floors underneath are good, kitchens and baths are the most dubious. I have had success in going back to the original in both however.
The last time I was at Lumber Liquidators, I got pre-finished finger jointed 3/4 inch solid oak flooring 8" wide for $3 a square foot. It was a cinch to install given it's width and its still holding up very well.
I do have a soft spot in my heart for painted fir floors. They are absolutely the best choice from a landlords point of view. No refinishing, no shampooing, just slap on a new coat of paint. Black is best since then the gaps between the boards dont show.
i agree with all of this except i wouldnt paint it black. cracks are ok by me.

tom w

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